Professional Growth

professional-development

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     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.  Each evaluation includes the curriculum's effectiveness, the strength of evidence supporting that rating, and a link to a full report of the findings.

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.

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