Sunday, January 29, 2006

More Literacy Training in the Works

This coming Tueday, we're starting a new round of literacy training at Vintage High School. In order to support it, I've created a blog over at WordPress.com, a wonderful free, collaboration tool for us to use.

At the Vintage High Literacy Committee, you'll find links to literacy resources on the Net, as well as links to graphic organizers and Cornell Notes templates, which is the theme for our 2nd semester literacy training.

Eventually, I'll be adding those links to the approriate pages here at EDblog. Till then, enjoy them over at the literacy blog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Synthesizing Literacy Lessons

My colleagues and I at Vintage High School are undergoing a year of professional development in the area of literacy, and the process is definitely doing us good. In our latest session, we were reminded to look back and make connections with the past two sessions.

That caused me to look at how I not only could -- with prodding -- remember the training but also realize I'd almost unconsciously integrated the training tips into a whole approach, some of which I've already been using. After considering the latest tips, it was obvious that we could incorporate still more into a completely synthesized approach for both encouraging literacy skills and supporting the curricula that depend upon them.

Now, I had noticed that I'd brought together two of the suggestions -- jigsawing and graphic organizers -- into an activity in which I've been having my Marketing class pre-read chapters by cutting them into bite-sized segments and then having each student report back to the class on his or her segment, while using a Cornell Notes template that I designed as their organizing principle.

I could, though, have helped them further by giving them a "think-aloud" procedure to help them comb through the information contained in their assigned segment before they organize it using the Cornell Notes template.

In the end, it's possible to over-simplify -- or over-synthesize -- the procedure, but my feeling is the added vehicle helps. Here's the package:

1. Assign a portion of a chapter or hand-out as a pre-reading activity.

2. Point to the poster -- that you've made? -- to encourage them to "think aloud" as they work through the text. Content for a poster can be taken from this group of "Say Something" starters I've placed online. Alternatively, print the PDF and pass them out.

3. Instruct students to organize the resulting ideas using the Cornell Notes template posted a couple of weeks back.

4. Have them present their information to the class in turn, using their Cornell Notes as a speaking guide.

I teach in a roomful of computers, so I often forget that many teachers need to provide printouts to their charges. You can print the Cornell Notes template for your students' use.

Oh yeah, and of course once your students have been trained -- and have some visual prompts around -- you can just say, "Do it the way we do it." By then, they're getting the hang of sorting through information, drawing what they can from it, and confidently laying it out for each other.

There are so many ways to integrate teaching techniques. This is only one. Think up your own. Email me fresh ideas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Literacy Training

I've really found a lot of value in the literacy training meetings we've been having recently at Vintage High. It's occurred to me -- once I realized the need for sources of graphic organizers on the Web -- that it would be valuable for teachers to have links to the best sites for such things as Cornell Notes, Venn diagrams, KWL charts, and what-not.

I loved the PDFs I found at Education Place's Graphic Organizers. And the T4 page at the Jordan School District in Utah is grown up and really on target. The Write Site's Graphic Organizers are tops for pre-write activities for essays and reports, and this page features Graphic Organizers in English and Spanish.

Just in case you don't find Cornell Notes among all the pages, here's a link to a ready-to-go MS Word template. You can print this or just tell your students to open it in Word and click on the gray boxes to enter text.

Enjoy these ways of encouraging students to organize their reading and/or note-taking.

Monday, September 12, 2005

edweek.org rocks

Education Week, a magazine I've been following and delving into for years, continues to be a source of information for teachers, administrators and specialists alike.

Click here to access the site. You may need to register in order to enjoy the fine articles and resources on everything from the Law & Courts to No Child Left Behind.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Other SETS sites are valuable, too

Following the link to the Statewide Education Technology Services offers a reminder of some very good technology resources for education.

Though the TechSETS site speaks of fours SETS services, the California Department of Education seems to have pared it down to three. One of them, the California Learning Resource Network, is well-known to me. the CLRN supplies "a one-stop information source that enables California educators to identify supplemental electronic learning resources that both meet local instructional needs and embody the implementation of California curriculum frameworks and standards." You'll find a permanent link to the site near the top on my Super Sites page.

The other, the Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership, "will help administrators find technology resources to assist in the day-to-day needs of their jobs, whether they are site level principals or district superintendents. These resources have been collected and organized by a cadre of technology-savvy, practicing administrators and met criteria judged to be of value to other administrators."

I've placed a link to it on the Administration main page in Development Resources.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

TechSETS helps you manage your technology

My friend Eric Rosburg, IT director over at Napa County Office of Education, let me in on one of the best kept secrets in educational tech support: Rarely touted Imperial County Office of Education has some of the best technology support resources available anywhere in the country. In conjunction with San Diego County Office of Education, Imperial County presents TechSETS, which is "focused on providing technical professionals in California schools improved access to training, support and other resources. With the explosive growth in school technology, the need for well-trained technical support staff has been steadily on the rise.

"The TechSETS site is arranged in six major areas: About, Training, Support, Tools, Members and Help. Learn more about TechSETS by visiting each area, and please let us know what you think by completing our feedback form.

"TechSETS is one of four Statewide Education Technology Services (SETS) to provide support and/or resources for California schools as authorized by AB1761. These services are those that 'are more efficiently and effectively provided on a statewide basis.'"

I'll be placing a link to TechSETS on our Computers resource page under Development Resources.

Thanks, Eric.

Monday, August 08, 2005

We miss ERIC, but Educator's Reference Desk does well enough

If I had one chore over the summer that grew tiresome, it was searching through the Development Resources in order to replace all the broken ERIC links, which were replaced by The Educator's Reference Desk.

The new site is a perfectly fine replacement for the now defunct ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology - a fixture in the education world for over thirty years and the brainchild of the Information Institute of Syracuse - and continues the Institute's goal of providing the best resources to parents, teachers and administrators in order to improve student learning.

I recommend all educators take full advantage of the wealth of resources provided by the Educator's Reference Desk.

I might let you in on a little secret. I've taken to using Xenu's Link Sleuth to hunt down broken links among EDblog's hundreds of resource links. Xenu produces tidy reports that display as links in a Web browser and really automates the repair process. If you manage your own set of resources, you might want to try Xenu yourselves.