What has happened today… | Pedro

Today Paul Kirschner, Casper Hulshof and myself have published a new book. But wait before you start looking for it, it’s only available in Dutch for now.  But don’t panic, 2 weeks ago we submitted the English version to the publisher. We explored and examined over 30 new myths again using the 3 labels from our first book (myth, nuanced and we don’t know because lack of research).

I’ll keep you posted about the different release dates of the English version hopefully later this year!

Oh, and Augustijn released his first album also today. Why do I mention that? Well, guess who was the…

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Could you pass a teacher licensing test? | Joanne

Via Education Week, here are sample questions from the Praxis exam for would-be elementary teachers. I got ’em all.

1. Which of the following is true of qualitative measures of text complexity?

A. They describe statistical measurements of a text.

B. They rely on computer algorithms to describe text.

C. They involve attributes that can be measured only by human readers.

D. They account for the different motivational levels readers bring to texts.

“The correct answer is C. The qualitative attributes are subjective and can only be evalauted by a human reader (i.e. “predictability of…

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Parental Alienation and Recovered Memory: Some Parallels | Jean Mercer

In the 1990s, the United States and other countries saw much excitement about the idea of recovered memories (RM) and associated psychological treatments. The basic idea of RM was that memories of traumatic childhood experiences can become unavailable to conscious experience in one of several ways, but can continue through unconscious influence to make the victim unhappy or unable to function normally. RM therapists said they could help people recover their lost memories of traumatic events, after which they would feel better, and if possible confront those responsible for their trauma….

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Knowledge matters for elementary teachers | Joanne

Only 46 percent of would-be elementary teachers pass the most widely used licensing exam on their first try. After multiple attempts, 75 percent of white teacher candidates, 57 percent of Hispanics and 38 percent of blacks pass the test.

In A Fair Chance, the National Council on Teacher Quality blames teacher preparation programs for failing to teach content knowledge.

Only 3 percent require courses that  provide foundational knowledge in science and 27 percent in math, according to the report, which analyzed 817 teacher education programs. Only half “require an adequate course in…

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Nurses, academics and responsibilities | Greg Foley

The recent nurses’ strike was interesting in that it was not just about pay but about the overall quality and safety of our health service. Nurses didn’t want to go on strike (who would ?) but felt they had no choice even if to do so would, in the short term, impact negatively on patient welfare. They were looking at the big picture and taking a long term view.

Likewise, while academics’ primary responsibility is to their current students, they also have a responsibility to ensure that the integrity of the higher education system is maintained.  That can create a conflict: do I offend…

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“Because, But, So” Goes 2.0 with Direct Quotations | Doug Lemov


I had a great meeting yesterday with ace curriculum developer Jen Rugani to discuss lesson plans she’s been developing for our unit on Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In the course of the meeting, we developed a new application for one of our favorite developmental writing exercises.

The exercise is called Because, But, So and it comes from Judith Hochman’s amazing book the Writing Revolution. In our curriculum we typically have students complete a Because, But, So after reading or discussing an important passage from a book. We give them a ‘kernel sentence’–a simple…

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The Offline Implications Of The Research About Online Charter Schools | mdicarlo

It’s rare to find an educational intervention with as unambiguous a research track record as online charter schools. Now, to be clear, it’s not a large body of research by any stretch, its conclusions may change in time, and the online charter sub-sector remains relatively small and concentrated in a few states. For now, though, the results seem incredibly bad (Zimmer et al. 2009; Woodworth et al. 2015). In virtually every state where these schools have been studied, across virtually all student subgroups, and in both reading and math, the estimated impact of online charter schools on student…

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Quiet, please | Joanne

In noisy classrooms, hearing words is harder for young children than it is for adults, concludes a newly published study.

Background noise can lower achievement warns another study conducted in a large, high-poverty urban school district.

“Urban schools often face higher background noise—with bigger class sizes, older concrete buildings that magnify sound, and sites closer to heavily traveled roads—than suburban or rural schools,” writes Sarah D. Sparks in Education Week. “Researchers found the average noise level in the schools was 63.7 decibels and hit highs of 85 decibels, from…

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When silence is golden | Joanne

Students start and end the school day with 15 minutes of Quiet Time at Brooklyn Urban Garden School.

Classrooms should be busy, buzzing places “filled with student-centered collaboration, problem solving, and personalized learning,” or so teachers are told, writes teacher Jon Gustafson, who blog as Mr. G Mpls. But, sometimes, he argues, silence is golden.

 I utilize turn-and-talks, think/pair/share, control-the-game reading, cold-calling, and student-led discussions to engage and develop student voice and language. I often even give “talking breaks” at the end of lessons. But during…

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