Bridges to Learning 2021
Taking a Moment to Reflect and Celebrate, We Will Return August 2021
By Kristin Klingensmith Bridges to Learning Managing Editor & Mathematics Fellow, Insititute for LearningAs we close out our inaugural year of being online, we want to thank each of you for being here, for making it through one of the toughest school years to...
Defining the Post-Pandemic New Normal: 6 Things to Think About for School Reopening
Examining ways that school systems can rethink preparation for high-stakes testing, so that it does not highjack the rest, can help establish a post-pandemic new normal. Based on our research-informed work in schools and classrooms, no matter how well-intended, the current system of rewards and sanctions tied to test scores has negatively impacted opportunities for meaningful, high-quality learning experiences that prepare learners for college, career, and community engagement. This has disproportionately impacted students of color, those impacted by poverty, and multi-language learners.
TalkMoves.com: An Application of Real-Time Evidence of Their Mathematics Discussions
Have you ever left a classroom discussion and cannot remember what questions you asked? To reflect on practice and consequently to know what to continue and what to modify, teachers need evidence and data of their own facilitation of discussions. Talkmoves, an app that processes Accountable Talk® (AT) math classroom discussion and feeds back the data (typically in about an hour) can support teachers with enhancing their practice!
Making Space for Creativity Using A Mathematics Lesson Routine
Creativity in mathematics abounds at the intersection of belief and practice! When the belief that all learners are doers of mathematics and enter the classroom with valuable lived math experiences intersects with the use of a lesson routine that offers space for students to do the thinking, learners become the creators and authors of the material from which they learn.
Planning Grant Funds Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh to Partner with Canutillo ISD, Fabens ISD, and Tornillo ISD in Texas
The IFL is partnering with Texas districts Canutillo Independent School District, Fabens Independent School District, and Tornillo Independent School District to work on high-level teaching and learning in middle school math! Read on to see how we are working together to do an asset analysis and equity audit of math instruction, an approach where everyone’s voice is heard!
4 Effective Communication Strategies in Multilingual Math Classrooms
“If you cannot read the word problem, you cannot do the math.” This statement is false on many levels! Students who are receiving math instruction in a language other than their native language are doers of mathematics! And as teachers, it is our job to utilize specific strategies that allow every student in each of our classrooms to engage in thinking deeply about the mathematics. In this article we share four strategies for math teachers to use when working with multilingual students who are working on their English skills while also learning math.
Liberating Your Summer Readers
A district’s goal for summer reading should be to help students continue to build their independent reading skills and to foster a love of reading. Students who take up summer reading typically have access to compelling books and choice in what they read (Shin & Krashen, 2008). To achieve a reading program with books that engage students, student voice should be central to summer reading lists.
IFL Partner Sees Success Amid Chaotic Year
Coinciding with the one-year anniversary of COVID shutting down classrooms across the country, Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville shares the trials and tribulations they faced, what kept them motivated, and how the IFL work has been a “life-changing” experience that played a key role in providing a quality education.
Building Allyship Among Educators
As educators our goals are to inspire, motivate, and empower the students we interact with every day. Can any of these goals be truly accomplished when we have educators in our schools that feel disenfranchised, alone, and unsupported by their colleagues? Becoming an effective educational ally is a journey that requires substantial self-reflection, a strong sense of self-identity, and a willingness to step up and advocate for a colleague.
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.
Mathematical Representations: A Window into Student Thinking
Representations are windows into student thinking and reasoning. In a time of virtual classrooms, using visual representations is more complex, but as important as ever. If a teacher values students’ thinking, they need to consider how to make it possible for all students to represent that thinking. This article addresses the use of representations and the questions that help students connect representations to deepen understanding of math concepts.
IFL Partner Captures Connecticut Superintendent of the Year Award
Dr. Paul Freeman, a life-long educator and long-time partner with the IFL, was recently recognized as Connecticut’s Superintendent of the Year. In this article, he reflects on his career and the choices that lead to a more inclusive learning environment. He also recognizes dedicated work of teachers and the whole school community to move toward a more equitable system.
Accountable Talk® Discussions: Solidifying Knowledge and Engaging in Rigorous Thinking Alongside Others in a Collaborative Community
Accountable Talk discussions require teachers and their students to support one another and mutually create a classroom community committed to using and building accurate knowledge and engaging in rigorous thinking. Everyone involved understands and is accountable for respecting each other and the learning community, as a whole. This begins with recognizing and honoring each person’s different lived experiences because every person brings vital knowledge and valuable assets to the learning community. This article provides a general understanding of Accountable Talk discussions and serves as a basis to begin exploring this high-leverage practice.
Moving from Quick Write to Essay: Using Student-Centered Routines to Support Writing
Teachers can use writing routines to support student writers by creating a sort of conversation between the student writer and the text. This article examines how a set of well sequenced student routines allows students to use writing to express what they know in connection with what they learn from the text.
Bridging to Research: Mindfulness in Schools, An Interview with Dr. Brian Galla
Programming to support mindfulness practices in schools have been around for several years, but did you know that there is a link between teacher mindfulness and student mindfulness? To learn more about mindfulness, check out this interview with Dr. Brian Galla, a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center (our parent organization) and assistant professor of Applied Developmental Psychology, who has been researching mindfulness practices in adolescents and educators.
Six Strategies That Can Lead to More Equitable Online Mathematics Instruction
As the need for virtual instruction continues, educators continue to look for ways to make mathematics instruction more equitable and honor students’ abilities and backgrounds. In this article, we examine three teaching practices that work in virtual spaces and offer six strategies for keeping every student invested and advancing in their conceptual understanding.