As I continue my student teaching, it seems that I don’t make the time to update this very regularly! I’ve been busy planning and teaching mini-units in fifth grade science and math, running a literacy intervention group as part of a local Community Learning Lab, running writing conferences and math small groups, learning to differentiate for diverse learners, building up my classroom management and student-teacher relationships, and reading professional development books… just to name a few (Two literacy resources I found super useful for planning my literacy instruction have been Interventions that Work by Linda Dorn and Carla Soffos and When Readers Struggle by Fountas & Pinnell… both are staying on my bookshelf for sure).
Although I haven’t been trying too hard to keep this blog up-to-date, I have been trying to stay up-to-date with research-based practices. This seems to be a dizzying feat since there is always new research coming out telling us “the next big thing” in education. One great site I found this quarter is What Works Clearinghouse. It’s a site full of third-party, peer-reviewed (read: not paid for by the curriculum companies themselves) research on curricula and common practices and their effect on student learning.
Screenshot from What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) of a curriculum’s quick evaluation screen. The information is easy to access and a more detailed report is also available.
I’ve used WWC to find research-based classroom management strategies, to evaluate the curricula my cooperating teacher’s school uses, and to evaluate various reading and writing interventions as a part of my literacy intervention group. The site is easy to navigate and the research is presented in a way that is quickly accessible, but also provides enough detail for me to make an informed decision. It’s a great tool to reflect on how my own practices as a fledgling teacher match up to what researchers know and are learning about how students learn best. This is a resource I highly recommend all teaching professionals use to continue their professional development and make the right choices for their teaching.