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Articles from July 2016

July 22- Update on Visible Learning for Literacy Institute

Members of the Curriculum & Instruction Team, along with board members from the Teaching & Learning Committee, attended the Visible Learning for Literacy Institute on July 13, 2016. The focuses of the Institute included:

  • Understanding the three phases of learning and the unique importance of each:
    • surface,
    • deep,
    • transfer
  • Learning which literacy practices have the greatest impact on student growth (and which have the least) and how to implement high impact practices at the right phase in a student’s learning
  • Developing a plan for measuring one’s impact on literacy learning.

The foundation of the Institute was based on Hattie’s 2009 synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses.

“Nearly all the things teachers do work when we ask what improves student achievement. But only a few things work at ensuring that students gain a full year’s worth of growth for a year of enrollment in school, and we think it’s time we focused on what works, what doesn’t work, and what can’t hurt.” (Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Hattie, J. (2016). Visible Learning for Literacy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.)

The attendees continue to dig into the research presented to determine impact and implementation in the Ames schools, including sharing our learning with others, including the Word Study Team.

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July 16, 2016 – Brief Update

Members of the Curriculum & Instruction Team, along with board members from the Teaching & Learning Committee, attended the Visible Learning for Literacy Institute in Washington DC this week. A summary will be posted in next week’s blog.

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July 7, 2016- Curriculum leaders meet with Iowa Reading Research Center directors

IRRC-LogoAmes curriculum leaders met with Dr. Deborah Reed, Director, and Dr. Sandy Schmitz, Assistant Director of the Iowa Reading Research Center, on June 23, 2016, to seek input relative to the work of the Word Study Team. Topics covered included the gap analysis done by the Word Study Team and the need for clearly articulated scope and sequence, as identified by the Word Study Team, including phonological awareness, phonics, and spelling.

We also discussed the importance of a clear sequence of systematic lessons that build from easier to more difficult skills in a purposeful and explicit manner. This needs to include diagnostic information so teachers can identify a student’s areas of need and adjust instruction accordingly. Dr. Reed has shared a rubric to assist in review of support materials.

We are also seeking input from the Iowa Department of Education, as they may have a rubric for reviewing support materials. (At this time, they’ve shared a rubric for intervention materials, which has some elements that may be useful.)

Dr. Reed also shared some resources regarding small group instruction and use of the 90-minute reading block, to be shared with the Word Study Team this fall.

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Student-created marketing videos showcase district strengths

Imagine Ames High School students so proud of their school district, they volunteered to design marketing campaigns to spotlight the value of the Ames education experience. Students in Vicki Hale’s business classes collaborated on an assignment that combined project-based learning with a chance to promote the Ames Community School District’s academic, athletic and extracurricular opportunities. These videos are examples.

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