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Questioning the Author: Unlocking and Weaving Together Knowledge Rich Text

Making Knowledge [Actually] Rich We're currently in the midst of an exciting shift in how reading is being taught. Backlash after decades of teaching to the test with skills and strategies has brought renewed enthusiasm for cohesive curricula that deliberately develops depth and breadth of student knowledge. What is less clear, however, is how to most … Continue reading Questioning the Author: Unlocking and Weaving Together Knowledge Rich Text

Motivation Madness: Dismantling Daniel Pink’s Misapplied Ideas in Education

Teachers are increasingly interested in student motivation, believing it to be a panacea for boosting learning and reversing low academic achievement. Yet the psychology of motivation is vast and dense, and most peoples' vague understandings are largely shaped by a single 18 minute TED talk and its accompanying best-selling book. I'm referring to Daniel Pink's Drive (2009).  Pink's framework of … Continue reading Motivation Madness: Dismantling Daniel Pink’s Misapplied Ideas in Education

Robust Vocabulary Instruction: Bringing Knowledge-Rich Curricula to Life

The "knowledge-gap" is pinpointed most recently by Natalie Wexler as a culprit for continued stagnant reading proficiency levels and growing disparities in student outcomes in the U.S. Thankfully, more and more are realizing that students' ability to think critically and creatively is severely hampered without a solid foundation of background knowledge. Yet beyond adopting a … Continue reading Robust Vocabulary Instruction: Bringing Knowledge-Rich Curricula to Life

Tracing the Origins: The Slippery Slope of Cooperative Learning

“Tracing the Origins” is a multi-part series. Each post explores how an initially promising finding in education research became distorted and misinterpreted in its widespread implementation. Part 1 examined the origin of "reading comprehension strategies."  A week or so ago, there was one sentence that stopped me cold while reading. It was Robert Slavin (1996) proclaiming … Continue reading Tracing the Origins: The Slippery Slope of Cooperative Learning

Tracing the Origins: “Reading Comprehension Strategies”

"Tracing the Origins" is a multi-part series. Each post explores how a promising finding in education research became distorted and misinterpreted in its widespread implementation.  Frenemies: Background Knowledge and Comprehension Strategies This post untangles the fascinating history and current misunderstandings around what teachers nowadays commonly refer to as “reading comprehension strategies.” Surprisingly, modern misconceptions around … Continue reading Tracing the Origins: “Reading Comprehension Strategies”

Checking For Understanding: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Questioning

Mike Schmoker sounded the alarm when he wrote in Results Now that "for the majority of lessons, no evidence exists by which a teacher could gauge or report on how well students are learning." In an interview, author and former teacher Tom Sherrington said “as a profession, we need to think harder about how to engineer … Continue reading Checking For Understanding: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Questioning

Developing Teachers’ Research Comprehension

With all the emphasis on literacy and reading comprehension in schools, it's quite ironic that we teachers ourselves are not very adept at actually reading and comprehending educational research. This is illustrative, for three reasons. Research is its own domain with multiple sub-domains. Teachers struggle with the same problem facing younger students in their reading … Continue reading Developing Teachers’ Research Comprehension