5 ways to use inquiry-based learning to make math more relevant

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One of the joys of being an educator is embracing all the differences every student brings to the classroom, while teaching them to celebrate those unique traits in themselves and each other. Yet, schools have only recently started using math instruction incorporating students’ perspectives and experiences, through approaches like inquiry-based problem-solving.

We say “recently” because the traditional approach to math instruction — where teachers demonstrate the procedures to solve problems while students memorize and practice them — goes back decades. It is how most of the educators teaching math today remember learning math themselves. That’s not to say we should abandon the procedural aspects of math; quite the opposite. Research indicates that procedural and conceptual knowledge develop iteratively. They build upon each other: Increases in one type of knowledge lead to increases in the other.…Read More

Lightspeed Launches Networked Instructional Audio Platform, Cascadia, Enabling Teacher-Centric Communication for School Success and Safety

TUALATIN, Ore./PRNewswire-PRWeb/ —  Lightspeed, the leading provider of instructional audio solutions that create equal access to learning, announces the launch of Cascadia. Cascadia, a networked instructional audio platform, effortlessly projects the teacher’s voice within the classroom while also empowering teachers to call for help and communicate outside of the classroom directly from their lanyard microphone.

Cascadia delivers all the benefits of instructional audio and integrates with existing life-safety and building communication systems, providing the ability to initiate mobile, silent emergency alerts and make two-way calls to the office from anywhere in the building.

“The need for teachers to communicate with resources outside of the classroom continues to grow, whether in an emergency or simply when help is needed,” said Shaun Fagan, Senior Vice President of Product and Lightspeed. “With Cascadia, schools can now meet this need by providing teachers with a communication tool that offers mobility, simplicity, and immediacy.”…Read More

What Technology Helps Students Learn?

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In the modern educational landscape, technology plays a pivotal role in shaping how students are learning in the digital age. From interactive apps to online platforms, edtech tools cater to diverse learning styles and enhance educational experiences. Let’s examine the transformative impact of specific technologies that empower students, fostering engagement, personalization, and skill development in the dynamic realm of learning.

What technology helps students learn?

Various types of technology play a crucial role in enhancing students’ learning experiences. Examples of technologies that improve student learning include adaptive learning platforms like Khan Academy, offering personalized instruction. Educational apps such as Duolingo engage students with interactive language learning. Virtual reality applications like Google Expeditions provide immersive experiences. Coding programs such as Scratch foster critical thinking and problem-solving. Online collaboration tools like Padlet encourage teamwork and discussion. Digital textbooks offer interactive content, and assistive technologies like speech-to-text tools support diverse learning needs, collectively creating a dynamic and enriched learning environment for students.…Read More

Wyoming Catholic School Partners with Global Edtech Leader to Enhance Instruction in Science and All Other Disciplines 

Charlotte, NC — Wyoming’s Holy Name Catholic School (HNCS) today announced a new multi-year partnership with global edtech leader Discovery Education. Thanks to this new collaboration, teachers across HNCS will soon have access to a suite of award-winning digital products that nurture curiosity and support their goal of implementing the first comprehensive STREAM program in a Wyoming Catholic school during the 2024-2025 school year. 

HNCS is in Sheridan, Wyoming, at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. HNCS’s dedicated staff views the world through the lens of faith and with curiosity, integrity, and courage. Seeking to educate the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—and prepare PK-5 students for the world beyond the classroom, HNCS’s team sought to enhance science instruction by integrating a comprehensive STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art, Math) curriculum. Discovery Education will help HNCS achieve this challenge by providing engaging STEM learning opportunities throughout the curriculum. 

To accomplish this, HNCS sought a suite of flexible, standards-aligned digital learning resources that were easy to integrate into instruction and had a proven record of quickly engaging students in science, STEM, and all other subjects. Following a careful review of available resources, HNCS selected the following products for use in the school’s PK-5 classrooms: …Read More

The science of reading, beyond phonics

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Schools across the country have been shifting their reading strategies to incorporate knowledge and best practices they have learned from the science of reading. More than 30 states have written legislation that requires schools to utilize scientifically researched instructional strategies.

The largest change most states will see as a result is a dramatic increase in explicit phonics instruction. As a result, an increasing number of students will be able to access grade-level texts.…Read More

What’s next for literacy learning?

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Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia now require science-based literacy instruction to be used in public schools. As educators and parents learn more about the science of reading, two recent polls reveal the alignment and the differences between their perspectives. A survey of parents and educators across the country reveals differing perspectives on the matter.

Shared focus on teacher training…Read More

3 simple strategies to supercharge student growth

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Differentiation is an essential part of effective teaching. As educators, we recognize that each of our students is on their own unique learning journey. Some are following their interests, others are preparing for a future career, while many more are just trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world.

Any teacher hoping to meet their students where they are and help them grow into active learners cannot rely on a one-size-fits-all method of instruction. Differentiation must play a key role in their teaching philosophy.…Read More

4 simple ways to put the science of reading into practice

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In districts across the country, educators are continuing to support students with post-pandemic learning recovery. Many students are still reading below the level appropriate for their grade–roughly one-third of fourth graders in the United States read at or below what’s considered the basic level. And unfortunately, even before the pandemic, reading achievement has been low over the past several decades.

Districts incorporating the science of reading into their curricula are seeing improved student outcomes. However, because the science of reading refers to broad research in a variety of fields on how a child learns to read, practical applications have not yet been widely taught to educators and there is a sizeable gap between theory and action.…Read More

Most states don’t actually know if teachers are qualified to teach reading

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  • States are using inadequate elementary reading licensure tests
  • States should transition to stronger tests and test providers should clearly identify weaknesses in tests
  • See related article: Teacher Q&A: Strengthening PD with AI
  • For more news on teacher prep, visit eSN’s Educational Leadership page

Most states (29 states and the District of Columbia) use a weak elementary teacher reading licensure test, meaning that they do not effectively measure teachers’ knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction prior to entering the classroom, according to a new analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

In fact, one state, Iowa, requires no reading licensure test at all. This shortcoming means that, every year, nearly 100,000 elementary teachers across the country enter classrooms with false assurances that they are ready to teach reading.…Read More

How we reached student success with assessment proficiency

Key points:

  • Assessment creation can be uncomfortable, but it is also one of the most important steps in accelerating student learning
  • Teachers are the only professionals who can most effectively build these assessments for their students
  • See related article: 4 engaging assessment ideas for middle and high school
  • For more news on assessment, visit eSN’s Innovative Teaching page

Teachers use a variety of methods to assess mastery of a topic. We use observations, quick formative assessments, longer summative assessments, and long-term benchmark assessments. The problem is that these assessments come in a variety of ways, depending on where you teach.

Many districts utilize pre-built assessments from curricular resource companies. Others build assessments based on curricular resources and change every 4-6 years with their new resource adoption cycles. Some will create assessments based on their state-approved learning standards and work to adapt the curricular resources to their true “curriculum” and assessments.…Read More

5 edtech resources that support literacy in elementary school

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Fall is the best time of year in Montana. The air is crisp, the colors are beautiful, and, as school has been in session for two months, students and teachers alike have settled into a nice routine. It is the time of year where we analyze the data from the first two months of school, tweak instruction to meet student needs, and accelerate our efforts to help our students achieve as much growth as possible. Just as in classrooms nationwide, Montana’s teachers place an intense focus on supporting literacy in elementary school instruction. 

As a veteran teacher of 17 years who has taught in both elementary and middle school classrooms, I have found that there are a number of powerful edtech tools available to support student literacy. My students love to be on the computers and get so excited when I say we are going to be doing a lesson online. However, I refuse to allow students to simply log screen time in my classroom. The tools and resources my students use must generate discussion and are often used in a team or partner setting, as I strongly believe that student interaction supports our instructional goals.…Read More