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 our professional goal setting resource 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!
Check out our other resources here!
Struggling with the pacing of your lessons? Check out Foundations of Pacing - one of our lesson planning resources for tips on lesson timing, transitions, and closings. Want to dig even deeper? Get in touch with one of our coaches who can offer you direct support!
Download a copy, and check out our other resources here.
School leaders: how do you encourage your team to build knowledge and implement new strategies? Try out our LARS resource (Learn, Apply, Reflect, Share), which encourages teachers to reflect on their practice. Want additional support? Reach out to our coaches, who can offer offer on-site coaching cuztomized just for you.
Download a copy of LARS, and check out our other resources here.
Need to jump start your lesson planning? Use our lesson planning template to help map out what you want the students to be able to do by the end of the lesson, and more. For even more support, get in touch with one of our coaches!
Download a copy, and check out our other resources here.
Need help with student engagement? Check out our top 20 practical strategies for everyday student engagement! Want to dig even deeper? Get in touch with our coaching team for direct support!
Download a copy, and check out our other resources here.
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.
Check out more 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.
Students may have been on vacation, but here at CPET our summer was packed with collaboration and exploration. Here are a few of the things that kept us busy.
Performed a remix of Heart of Darkness
In July, teachers from around the world joined local high school students for our fourth annual Literacy Unbound summer institute, working side by side as "players" to interrogate and challenge Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Collaborating with expert teaching artists, these student and teacher players examined Conrad’s text through multiple modalities, ultimately creating an original immersive performance piece in nine days.
In the two days following the performance, the group partnered with our Student Press Initiative, to produce a player-initiated and player-authored publication, Unbounding and Astounding: Opt In Strategies for Literary Exploration, a guide designed to disseminate Literacy Unbound practices and inspire teachers beyond the summer institute.
Following the performance, players described the profound impact of Literacy Unbound. As one student player put it: "Even though I…go to a school for collaborative studies, never had I ever felt so immersed in collaboration than I did with this process." A teacher player added, "I think the potential for learning there when we’re all trying to make meaning together is so much different from evaluating the way that you make meaning…I’m thinking about it all the time right now." Literacy Unbound will continue to guide educators and students in collaborative literary exploration through classroom-based workshops and coaching throughout the school year.
Explored group dynamics in Nazareth, PA
In August, two of our coaches traveled to Nazareth, PA for an intensive workshop with the ELA teachers of the Nazareth Area School District. This two-day workshop was designed to help grade 7-12 ELA teachers begin a yearlong process of creating curriculum for their courses. The courses are to be both horizontally and vertically aligned not only with state content and skill standards but also with the Global Capacities Framework, a research-based set of habits of mind that were developed by CPET in cooperation with universities and secondary schools in the United States, Singapore, Finland, Australia, and China. The goal of the work in Nazareth was to bring the teachers together and equip them with tools and practices that would aid them in the yearlong design process.
On day one, teachers explored the dynamics of the group and agreed to common practices regarding communication. By engaging with the “Compass Points” team-building exercise, teachers self-identified their strengths and areas of growth in regards to collaboration. Later, after having been introduced to the long-term planning process through the metaphor of a road trip, teachers collaborated in grade teams to make conceptual first drafts of each grade’s objectives and waypoints.
On day two, teachers constructed an understanding of the Global Capacities Framework and the open-source, rapid-prototyping ethos of the nascent Maker Movement subculture, a habit of mind that encourages thinking and learning through collaborative action. With these principles in mind, teachers rapidly drafted performance tasks that we aligned with their grades’ educational objectives, and began the process of backwards planning.
Our coaches will make follow-up visits in the fall and spring semesters to continue to support the Nazareth Schools ELA teachers as they undertake this project.
Equipped teachers with cohesive curriculum
In August, teachers from Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School and Brooklyn Environmental Exploration School participated in a dynamic 4-day curriculum planning and team-building retreat with our coaches. The two schools, one an elementary school and the other a middle school (housed in the same building), partnered to allow for the collaboration of experienced and newer teachers in curriculum building. As the teachers developed engaging project-based units and aligned assessments, they were also able to expand their collaborative curriculum planning skills. The joint K-8 session aimed to develop more building-wide community and a clearer vision of K-8 vertical alignment.
The workshops we facilitated during the retreat inspired shifts in thinking about portfolio use, lesson planning, and project-based assessments. Each teacher left with strong units of study and assessments within a more connected curriculum to be implemented from the start of the school year.
In feedback from the workshops, all participants rated the four days of sessions as meeting or exceeding their expectations. Many expressed that this was an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues and prepare for the school year!
Designed the future of global education in Finland
Did you know the distance between Teachers College and the design capital of the world is only nine hours? Three CPET representatives discovered this fun fact as they took off for Helsinki, Finland in July. Over the course of two days, the founders of the Global Learning Alliance (GLA), which includes partners from Singapore, Finland and the Scarsdale District of NY, met to discuss the future of global capacities in the 21st century. Discussions ranged from organizational leadership development tasks such as the creation of a conference council, communications council and research council, to the cross-cultural scaffolding of an international student-centered research project slated to feature at the 2018 GLA conference.
The 2018 GLA conference will be comprised of a consortium of schools and universities from around the world sharing principles and best-practices on world-class education within a wide range of educational contexts. For this reason, the featured cross-cultural research project will entail 12 accounts by four 16 to 17 year old students from Singapore, Finland and the Scarsdale District of NY, who will be working collaboratively on globally relevant cross-cultural solutions to geographically specific issues of wellness. Apart from being able to tackle real world problem-solving, develop and demonstrate global consciousness, leverage intertextual thinking and engage with multiple perspectives across multiple modalities, each student will be invited to meet their international teammates in person to present both their context specific and holistic findings at the 2018 GLA conference. We look forward to the exciting journey ahead as a we all await the launch of the cross-cultural project in the Spring of 2018. So until then, goodbye, heippa and 再见 from the Global Learning Alliance!
NYC Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment Announces "Americanah" as Winner of Inaugural One Book, One New York Program
Excerpt: "Throughout February, New Yorkers voted for the book they want the whole City to read together as part of “One Book, One New York,” and today, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Commissioner Julie Menin and BuzzFeed announced New Yorkers have chosen Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah as the winning book. Nearly 50,000 votes were cast online and at kiosks throughout the New York City subway system, generating a citywide conversation online about which book should win this first-of-its-kind competition. During the next several months, MOME will present a series of free, open-to-the-public events throughout the five boroughs for New Yorkers to gather in discussion of Americanah, and engage with its poignant and timely themes of immigration, feminism, and race.
In addition, the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers (CPET) at Teachers College, Columbia University will adapt its Literacy Unbound program to serve the needs of One Book, One New York, dispatching teaching artists to work collaboratively with participants in workshops in all five boroughs. These workshops will encourage artistic forms of self-expression around the themes presented by Americanah. CPET will also release a readers’ guide for group discussion of the book; a curriculum guide that aligns to standards for NYC public high schools; and instructional podcasts for book club facilitators."
Read the full press release via the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment
When was the last time you read a really good book? It’s been a while for me, personally. It can be hard to feel motivated to read a work of fiction when we’re bombarded with the real news, the fake news, lengthy discussions on social media, debates between friends or family members, tweets (both hysterical and horrifying), and so much more. At a certain point, we just collapse underneath it all. But here’s the thing -- in times like this, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is reach for a piece of literature. At a time in which our culture is extremely divided, One Book, One New York has the potential to bring diverse groups of people together through the process of shared reading.
No offense to informational and persuasive writing, but the act of reading narratives allows us all to peek into the lived experiences of others, to see the world from new perspectives, and to locate ourselves as readers in the landscape of the story. Letting the story unfold for us as we finger through the pages of the book, or slide our fingers across the screen, we get to live another’s life, walk a mile in their shoes. And often times, when reading a text that really speaks to us, our first instinct is to want to talk about it with others. Whether it’s small talk among friends, posts in social media, or in more formalized settings like book clubs or courses -- we want to talk about what we’ve read, and what we make of it, and hear what others have to say as well. It is this exchange between the readers and the text that creates a dynamic and (sometimes) transformative experience. When we read as a community, we forge new bonds where once there were boundaries. When we read as a community, we create connections, and increase our capacity for compassion and empathy.
This is why we are so thrilled to participate in the One Book, One New York project, which was launched by the New York City Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment earlier this year. Throughout the month of February, New Yorkers voted on five different texts, and chose Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah as this year's selection. Our goal is to support all of NYC’s readers to engage with the book, and with each other, in ways that bring the book to life. Throughout the three-month reading experience, CPET will be providing a wide range of resources that will be available to all readers. Beginning with our Invitations, readers will be invited to Connect, Question, Contemplate, and Create alongside the text. These Invitations will be shared on our website, as well as through social media under the hashtag #OneBookNY. In addition to the invitations, we’ll be providing resources to support shared reading with book club facilitator guides, promising practices for great book clubs, and even a special podcast series where we talk about the book!
At our core, CPET is a professional development organization, so we have to have something special for all of our teachers! Teachers who want to bring the One Book, One New York selection into their classroom will have all the support they need with CPET’s original, Common Core-Aligned Unit Plan and a free professional development workshop for teachers who sign up.
Stay tuned for more resources, opportunities, and events! Now stop reading this and go get your copy of the book!!!
-- Roberta Kang, Initiative Director