Teaching and Learning Resources by Peter Pappas

Foster Higher Order Thinkers

This week I was in the metro-Detroit area giving a workshop at the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency in Maryville, MI. The one-day session was sponsored by the Successful Practices Network.

We focused on techniques for fostering student skills in higher-order thinking and problem solving.  Participants included high school teachers and administrators.  I used my TurningPoint audience response system and posed questions which probed participant expectations of students and instructional strategies. The system allows me to capture participant thinking and use it foster some lively discussion and reflections. You have to model what you preach, so we worked through some higher-order thinking and problem solving ourselves. Participant feedback on workshop strengths included:

“Practical strategies that can be immediately implemented.”
“The way Peter took us through the response process modeled the struggle our students would go though in class.”
“He challenged our thinking with the data we submitted with the response units.”
“We convinced ourselves that our students / all students can think and perform at higher level.”

Updated handout with audience response data Download pappas-handout-stclair.pdf 1.8 MB pdf.

For more information on TurningPoint contact Mike Venrose at mvenrose@turningtechnologies.com

Strategies for Rigor and Relevance

I just returned from an engaging one day workshop with over 100 high school teachers and administrators from the Green Bay Wisconsin area (sponsored by CESA 7).
I brought my TurningPoint audience response system to gather feedback and generate discussion on some essential questions:

1. What does rigor and relevance look like in the classroom?
2. To what extent is learning student- or teacher directed?
3. How can I help build literacy and still teach my content?

Here’s some comments from the participant evaluation:

“Well-organized, interactive and well structured. Peter demonstrated  his own method for rigor and relevance while teaching us, so we participated as our students would”
“Changed the way I will instruct my student. And changed my expectation of my students as well.”
“The workshop was effective because you made us reflect on our classroom practice and our expectations of students. Then you supplied us with techniques and strategies to improve instruction.”

Updated handout with audience response data Download pappas-cesa7-handout.pdf 1.8 MB pdf

Essential Skills for Today’s School Leaders

North Carolina's Principals’ Executive Program (PEP), is the first and longest-running program of its kind in the United States. PEP is an excellent example of how rigorous, research-based training in modern leadership techniques and instructional strategies can improve teaching and learning in America’s public schools.

I am pleased to be one of the speakers at PEP's 2006 Statewide Leadership Conference “Essential Skills for Today’s School Leaders.” 

Rigor, Relevance and Content Reading Strategies
Download pappas-rigor-NC-PEP.pdf PPT Handout 3.6 MB pdf   
Download PeterPappas-rigor-relevance.WMA  2 hour Audio 30MB wma
This session demonstrates how educators can boost achievement with a consistent focus on common instructional strategies in a student-centered classroom. The presentation includes practical examples of how school leaders can support content mastery and build student literacy skills in vocabulary, comprehension and analysis. For more information visit my site Content Reading Strategies that Work
In this session 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

Publishing – Academic Success for Struggling Readers and Writers
Download pappas-publish-NC-PEP.pdf PPT Handout 3.5 MB pdf 
Download PeterPappas-digital-publishing.WMA 1 hour Audio  14MB wma
This session offers examples of publishing programs that have successfully helped struggling readers and writers, strategies for incorporating publishing workshops into your school's curriculum, and simple technology tips that produce good results. For more information visit my site Read > Think > Write > Publish

Proficient readers may not be proficient writers

Educators have focused on developing reading programs with the assumption that reading and writing are complementary skills.

Writing Next, a recent report by Carnegie Corporation states, “Writing is sometimes seen as the ‘flip side’ of reading. It is often assumed that adolescents who are proficient readers must be proficient writers, too. If this were the case, then helping students learn to read better would naturally lead to the same students writing well. However, although reading and writing are complementary skills whose development runs a roughly parallel course, they do not necessarily go hand in hand. Many adolescents are able to handle average reading demands but have severe difficulties with writing. Moreover, the nature of the relationship between reading and writing skills changes over time (Fitzgerald & Shanahan, 2000). Researchers know that reading and writing often draw from the same pool of background knowledge—for example, a general understanding of the attributes of texts. At the same time, however, writing differs from reading. While readers form a mental representation of thoughts written by someone else, writers formulate their own thoughts, organize them, and create a written record of them using the conventions of spelling and grammar.”  Full report here 1.4 MB pdf

New digital technologies give students the opportunity to publish high-quality books under the guidance of their teachers. I am promoting digital publishing at conferences, school-based training and my website Read > Think > Write > Publish. The power of publishing enables students to think like writers, to apply their learning strategies and to organize and express their learning.

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!

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