Posted March 30, 2020
by Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures
Ann Leon, CORE consultant specialist in Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics and Sight words (SIPPS) reading foundational skills program, could not leave Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s primary grade teachers and children without resources. Even when she was to leave and the schools were closing, Ann worked tirelessly with the district personnel to ensure that resources would be available for teachers to be able to continue teaching their children the SIPPS lessons remotely in small groups. She continues this support remotely today. Together, with Pajaro’s Lynda Pate, they created folders online to make accessing the SIPPS word lists easy, and they reviewed where materials for teaching the SIPPS lessons resided online. Even more important, they created packets for children to pick up when they came to the designated location to pick up their free meals. READ MORE
Posted March 18, 2020
by Susan Van Zant and Nancy Volpe, Educational Services Specialists, CORE
There is no mystery about time. Students attend school a set number of hours each week and days each year. At each grade level they have a lot of skills and knowledge to learn. Establishing specific times that reading and math are taught is a good beginning. However, if time is not used efficiently during the allocated periods, student learning time is lost. Often precious minutes slip away because good time management practices are not in place.
Ten minutes might not seem like much, but it can add up. For example, students take three minutes to enter the class and quiet down, the teacher waits two minutes while three students look for their materials, a student sharpens a pencil for a minute, one group needs three minutes to transition to another, and a class disruption lasts for a minute. It all adds up. Just 10 minutes a day adds up to 50 minutes a week. In a typical school year, it would add up to about 1,800 minutes. Divide that 1,800 minutes a year by 180 days of school, and that is the equivalent of 10 school days lost. READ MORE
Posted March 12, 2020
Implementing a new curriculum is a challenging process. Often the organization, layout, and even the instructional approach can be drastically different from the previously used curriculum. Change takes time, especially if that change includes learning new instructional practices. Taguma and Barrera (2019) cite teacher commitment, beliefs, and content and pedagogical understanding of the new curriculum as key factors that either facilitate or impede successful curriculum implementation. READ MORE
Posted March 5, 2020
Every day, we wake up to new stories about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). More than a decade ago, there were similar headlines about another pandemic, the swine flu (H1N1), as it spread from Mexico into the United States.
At that time, I oversaw student services, including nursing and medical services, for the San Diego Unified School District, the second largest school district in California. Because of our proximity to the Mexico border, we were on the front line of the pandemic.
Sure enough, one of our students was one of the first people infected with H1N1 in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flew a team to San Diego. As more cases appeared, they ordered the closure of two high schools and a middle school. Fortunately, we had planned for that possibility.
The lives of our parents and students were disrupted for a few days. But when no new cases appeared, and the threat H1N1 receded, life returned to normal. As I look back on that experience, there are four lessons I’d offer school district leaders today.
Posted February 24, 2020
by Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of Teaching Reading Sourcebook
When I was seven years old, my mother and father brought home my newly adopted baby brother, Larry. Right from the start, I thought that he was mine and that it was my job to protect him and love him. And I tried. But he was not an easy child, and as he grew older he was always in trouble and sometimes violent, even breaking car windows on the neighbor’s car and hitting another neighbor with a baseball bat. He was angry all the time, but I didn’t know why. However, when he was in seventh grade I realized that he couldn’t read and that every day at school was another day of rage and embarrassment. He brought those feelings home with him. Not one of his teachers tried to help and my parents were at a loss, so I, a high school student and knowing very little, tried to help him. I taught him letters and then I did flash cards, and we would laboriously sound out easy words. Often after a really bad day at school he would crawl into my bed and let me read to him. And during those quiet times, he would ask, “Why am I like this?” I had no answer. READ MORE