Although there are many approaches to vocabulary instruction, Robust Vocabulary Instruction, a research-based approach developed by Dr. Isabel Beck and Dr. Margaret McKeown, provides students with the rich interaction needed for students to develop true ownership and understanding of words.
Celebrating Success in the Dallas ISD/IFL Network for School Improvement
Four years ago, the IFL along with the LRDC and CUE partnered with the Dallas Independent School District to improve literacy instruction at fourteen of the district’s highest needs schools. As the network enters its fifth year, we look back on teachers’ successes.
Revisiting the Importance of Planning for High-Level Instruction
Check out four of our top ELA articles from the archives! They offer insights into why we advocate to make space for collaboarative instructional planning.
A Journey Towards Text Analysis
High-level comprehension tasks impact the depth to which students respond to analysis tasks. Check out this article in which two teachers share their stories about working with their students on comprehension tasks that support text analysis.
Digging into Analysis Tasks
Planning for analysis tasks means highlighting those gems of an author’s craft found in rich and complex texts. In this article, I describe what we mean when we say analysis task and provide an example of what an analysis task might look like for a complex text.
Are You “Wishing” Math Content Knowledge Into Your Students? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Find Out
What does it mean to “wish mathematical knowledge” into your students? If reading the title of this article makes you pause, you might be doing it. Take the quiz to find out!
Increasing Representation by Globalizing School-Based Multicultural Libraries
Students are more engaged when they see themselves in the books they read. IFL partner, Syracuse City Schools, has worked to better represent all their students by expanding their multicultural libraries on a global scale.
Planning for High-Level Comprehension
Comprehension work is critical work when we engage students with a text. Understanding and enacting the steps for planning a high-level comprehension task will help teachers provide students instructional opportunities that set every student up for success.
Three Practices that Compliment an Asset-Based Approach to Teaching and Learning in Math Classrooms
While there has been a tremendous amount of schooling loss, students maintain unique funds of knowledge valuable to math classrooms. This article looks at three practices that work in combination to foster safe, student-centered learning environments as students return to school having unique and varied lived experiences.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teaneck’s Advantage: Educational Excellence Through Rigorous Teaching and Learning
At Teaneck Public Schools (Teaneck, New Jersey) we are focused on establishing common instructional practice across all classrooms that is designed to increase our students’ opportunities to engage in demanding curriculum content in both mathematics and English language arts lessons.
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.
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.
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.
Empowering Teachers to Analyze the Demand of Instructional Tasks
We’ve recently begun helping districts use improvement science to work on problems of practice. To develop a more rounded view of the problems, teachers have been working in their schools to gather the stories of diverse students and other teachers about their experiences with teaching and learning.
Increasing Cognitive Demand and Focusing on What Students CAN Do
As the supervisor of humanities (at the time) for New Brunswick School District, I have had the opportunity to work with the Institute for Learning (IFL) for the past 3 years, and one of the areas on which we focused during that time was increasing the cognitive demand in the classroom.
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.
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.