Questioning the Author: A Powerful Approach to Promote Student Understanding of Complex Texts

Questioning the Author: A Powerful Approach to Promote Student Understanding of Complex Texts

Questioning the Author is a discussion-based approach that supports students in studying and understanding complex texts. Comprehension work is an essential piece of any text-based task. If students don’t get the gist of the text or grasp an author’s ideas, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to do deeper analytic and interpretive work. It is especially important for emerging readers and emergent multi-lingual (EML) students to be able to access the big ideas of a text while building their comprehension muscles.

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Organizing Instructional Tasks with Landing Pages

Organizing Instructional Tasks with Landing Pages

Teachers have found great success using landing pages to organize learning for students across one text or across multiple texts in a unit. A landing page is a page on a website where students “land” to do their work or engage in a task. Landing pages, much like task sheets, provide students with both the why and the what of an instructional task. They support more equitable access to instructional activities by making expectations clear and providing step-by-step guidance for students as they engage in learning.

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Remote Coaching for Rigorous and Engaging Online Classroom Discussions: Layering New Forums with Fresh Insights

Remote Coaching for Rigorous and Engaging Online Classroom Discussions: Layering New Forums with Fresh Insights

Coaches have a critical role in assisting teachers in continuing, rather than abandoning, important pedagogies while teaching online. Read about what is being learned through ongoing research at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center on how coaches can support teachers remotely to engage students in rigorous and interactive online discussions.

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Every Student Needs High Cognitive Demand Instruction

Every Student Needs High Cognitive Demand Instruction

Disrupting inequitable practices, examining biases, creating inclusive and sustainable school environments for students, and finding and cultivating the assets and interest that every student brings to school are part of what is needed for all students to develop to their full potential in and out of school.

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Using Student-Centered Classroom Routines to Improve Comprehension of Complex Texts

Using Student-Centered Classroom Routines to Improve Comprehension of Complex Texts

The Networks for School Improvement (NSI) work taking place among Dallas ISD (DISD), the Institute for Learning, the University of Pittsburgh School of Education Center for Urban Education, and the Learning Research and Development Center, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has largely focused efforts on improving instructional rigor, providing better supports for English language learners, and improving cultural relevance.

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Increasing High-Quality Student Talk

Increasing High-Quality Student Talk

The Institute for Learning (IFL) and Schenectady City School District have worked collaboratively for several years, and this year, we continued our ongoing partnership with a focus on using improvement science methodology to “get better at getting better.” District-wide, there is a focus on using improvement science to work on persistent problems of practice.

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Cognitively Challenging English Language Arts Instruction

Cognitively Challenging English Language Arts Instruction

We have known about harmful effects of high-stakes state testing on students, teachers, and the curriculum for decades, yet we continue to perpetuate the belief that they test what students know and can do. Daniel Koretz (2017) demonstrates that they have become ends in themselves and take valuable time away from instruction designed to grow students’ intelligence rather than their test-taking abilities.

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Educative Curricula and When a Little PD is Just Not Worth It

Educative Curricula and When a Little PD is Just Not Worth It

Decades of research in mathematics, English, and science education have made it clear that students make substantial progress only when they experience rich learning tasks in their classes that require the students to engage in sense making; it is very difficult for teachers to arrange for strong student learning outcomes when the curriculum for students is weak.

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