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First Things
FIRST for the 21         st   Century


Mike Schmoker
schmoker@futureone.com
480/219-4673
Sometimes the first duty of intelligent
  men is the restatement of the
  obvious.
               George Orwell

No one has the right to waste a day in
 the life of a child.
               Principal quoted by
               Karen Chenoweth, EdTrust
A Day in the Life…
   English Language Arts

   Social Studies

   Science

   Math

   ALL subjects: worksheets
RESULT..?

   25-30%

   20%

   7%

    Solution…?
FOCUS on “first things”
1. SIMPLICITY/LESS is MORE:
   first things + clarity + ceaseless
   reinforcement = guaranteed results

2. FIRST THINGS-simplified

3. FIRST THINGS —in 4 Subject Areas
SIMPLICITY: Is Less Really
…MORE?

 ”Foxes pursue many ends at the
 same time…Hedgehogs see what
 is essential, and ignore the
 rest.”

           Good to Great p. 91
           Jim Collins
Which most effective?
(re: test scores; college/career sucess)


   Laptops for all/Smartboards in every classroom
   Common, content-rich curriculum
   ALL existing Math/literacy ―programs‖
   Differentiated instruction
   Smaller classes
   Cold calling (and other ―checks for understanding‖)
   Various small/school-within-a-school ―Academies‖
   90-120 minutes of purposeful reading & writing per day
   ―Turnaround‖ strategies (new faculty; school design etc.)
   Cognitive/concept mapping; graphic representations
    Which most effective?
    (re: test scores; college/career success)


   Laptops for all/Smartboards in every classroom
   Common, content-rich curriculum
   ALL existing Math/literacy ―programs‖
   Differentiated instruction
   Smaller classes
   Cold calling (& other “checks for understanding”)
   Various small/school-within-a-school ―Academies‖
   90-120 minutes--purposeful reading/writing a day
   ―Turnaround‖ strategies (new faculty; school design etc.)
   Cognitive/concept mapping; graphic representations
FIRST THINGS: Less is MORE
but…we keep adding MORE/NEW
 methods, strategies
 workshops, terms
 programs, requirements, technology
 classroom arrangements…

BEFORE implementing ―first things‖
      M. Buckingham; J. Collins; Pfeffer & Sutton
A FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP

   ―Every time the ______ goes to a
    conference, the teachers get worried,
    because they know he’s going to come
    back with something he wants to try.‖

                     Tom Guskey
FOCUS:

   Borax—safety FIRST


   Hospital—life-saving solution


   Flowing Wells S.D./Orange Grove M.S.
                 (both in Tucson, Arizona)
II. ”First Things” Simplified
REASONABLE IMPLEMENTATION OF:

1. Guaranteed Curriculum

2. Authentic, College-prep Literacy

3. Effective Lessons

ONCE FULLY MASTERED, we may
 judiciously pilot evidence-based
 innovations
“GUARANTEED & VIABLE
CURRICULUM”
   NUMBER ONE factor (Marzano)

   “Content-rich curriculum” learned
    primarily through purposeful reading/writing
    (Hirsch; D. Willingham; David Liben)

   ―viable‖ curriculum = more time for
    reading; writing; talking @content =
    gains in reading, college preparation
 Do  America’s schools now ensure
 that a coherent, ―guaranteed,‖
 literacy-rich curriculum
 actually gets taught?
GUARANTEED, CONTENT-RICH
CURRICULUM? BRUTAL FACTS:

    ROSENHOLTZ: teachers provide a
     “self-selected jumble” of standards

    BERLINER/WALBERG: wild variation from
     teacher to teacher; no alignment with agreed-
     upon curriculum/standards

    GOODLAD; LITTLE; SIZER; ALLINGTON;
     CALKINS: “curricular chaos" in Eng./Language
     arts
Common Core standards:
BETTER, but…
   STILL need to be reduced/clarified
    (Reeves; Ainsworth; Schmoker)

   NEVER PILOTED (Conley/Ravitch)


    SO: until Common Core
    assessments arrive…
    CURRICULUM/LITERACY
   CURRICULUM CONTENT learned via reading,
    writing, discussion in these modes:

   draw inferences and conclusions
   analyze conflicting source documents
   solve complex problems with no obvious answer
   support ARGUMENTS with evidence

    Multiple 3-5 page papers & ―far more books,
    articles & essays‖
                  College Knowledge by David Conley
    CURRICULUM

   MAP Essential 50-60% of standards/topics
    – Divide by grading period (approximate time per standard)
   Select Common READINGS (for each standard—to
    discuss and write about)
     – Textbook: specific pages for each topic (vs. chapters)
     – Hist./Sci. documents; news/magazine articles; data sets
     – Generate questions/tasks for each reading to argue;
       infer; resolve conflicting texts; problem-solve

   Define parameters for Common WRITINGS
    – Number/length (e.g. Two 3-4 page papers a semester)
   Identify topics for “Interactive Lecture” where
    students frequently note-take; review notes; discuss
2. AUTHENTIC LITERACY

 Literacy is ―the spine that holds
 everything together in all subject
 areas …‖
        Phillips & Wong, Gates Foundation

 E.D. Hirsch
 Rafe Esquith
 Thomas Friedman
AUTHENTIC LITERACY?
“Reading & Writing vs. „stuff‟ ratio”
(Allington)


   ―Literature based Arts and Crafts‖ (Calkins):
    – dioramas; game boards; worksheets;
      posters; coats-of-arms; mobiles; movies;
      cutting, gluing; coloring; drawing;
      designing book jackets; skits; collages
  FAUX LITERACY
Learn about (__ grade):
 Irregular plurals
 Silent e
 I before e
 Words ending in –y; -ed; -ing


8th grade:
Ms. Brill was disappointed when (a., b., c., or d.?)
Ms. Brill’s fur collar is a symbol of (a., b., c., or d.?)
    FAUX LITERACY

   Compare & contrast structure of texts and
    analyze how the differing structure of each
    text contributes to its meaning and style

   Analyze how the points of view of the
    characters and audience or reader (e.g.
    created through the use of dramatic irony)
    create effects like suspense or humor
            8th grade Common Core--Reading
ALTERNATIVE:
--50-80% of CURRICULUM --
READ, DISCUSS & WRITE ABOUT
INCREASINGLY COMPLEX FIC/NON-FIC TO:
   draw inferences and conclusions
   analyze conflicting source documents
   support ARGUMENTS with evidence
   solve complex problems with no obvious answer
    (all in common core)
READ “far more” books, articles & essays‖
WRITE multiple 3-5 page papers every year
                  College Knowledge by David Conley
WRITING: HOW IMPORTANT?
   ―There are no silver bullets in education. But
    …non-fiction writing is about as close as you
    can get to a single strategy that has significant
    effects in nearly every area of the curriculum.‖
                         Doug Reeves


   ―If we could institute only one change to make
    students more college ready, it should be to
    increase the amount and quality of
    writing* students are expected to produce.‖
                         David Conley
                         College Knowledge
 LITERACY TEMPLATE:
 ACROSS THE CURICULUM
 (up to 80% of curriculum, in ALL subjects)
I.    TEACH VOCAB./Provide background of text
       --Provide question or prompt:
II. ”MODEL‖ critical reading/underlining/annotating
     --Students individually annotate 1-3 paragraphs 
      --pair/share annotations…as teacher
       continuously “checks for understanding”
III. REPEAT above until…?
IV.   DISCUSS: in pairs/small group  as a class
V.     WRITE: short/long; scored— or not
SIMPLE, college-prep
literacy

   Rafe Esquith

   Tempe Prep

   View Park H.S.

   Lynn Abeln
3. EFFECTIVE LESSONS…
Clarified

 All teachers and administrators in
 a district or school building should
 be able to describe effective
 teaching in a similar way.

             Robert Marzano
    EFFECTIVE LESSONS and
    “INTERACTIVE LECTURE”
   Clear standard/backward design (revise paper for
    ―word choice‖; apply mean, median, mode)
   Teach; model/”think aloud”
   Guided practice--& lots of think/pair/share)
   Multiple checks for understanding
    (―formative assessment‖)
   Independent practice/assessment
    Hunter; Popham; Marzano; Fisher & Frye; Lemov; Burns;
    Archer; Wiliam
    IMPACT of such lessons…?
   “Largest gains ever recorded” in the history of
    educational research (Popham)
   3 consecutive years: life-changing gains—
     – 35-50 percentile points
   DYLAN WILIAM:
    – Extra 6-9 months per yr./400% faster learning
    – 20-30 x as effective as the most popular
      current initiatives (like…?)
   Ohio State; Sean Connors
SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
in the Professional Learning Community



    ―No institution can survive if it needs
     geniuses or supermen to manage
     it. It must be organized to get
     along under a leadership of average
     human beings.‖
                       Peter Drucker
MONITOR      1. INSTRUCTION and
2. COMMON, COLLEGE-PREP CURRICULUM

LEADERS (administrators, dept. heads) must
1. Conduct at least one unannounced
classroom walk-through each month, looking
for patterns* of strength/weakness with regard to…
– Clear focus on essential standards
– College prep: critical reasoning/higher-order
  reading, writing, thinking
– Essential elements of an effective lesson
  (e.g. ―check for understanding‖)
  *September:‖4/15 teaching essential curriculum‖
LEADERSHIP:              Team Management
            (D. Reeves; R. Marzano; R. DuFour)



QUARTERLY CURRICULUM REVIEW:
Leaders & Teams discuss…

  quarterly/unitassessments (success rate;
      areas of strength/weakness)

  scored   papers/projects (weak/strong
  areas)
CONCLUSION: SIMPLE
WHAT: core content, learned through college-prep
  reading, discussion and writing
  +
HOW: reasonably effective lessons delivered consistently,
  in every classroom/subject area
  =
RECORD NUMBERS of successful students

OUR CHOICE: DO WE WANT…
20-30% ready for college/careers
80%+ ready for college/careers
III. ELEVATING THE
     ESSENTIALS
        in the
   Core Disciplines
    LANGUAGE ARTS CURRICULUM
    GENERATE COMMON LIST/NUMBER OF:
   quality fic/non-fic books (10-15?) plus articles, poems, etc.
         --divide by grading period
   papers* of ___ length (per grading period)
   for all of above: generate questions/tasks to argue;
    infer; resolve conflicting texts; problem-solve
    (College Knowledge)

    FOR ALL ABOVE: LESSONS/MODELING on HOW TO:
   Underline/annotate; cite & explain supporting text
   participate in Socratic discussions
    …hundreds of times per year, 2nd-12th grade
                          *PAPERS AS PRIMARY ELA ASSESSMENTS
SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM

Literacy is the key word; the
teaching of history should
have reading and writing
at its core.
     Sam Wineburg, Stanford University
     Social Studies Stud
    SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM
   MAP Essential 1/2 to 2/3 of standards/topics
   Select Common READINGS (for discussion and writing)
     – Textbook: specific pages for each topic (vs. chapters)
     – Historical/primary/current documents (___ per week?)
     – Generate questions/tasks to argue; infer; resolve
       conflicting texts; problem-solve (College Knowledge)

   Define parameters for Common WRITINGS
    – Number/length (e.g. Two 3-4 page papers a semester)
   Identify topics for “Interactive Lecture”
    --i.e. note-take; review notes; discuss every few minutes
   Build Common quarterly/unit assessments (50+ %
    written/essay format)
SCIENCE CURRICULUM

“Being science literate entails being
able to read and understand a
variety of science texts to form valid
conclusions and participate in
meaningful conversations about
science”
            National Research Council 2008
      SCIENCE CURRICULUM
   MAP CORE CONTENT/UNITS & LABS by grading period
    (with common quarterly/unit assessments)
   SELECT COMMON READINGS: Textbooks (selected
    pgs.); 20-30 science articles (TIME for Kids; The WEEK,
    e.g. theweek.com/article/index/27340/breifing-rethinking-nuclear-power )

   TEACH/MODEL (i.e. “think-aloud”)
    --in-class reading/note-taking;
    --discussion/debate; write to explain; argue; resolve;
    problem-solve
   Identify topics for Interactive Lecture (note-take;
    review notes; discuss in pairs)
   Create common assessments (50+% written)
    Writing/note-taking in Science: from 25%  90% success; D.Reeves)
MATHEMATICS CURRICULUM

 Math teachers need to focus on the
 interplay of numbers and words,
 on expressing quantitative
 relationships in meaningful
 sentences. To make mathematics
 meaningful, all three Rs must be
 well blended in each student’s mind

                  Lynn Steen
    21st Century Mathematics
   Map Core Content by grading period
   Identify opportunities to explain, apply, solve open-
    ended/extended-response problems orally & in writing
   Select readings from: math text (pages/word
    problems); data sets (sports; demographics;
    news/magazine articles, e.g. ―Best.Decade.Ever.‖ by
    Charles Kenny) and write about them
   Always teach with FREQUENT think/pair/share and
    “checks for understanding” (Burns)
Math: Read, Write, Talk


 ―I can no longer imagine teaching
 math without making writing an
 integral aspect of students’
 learning.‖
                 Marilyn Burns
Math: Read, Write, Talk
READ: Teach/model close reading of math
 text/word problems (Shanahans)
WRITE (from Marilyn Burns):
   I think that the answer is _____ .

   I think this because ______.

   I figured this out by ____

DISCUSS: in pairs  whole class
FOCUS

   Describe/explain impact of ―first things‖
   Clarify, Clarify, Clarify
   Monitor & measure implementation in
    simple, time-efficient ways
   Clarify/Repeat/reinforce incessantly
   Improve in team-based PLCs
FIRST…

REVIEW/REDUCE ―BRAND NAME‖
 PROGRAMS, which often

   interrupt coherent curriculum
   are multiple choice/worksheet-driven
   reduce time spent reading complex text
   impede implementation of FIRST THINGS
    READ, TALK and WRITE in
    response to lit./non-fiction
   EVALUATE CHARACTERS/LESSONS/THEMES:
    –   Jack & the Beanstalk
    –   Stone Fox; Harry Potter
    –   Kite Runner; Hills Like White Elephants
    –   Non-fiction: Night; 3 Cups of Tea


   ARGUE/INTERPRET
    --Because I Could Not Stop for Death (Poem)
    --Best. Decade. Ever. (Essay by Charles Kenny)
    EXAMPLES: Social Studies
     “CLOSE READING”

    TEXTBOOK (selected pages)
   (Elementary) Would you prefer to be a Mayan or an
    Aztec (pp.12-16)?
   (Middle/H.S.) Make case for the South in Civil War
    (pp.443—467)

    PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS
    Do you Agree/disagree:
   General Sherman on “Total War”
   Plessy v. Ferguson--majority opinion

    NEWS/EDITORIALS/MAGAZINES (TIME for Kids)
     PRO-CON: Afghan war; health care;
    “Best. Decade. Ever.” (C. Kenny)
    SCIENCE: “Task, Text and Talk”

   TEXTBOOK: Explain similarities and
    differences between plant & animal cells;
    meiosis/mitosis (explanation/argument)

   TEXTBOOK/ARTICLES: Cite text to
    argue for/against @ current
    problems/issues (stem cells; nuclear
    energy; gum-chewing; multi-tasking)
       --in TIME for Kids; The WEEK)
    TEAM TASKS
   Write student-friendly learning targets/objectives

   Help each other find/select readings
     – Develop good questions/prompts for readings

   Develop effective anticipatory sets/advanced organizers

   Identify and address anticipated difficulties in learning targets

   Develop common unit/lesson assessments

   Refine ―interactive‖ lecture/s (note-taking; discussion; review
    of notes etc.)

								
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