Children ran from school buses with shrieks of excitement and expectations of what the next two and a half months might bring, the telltale sign that school is out for the summer in my town. Teachers have left their classrooms for a well-deserved break. Over the next two and half months they will imagine, think about, and organize their thoughts about what they will share with students in their 2017-2018 classrooms. They will spend some time working on their own professional learning plans. Their plans all likely include books to read.
Researching In A Digital World by Erik Palmer explains how to teach students at all grade levels to conduct deeper, smarter, and more responsible research in an online environment. This is great information for teachers looking to find ways to help students navigate the internet while conducting research. As digital natives, students are certainly at home online, but how much do they know about using the internet as a research tool? They need help to find the best and most credible resources, how to evaluate the “facts” they come across, and how to avoid plagiarism and copyright violations when they incorporate others’ work into their own.
17,000 Classroom Visits Can’t Be Wrong speaks to the level of engagement and thinking your students are doing in the classroom. Authors John V. Antonetti and James R. Garver have designed a model to help teachers create a higher level of thinking and engagement from their students. They’ve visited more than 17,000 classrooms and examined a variety of teaching and learning conditions, talked to students, examined their work, and determined their levels of thinking and engagement. From their experiences they share their insights with teachers on how to smooth the transition from simply planning instruction to designing high-quality student work. They share that most educators are skilled at planning instruction and determining what they will do during the course of a lesson, but to truly engage students in worthwhile, rigorous cognition, a shift in focus may be necessary – from teaching to learning. They share that, “whoever is doing the work is also doing the learning, and in most classrooms, teachers are working much too hard.”
So enjoy this summer’s break. What do you plan to read, imagine, think about, and organize for the next school year?