The 2018 Literacy Unbound Summer Institute begins today! We welcome this year's cohort of players, comprised of teachers & students, to the Smith Learning Theater at Teachers College - an experimental, interactive space that will also be the site of this year's culminating performance.
Our unique Summer Institute is an intensive course for passionate and curious teachers and high school students to come together in creative collaboration as “players” to perform responses to literature through writing, reading, image, and sound. Our process guides our mixed-age team to develop compelling original content through the co-creation of a multimedia production inspired by a shared text. With the help of guest teaching artists, the players step into the text at hand through improvisational sound and movement, experimental layering of mode and medium, the interplay between physical and digital space, and the remixing of text on text.
This year, the program will bring together a small company of teachers and high school students to create an original multimodal performance piece inspired by a reading of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. What will happen? Well, we don't exactly know yet. This year's company of players will begin crafting the performance today, and over the course of nine days, they'll hone their voices as performers and collaborate to generate an immersive, site-specific performance. Read more about the Literacy Unbound program here.
"Can I Get a Lifeline?" is a post-reading activity that invites students to identify meaningful passages in a text and and justify their choices. It encourages students to make their thinking visible, and helps them learn how to select the most important information while reading.
Download a copy, and check out our other resources here.
Dr. Roberta Lenger Kang, CPET's Initiative Director, urged participants at Thursday's In Practice conference to be atypical teachers - willing to shift their mindsets and flip the script that they set for themselves and their students. Over the course of the day, this year's cohort of educators moved through four sets of workshops, focused on critical reflection, project-based learning, the Danielson framework, and strategic thinking. In the afternoon, they found support in sessions like Overcoming Overwhelm, examined student engagement with our Literacy Unbound team, and explored the idea of publication as project with our Student Press Initiative experts. Each of the 25 unique sessions provided time and space for participants to reflect, collaborate, and bridge theory and practice.
Thank you to all the educators from across New York City who came to In Practice willing to be open, reflective, and collaborative. We look forward to working with you again at your schools or at a future event!
Our guide to teaching in today's political climate offers an understanding of how politics manifest in classrooms, as well as possible protocols for teachers to implement. Learn how to provide space for discussion, establish norms, and reflect before lessons.
Download a copy, and check out our other resources here.
Often in schools, students are burdened by different pressures that can impact their social and emotional health. As educators, our job is to help students succeed academically, while also nurturing their social and emotional health - two tasks that can often come into conflict with one another. This graphic organizer and examples on this document are intended to help you think of ways to effectively educate your students while caring for their social and emotional health by identifying what pressures impact students and how teachers and schools can respond to these pressures.
Download a copy, and check out our other resources here.
This winter, our team has been busy supporting teachers and students across the globe! Check out our highlights from projects in New York, China, and Singapore, see how you can join us for customized PD this spring, and reach out to us if your school needs support.
Generating performance art
How many ways can a reader highlight a text? When reading with Literacy Unbound, the answer might surprise you. It certainly surprised the teachers and students at Singapore American School who participated a series of CPET-facilitated workshops last month.
Literacy Unbound is a CPET initiative that seeks to help teachers bring the arts into their classrooms in order to help their students dig into challenging texts. For the past four years, the initiative has hosted two-week summer institutes at Teachers College in which a dozen teachers and dozen students come together as company of theatrical players who rapidly generate a piece of performance art inspired by a novel. In both 2016 and 2017, teachers and students traveled from Singapore to participate in the summer institute, and in January 2018, they brought Literacy Unbound to Singapore. For one week, middle and high school teachers and students became “players” who, through a variety of drama structures, delved into the short but rich text of “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid.
Many of these players were particularly taken by a series of activities that asked them to highlight the text in four distinct ways. First, players highlighted with their eyes, the traditional way, by reading silently and using a marker to highlight meaningful passages on the page. Next, players highlighted with their ears as they listened to a recording of Jamaica Kincaid reading the piece and took note of the words and turns of phrase that rang and lingered in their ears. In the third reading, the players highlighted with their voices; as their CPET facilitator read the piece aloud, players joined in, speaking aloud only the words that each of them marked on their pages, thus composing something of a choral reading. Finally, the players highlighted with their bodies. After mining the text for evocative verbs, players created stylized, repeatable actions and sounds that, when layer on to each other, form a cacophonous “machine” that expressed an understanding of the piece. This four-phase highlighting offers the players multiple readings of the text and multiple entry points into it, both of which are hallmarks of Literacy Unbound’s approach.
Next up for Literacy Unbound: the 2018 summer institute in which the players will take on Upton Sinclair’s famous The Jungle.
Empowering school leaders
This spring, we’ve partnered with New Visions for a series of custom-designed, monthly workshop sessions for all of the Bronx, Queens and District 28 New Visions schools. The series is designed to support all assistant principals and literacy teachers in deepening their understanding of how to teach students the stages of the writing process and to empower the school leaders to design writing initiatives in their own schools.
CPET is responding to the district’s concerns that in order to be college ready, students need to have excellent writing and communication skills. The district leaders recognize that schools need outstanding administrators who understand the importance of writing as an invaluable tool for learning and a crucial skill for success in college and beyond. This series of workshops delve into writing across disciplines for college readiness, and includes writing theory, practice, and contextualized implementation.
Participants also develop their lenses for classroom observations and effective approaches to offering teachers feedback. During each session participants have the opportunity to:
• Explore research-based theory on stages of the writing process
• Strategically plan to implement writing practices across disciplines at their own schools with customized support
• Experience specific teaching writing strategies
• Develop discipline specific strategies
We are excited to continue the series with these wonderful educators and to support their development as literacy leaders and empower them to cultivate college ready writers in their schools.
Supporting K-12 teachers
Workshop series at CPET continue to be a strong, foundational focus for our facilitators. Uniquely crafted and truly customized, our Fall workshop series offered workshops to support bilingual education, co-teaching, literacy K-12, Math 6-12, early career teachers, social-emotional structures, and special education.
All of our workshop series are designed with time for critical reflection, planning and practice, and an exploration into pertinent research; workshop participants receive up to 18 CTLE credits upon completion.
We are excited to offer the following workshop this spring:
• Ed-Neuro: Neuroscience of learning for HS Science teachers
• Engaging Students in Learning for HS Teachers
• Exhibiting Social Studies: for K-12 Social Studies/History teachers
• Guided Reading: Grounding our principles and practice for K-5 teachers
• Keep the Kids Talking: Spring Edition for MS & HS teachers
• Surviving the Spring Semester: Supporting early career teachers
Registration for these sessions will be closing soon - learn more & register before it’s too late!
Leveraging technology for international PD
We began an exciting partnership this year with You Xi in Shanghai, China. Leveraging technology as a means of providing high quality professional development to teachers 13 hours ahead and 7,300-plus miles from Teachers College, CPET launched live, online workshops customized for specific groupings of teachers: Primary and Secondary English Language and Primary and Secondary Science teachers.
From working in small groups, deepening discussions, and teaching with the arts to creatively designing rigorous projects and assessments, each workshop included:
• A focus on instructional strategies relevant to the grade level and content area(s) of the participants
• Examples of practical skills teachers can use in the classroom integrated into each workshop; and
• Tools to support 21st century practices with the resources available
Our work with You Xi is an example of how our professional development is designed in partnership, with the unique needs and context of teachers at the forefront of planning, resulting in truly customized instruction for educators from New York City to halfway around the globe!
Engaging in the power of project-based learning
In January, we invited teachers across the city to the second annual Big Learning Challenge: a conference that focuses on the power of project-based learning. Participants previewed innovative workshops, practiced new instructional strategies, and made connections with other teachers by creating original projects, reflecting on their project-making process, and applying it to their own classroom setting. In the afternoon, teachers shared their original project creations in a gallery walk.
Dramatic presentations and performances teachers presented original poetry, spoken word, and remixed literature. Modeling in Mathematics joined Scientific Experiments where mathematicians and scientists collaborated in building model bridges and articulated their design process in a written technical report. Mini-movie makers produced short films using a widely available free app. Themes included reconciliation, beauty, and grief. Narrative storytelling created original stories, in the form of performance, visual art, or podcast, each told from the perspective of a bridge. Publishing student writing teachers developed original pieces initiated by their own curiosity and inspired by sharing with an authentic audience. Visual and creative arts participants created mixed media posters through a reflection and future-planning process.
How many teachers regularly communicate with parents? According to one study, not enough. Research found that, despite an increase in email communications from schools to parents from 2002 to 2012, the number of parents receiving a school iniaited phone call decreased from 2002 to 2012, as did parent satification with parent-school staff interactions.
How can you increase your communication with parents? Download our free resource to identify what might be preventing communication, and specific steps you can take to get back on track.
Diversify your classroom management techniques and utilize the wide range of methods that can trigger positive reactions from students - just download our list of 25 non-confrontational classroom management techniques.
Check out our other resources here!
Disruptive students can cause more problems for teachers than disrespectful or defiant students. Disruptions throw the lesson off track, influence other students, and often leave teachers feeling helpless in their own classrooms. How do you deal with them? Try using our 3 Sweeps resource to help address these behaviors in productive ways.
Check out our other resources here!
“There’s nothing like the first day of school,” a cooperating teacher said in the first week of student teaching. And she was right. There’s nothing like meeting your students for the first time; seeing nothing but promise and possibility. But it doesn’t take long for those rosy feelings to begin to fade, and for the daunting task of the work ahead to become overwhelming. That’s where we come into view.
We've been busy this fall, working alongside teachers and school leaders, and engaging in projects that help folks hold on to the promise of the first days of school. To keep sight of those possibilities. And to get live support when things get rough. How can we support you?
Exploring global capacities with educators from Tianjin, China
We hosted our third annual Global Capacities Institute at Teachers College last month, and were joined by twenty education professors from Tianjin Normal University in China. The week-long Intensive focused on the key features of 21st century skills and experiential workshops that exemplify ways of bringing learning to life.
The TNU professors were encouraged, equipped, and empowered during their week at CPET. They were encouraged through daily keynote speakers Dr. Ruth Vinz, Dr. Jinjin Wu, Kay Gordon & Sam Shreyar, and Dr. Xiaodong Lin whose content included Teaching in the 21st Century, A History of the Educational Partnership between Teachers College and China, Early Childhood Education in China, and Innovation: How Failure Leads to a Productive Future.
They were equipped by exploring literature through multiple modalities with Literacy Unbound, imagining student publication as a path to authentic audience and focused genres with Student Press Initiative, and experiencing design thinking as a method to implement their learning during the Institute.
They were empowered to move forward with their learning as they visited local schools, observing 21st century teaching in action, followed by a Q&A with school leadership. The TNU team was also able to engage with Mr. Matt Mazzaroppi, principal of CPET partner school Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies, to consider how the social-emotional health of their students can be supported and improved by strengthening school structures to support caring relationships student-to-student, teacher-to-student, and teacher-to-teacher.
One participant summed up the experience by saying, “CPET made a perfect schedule for our study here. All the keynote speakers were really terrific. These lectures and workshops benefited us greatly in both our research and teaching, especially the teaching methods. This institute provided us a completely new perspective. Although we knew the terms ‘activities’ and ‘experiences’ before, the experience at TC [helped us understand] what ‘activities’ and ‘experiences’ can look like in our classrooms. It will be very helpful for our teaching in the future.”
Strategizing school improvement with Georgia's Osborne High School
Leaders from the oldest high school in Cobb County, Georgia joined us in September for the second annual School Improvement Institute. Osborne High School’s learning community is committed to promoting academic excellence by providing a support system that is not usually evident in the traditional high school setting, which was a great fit with our customized approach to professional development.
Osborne identified areas they wished to explore: cultivating strengths in teachers and students, designing the productive struggle, and establishing systems that support struggling students. Our facilitators provided a foundation of morning inspiration by bringing research to life and considering the implications for practice, and an afternoon practice aimed at supporting small group work sessions and developing actions plans. Each day our Osborne colleagues dug deep in the morning and planned strategically in the afternoon.
Osborne leaders identified goals at the start of the institute, including:
When the Institute closed, leaders reflected that they had met their goals, established a strong and flexible plan for implementation, and were headed back with a host of resources to use with teachers. Our connection with these amazing educators deepened, and we can’t wait until the next time we are all together again. Go Cardinals!
Connecting the dots to increase inquiry-based pedagogy & learning
Over the course of the next two years, twenty experienced, new, and pre-service social studies teachers will engage in a research-to-practice partnership to promote women’s history and inquiry-based pedagogy in New York City public school classrooms. The teachers will participate in workshops hosted at the New-York Historical Society’s Center on Women’s History and a pedagogy course on women’s history hosted at Teachers College.
Participants already started engaging with the N-YHS’s Objects Tell Stories program this fall, where they explored a variety of objects from New York City’s colonial period housed in the museum. In October, the vice president of the N-YHS libraries led a workshop on the society’s archival collections, and in November, participants will visit the museum’s new Hotbed exhibit on the history of women’s suffrage in Greenwich Village. In the spring, teachers will use what they have learned in the N-YHS workshops and the women’s history pedagogy course to create their own inquiry-based curriculum unit and implement that unit in their classrooms.
This project aims to help teachers use museums and their holdings to develop historical inquiry, use libraries and archives to find the answers to these inquiries, and increase teacher confidence to implement inquiry-based pedagogy and learning. During the program, participants will incorporate the use of museum artifacts, historical sites, and archival documents in their classrooms to increase inquiry-based learning and the representation of marginalized groups in their curriculum.
Making data meaningful with PS114
Our partnership with PS114 in Brooklyn has been focused on enhancing their teachers' ability to draw upon state test data to guide instruction. To do this, our team helped develop a multiple regression model to test existing school data as predictors of student achievement. Using this model, we identified higher and lower priority indicators of student success to track in order to plan interventions this school year. We paired this model for intervention with an emphasis on improving our own data tracking capacities and when state test proficiency data came in, we supported the school in identifying where classroom-based assessments were more predictive of end of year performance. Using this evidence, we are now working with teachers across grade levels to export these promising practices for use toward cultivating evidence responsive pedagogy.
To inform our continued work with PS114 this fall, we partnered with the school to create detailed state test reports based on the June instructional reports released by the state. These CPET-created reports presented weighted achievement results within and across domains, combined with a nuanced analysis from our data specialist.
Many teachers remarked that these reports provided the clearest and most relevant state test data they had seen. One teacher shared, “In the past, I’ll be honest, I would not even look at the data because it was too hard to read. But this was so clear that I was actually able to understand what the numbers meant for my class.”
Meet the Zankel Fellows!
For nearly 15 years, CPET has sponsored recipients of the Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship as they work in partnership with our Student Press Initiative (SPI), which focuses on helping teachers and school communities to better plan and produce all-inclusive learning experiences that culminate with students publishing their writing.
This year, we are very excited to welcome a new cohort of five fellows - Shannon Alison, Jennifer DeCerff, Alexander Lee, Andrew Ravin, and Andrea Wiley - each with impressive skills and backgrounds, including experience teaching throughout the US and abroad. We are confident each of the fellows selected this year will make wonderful additions to our team.
With support and supervision from our advanced professional development coaches, each fellow will have a unique opportunity to further their knowledge, interests, and expertise by helping teachers and students across the city to share their stories, understandings, and reflections through publication projects with our partner schools. Already in motion this year: a memoir project focused on supporting ENL students in the Bronx in sharing their experiences as immigrants, an ELA project aimed at supporting high school seniors in crafting personal statements for college applications, and a Humanities project which is still in the early planning stages.
Our Zankel fellows will support these projects by collaboratively planning with teachers and assisting in curriculum and publication design. They will also visit classrooms, lead presentations, and provide individual support to students. At the end of the school year, Fellows will also facilitate publication showcases, where students present their writing to the greater SPI community.
Along with projects with our partner schools, fellows will also participate in a CPET center project, which is inspired by their individual passions and will contribute to their growth, as well as our center-wide initiatives. This year, center projects include developing a workshop series to support student public speaking and performance skills, a research study to examine the impact of publication projects on students’ efficacy and performance in writing, and the design of a multi-media platform to share information with prospective schools about the publication process and experience.