MassCUE & MASCD Leadership Conference RFP #MALeads17

400dpilogoMassCUE/MASCD Spring Leadership Conference 2017 Call for Proposals is open!

Educators are encouraged to apply to present at our spring leadership conference, Leveraging Technology to Empower the Whole Child. Workshops should focus on how technology supports development of children who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.

Application Deadline: December 19, 2016

MassCUE (Massachusetts Computer Using Educators) and MASCD (Massachusetts Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) have joined forces to bring together classroom and educational leaders for a one-day event of powerful presentations, workshops, hands-on sessions, and informal gatherings to address the critical issues of education. Both organizations believe that each child, in each school, in each of our communities deserves to be Healthy, Safe, Engaged, Supported and Challenged. Thus, this year we will focus on how leaders can leverage technology to reach the Whole Child.

 

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RECAP: Making Student Thinking Visible with Jon Saphier

Recently, MASCD hosted an event with Jon Saphier, where we were able to explore strategies and reasons for making student thinking visible.

Click the image to learn more!

During the morning, Jon Saphier shared some Reasearch for Better Teaching (RBT) resources attendees were excited about. Here they are:

50 Ways to Get Students to Believe in Themselves:

This document lists the ways teachers and schools act when they want all the students to believe in themselves and act from that belief. It is divided into verbal behaviors, classroom mechanisms, focused instructional strategies, direct teaching of effective effort, district policies, and key ways to connect students to families and community. The book “High Expectations Teaching” goes into detail on these “50 ways and is published by Corwin this month.

Download resource HERE:  50-2-new

 

The Big Rocks of High-Expertise Teaching:
Jon shared this resource as he believes high-expertise teaching can be a driver of change – a way to ensure that every student in every classroom has a highly effective teacher to support learning.
Access resource HERE: High-Expertise Teaching
EdCamping to Make Student Thinking Visible:
We spent the afternoon in a true Edcamp model, led by Dan Callahan, MASCD Board member and one of the founders of Edcamp. Our attendees were able to develop and choose their own sessions, which we have made notes available HERE: Edcamp Schedule
If you’d like to continue the conversation, feel free to leave a comment below….
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Making Students’ Thinking Visible with Jon Saphier

MSTV Saphier Logo

The Massachusetts Affiliate of ASCD invites you to a special day of professional growth with Jon Saphier, Founder and President of Research for Better Teaching.

Friday, October 28, 2016 at the EDC in Waltham from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Jon will present his view of “Making Student Thinking Visible” (MSTV), a constellation of skills. It is a cluster which, when assembled together, produce robust student dialog. You hear evidence-based student talk at high levels of thinking where students take responsibility for their own learning, listen to each other, and teach each other in a climate of mutual support and non-defensiveness. Students talk more than teachers do! This environment allows teachers the opportunity to figure out misconceptions and/or gaps in student understanding.

MSTV brings together six strands of successful teaching and learning all at once:

*  SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING
*  CLASSROOM CLIMATE
*  HIGH LEVEL AND CRITICAL THINKING
*  COMMON CORE
*  STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
*  ACADEMIC VOCABULARY

It is the combination of these elements that produce documented results.

Jon will stay for lunch to network with attendees. After lunch, attendees will continue the conversation by generating sessions according to their interests/needs.

8:00 to 8:30 am:            Registration
8:30am to 12:30 pm:    Jon Saphier presents
12:30pm to 1:00 pm:    Lunch/Networking (lunch will be provided)
1:00pm to3:00pm:        Spin Off Sessions

Registration fees:
$50 for MASCD members. Colleagues who attend with a member can also pay $50.
$75 to non-members (which includes a 1-year MASCD membership)

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edcamping With Friends

MASCD is always pleased to host members as guest bloggers on our website. If you would like to be featured in a future post, contact us at mascd@mascd.org.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as my friends and I drove out to Worcester Academy to attend the first annual Worcester Edcamp on April 23rd. None of us had been to an edcamp before. We were excited by the promise and the potential.

An edcamp is one model of an unconference. At an unconference, sessions and panels are developed by participants rather than organizers. Anyone is invited to propose a topic and lead a session. Unconferences are nimble and responsive to what the participants are interested in and need.

The organizers, Kevin Crowthers and Wendy Espinoza Cotta, did an excellent job of creating a welcoming environment. They communicated their high expectations for the event by creating a huge panel board with space for 12 simultaneous sessions.

Worcester-Edcamp-Session-Board

My excitement for the event grew as sessions such as “Human Anatomy Looked at Differently”, “How do you grade projects without thwarting students”  “Creativity and risk-taking?”, and “Help Wanted: How to bring Teach Like a Pirate/Learn Like a Pirate” to “HS classrooms and PBL” were posted on the board.

Jumping Right In

During their opening remarks, Kevin and Wendy made it clear that the goal of the sessions were to foster collaborative discussions. “You don’t have to be an expert to lead a session,” one of them said. “Sessions can arise from a question, a doubt, or a problem of practice.”

This encouraged me to propose a session. Since first learning about the Understanding by Design (UbD) model, I have struggled with questions about how to create a student-centered and responsive classroom while also designing top-down, mastery lessons. I decided to put that to the group. I wrote, “Is there room for inquiry in a backwards-designed classroom?” and put it on the panel board.

About a half dozen of us discussed the strengths of UbD and the importance of inquiry across the disciplines. We discussed project-based learning as a site for inquiry within the curriculum.

Over our discussion hung the shadow of time pressure. Inquiry and project-based approaches lead to deep learning, but are more time-consuming than direct instruction and lecture. There were no easy answers for how to make the time in the face of pressure for coverage. The session was a productive first step into a larger field of inquiry.

Hearing from Students

One session in particular drew my attention that morning: “Why are cultural competencies important to the portrait of student learners? (Student-led)”. The topic itself would have drew me in. The fact that it was student-led made it my first priority.

Three students from Worcester Academy spoke about their experiences with school culture and their efforts to create a more sensitive school culture. The students were members of the Student Activist and Allies Club. They spoke about their efforts to raise awareness about cultural competencies within the school and the community more broadly.

I was inspired by these young people. They were willing to talk candidly about their experiences. They were aware they did not have all the answers while also appearing confident they could find them. Some of their teachers attended the session, which made the students’ candor all the more impressive.

I left the session with two important messages: first, if you are trying to help, do not come from a position of superiority. Second, teachers, while trying to be objective, can inadvertently dis-empower students. It was an important reminder about the importance of relationship building for successful teaching.  After this session I am reflecting on my own practice and my own teacher persona to look for ways in which I may have inadvertently silenced students and where I can grow to communicate more clearly to my students that I am their ally.

Passing Notes

The organizers created a series of Google Docs for participants to take notes during sessions. Each session asked one participant to act as the primary scribe.

Since I could not attend all of the sessions I wanted, I am glad the organizers created this system of notes. There was a wealth of knowledge shared at the edcamp and I am glad  I can learn even from the sessions I was unable to attend.

I had a great time at the first annual Worcester Edcamp. I’m looking forward to attending next year. I hope to see you there.

 

  • To learn more about edcamps and find one near you, visit the Edcamp Foundation website at edcamp.org

 

IMAG0237Matthew Koslowski is an 8th-grade inclusion teacher for English and Math in Lynn, MA, and a former Student Chapter Representative to the Massachusetts ASCD Board.

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Turning Strangers Into A Community

MASCD is always pleased to host members as guest bloggers on our website. If you would like to be featured in a future post, contact us at mascd@mascd.org.

IMAG0248

Turning Strangers Into A Community

I was excited to attend ASCD’s 71st Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Atlanta this year. The conference promised to provide opportunities to meet and learn from other educators who were committed to the highest standards in professional practice. I was also excited about two of the general session presenters: Manny Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers, and Carol Dweck, the pioneer of the growth mindset. The weekend seemed almost too good to be true.

The Power of the Turn and Talk

All of the sessions I went to were good and I left with many ideas to add to my practice. Two of the most memorable sessions were “Mythbusting Differentiation: Eight Solutions to Make Differentiation a Reality” by John McCarthy and “Grit, Mindset, and Determination: The Keys to Academic Perseverance” by Jeffrey Benson. What made these sessions special was the excellent pedagogy the presenters used.

The cornerstone of each of those panels was the use of the turn and talk. I have used it to positive effect in my classes before but being asked to participate myself reinforced the social aspect of the strategy in a way I had not expected. By the end of the session, I felt that I had not only learned great content but also gotten to know the people I turned and talked with. More than that, I felt that I had made friends.

The sessions that used the turn and talks also had more participation and questions from the attendees. Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Benson seemed to use more wait time – but it may also have been that the same amount of time felt longer because we had already processed the information and activated our knowledge.

I have seen this in my classes: the answers are better when I allow students to either turn and talk or think/write/pair/share before engaging in a whole class discussion. These two panels have reaffirmed the power of the turn and talk strategy and have committed me to using it more in my own practice.

Relationships Come First

Another great session I attended was “Restorative Practices: Better than Sticks and Carrots for Addressing Problematic Behavior” by Dominique Smith and Nancy Frey. I had heard of “restorative justice” and seen advertisements for PD on it but I knew little about it. I took this opportunity to learn more.

They had one of the most profound slides of the entire conference:
⇒  If a child can’t read, we teach him to read.
⇒  If a child can’t do math problems, we teach him how to do math problems.
⇒  If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we punish him.

Before that session, I have to admit, I felt conflicted about the various pushes to teach students classroom rules and procedures. Part of me asked, “Shouldn’t they just know?” Another part thought, “Do I really have time for this with all I have to cover?” That slide reframed the conversation for me. They further reinforced why it is important to review and reestablish those rules and procedures especially after school vacations.

I have already adapted one strategy from that session. Mr. Smith and Ms. Frey talked about their school’s Grit Letters. When students struggle and persevere, they receive a handwritten notes from the administration praising their effort and their eventual success. I am an inclusion teacher and I have been trying to foster grit and growth mindsets in my students. I bought 13 postcards at the airport in Atlanta, one for each of the students in my resource class, and wrote each student a note about their effort and their growth since September.

I knew the strategy worked instantly. “Oh, man!” one of my students shouted out, “Mr. Kos, Imma put this on my wall tonight!” He carried the postcard with him for the rest of the day.

Building Community

The ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show was bigger than I had imagined it would be. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people there. I was not as successful at meeting new people at the conference as I had hoped to be.

I see an opportunity here for MASCD and other state chapters. Next year, I hope MASCD hosts a meetup. I could also see MASCD partnering with all the states in the Northeast Region for a regional meetup. I would have gladly attended such events during free times at the conference or in the evening.

The conference was incredible. I am looking forward to attending next year and adding still more strategies to my repertoire. And I will be looking to meet other educators from MASCD and the Northeast.

IMAG0237

Matthew Koslowski is an 8th-grade inclusion teacher for English and Math in Lynn, MA, and a former Student Chapter Representative to the Massachusetts ASCD Board.

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MASCD SPEAKS at the State House

The MA affiliate of ASCD (www.MASCD.org) is concerned about House 3929, “An Act Relative to Ending Common Core Education Standards” which is designed to rescind “the  vote taken by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on July 21, 2010, to adopt the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts … The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would be prohibited from approving any curriculum frameworks unless the (three) review committees first decide by a two-thirds vote that the frameworks are equivalent to the standards of the most educationally advanced nations as determined by the Trends in International Mathematics and Sciences Study.”

The proposed law would also require that, each year, the Commissioner publicly release all test items, including questions, constructed responses, and essays, for each grade and for every subject. The proposed law states that, if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.

The constant revision of the standards schools must adhere to is creating an undue burden on teachers, administrators and parents to constantly alter their practice and adopt new instructional materials. Teachers have expressed their frustration with second guessing and decision-making by non educators.

MA has proven that it is performing its education function better than many other states. The United States is one nation and all students should be striving to achieve the same  standards regardless if which state they live in. MASCD supports the BESE’s 2010 decision.

Contact:

Isa Kaftal Zimmerman
Executive Director Pro Tem
617-642-4733
ikz1@verizon.net

March 7, 2016

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MASCD SPEAKS on Charter Schools

MASCD SPEAKS

A PUBLICATION TO INFORM MEMBERS OF LEGISLATIVE AND RELATED ACTIONS WHICH ARE IMPORTANT TO THE PURSUIT OF EDUCATION IN MASSACHUSETTS

BAKER TO HELP LAUNCH INFORMATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON CHARTER SCHOOLS

Text from the STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE,    February 12, 2016

Gov. Charlie Baker is joining others who favor more charters to launch a “factcheck” campaign. Charter proponents and opponents in Massachusetts have engaged in a bitter debate for years, looking at the same education landscape and drawing vastly different opinions and facts to make their cases for and against additional charters, which operate independently from local school committee oversight.

According to Great Schools Massachusetts, which is leading a ballot question push on the issue, Baker will help launch “Fact Check: Public Charter Schools in Massachusetts,” a public information campaign that the organization says will “deliver the wealth of data about Massachusetts’ public charter schools to policymakers as they craft legislation related to charter schools.” See www.charterfactsma.org.

…”This effort is about setting the record straight about public charter schools in Massachusetts,” Beth Anderson, president of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, said in a statement. “Charter schools serve high-need kids incredibly well,
close the achievement gap for low-income students of color, and have lower student attrition rates than district schools.”

Baker will be joined by representatives from the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, the Boston Charter Alliance, Race to the Top Coalition, and the Mass High Tech Council. They will discuss the factcheck” campaign….

MASCD members are encouraged to speak with their legislators and members of the groups mentioned above about the ballot question.

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MASCD SPEAKS on Common Core

MASCD SPEAKS

A PUBLICATION TO INFORM MEMBERS OF LEGISLATIVE AND RELATED ACTIONS WHICH ARE IMPORTANT TO THE PURSUIT OF EDUCATION IN MASSACHUSETTS

A question is headed to the November ballot that would “end Common Core” and revert to the 2001 ELA standards and 2004 math standards in Massachusetts.  As part of the process, the exact language sent to the legislature as House 3929, “An Act Relative to Ending Common Core Education Standards” is to  rescind “the vote taken by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on July 21, 2010, to adopt the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts … The curriculum frameworks in Mathematics and English Language Arts that were in effect prior to that date are hereby restored.”

The proposed law would also establish three review committees, one for each discipline of math, science and technology, and English. Each committee would be made up of three members from Massachusetts research universities appointed by the Governor. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would be prohibited from approving any curriculum frameworks unless the review committees first decide by a two-thirds vote that the frameworks are equivalent to the standards of the most educationally advanced nations as determined by the Trends in International Mathematics and Sciences Study.

The proposed law would also require that, each year, the Commissioner publicly release all test items, including questions, constructed responses, and essays, for each grade and for every subject. The proposed law states that, if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.

Among the signers are citizens from Worcester, Brookline, Concord, Webster, Uxbridge, Spencer, Sandwich, Seekonk, Chelmsford and Peabody.

The full text is available on https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3929

MASCD members are encouraged to speak with their legislators about the impact of this bill.

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Win a Free Registration!

Are you a current member of @MASCD?  Are you interested in attending the upcoming @ASCD Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA?  We’d like to help you get there!

We have 5 free conference registrations (worth $369 each) to give to our MASCD members, and we’re hoping that is YOU!  If you are interested, please check out the following:

  1. Winners must be current members of MASCD as of the winning drawing date of February 14, 2016. Feel free to join!
  2. Winners are responsible for all travel, lodging, meal and other related expenses. MASCD will only be providing complimentary registration.
  3. Once you are registered, this registration is non-transferable.
  4. Winners must be willing to write a blog post for MASCD upon returning – detailing any valuable take-aways for Massachusetts educators.

Interested?  Fill out our Google Form below, which will be used to randomly choose 5 winners on the evening of February 14th, 2016. You will be notified by e-mail.

 

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