Welcome to the Spring 2022 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, the Reading Expert resurfaces an important topic related to the language comprehension portion of Scarborough’s Reading Rope—language structures, or syntax.

The Marvelous Mathematician explores how developing teachers as self-directed learners can help organizations make the necessary changes in teaching approaches to support the increased emphasis on exploration and investigation through equitable and engaging school experiences outlined in many of the new math frameworks and standards that are being adopted.

In the Leadership Corner, you’ll find resources to help navigate next steps in hiring, training, and retaining teachers and other school staff in a time of higher-than-usual vacancies.

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Mary Buck, M.S.by Mary Buck, M.S., CORE Educational Services Consultant — Math

Over the last few years, I’ve worked to support elementary teachers across several states with the teaching and learning of mathematics. Many times, the most meaningful activities I model in classrooms are those that build fluency and number sense. Almost everyone believes that learning how to read and being able to read fluently with comprehension are extremely important. Although I am not an expert on the teaching of reading, I do know that to be able to read, I must know the letters of the alphabet and how they are put together to form words that have meaning. Fluency with numbers and having number sense are every bit as important as reading fluency and comprehension. In fact, research shows that early academic skills in reading and math are significant predictors of future academic success (Torgesen & Burgess, 1998; Watts et al., 2014). Students who struggle with math coming out of the primary grades continue to struggle with math the rest of their school careers. (more…)

Welcome to the Winter 2022 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, the Reading Expert provides recommendations for Tier 2 reading interventions in a time when universal screening data show that upwards of 80 percent of first- and second-grade students are performing below grade level on foundational literacy skills.

The Marvelous Mathematician shares an excerpt from Kyndall Brown and Pamela Seda’s book, Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom.

In the Leadership Corner, you’ll find an overview of the academic and behavior instructional resources available from Vanderbilt University’s IRIS Center.

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By Cyndia Acker-Ramirez and Katie Laskasky

Teacher Practice Teams (TPTs) engage in collaborative inquiry to advance students’ sense of belonging and achievement in mathematics through professional learning routines that embrace teacher creativity and ownership of instructional decisions.

Imagine a thriving team of math teachers, impassioned about growing students’ belonging in their math classroom communities and empowered to take ownership of their instructional decisions. Not only is the team doing the work of understanding and relating to individual students, with regard to both learning mathematics and their growth as human beings, but the team also feels that its instructional decisions have purpose and that it has autonomy in moving students through math learning obstacles. Team members make complex instructional decisions shaped by the dynamic classroom environments in which they teach.

Wouldn’t it be great if a team of teachers could engage in professional learning that provided them with regular and specific feedback on how their actions are affecting their students? Wouldn’t it also be great if these learning experiences were embedded in the teachers’ school day, providing a process for quickly gathering evidence that they trust and can use to inform the complex decision-making that occurs in their classrooms on a daily basis? What if we centered teachers’ professional learning experiences around opportunities to creatively think about instruction and use curricular resources to grow the math classroom communities they are seeking? (more…)

Educators know that many students will need targeted instruction next school year to close gaps in reading. But that’s not enough. Educators need to know exactly where every student is at with specific reading skills, like phonics, so that instruction can target the exact skills students need support with. That’s where reliable assessment data comes in.

In this 20-minute video, Drs. Michelle Hosp and Louisa Moats discuss why even if remote learning is still occurring, you need to continue to assess students’ reading skills. They also provide recommendations to help ensure that remote reading assessments provide the data needed to guide instruction and close gaps. (more…)

Near the start of the 2020-21 school year, El Rancho Charter Middle School in Anaheim, California, opened its doors to a hybrid model of instruction, with some students attending classes in person and some students attending simultaneously online. In this interview with Dean Ballard, CORE’s Director of Mathematics, principal Michele Walker shares the experiences at El Rancho with hybrid instruction this year — the ups and downs, challenges and successes, and tips for other educators using or considering this model of instruction. (more…)

Linda Diamondby Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures

“Once you learn to read you will be forever free.” Frederick Douglass

As I get ready to retire from CORE in late December, I have been looking back at all of those who guided us along the way. CORE started inside an education, public policy think tank because of the willingness and vision of my then boss, Paul Berman. He, in turn, was urged by Marion Joseph, a grandmother with political acumen and a former California state board of education member, who saw the damage being done to children in California who were not learning to read. Bill Honig, California’s former superintendent, Anne Cunningham, Sheila Mandel, and Ruth Nathan and I took a leap in 1995 and decided to create what was first called the Consortium on Reading Excellence (now known as CORE, Inc.). We knew that a strong body of research existed, then over 30 years’ worth, but it had not made its way into the field. California’s reading scores were awful and whole language was the main approach. (more…)

Like many educators, teacher/consultant David Hedges has been teaching his 7th graders using a hybrid model this school year. Each day, Mr. Hedges has students sitting at socially distanced desks in his classroom as well as students joining by Zoom. Watch the 30-minute conversation with CORE’s Director of Mathematics, Dean Ballard, to learn Mr. Hedge’s tips for keeping students engaged both online and in person, about collaboration tools to support hybrid instruction, and how to build community among students learning in different locations.

Dean BallardBy Dean Ballard, Director of Mathematics, CORE

Remote instruction has moved to the top of almost everyone’s list of concerns. We are asking ourselves how to do it, will students be there, what will actually be learned, and what will this mean when we return to face-to-face instruction? I cannot tackle all of this in one blog; however, I will share a few of the techniques we have been using in the last few months to create high levels of engagement online.

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Nancy McGivneyBy Nancy McGivney, Senior Educational Services Specialist, CORE

In one of my favorite movies, The Gods Must Be Crazy, there were two side characters who drove the jeep in their guerrilla warfare army. Whenever there was a stop in the movement forward, they’d pull out a deck of cards and get back into whatever game they were playing. I totally relate to them. I’m happy to carry around a deck of UNO cards and keep a running game going. Card games are good for more than occupying time; they are also great for developing math skills. During this time of school closures, card games are an excellent way to continue to develop math skills at home and make use of resources likely available. (more…)