Systems of Support Supporting Educator Excellence through Technology and Strategy

Does Research drive Practice, or Practice drive Research?

One of my committee chairs in grad school was an incredible innovator in developing and evaluating instructional practices for diverse learners. One day he began (once again) talking about the importance of implementing with fidelity (aka doing the procedure correctly) educational practices validated in the literature.  Then he asked a very important question, “does research drive practice, or practice drive research?”. Read more →

The Foundation of Student Achievement

In closing out 2013, Jason C and I spent time reflecting on the driving themes behind our work. We wanted to capture the essential components of everything we do from webinars to workshops, keynotes to publications. There is no surprise in what we found about our pursuit of student achievement. It is still the same today, as it was in the beginning.

Read more →

Top Posts from 2013

To wrap things up for the year I decided to list the top 5 posts from 2013 (according to Google).  While many of us are in New Year’s resolution mode, this could serve as an opportunity to choose a strategy or tool that others have found useful and plan to give it a try in 2014.  For those of you that have subscribed, or checked in every week to read our posts, we truly appreciate it.  You are the reason we continue to make posts each week.  If you would like to see more or less of something in the new year please leave a comment and let us know.

Top 2013 Posts Graphic


Read more →

New Season, New Technology

8632193623From iPads and tablets to iTunes and Google, the season of getting new technology on Christmas day is upon us.  For those who are tech loving educators, tis the season to hope for the latest technology under the tree from family members and loved ones who want to help support our “habit” (especially in a time when school budgets are tighter than ever). After the presents are unwrapped and your new device is fully charged, there are 3 ideas to consider before the holidays are over. Read more →

Electronic Student Response Systems

Last week Jason G. wrote about a practical low tech way to use response cards in the classroom. This week I wanted to expand on Jason’s post by listing a few digital supports that can also provide a method for students to quickly demonstrate their content knowledge.

students raising hands

Read more →

Response Cards: Practical Tips

We have spent that past few weeks diving into guided notes. A strategy that can be a solid support in your classroom. In addition to guided notes, another top tier strategy to implement immediately is response cards. I wrote a post previously about using response cards (here). It is one of my favorite strategies with a substantive research base that can make an immediate impact in any classroom across all content areas. Here is a practical idea how to move this idea from concept to the classroom.  Read more →

Using PowerPoint to Create Guided Notes

This post is meant to piggyback on our last two posts, so if you have read my post on finding copyright free images, or Jason G’s post last week on using guided notes, you may want to start there. You will find that we recommend replacing text heavy PowerPoint slides with visually engaging slides and using guided notes. Guided notes help to ensure students capture the most important information accurately and that they are paying attention during lectures (by having them fill in the blanks).

If you have a 32 slide presentation that you use during your lecture it may be a little overwhelming to think about replacing all the content with images and then creating guided notes to accompany it. The purpose of this post is to make the process as efficient as possible.

Read more →

Guided Notes

Last week, Jason C. shared some great resources for finding images along with design principles worth considering (find the post here). One item he discussed was the amount of text to include on a slide. His suggestion was “as little as possible”. When we think about this in the classroom, it may cause a little discomfort. After all, if we don’t have all the information on the slide how will they get it? I’m glad you asked! I recommend a strategy that has some evidence in the educational literature and allows you to use good slide design principles.  Read more →

Copyright Free Images

In a session last week I talked about the importance of using effective slides when teaching content to students using applications such as PowerPoint.  Unfortunately, templates in these applications have led us to believe that it is okay to fill a slide with a title followed by 7 lines of text.  While this may be okay if the goal is to print the presentation and use as a handout, it can have the opposite effect when using during lecture.  The reason being is that we tend to show a slide and then discuss it.  When this occurs, students are either listening to you speak or reading the slide, not both.

Read more →

A Necessary Component of Student Engagement

Just wrapping up two days at an incredible conference in Indianapolis put on by the PATINS project. One of our sessions centered on student engagement and we taught how to actively engaging all learners using creativity, evidence-based strategy (example), and technology (example) through the UDL framework.  In sharing strategies in how to engage all learners from the start, we spent a few moments on key prerequisites to hooking learners into the lesson. I wanted to expand on one here that is critical for all classrooms. Read more →