“With no collective bargaining rights, no contract, and no legal right to strike, the teachers had managed to mount a statewide work stoppage anyway, and make their demands heard, marshal public support, and stick together until they won. And the rank and file, not union leaders, came to call the shots.”
Jess Bidgood and Campbell Robertson in “Striking Teachers Defied West Virginia, and
Their Own Union, Too” in The New York Times, March 9, 2018, http://nyti.ms/2FrFsdt
“It has been life changing. Turning off the buzzing breaking-news machine I carry in my pocket was like unshackling myself from a monster who had me on speed dial, always ready to break into my day with half-baked bulletins.”
Farhad Manjoo (see item #4)
“Thou shall commit thy facts of multiplication to memory. Thou shall do unto one side of the equation what thou doest to the other. Thou shall not divide by zero. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s paper nor anything else they have. Thou shall check all work.”
Excerpts from “The Ten Commandments of Math,” a classroom sign in “Those Who
Know and Are Known: Students Using Ethnography to Interrogate Language and
Literacy Ideologies” by Robert Jean LeBlanc in Journal of Adolescent and Adult
Literacy, March/April 2018 (Vol. 61, #5, p. 489-499), http://bit.ly/2FF06GM
“Humans are not born empathetic. Empathy is taught. Parents, caretakers, teachers, and coaches must teach boys empathy by showing them affection, compassion, and understanding. By responding to their needs. By giving them a safe place to express emotions and an ear to discuss them. By nurturing them.”
Abigail Rose Solomon in a letter to The New York Times, March 4, 2018,
“Shadowing Students: Walking a Mile in Students’ Shoes Brings Fresh Perspective” by Michael Levin-Epstein, Neil Gupta, Jason Markey, and Devon Young in Principal Leadership, March 2018 (Vol. 18, #7, p. 24-30), available at http://bit.ly/2pag0SD for NASSP members
In this article in Independent School, author/consultant Amy Homayoun says that “many of today’s students have difficulty identifying what they truly enjoy or giving themselves the freedom to explore new interests, because they are fixated on an external definition of success and achievement.” She offers several ways for teachers and counselors to address this challenge:
• Create opportunities for self-awareness and self-acceptance. Homayoun suggests asking students questions like:
“Yesterday’s News Today: Deep, Informed, Accurate, and Inky” by Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times, March 8, 2018, no e-link available; Manjoo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this New York Times article, Laurence Steinberg (Temple University) says that high-school students eloquently speaking out on gun safety in the aftermath of the Florida school shootings “are challenging the tiresome stereotype of American kids as indolent narcissists whose brains have been addled by smartphones.” But what about the suggestion that 16- and 17-year-olds be given the vote so they can have a say in school-safety issues that so directly affect them? Are younger adolescents’ brains well-enough developed to make good judgments in the voting booth? Kids in that age bracket have been known to be impulsive and hotheaded.
It’s not that simple, stays Steinberg. Psychologists distinguish between what they call “hot” and “cold” cognition:
“Lower the Voting Age to 16” by Laurence Steinberg in The New York Times, March 4, 2018,
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/02/opinion/sunday/voting-age-school-shootings.html; Steinberg can be reached at email@example.com.
In this Principal Leadership article, Minnesota school leaders Robb Virgin and Jeffrey Erickson describe how their 3,300-student high school addressed the challenge of supporting students who are showing early signs of failure. Teachers were willing to help struggling students before and after school, but buses arrived ten minutes before first period, and there were other reasons afternoons didn’t work for many students. Time had to be found within the school day.
The solution: Every Wednesday, the school shaved six minutes from each 56-minute class and inserted an extra period (dubbed MAST – Minnetonka Academic Success Time) from 8:00-8:40 a.m. Students who are showing signs of failure (about 600 a week) are asked to report to teachers for small-group or individual help. Teachers almost always invite students face to face; for example, “I would like to see you Wednesday for MAST to work on your Civil War document-based question. I have a couple of suggestions, and with some focused time, I think your essay could really improve.” Administrators suggest that teachers invite up to seven students, for remediation or as general preparation for upcoming assignments.
What happens to the other 2,700 students during the MAST period? They can choose from other support programs, including coaching in writing and math, peer tutoring, the testing center, or collaboration with peers. To accommodate this unstructured period, the school completely redesigned its media center and removed 800 lockers to create student work environments. The weekly MAST time, say Virgin and Erickson, “serves as an important midweek pause for students to receive targeted support, utilize other resources or spaces, or in many cases (particularly for upperclassmen), get a few extra minutes of rest. The incentive of ‘time’ is compelling to our students.”
MAST has had a significant impact, especially on the neediest students. Compared to the last semester before full implementation of the Wednesday sessions, the school has seen a:
“The Internet can be a minefield of misinformation, misbehavior, divisiveness, and risk,” says James Paul Gee (Arizona State University) in this article in Phi Delta Kappan, “but it is also the scene of an extraordinary revolution in out-of-school teaching and learning. Increasingly, young people’s most powerful learning opportunities can be found online, in experiences and environments created by people working outside the K-12 school system and featuring educational practices rarely seen in traditional schools.” Gee is especially interested in the role of affinity spaces – “loosely organized social and cultural settings in which the work of teaching tends to be shared by many people, in many locations, who are connected by a shared interest or passion.”
Of course affinity spaces have existed throughout human history, well before the Internet. Gee mentions his own upbringing in a devout Catholic family surrounded by other like-minded families, a church, a parochial school, a Catholic university, religious events, and Catholic TV. All these helped members deal with everyday dilemmas like how to act morally and how to explain why bad things happen to good people.
However, says Gee, digital media “are radically transforming the ways such affinity spaces function… Today, one can find affinity groups devoted to everything from citizen science to improving women’s health, passing legislation, curing rare diseases, writing fan fiction, and countless other topics, including many interests that are school-like (such as affinity spaces focused on tech skills, history, and mythology). And within these affinity spaces, people are fully engaged in helping each other to learn, act, and produce, regardless of their age, place of origin, formal credentials, or level of expertise.”
Gee’s research has zeroed in on one particular affinity space: video gamers. He believes it has especially important lessons for K-12 education, “suggesting how we might better organize our work around students’ interests and passions.” He’s not recommending using video games in schools; rather, he’s interested in two components of the video-game affinity space that are instructive for K-12 educators. First, a good video game is a well-designed educational environment, giving players interesting and challenging problems to solve, varied opportunities to learn, and just-in-time instruction and mentoring. Second, video gamers are part of an extended community of kindred spirits, including gamers near and far, stores where gamers gather, gamer conventions, gamer clubs, and more.
This is just one affinity space; many others are available to young people. But there’s a distinct socioeconomic divide in who takes part in this diverse, worldwide web of communities: lower-income youth have much less access, and that is hugely consequential. “Increasingly,” says Gee, “it is by joining and exploring such spaces that young people pursue their interests and passions, define who they want to be, and develop important knowledge and skills. Those who spend all their learning time in the classroom, without also having chances to roam among the myriad virtual sites and their related locales, will be massively disadvantaged.”
That’s why, Gee concludes, public school educators “must begin to see it as part of their job not just to provide classroom instruction but also to help their students find, create, and join their own affinity spaces. Today, teachers must learn to curate the spaces available on the Internet and help students find ones that will serve their needs.”
© Copyright 2018 Marshall Memo LLC
About the Marshall Memo
Mission and focus:
This weekly memo is designed to keep principals, teachers, superintendents, and other educators very well-informed on current research and effective practices in K-12 education. Kim Marshall, drawing on 48 years’ experience as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, writer, and consultant lightens the load of busy educators by serving as their “designated reader.”
To produce the Marshall Memo, Kim subscribes to 60 carefully-chosen publications (see list to the right), sifts through more than a hundred articles each week, and selects 5-10 that have the greatest potential to improve teaching, leadership, and learning. He then writes a brief summary of each article, pulls out several striking quotes, provides e-links to full articles when available, and e-mails the Memo to subscribers every Monday evening (with occasional breaks; there are 50 issues a year). Every week there’s a podcast and HTMI version as well.
Individual subscriptions are $50 for a year. Rates decline steeply for multiple readers within the same organization. See the website for these rates and how to pay by check, credit card, or purchase order.
If you go to http://www.marshallmemo.com you will find detailed information on:
• How to subscribe or renew
• A detailed rationale for the Marshall Memo
• Publications (with a count of articles from each)
• Article selection criteria
• Topics (with a count of articles from each)
• Headlines for all issues
• Reader opinions
• About Kim Marshall (including links to articles)
• A free sample issue
Subscribers have access to the Members’ Area of the website, which has:
• The current issue (in Word or PDF)
• All back issues (Word and PDF) and podcasts
• An easily searchable archive of all articles so far
• The “classic” articles from all 14 years
Core list of publications covered
Those read this week are underlined.
All Things PLC
American Educational Research Journal
American Journal of Education
ASCA School Counselor
District Management Journal
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
Elementary School Journal
Harvard Business Review
Harvard Educational Review
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk (JESPAR)
Kappa Delta Pi Record
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School
Middle School Journal
Peabody Journal of Education
Phi Delta Kappan
Reading Research Quarterly
Responsive Classroom Newsletter
Review of Educational Research
School Library Journal
Social Studies and the Young Learner
Teaching Children Mathematics
Teaching Exceptional Children
The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Journal of the Learning Sciences
The Language Educator
The Learning Professional (formerly Journal of Staff Development)
The Reading Teacher
Theory Into Practice