Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Textbooks on iPads

You may have heard the recent announcement by Apple about iBooks2 which will also release textbooks from various companies.  Here are some articles about the announcement and information from Apple:




Of course, there will be many questions about using textbooks on iPads.  Here's a link to an article that discusses findings from one group using iPad texts...check it out.


Monday, January 30, 2012


Here are handouts from a session on Technology in the 21st century: 


I didn't actually attend this session, but in looking at the handouts it had some interesting information.  If you want to explore tech resources currently available--the PDF above is a great start!

Here's an interesting quote I found in the material:

Interest is one of the best predictors of achievement across a variety of domains.
When students enjoy tasks, they are intrinsically motivated to do well.  Both interests and personal relevance produce intrinsic value for a student.
(Siegle, Rubenstein, Pollard, & Romey, 2010)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Today Became a Great Day When You Arrived...

Can you imagine seeing that each day as a student when you arrive in your classroom?  What a powerful message!  One of the High Ability presentations I attended at the conference talked about the book Mindset.  Have you read it yet?  More to come on that in future posts...but for now, check out these handouts on differentiation:





Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ted Talks

Ever wondered how to include some great Ted Talks into your instruction?  Check out this resource:


And if you are wondering about Ted Talks--check out this website and prepare to dive into tons of interesting content!  http://www.ted.com/

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Have you heard of Voicethread? I learned about it at the High Ability conference. I love technology, but this one was new to me. It's stored in the cloud, easy to use, allows presentations to have narration and teacher interaction. The assignments are collected right in the program. Kids can hear and see teacher comments and markings. These comments and markings are visible to parents, too. You don't have to save things in folders, it is all searchable. Research shows that memory retention increases to 65% when voice and visual is combined.

There are free teacher accounts if you want to explore...

I will post more information when the speaker handouts are posted!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

High Ability Conference

I'm at the High Ability conference right now talking about questioning techniques and how to present to digital learners. Interesting dialogue! The presenter is talking about using clips from Ted (which I love!) to stimulate discussion.  Here's a link to her handout:  http://www.iag-online.org/resources/IAG-2012_Socratic-Seminar_handout.pdf

Online Courses

Did you know that Tony Bennett wants to make it mandatory for all students to take one online course prior to graduation?  I learned that Monday at my High Ability Conference. 

I'm struggling with this one.  One, I don't like things that are mandatory.  This means that I have to sort through my feelings about if I am upset because I don't like online learning or angry because someone has said it has to happen.

I'm not opposed to online learning...if it is done well.  I think I have seen too many examples of online learning not being an effective delivery of instruction that I'm hesitant to say everyone should do it.  I'm also cautious of mandating this type of learning when I don't think every student is cut out to be successful in an online environment.

We will see where this desire of Tony Bennett lands...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Great Teachers make all the Difference!

We made it to Friday--and a records day for teachers.  As you are working on finishing up the quarter and semester, I think it's a great time to remember what a difference great teachers make in the lives of kids.  While I know there's lots of talk about linking student growth to evaluations and this article mentions value added measures--I think the study reminds us in the big picture of how important teachers are in the lives of students.  Teachers--thank you for the hard work you do each day to make a difference not only in student achievement, but also in the lives of kids!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Race to the Top

Ever wonder what happened to the states that applied for and got dollars for Race to the Top?  Me too!  In my book, there's not yet a ton of data out there documenting success or failure--it will be interesting to continue to watch what is to come.  Here's a link to reports published by state and overall updates on Race to the Top.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

12 Education Activists for 2012

Here's an interesting read from Time Magazine about 12 people they are identifying as people to watch in 2012 for education.  Click the arrow at the top to read about each one...since it took me a moment to figure it out that must be at least one of the reasons (I'm sure there are many) why I didn't make that list!  :)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Learning and the Young Child

Here’s an interesting article (http://www.economist.com/node/18741484)  about instruction and the young child.  Interesting findings…how would you alter instruction based on this study?  If you would like to read the full research article—you can find it here:  http://louisville.edu/psychology/shafto/files/bonawitzShaftoEtal11.pdf

Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking for Apps for Students with Special Needs?

Here is a great website designed to help find great apps for students with special needs.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Schools in Finland

It's interesting to read about what is happening in schools across the world.  I stumbled across this article and found it to be an interesting look into how teachers instruct, what they value in instruction, assessment, and equity.

It's a quick read...and it made me stop and think!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Illustrative Math Project

Here's something to keep your eye on--it's called the Illustrative Math Project.  (http://illustrativemathematics.org/) The goal of this group is to provide guidance on the implementation of the Common Core Standards in math.  If you click on the link to the content standards with illustrations and click to see only standards with illustrations you will find some great help in unpacking what these Common Core Standards mean.  This website will continue to grow--definitely one to watch!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Common Core Standards for Parents

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has published a parent guide for the Common Core Standards by grade level.  This might be a tool that could be useful to share with parents!  You can access it here:  http://www.pta.org/4446.htm

Monday, January 9, 2012

Interesting Peek into an English Classroom

Here’s an interesting blog post on “Life in a Inquiry Driven, Technology-Embedded, Connected Classroom: English.”  Project based and technology embedded—this is how one teacher gets the job done.

Friday, January 6, 2012

PARCC Assessments

I'm sure many of you have been hearing about the new PARCC assessments which will be used to assess Common Core Standards in just a few short years.  PARCC recently put out a FAQ that I found to be facinating--and you may, too!  Check it out at http://www.parcconline.org/sites/parcc/files/PARCC%20Item%20Development%20ITN%20FAQs%20-%2012-30-11.pdf

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome to the my new blog!

Welcome to the new Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment blog and resource area for the Valparaiso Community Schools.  I will be working hard to provide easy to find resources for you here.  My goal is to provide a one stop shop where you can find links easily to the things you need and also to help keep you up to date on things happening around the country and around the world.  If you have a blog reader you use--you may wish to subscribe to this blog to watch for future posts.  If you have ideas for things you would like to see or read about--you can email me at sschmidt@valpo.k12.in.us or post a response to this message!