Archive of ‘Reading’ category

Strategies and Tools for Implementing Danielson, Marzano and other Frameworks. – Thinkcerca

Danielson: Domain 1

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation Outcome-Driven Instructional Leadership Team Practices
1a. Demonstrating Knowledge of content and pedagogy Providing time for teachers to understand research base of lesson design
1b. Demonstrating Knowledge of students Providing regular collaboration opportunities around automated assessment data and student work with colleagues who share cohort of students and with instructional leaders who are accountable for outcomes
1c Setting Instructional Outcomes Providing alignment documents and pacing guides aligned to other instructional resources, developed in collaboration.
1d Demonstrating knowledge of resources Providing time for macro planning to ensure successful launch, meaningful integration, and continuous improvement of teacher knowledge, skill and practice.
1e Designing Coherent Instruction Providing time for macro-planning to ensure successful curriculum development, meaningful integration of resources, and continuous improvement of teacher knowledge, skill and practice.
1f Designing Student Assessments Providing time to collaborate around larger projects and assessments to benchmark progress.

Marzano Design Questions

Domain 1:

  1. What will I do to establish and communicate learning goals, track student progress and celebrate success?
  2. What will I do to help students effectively interact with new knowledge?
  3. What will I do to help students practice and deepen their understanding of new knowledge?
  4. What will I do to help students generate and test hypotheses about new knowledge?
  5. What will I do to engage students?
  6. What will I do to establisher maintain classroom rules and procedures?
  7. What will I do to recognise and acknowledge adherence and lack of adherence to classroom rules and routines?
  8. What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships with students?
  9. What will I do to communicate high expectations for all students?
  10. What will I do to develop effective lessons organised into a cohesive unit?

Classroom: Differentiation and Coverage

What are we as instructional leaders doing to create the conditions for success for learning?

People As a team, have you determined the underlying skills and concepts and the smaller chunks?
Processes Have you designed the appropriate active learning strategy to match the learning task?
Places Have you created spaces for active learning, self-pacing, additional help?
Products Do you have products that support this work?
Time As a team, are we providing enough time to go deep and differentiate appropriately?


Danielson: Domain 2

Domain 2: Classroom Environment
2a. Creating and Environment of Respect and Rapport
2b Establishing a Culture for Learning
2c Managing Classroom Procedures
2d Managing Student Behaviour
2e Organising Physical Space

Empathy Zones – opportunities for students to work in different spaces depending on their emotional state

“I understand”

“I think I understand”

“I don’t understand”

“I feel great and social”

“I feel ok but not great”

“I want to be left alone”


Planning: Operationalising Teams for Learning

What are we as instructional leaders doing to create the conditions for success for learning?

People As a team, how are you determining what students should know and be able to do and helping each other to create it?
Processes As a team, have you determined a good way to help students capture data and establish a good routine for using it?
Places As a team, are you celebrating success?
Products As a team, do you have a common resource that can support this work?
Time As a team, are you allocating the necessary time to the looking at student work samples as one of the keys to monitoring progress?


Danielson Domain 3

Domain 3: Instruction
3a Communicating with Students
3b Using questioning and discussion techniques
3c Engaging students in Learning
3d Using Assessment in Instruction
3e Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness

Danielson Domain 4

Domain 4: Professional Responsibility
4a Reflecting on Teaching
4b Maintaining Accurate Records
4c Communicating with families
4d Participating in the Professional Community
4e Growing and Developing Professionally
4f Showing Professionalism


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Text Dependent Questions

What does the text say? (General understanding and key details)
How does the text work? (vocabulary, structure, and author’s craft)
What does the text mean? Logical inferences and intertextual connections)
What does the text inspire you to do? (write, investigate, present, debate)

Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher San Diego State University, USA

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Reflections on Literature Circles

Students have been introduced to some texts they probably wouldn’t have self selected
Interest level is high for most texts: The Angel Experiment, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Tuck Everlasting, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, A cage of Butterflies (not sure about The Tunnels of Ferdinand)
Informal discussion is interesting to hear
Students who have been given specific roles are responding well. – Summarising
Yesterday students made some great connections between their books and the class novel – Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. (And sounded very good when feeding back highlights of their conversations, just in time for the visiting parents on Open Morning.)
Process of modelling strategies with class novel as a class and then getting students to work together with their partner, and then independently to practise the strategy is working well.

Timing, staying at the same point in the story
Some want to race ahead, and others are going at a much slower pace
(I decided that I wouldn’t put the brakes on those who wanted to read ahead, because part of my goal was to challenge the more able students.)
Haven’t really made time to have regular group times to get discussion happening, even though students have been working on their role.
Need clearer expectations for mini-books

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Text Complexity

Novice readers are unable to recognise when to access prior knowledge. Explicit teaching of this skill required. Here meta cognitive thinking is really important – thinking about one’s thinking.
A key aspect of meta cognition is self-management – which consists of: evaluation, planning and regulation. Evaluation refers to analysing the task characteristics and personal abilities that affect comprehension. “Planning involves the selection of particular strategies to reach the goals that have been set or chosen. Regulation is the monitoring and redirection of one’s activities during the course of reading to reach the desired goals.”
Instruction about meta cognitive thinking led to increased comprehension and performance.

By providing reading materials related to field trips or current areas of study, a student’s field of knowledge about that topic can be expanded.

Exploring the task
Selection of texts will depend on what the teacher is expecting students to do with the text. If independent reading is required then the text needs to be something matched to their performance level. If teachers want students to access more complex texts they have to teach the text. The Australian Curriculum is about increasing the rigor of what students can read through high-quality instruction. The teacher has an important role here – not just setting the work.

Explicit teaching and a supportive framework is required. Opportunities for students to practice strategies with others, discuss ideas and listen to how more able readers interpret and think about texts, and then apply these strategies (gradually) more independently are really important factors in a quality teaching program.

Teacher-Led Tasks
As apprentices, students need to have thinking made visible. There are a number of components that can be modelled, including comprehension, word solving, text structures, and text features.
Comprehension – teachers can model- visualising, inferring, summering, predicting, questioning or monitoring. These should be used as appropriate to the text being explored not curricular used with a certain number of weeks allocated to each strategy. Readers have to learn to notice clues that trigger specific, useful cognitive strategies. Students need to see these as problem solving strategies to be used when meaning breaks down.

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Text Complexity – Notes and Relections

Motivation is a very powerful factor. The following factors impact motivation positively:
1. Relevance
2. Choice
3. Success
4. Collaboration
5. Thematic units

Avoid these 5 practices because they have a negative effect:
1. Nonrelevance
2. Excessive control
3. Difficult lessons
4. Frequent individual work
5. Disconnected units

Two other factors that teachers have a high degree of control over are: curricular organisation and social interactions. The first helps ground relevance by establishing purpose in lessons, design of units and choice within investigations are important. “To propel learning forward we need students to engage in incrementally more demanding (but not impossible) tasks – in the company of others who are learning and with expert guidance close at hand when the group gets stuck.”
Goal setting is another dimension that can impact strongly on learning. Teachers can promote deliberate practice through goal setting with students when they link goal-setting activities back to the established purposes. Goal setting should be a regular part of the instructional design process.

“Thinking about one’s thinking is essential for pairing the known with the unknown and us a critical factor in distinguishing a novice from an expert.

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Text Complexity

“Understanding how texts are complex will help us all teach and teach students based on high expectations rather than exist with the tyranny of low expectations.”

“When teachers analyse texts for the levels of meaning or purpose, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands, they can plan appropriate instruction and guide learners’ development”

Visual attention to print is essential in the development of reading but not a given among emergent readers. Studies show that young readers attend to print 3-7% of the time. This can be increased through an adult’s verbal inquiries and gestures – nonverbal interactions resulted in more fixations on print than the verbal ones. Furthermore a child who is read to for 10 minutes a day attends to print significantly more.

“Variances among the students in our classrooms cannot result in lowered expectations for their learning, especially by systematically denying them access to the kinds of rich text experiences of others. Instead, we must find ways to scaffold their reading experiences by differentiating instruction and providing accommodations and modifications as warranted. These are teaching concepts that we have known for decades…”

This makes me realise why I was stumped a few years ago by an AP who challenged us to start differentiating our practice.

At that school it was all words, brought back from conferences that the select few were able to attend. Instead of actually describing ways to differentiate and support learners, and actually model good practice, we were left wondering what was expected.

To me at that time, I worried that this differentiating would mean dumbing down curriculum. Yes, obviously we have to recognise the different abilities and skills of students in our complex classes. Having a clear picture of the current skills and abilities of students in a class, a thorough knowledge of the curriculum expectation at that year level, and being able to locate and access resources that will suit students at different levels are all key factors. As is a knowledge of how to teach important, relevant strategies explicitly to students, so that they can gradually develop skills that they will then apply with automaticity. This is the challenge.

From my new perspective I see that the main challenge for a school is to:
• collect relevant, diagnostic data
• identify starting points for whole class instruction
• identify individual students, and cohorts that have particular needs
• have a clear plan (scope and sequence) of what is important for the particular year level(s)
• make this “flight plan” clear for students and people who can support student learning (parents, support staff)
• involve students in self assessment and short term, specific, measurable (SMARTA) goal setting
• resources appropriate for students at different levels that will allow them to practice particular strategies
• know what the important and relevant strategies are that will benefit students and understand how to best teach these.

Reading this text has reaffirmed my strong belief in the importance of:
• modelling what good readers do
• explicitly teaching strategies
• providing structured opportunities for students to practice using a variety of strategies
• providing a range of texts to support students at different levels
• providing opportunities for students to work with others for structured support
• have a clearly communicated plan to show students the direction of learning
• involve students in the assessment process
• provide opportunities for students to have a degree of choice and decision making within a framework
• setting assignments that provide scaffolding but also the necessary challenge to stimulate and enthuse
• multi-media, visual texts, and group collaboration projects (especially global ones) can all provide opportunities to transform learning

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