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“The simple answer is that, in most cases, schools have made mistakes. In fact, this statement isn’t terribly helpful; after all, every school makes at least some mistakes. When it comes to data-driven instruction, however, the type of mistake that a school makes goes a long way toward determining whether or not it will succeed.” Paul-Bambrick Santoyo, Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction.  According to Bambrick-Santoyo, these are the eight mistakes that…

David Coleman’s mock lesson relevant to King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail offers initial perspective about what instruction with the Common Core might look like. It also raises some important questions, which many of the teachers that I am working with raised throughout our unit design sessions this fall. The teachers that I am working with are eager to know what the six instructional shifts will look like in their classrooms with their students. Some are…

Recently, I created a landing page for all of the posts that I’ve been sharing relevant to my work with the Common Core. I plan to update it at the end of each week, as my work inside of local school districts continues and my reflections on that work unfold. You can find the archives here, linked within a larger narrative that summarizes my process so far. This week, I’ll be sharing a bit about…

In addition to sharing as much as I can about my work with the CCLS inside of schools this year, I’m also taking more time to reveal the workings of the WNY Young Writers’ Studio over here. Studio is a writing community comprised of teachers and writers of grades 1-12. We also identify mentors within our program who are interested in becoming teachers themselves one day, and we provide them opportunities to learn and apply…

Two days ago, I had the opportunity to reteach the concepts introduced in this lesson in Barbette DeMarco’s sixth grade class. I made use of the suggestions that readers gave me in order to improve my instruction and the assessment that drove it. Providing students even more time to talk and giving them the chance to discuss how THEY identified main idea seemed to enhance engagement and student understanding. It also helped me better identify their confusions…

I remember my early assumptions about differentiated instruction. I remember thinking, like many do, that differentiation would require the careful design of three separate approaches for each day’s learning. I remember worrying about how I would ever accomplish such a thing. I worried that my kids would fall through the cracks. I remember not wanting to try. I’m sure my former building principal remembers this well, too. One of the greatest discoveries that I made…

Yesterday was my work anniversary! One year ago, I accepted a position as an instructional designer at Daemen College. I’ve been designing a sociolinguistics course that I’ll be teaching remotely soon as well, and I get to teach advanced composition again! If you would have told me one year ago that my life would look anything like it does today, I wouldn’t have believed you. And I’m profoundly grateful for where I am right now.…

I’m an instructional designer and an independent education consultant, as most of you know. In that latter role, I am typically hired to facilitate opportunity chasing and problem solving. I usually work with K-16 writing teachers who tend to be a highly creative bunch, and it’s rare that I don’t find myself learning more than I teach inside of any situation that finds me in rooms with these people. I get to have a lot…

It was a rainy afternoon, long before anyone was really thinking about global pandemics and civil unrest. We were visiting my favorite art store, and I noticed this notebook on the clearance table. “That’s massive,” my husband John said. “What would you fill it with?” I didn’t know then. Now, I do. The first pages of this notebook document my work and what I learned from it during the last lesson studies I led in…

It all started when we were about two weeks deep into our new pandemic lifestyle. John and I were sitting in our living room, which sits about twenty feet from the tree-lined sidewalk that edges our street. That sounds quaint doesn’t it? The tree-lined sidewalk that edges our street. And it is most days. Some days though, those huge trees fall down. The fall down on top of our houses. Like our house, for instance.…