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The mindset of a teacher contributes greatly to his or her ability to see the needs of students.  It you view a child through a deficit lens, the  child will not be given opportunities to grow.   Deficit thinking is making assumptions about a child's ability based on perceived deficits such as race, income status, or English language acquisition.

What is your definition of  " Differentiation?".  Ask several of you colleagues and you will likely get five different responses.

Differentiation
the way a teacher responds to a student's needs so that each  student is challenged at the appropriate level

What instructional structures are in place to guarantee a responsive learning environment in your classroom?

Step 1: Preview and Pre-assess- find out what students know about a particular skill, or concept, or topic planning for instruction. Previewing provides an opportunity for students to activate background knowledge and previous learning prior to a pre-assessment so that results will be a better reflection of what they understand. This should take 5 minutes or less. Pre-assessment respects a student's time and prior knowledge. Front-ed differentiation allows for teachers to provide an opportunity for students to accelerate within the content topic at the beginning of the learning sequence.

Step 2: Curriculum Compacting- was originally developed by Joseph Renzulli and Linda Smith.  This  instructional strategy streamlines grade-level curriculum by eliminating content that students have previously learned.  Compacting buys time for students to go deeper and wider into the content and /or accelerate to above-grade level indicators. The pre-assessment plays a major role in determining students who would benefit from curriculum compacting.  Look for other behaviors in the classroom that may give you a clue that a student needs to be moved into a deeper understanding of the concepts.

  • show great interest or motivation in the area of study
  • finishes work early and accurately
  • expresses interest in in pursuing advanced topics
  • create their own diversions in class( filling their time with less productive behaviors)

Step 3: Flexible Grouping-maintaining flexible small groups across content areas is an essential component of a differentiated, growth mind set class culture.  Evidence of grouping should be found in an any content area and at any grade level.  It may not be an everyday occurrence at the secondary level, but it should be an important component of the class structure and used routinely.

Step 4: Management- having clear expectations are the single most important aspect of managing multiple groups in the classroom.  Carol Ann Tomlinson, author of How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms, suggests the use of anchor activities.  These anchors should enrich the learning of the content being studied.  They are similar to centers but are typically available for the duration of a unit of study, a quarter or semester.

Step 5 Acceleration and Enrichment- Every child deserves to learn every day. A growth mindset on the part of the teacher and the student is necessary.

Acceleration
moving faster through the content, allowing students who have already mastered content or who master content quickly to move into above-grade level content
                                                Enrichment
learning with greater depth and breadth;going deep and wide into the content

Whether acceleration/an or enrichment occur, it is important to look carefully at instructional experiences to make sure they are laden with opportunities to think critically.

Step 6 Formative Assessment-formative assessment, or checking for understanding, is  non-negotiable in a responsive, growth mindset classroom.  It is a reflective tool for a teacher to keep groups fluid and flexible. Formative assessment improves teaching and learning, and it allows growth for all students.

Step 7 Summative Assessment-the assessment must match the learning that has taken place for each group or, in some cases, an individual student. Grades should be based on mastery of the content that was tailored to the student.

Mindsets in the Classroom

Provide opportunities for students to be challenged from the beginning. Be responsive to their needs and the potential of all they can accomplish. With practice, effort, motivation, and yes a growth mindset, differentiated, responsive instruction  can become the heart of instruction. Responding to the needs of all learners is a responsibility that we all have as educators.

The next chapter in Mindsets in the Classroom, will look at why critical thinking is so important in a growth mindset class culture.

 

 

 

 

 

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This week we will begin reviewing  Chapter 2 in Mindsets in the Classroom, by Marcy Cay Ricci.   The focus in this chapter is to give ideas and to set goals as a grade level team, an entire staff, or school system to find out how to build a growth mindset culture.

  • Step 1: Reflect and Pre-assess
    • Share your beliefs about intelligences. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
      • Our intelligence is one of our fundamental traits.
      • We can all learn new things, but we cannot really change how smart we are.
  • Step 2: Educate Staff About the Malleability of the Brain
    • Share research about  developed intelligence.
      • Do we, as a society, believe in or demonstrate a growth mindset? Why or why not?
      • In what areas, personal or professional, do you have a fixed mindset? Why?
  • Step 3: Educate Staff About Praise for Students
    • When adults praise for what a student "is", instead of what a student "does", then they attribute their accomplishment to a fixed trait they were born with.
  • Step 4 : Educate Teachers About the Brainbrain-muscle
    • Connections to prior knowledge and experiences
    • The more connections made during a learning experience, the more physical changes occur in the brain by developing and strengthening neural paths.
  • Step 5: Teach Students About the Brain
    • Students realize that intelligence is not about a fixed number, a grade on a paper, or a report card. Intelligence is something that grows as you use it and languishes if you don't.
  • Step 6: Educate Parents
    • Reflect on the way they speak to their kids.
      • Establish Look-Fors: Look for teacher and student growth mindset behaviors
      • Utilize PLC

The Final Step: Monitor, Evaluate, and Review School Protocols

Next month we will look at Chapter 3: Why is Differentiated Responsive Classroom Important to a Growth Mindset Culture?

 

 

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This is a suggested guide to help new teachers know how to map out their provisional years.

1st Year Teachers:
*Collaborate with your mentor
*JPAS Training
*Effective Teacher Training
*District Professional Development Classes (based on departments)
*Pass the Praxis PLT (if you feel ready!)

 

2nd Year Teachers:
*Pass the Praxis PLT (all level teachers--recommended to be done by this year)
*District Professional Development Classes (based on departments)
*UEN Classes/Endorsements (all level teachers--if you feel ready)
*ESL, Reading, Math, STEM, Ed Tech, Gifted and Talented

 

3rd Year Teachers
*Pass the Praxis PLT (should be completed by this year for license purposes)
*2 Hour Suicide Prevention Training (can be completed any time during the 3 years)
*Upgrade to Level 2 License (see http://mentor.jordandistrict.org/eye/licensing/)
*UEN Courses/Endorsements (all level teachers)
*ESL, Reading, Math, STEM, Ed Tech, Gifted and Talented
*University learning opportunities (BYU (CITES), UVU, USU, UofU, etc.)

For extra help with licensing, check out the EYE Brochure through USOE.

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Join USOE and Utah State University  June 21-23, 2016 at the Davis Conference Center in Layton Utah. Pre-Conference Meetings for District and Transitions Meetings will be held June 21, also at the Davis Conference Center. As with the very successful 2014 and 2015 Conferences, this year’s program again features an amazing array of professional learning and collaborative networking opportunities.

UMTSS 2016 will host Concurrent Sessions on:

  • Leadership
  • Literacy and Numeracy
  • Behavior and Positive Behavior Supports
  • Transition to Career Pathways
  • Educating English Learners
  • Special Education
  • Effective Instruction
  • Tiered Intervention
  • Assessment
  • Many Other Topics

2016 conference flyer 012616

 

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The return to work after an extended break is often accompanied with a mix of emotions.  During the time off, many remember that they enjoy spending time with family and friends.  In fact, the time of rediscovery is something more veteran teachers eagerly anticipate and plan for.  Looking forward to time off is nice.  The return to work/reality is not always as eagerly anticipated.  However, the question that must be raised is whether there could be another way.  Is there a way to enjoy life between the breaks?  Is it necessary to put family and self interests on hold with each return to work?  This is a problem that many new educators struggle to solve.  Striking an acceptable balance between work, home, and self interests is a tricky one.  One source suggests that there are some steps that teachers can take to more easily arrive at a sort of equilibrium of work and personal life.  Additionally, Andy Puddicombe makes a compelling case for regularly doing nothing.

Work

  • Work smarter, not harder

  • Make friends

  • Give yourself a break

  • Invest in your development

  • Celebrate accomplishments

Life

  • Draw a line between work and home

  • Cultivate a life outside the classroom

  • Schedule a time to do nothing

  • Get your ZZZZs

  • Practice reflective writing

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As educators, we all have worked hard to get to where we are today. We are all concerned about the future and what our place will be in that future. Here are a few suggestions of behaviors that we can use to demonstrate that we are professional and want to be taken seriously in our jobs.

  • Always be on time to school, to extracurricular duties, to meetings, and to class.
  • Dress in a professional manner.
  • Follow school rules, policies, and directions from supervisors. If you disagree with a rule, follow the proper channels to change it.
  • Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content you teach.
  • Actively seek to learn more about current best teaching practices in our field..
  • Convey your pride in your profession and your interest in being the best teacher that you can be.
  • As a new teacher, be appreciative of your colleagues’ experience and expertise.
  • Be flexible when your plans don’t work out or when interruptions disrupt a lesson.
  • Resist the urge to complain. Remaining cheerful under stress is an invaluable workplace skill.
  • Remember to laugh every day. Laughing really does make the day go by faster.

 

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Listed below are a few suggestions to demonstrate that we are professionals:

  • Be on time
  • Dress in a professional manner
  • Follow rules, policies, and directions
  • Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content you teach.
  • Learn more about current best teaching practices
  • Be organized and efficient
  • As a new teacher, be appreciative of your colleagues’ experience and expertise
  • As a veteran teacher, realize the new and fresh ideas that new teachers bring to the profession and incorporate them into your teaching practice
  • Use school resources wisely
  • Be flexible
  • Resist the urge to complain.
  • Remember to laugh every day
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