So why aren’t your students publishing their own books? Part II

ABCs Human Body
ABCs Human Body

It’s been nearly a year since I first raised that question. In case you haven’t heard – print on demand technology has made it possible to produce beautiful hard cover and paperback books without minimum runs or prohibitive upfront costs. During the last year, I have helped teachers from across the country get started on digital publishing. Kids are motivated by producing books for an authentic audience. Publishing helps students master course content and develop project management and teamwork skills. The power of publishing enables students to think like writers, to apply their learning strategies and to organize and express their learning. It exemplifies the best of the information revolution –students as creators of content rather than as passive audience.

I find that a publishing project is a great way to ensure that my training workshops get put to use back in the classroom and result in teachers having the chance to reflect on their practice by looking at student work.

I continue to add material my website – Read>Think>Write>Publish. Go there and you’ll find downloadable template books and tech guides. I also have posted sample student books that you can use as models to motivate your students. You can download them as a free pdf or order them published at cost.

Stay tuned – student publishing is going to be big!

Are students well prepared to meet the challenges of the future?

Try a sample PISA question on my update post: 
“Stop Worrying About Shanghai, What PISA Test Really Tells Us About American Students”

Are they able to analyze, reason and communicate their ideas effectively? Do they have the capacity to continue learning throughout life? Or have schools been forced to sacrifice learning for “adequate yearly progress” on state tests?

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides some answers to those questions and offers an insight into the type of problem solving that rarely turns up on state testing. PISA is an assessment (begun in 2000) that focuses on 15-year-olds’ capabilities in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. PISA studied students in 41 countries and assessed how well prepared students are for life beyond the classroom by focusing on the application of knowledge and skills to problems with a real-life context. PISA website

NCLB has narrowed our curriculum and forced many schools into the test prep mode. PISA offers a better picture of the independent thinking and problem solving our student will need to be successful. PISA defines problem solving as “an individual’s capacity to use cognitive processes to confront and resolve real, cross-disciplinary situations where the solution is not immediately obvious… and where the literacy domains or curricular areas that might be applicable are not within a single domain of mathematics, science, or reading.”

A competitive workforce is made up of people who can think independently in complex and ambiguous situations where the solutions are not immediately obvious.  Educators need resources and training to craft a rigorous learning environment where students can function as 21st century professionals – critical thinkers who can effectively collaborate to gather, evaluate, analyze and share information.  You can download PISA sample questions, answers and comparative data:
Executive report 3.4MB pdf
Mathematics items 534KB pdf
Mathematics scoring guide and international benchmarks 624KB pdf
Science items 503KB pdf
Science scoring guide and international benchmarks 461KB pdf
Reading items 835KB pdf
Reading scoring guide and international benchmarks 923KB pdf

The Arts of the World Within Reach: Creating the Cornerstone for Access

mag

Washington DC: Peter Pappas will serve as an advisor to the Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester – Rochester, NY. The museum is a recipient of a 2006 Institute of Museum and Library Services grant – Museums for America – Sustaining Cultural Heritage.

The project includes management and educational activities targeting the gallery’s collections of ancient, Asian, European, Meso- and Native American, and African Art. Activities include full research and documentation for 250 landmark works of art; the addition of 1,525 images to the collections database and website; and the purchase and use of technology for increased storage capacity, backup capability, and security of digital image files. A new curriculum-based educational module will be developed based on core works in the targeted collections. New technology will provide shared access to educational materials and images. The project will support the development of innovative installations of the permanent collection and public access to the entire collection through technological initiatives.

Image credit: Memorial Art Gallery Cutler Union east side

“Strategies for Student Success” Oregon Summer Institute

This past week I traveled to Portland Oregon to present four workshops at the 2006 Superintendent’s Statewide Conference sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education.  More on the conference.  Each workshop considered Rigor, Relevance and Literacy from a different perspective. In two sessions we used my TurningPoint audience response system to gather feedback and guide our discussion. TurningPoint can produce a variety of reports and can even track results by individual responder. Want to know more about TurningPoint response systems? Contact Mike Venrose at mvenrose@turningtechnologies.com

For each I’ve uploaded a PowerPoint handout and audio podcast of the presentation.

Rigor, Relevance and Reading for Struggling to Average Readers
RealPlayer Video rmvb 50 minutes    PPT Handout 1.4MB pdf    Audio 14MB wma 65 minutes
Boost student achievement with rigor, relevance and literacy strategies for academic success. Designed for high school teachers of all disciplines, the session demonstrated that teachers don't have to sacrifice content or become a reading teacher. Teachers found out how to support their subject area while building student literacy skills in defining and summarizing. For a more – Content Reading Strategies that Work 

Rigor, Relevance and Reading for High Performing Students
PPT Handout 1.6MB pdf    Audio 18MB wma 65 minutes
Designed for honors / AP level teachers who think that an engaging learning environment is more than an inspired lecture. Learn strategies to enable your students to read, reflect, and write like historians, scientists, mathematicians, and literary critics. Teachers found out how to support subject area mastery while building student literacy skills in defining, summarizing and analysis. We used an audience response system by TurningPoint. For a more – Content Reading Strategies that Work 

9th Grade Academy – A Small Learning Community that Works
RealPlayer Video  rmvb 55 minutes    Audio 11MB wma 65 minutes
Boost student achievement with rigor, relevance and literacy strategies for academic success. This workshop traced the success of the ninth grade academy at East Irondequoit CSD, an inner-ring suburb of Rochester NY. High standards, parent partnerships and assessment driven instruction are helping teachers of all disciplines support their subject area while building student literacy skills. We used an audience response system by TurningPoint. For more- Small Learning Communities that Work

Publishing – Academic Success for Struggling Readers and Writers
RealPlayer Video  rmvb 55 minutes    PPT Handout 1.6MB pdf    Audio 14MB wma 65 minutes
This workshop showcased examples of successful programs that have motivated struggling readers and writers.  The power of publishing enables students to think like writers, to apply their learning strategies and to organize and express their learning. Participants will also learned simple technology tips that produce great results. For a more – Read / Think / Write / Publish

Literacy in a Copy / Paste World

Opening Day Faculty Keynote Address
Grayson County Schools
, Leitchfield, KY July  28, 2005

New technologies have put students in charge of the information they access, store, analyze and share. Yet many schools function as if they still controlled the flow of information.

The copy / paste culture creates a bottom-up takeover of the information flow. Our students can be creators as well as consumers of content. New technologies have unleashed individual and collective creativity and redefined the meaning of literacy in the digital age. This presentation answers the questions:

“What is literacy in the 21st century?”
“What can schools do to promote a new literacy in the copy / paste world?”

It explores exciting new opportunities to reinforce literacy and interact with students, colleagues and information in ways that can revitalize teaching and learning. Download Literacy-in-a-CopyPasteWorld.pdf (1.7 MB) pdf handout

I also ran a one day training session "Strategies for Rigor and Relevance" for about 130 Grayson County middle and high school teachers. We used my TurningPoint audience response system to gather teacher feedback and guide our discussion and planning. Here’s a report of the responder data Download Grayson-Audience-Response.pdf  (144 KB) pdf. TurningPoint can produce a variety of reports and can even track results by individual responder. Want to know more about TurningPoint response systems? Contact Mike Venrose at mvenrose@turningtechnologies.com

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