If you’ll be at the 2018 NCTE convention, stop by and see our stellar coaches! They’ll be showcasing their research, best practices, and passion at this year’s event, which takes place in Houston, TX. Read on for a preview of their presentations!
The sunlight is still Summer while the breeze feels like Fall. Teachers stream in, eager to find their names at check-in and chat with colleagues on their way to hear the keynote speaker frame the day, “It’s not that differentiation is part of the work. Differentiation is the work itself. We all can make progress and we can all grow. Each student deserves a goal that they can work hard to achieve!”
So begins Differentiating Like a Star, one of four mini-conferences CPET recently offered to early career teachers from the Bronx. The New York City Department of Education, Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality (OTQR), partnered with us to bring this series of professional development workshops to life. Each mini-conference was CTLE credit-approved and offered words of inspiration rooted in the reality of our classrooms, followed by a customized workshop session designed to model the practices and strategies of 21st century skills and work on authentic tasks educators could use in their classrooms.
The Art of Instructional Design: Many new teachers struggle with daily (or rather, nightly) lesson planning, which is often inefficient and ineffective for long-term learning. These breakout sessions supported teachers in taking their planning to a new level by helping them understand the basic components of any plan, and cultivate strategies for long term planning.
Differentiating Like a Star: Differentiating instruction is an essential, and often misunderstood, pedagogical strategy. These breakout sessions were designed to tackle one element of differentiation that teachers struggle with and provide them with a clear foundation for what differentiation is and isn’t, as well as provide tangible strategies for immediate implementation.
Digging Into Danielson: Each breakout session, aimed at understanding the Danielson evaluation system, focused on 1-2 of the key Danielson domains. Teachers explored the language of the rubric, made connections to their own practice, learned 2-3 techniques aligned with the expectation of Effective Practice, and created a plan for implementation.
Teaching Through the Test: Each breakout session analyzed high stakes assessments within each content area. Teachers anticipated their students’ strengths and likely challenges, and made connections to essential content knowledge and skills in addition to highly effective strategies for teaching through the test, rather than to it.
As each mini-conference drew to a close, teachers provided feedback, sharing that their experience exceeded expectations at a significantly higher rate than any other ranking! Participant comments point to accessible and expert facilitators, practical application, and engaging material:
I am from a caring mom
That cooks with pride
Baked ziti with chicken
And from T.V.,
I am from the hood
With gunshots that ring
More than doorbells,
my mother grew,
As red as blood.
That untitled work, by a student at East River Academy, a New York City public school that serves young people at the city’s Rikers Island detention facility, is among the 69 poems, narratives and essays found on the pages of “Free Minds,” a booklet published by Teachers College’s Student Press Initiative (SPI). Launched 16 years ago by Ruth Vinz, Enid & Lester Morse Professor in Teacher Education, SPI is just one facet of TC’s Center for the Professional Education of Teachers (CPET), which was created by Vinz as an outlet for students at the Academy and other schools to express their thoughts, their hopes and their dreams.
In May, District 79 – an alternative city school district that helps students under the age of 21 who have experienced an interruption to their studies – recognized CPET as an “Exemplary Partner” for its work with East River Academy, which includes professional and curriculum development. The honors were directed at the entire CPET team, which consists of the center’s director, Roberta Lenger Kang; SPI director Cristina Romeo Compton; Senior Professional Development Coach Courtney Brown; and a team focused on East River Academy Team whose members are TC students Shannon Alison and Andrew Ravin (both of whom are Zankel Fellows); TC Social Studies Education faculty member Erika Kitzmiller; and Senior Professional Development Coaches Greg Benoit (math) and Kristina Hopkins (science).
Continue reading on the Teachers College website.
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From the Darkness, a collection of memoirs written by the junior class of Hoboken High School, treats the reader to tales of conflict -- the driving force behind all great literature -- with monsters. Through confrontations with nature, man, society, or themselves, these young authors discover their strength, tenacity, and beauty.
USING THIS PUBLICATION IN THE CLASSROOM
“Darkness” is a fitting theme for the month of October. We encourage you to use this text to embark upon a study of conflict and support students in expanding their understandings of this literary element. How can it be represented in various genres and texts?
Furthermore, we invite you use this publication to explore writing projects inspired by questions such as: How does a teenager combat nature? How do they confront one another? How do they confront themselves?
Enjoy reading the life stories of these students and learning about the fears of adolescence. We hope they will leave you inspired to face your own monsters!
Each summer, the Literacy Unbound initiative hosts an intensive institute, drawing educators from around the world to work alongside New York City high school students to generate an original production inspired by the study of a shared text. Out of this immersion, teachers design original curriculum. During July of 2018, the Literacy Unbound Institute joined teachers and students to become players who embraced The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, as their text.
At the start of the two-week intensive, players shared both excitement and curiosity as they entered this new experience of investigating the 1906 novel, exploring the harsh conditions immigrants lived under in industrialized Chicago. How would they connect with these characters? Could they find themselves within this story? What does “Literacy Unbound” really mean?
For the next eight days, players deepened their understanding of the text alongside teaching artists who guided them in the use of expressive movement, writing within a historical context, innovative dramatic techniques, film-making, and music mixing to create a unique performance. On day nine, audience members were welcomed as fellow travelers, moving from their home country into the unknown, experiencing The Jungle, remixed through installation, spoken word, movement, and multi-modal artistic expression, culminating with a conversation between players and audience.
One audience member commented on how confident and clear student-players were when speaking to a full-house audience, answering questions about the text and the meaning they made of it, both in their educational pursuits and their personal lives. A teacher-player responded, “That’s what happens when students are confident! This process provides the space in which students build that kind of confidence in themselves as successful readers and creators.”
At the close of the Literacy Unbound Summer Institute, players reflected on their experience, in part by completing the phrase “Literacy _________” with the words:
Their advice for future players? Take the chance!
We are proud to announce our new partnership with MiSK Schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia! MiSK Schools aim to foster resilient and independent young adults who can take on the as-yet-unknown challenges of the 21st century and flourish in this rapidly evolving time. As such, MiSK Schools and CPET have embarked on a project to design a series of Extended Learning Activities (ELAs) that are aligned to a bespoke iteration of the Global Capacities Framework (GCF), a series of aspirational educational objectives that were developed in the early days of the Global Learning Alliance (GLA) and have been refined over the subsequent years by CPET coaches and various other GLA members. However, this partnership with MiSK Schools represents the first time a school as adopted a version of the GCF as foundational aims of a course of study.
MiSK Schools consider themselves a startup, and, as such, were interested in a rigorous, transparent design process that would allow them to innovate beyond traditional extracurricular activities. The first step in this process was research-based and hewed closely the design thinking steps of empathize, define, and ideate. Working from the office at Teachers College, our team conducted an inventory of MiSK Schools’ extant ELA offerings and evaluated their alignment with the schools’ stated mission. Along the way, CPET introduced MiSK Schools to the GCF as a tool that could prove useful in evaluating the ELA program while also serving as objectives for the redesigned ELA courses.
Next, we traveled to Riyadh to work side-by-side with MiSK Schools leadership and teachers to prototype, test, and implement this new vision for ELAs. This semester, MiSK Schools’ students across grades PreK-6 were offered a range of ELA courses in the domains of Arts, Media, and Communication; Leadership; Physical and Mental Sports; Religion, Culture, and Community Service; and STEAM. As students progress through their courses, their teachers are gathering formative assessment data that, as part of an ongoing cycle of inquiry, will support them in reflecting on their success and challenges, refine the courses as needed, and offer new iterations of them in the second semester.
Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue this work with MiSK Schools as we collaborate strategically across cultures and time zones to craft a customized solution to meet the needs of the schools’ students.
Each year, our coaches work alongside teachers and school leaders, providing on-site and online professional development to help them achieve their goals. As you consider your goals for the 2018-19 year, let us know how we can support you!
As we embark upon another school year, we're thrilled to be cultivating new partnerships, digging into new projects and collaborations, and welcoming new team members. We're also excited to share some of the impactful work taking place at the Center.
Global Learning Alliance (GLA) summits are an opportunity for delegates to convene, collaborate and create a vision for the future. This year’s Summit took place in Helsinki, Finland, with the help of our partners at the University of Helsinki & Helsinki Normal Lyceum.
Over the course of three days, the 2018 Summit welcomed delegates from four countries - Finland, Singapore, Sweden, and the United States - to collaborate on how schools around the world are leveraging 21st century skills and dispositions. As a founding member of the Alliance and a leading provider of professional development, CPET was in attendance to help further these global conversations.
In addition to educators, administrators, and school leaders, we were also joined by high school students, who presented the findings of their cross-cultural research project. We recognize that cross-cultural collaboration is a powerful force that challenges all participants to think outside of their own context and consider the universality of the day's most pressing issues. This powerful inquiry project, focused on wellness and well-being, posed questions about how the current generation of students deals with stress, anxiety, and self-care while striving towards their goals. Their presentations helped inform the work of this year’s delegates, who will continue to develop action plans to help students meet their goals.
As part of a new partnership with iZone, a division of the NYC DOE which focuses on innovative education practices, our team has been facilitating a series of workshops aimed at deepening teachers understanding of project-based learning. Over the last few months, our coaches have helped educators examine the theory and principles behind project-based learning, and have demonstrated what it can look like in practice. Through imagining, defining, and designing their own PBL projects within these workshops, our hope is that those who attended are able to enact their plans starting this fall. Interested in project-based learning for your school? Partner with us!
For nearly 15 years, CPET has sponsored recipients of the Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship as they work in partnership with the Center and our Student Press Initiative, which focuses on helping teachers and school communities to plan and produce all-inclusive learning experiences that culminate with students publishing their writing.
This year, we’re excited to welcome a new cohort of fellows - David Baksh, Brad Campion, Chloe Dawson, Jennifer DeCerff, and Van Anh Tran - each with impressive skills and backgrounds. We’re confident they will make wonderful additions to our team!
A few weeks ago, this group of bright & determined Fellows gathered to envision a year of growth - for themselves, and the CPET community. With support and supervision from our advanced professional development coaches, each Fellow will have a unique opportunity to make a sustainable impact on the lives of New York City students.
Book of the month: using student publication to reflect on experiences in times of growth and change
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Adolescence is a time of significant transitions, and this publication reflects the voices of elementary and middle school students whose poems and narratives touch on a variety of momentous shifts in their lives. Writers from PS 36 and Fredrick Douglass Academy II have written, edited, and revised works to represent the rich transitions they have anticipated, observed, and undergone. Their pieces resonate powerfully and convey beautiful insights into their personal lives, communities, and futures.
USING THIS PUBLICATION IN THE CLASSROOM
With the start of the academic year, students begin a journey of learning, self-discovery, and conflict. More often than not, their journeys have something in common: change. The young authors of Transitions: From There to Here share an exploration of their life through writing. They engaged in project-based learning, their voices were celebrated, and they became a community of learners as they worked on this publication, which we consider an authentic assessment of their learning.
Just like these young writers, many more are part of the multitude of projects the Student Press Initiative helps design and execute each year. Teachers and students across the city reimagine writing curriculum so that it is authentic, celebratory, project-based, and Common Core aligned. In this way, the Student Press Initiative aims to reconnect teachers with the ideals that first brought them to the classroom.
We invite you to explore the poems and narratives written by students, professionally printed and published and available for purchase through Amazon. Furthermore, we encourage you to consider the possibility of pursuing a student publication project of your own this year! We believe this anthology, along with the 650 others we’ve helped publish over the years, serves as a powerful example of the humanizing effect of writing and the quality of students’ work when they write purposefully.
The CPET team is currently in Helsinki, Finland for the 2018 Global Learning Alliance Summit. With visits to the University of Helsinki and Helsinki Normal Lyceum, the 2018 summit will continue the unique university-school partnership and bring together educators around the world - from the US, Finland, and Singapore - to reflect on the characteristics of world-class education. This year's summit will have two primary features: to discuss the outcomes of the collaborative, cross-cultural project-based learning research study on Wellness and Human Well-Being, and to explore educational policies and practices from around the world, with a close-up view of the Finnish school system.
We can no longer sustain a 20th century in a 21st century world — and the GLA is committed to cross-cultural research collaborations as an effort to define a pedagogy that takes into account the dynamic needs of our changing world. The task before us is to educate students today for the world they’re poised to lead tomorrow.
To learn more about the GLA and this year's summit, visit here.
Learning has no limit, and teachers are constantly growing. Use one of our professional goal setting resources to start the year with some purposeful planning and short-term strategies to achieve your goals. Want to dig even deeper? Get in touch with one of our coaches who can offer direct support!
Download a copy, and check out our other resources here.