35 Replies Latest reply on Jul 3, 2012 12:25 AM by wsjamison@uaa.alaska.edu

    Book Talk

    lsrdhunter@msn.com

      I would like to begin a new book discussion next week.  I am looking for suggestions... something to inspire us as educators.  Do you have any recommendations for a great professional development book?  I plan to post the title and author on Monday, April 5th.  We can begin reading together and post feedback as we read.

        • Re: Book Talk

          I am sure just about everyone has read The Purpose Driven Life, but I have wanted to read it. Just a suggestion

          • Re: Book Talk
            julesfischy

            I am hesitatnt to share a choice - because this group always generates such great ideas and I don't want to miss out on a book because I put a choice up here.

             

            What about The World is Open by Curtis Bonk?  I have it and I have started it but I think it is one that I would enjoy if there were others I could discuss and dig deeper with.

             

            I can't wait to see what other books and authors are shared.

            • Re: Book Talk
              NaomiHarm

              dan-pink-drive.jpg

              I have heard a lot of good things about Daniel Pink's new book "Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us"

              http://www.danpink.com


              I am working with a dynamic administrator, Chris Lindholm from MN in my two ARRA/EETT grants for my administrative leadership strand to compliment the Intel Leadrship Forums, this is what he has to say about the book and his blog reflection.  http://chrislindholm.typepad.com/principal-thoughts/2010/01/daniel-pink-on-incentive-pay.html


              Please note I welcome any book choice on motivation Linda that has been mentioned, and perhaps we can keep up this strand of "Great Reads" throughout the year.  Thanks for prompting us and getting us involved- I always love a great book to snuggle up to and take a break from the computer!


              Naomi

              • Re: Book Talk
                lsrdhunter@msn.com

                Thank you so much for all the wonderful suggestions for our Book Talk.  It was very difficult to select just one book. I will keep all suggestions for possible selection at a later date.  Please continue to make book title suggestions for future talks.

                I have selected a book for this month’s Book Talk.  The title is “Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching” by Charlotte Danielson. I found a copy of this book online at Barnes & Noble for about $22.  http://tinyurl.com/yg6q3cn   Danielson’s book is also available at most university libraries.  To help you get started a preview of this manuscript can be found at http://books.google.com

                This is the time of year when most teachers receive an employee evaluation for their work in education.  In the Intel® Teach Program we spend a lot of time addressing student assessment but what makes a good teacher?  How can we measure progress and guide novices as well as enhance the performance of veteran educators?  I believe Charlotte Danielson’s book will help us build the foundation for focusing improvements on the process of education.

                Chapter One provides an overview of the framework for teaching.  Take note of how the framework breaks down the intricate action of teaching into domains, components and elements.  How does this model compare with your current school district practices?

                • Re: Book Talk
                  lsrdhunter@msn.com

                  Hello all of you readers!  Have you started reading The Framework for Teaching, written by Charlotte Danielson?
                  It’s time to start our book discussion…

                   

                  What is good teaching?  Educators need a common vision of good teaching and best practices from which they can assess their performance and plan for future improvements.  The Framework for Teaching, written by Charlotte Danielson, is a research based all-inclusive and logical framework that identifies aspects of a teacher’s responsibilities which lead to improved student learning.

                  Many school districts are using Charlotte’s Framework as the foundation for teacher evaluation for the purposes of quality assurance and professional learning. The framework divides the responsibilities of teaching into the following four domains:

                  Planning and Preparation
                  Classroom Environment
                  Instruction
                  Professional Responsibilities

                  Each of the four domains is further divided into 22 components and 76 smaller elements.  Within each component the framework for teaching includes the following four levels of performance:

                  Unsatisfactory
                  Basic
                  Proficient
                  Distinguished

                  These levels of teaching performance are described in rubrics, which provide educators with a roadmap for how they can improve their teaching.

                   

                  Points to Ponder

                  What is good teaching?
                  Do you believe the four domains capture all the responsibilities of teaching?
                  What other words could be used to rate the levels of teaching performance?  Unsatisfactory sounds so negative to me.  My suggestion would be to use "Requires Action" in place of Unsatisfactory.  Do you have a better term?

                   

                  Let's get this discussion going...For those of you that participate in this discussion you will be entered in a drawing. What's the prize, you ask?  Why, it's an Amazon Kindle!  (Just in time to support your summer reading list!.


                  Every time you share your thoughts or leave a comment, you will have another entry into the drawing (for legal reasons, we can only ship within the US , but we still welcome your participation with or without the chance to win a Kindle).

                    • Re: Book Talk

                      I think the four domains do cover responsibilities of teaching.

                       

                      Planning and Preparation is probably a major one that new teachers need the most help.  I remember my first year and how I never thought I would get ahead of the class.  I was always a day ahead with planning since I was an elementary teacher and had to prep all the subject areas.  Also I had to learn the way that district did assessment of students.  I had a wonderful mentor and she really help me over the hurdles especially in the organizing and planning.

                      Without adequate planning and preparation, learning is hit or miss.

                       

                      Classroom Environment is the stage.  It is where you pull the students in and provide a setting that encourages exploration and learning.  The classroom environment is a planned environment.

                       

                      Instruction is only as good as the knowledge to teacher has.  Of course you cannot know everything about a subject.  A teacher

                      needs to have a knowledge about the subject and where to find more information is needed.  There is always a time where you have to say, "Let's see if we can find this out together."  Teachers need to know how to find this out together.

                       

                      Professional Responsibilities is the area of teacher training that is hardest to practice as an intern.  Learning to work with colleagues and parents takes practice.  The way the domain is constructed, these two areas are separated.  Providing feedback to parents is so important.  Teachers should be evaluated on how they communicate with parents.

                       

                      As far as the performance language, I agree that unsatisfactory and basic are poor descriptors and have negative connotations.  Needs improvement and adequate are words I would prefer.

                        • Re: Book Talk
                          lsrdhunter@msn.com

                          Thank you for sharing your beliefs with the group.  I love the way you related your experiences to the four domains of teacher responsibilities.  I also appreciate your comments on the performance rating language.  I  like to keep things in the positive.  Your suggestions of using “Needs Improvement” and “Adequate” sound so much better than “Unsatisfactory” and “Basic”.

                        • Re: Book Talk

                          Good teaching can be exhibited through so many styles.  I wonder if an instrument can really be devised to evaluate acccurately.

                           

                          In a recent position I had the opportunity to visit classrooms to take care of technology issues while classes were in session.  I wasn't an official evaluator, but I couldn't help observe what was happening in the classroom.

                           

                          In some classrooms the students sat quietly listening as the teacher presented material.

                          In some classrooms the students were in cooperative groups with assigned tasks to complete while the teacher observed them.

                          In some classrooms the students were up and moving around the room engaged in learning activities while the teacher supervised.

                           

                          I saw some exemplary styles of teaching that I had never tried and tucked away those ideas for future reference should I need them some day.

                          It was in observing other teachers that I realized how many different ways a teacher could interact with students effectively, ways I had not thought to try.

                           

                          I sometimes worry about the teachers who are significantly creative and have much going on in their classroom but are perceived by the administrator evaluating them as having a class that is "out of control" because the students are not sitting quietly in rows.  I don't mean a classroom where the students are really out of control, but a busy classroom where the students are engaged and on task but they are also making some noise as they go about their learning.  Some administrators do not define a "good classroom" that way.

                           

                          The instrument I have seen used to evaluate teacher performance in the classroom does not accommodate that style very well, either.  It is focused on the behaviors of the teacher based on a set of criteria that doesn't allow for much variation.  This meant that if a teacher wanted a good evaluation report, he/she studied the instrument and exhibited those behaviors to get a good score that day.  That may not have been the teacher's usual style, but his/her rating was based on that style.

                           

                          The Danielson framework looks at more than just the teacher's behavior for one day in the classroom.  It requires the administrator to also consider what happens outside the classroom, before the class, and after the class.

                           

                          The words used for the ratings should be descriptive of the level but also provide the possibility of improvement.  "Unsatisfactory" might be replaced by "Needs Improvement"  and "Basic" might become "Satisfactory."

                           

                          Teachers who really want to improve engage in observation and discussion with colleagues to find answers and new methods to reach the students in their classrooms.  The dialogue leads to discoveries and insights.  It is important to keep that dialogue going.

                            • Re: Book Talk
                              lsrdhunter@msn.com

                              Judging from the thoughts you have shared concerning classroom practices I can see you have an eye for activities which engage students.  I would love to be a student in the class where the students were up and moving around the room engaged in learning activities while the teacher supervised.

                               

                              You made another great point concerning the importance of the administrators’ perceptions of “good teaching.”  Many administrators still believe teachers lose control when students are out of their seats, moving around, and interacting with others.

                               

                              Some additional thoughts to ponder…Should we use an evaluation team to evaluate teacher performance rather than a single administrator?  I often thought the team approach might be a better solution.  Would the use of a team lead to better feedback for the instructor?

                               

                              I believe you are right on with this comment….”Teachers who really want to improve engage in observation and discussion with colleagues to find answers and new methods to reach the students in their classrooms.”  We need to encourage teachers to share ideas and make those ideas a part of their professional development plan.

                              • Re: Book Talk

                                I agree with Janet's comments about the variety of "engaged" classes.  Having arrived in the teaching arena late in my career, I was put through my teaching paces about 8 years ago after having been in what I call "the real world" (that is, the commercial world) for over 20 years.  I brought years of experience as a professional to the classroom, but what guided me the most was my experience as a parent.  As a result classroom management came pretty naturally to me.  When I was evaluated by my (we call it Preparing New Educators) PNE team member, I was graded by the Florida teacher performance standards.  In my reading and participation in discussions about the Danielson "Framework", it seems our present system is ready for an upgrade.

                                 

                                Instead of just being evaluated on curriculum based materials, the Danielson Framework seems to better focus on a teacher's need to focus on how a child develops -- which then will possibly allow for more creative approaches to how a teacher delivers lessons.  Participating in a professional community and communicating with parents are also pinpointed as important factors in an effective teacher's toolkit.  These components were part of my teacher toolkit even though I was not specifically evaluated on them when I was in the classroom.  It also reminds me of the "it takes a village to raise a child" saying from a few years ago.

                                 

                                It will be interesting to see how our district moves through the framework adoption process.  We've just announced our peer evaluator teacher cadre and our teacher mentor cadre.  Stay tuned!

                                  • Re: Book Talk
                                    lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                    Thank you for reminding us that there are lots of teachers out there who started their teaching careers after working many years in other professions.   Stephanie, as a member of this group you can provide us with the insight that many educators miss completely or take for granite in the day-to-day responsibilities of teaching.   Like you, I believe our present evaluation system is ready for an upgrade.

                                • Re: Book Talk
                                  dgoodman_1958

                                  Linda, I am just reading this post and want to join in.  So, my plans are to read the online intro and chapter 1 and get the book ordered.  I'll follow along on the comments and join in later.  The timing is perfect.  Our teachers have a new performance appraisal instrument this year and many are being scored as developing.  Maybe I can use information gleamed from the book to help them move towards Accomplished.

                                    • Re: Book Talk
                                      lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                      Please join in anytime.  How many performance levels are in your new performance appraisal instrument?  I like the positive rating terms "Developing" and "Accomplished."

                                      If I were creating an evaluation instrument, I would use the FIVE STAR performance rating.  No words just stars.   It seems to work very well for the hotel industry. 

                                    • Re: Book Talk
                                      lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                      Just read a very interesting article in The Journal, May 2010 issue called “Human Capital Management”.  The article mentions Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching where teachers are scored in 10 categories across the two domains that can be observed in the classroom:  classroom environment and instruction.  “The classroom observations aren’t intended to judge teacher performance; there are meant to improve it.”

                                      You can read the full article at http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/05/01/a-strategy-worth-watching.aspx

                                        • Re: Book Talk

                                          I like that thought Linda that "“The classroom observations aren’t intended to judge teacher performance; there are meant to improve it.”  What good is an evaluation if it makes a teacher or anyone for that matter, defensive. I like the idea of mentors being around to come in to the class and model good lessons.  I think this is the way to improve a teacher.  I do not believe a once or twice a year observation (evaluation) is sufficient.

                                          • Re: Book Talk

                                            “The classroom observations aren’t intended to judge teacher performance; there are meant to improve it.”

                                             

                                            What a different climate we could create if this became a reality in our schools and districts.  Our overall goal is to improve student achievement.  Take the students from where they are to their maximum potential.  Why then do we feel the need to take one (two if your are lucky) snapshot of teacher performance and call that evaluation? The evaluation tool needs to be more prescriptive than it has been in the past.  I see the rubrics provided in Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching as a step in that direction.  Rather than just telling me that I fall below expectations in one performance area, tell me (or more importantly) show me the steps I can take to improve.  I think one of the strengths of the framework is providing a common language that teachers, administrators and evaluators/mentors agree upon. As others have already stated, open communication and collaboration are imperative to this process.  A common language goes a long way in ensuring that open communication and collaboration.

                                              • Re: Book Talk

                                                How many of our teachers do not take advantage of fellow teachers and PNE (Preparing New Educators) mentor groups who "show (me) the steps I can take to improve"?  I think with all of the stress of being a teacher with high stakes testing, helping students without support at home, filling in the classroom supply gaps, and all of the other requirements at school, it becomes difficult to even manage one more thing.  Our district has just pulled out of the classroom a cadre of teachers who will become teacher mentors and peer evaluators.  The sheer fact that we have pulled these individuals out of the classroom puts the spotlight on the overwhelming rigors of being in the classroom and how important it is to help teachers by "showing them the steps to take to improve" their classroom performance.  It will be very interesting to see how the Danielson framework is implemented in our district.

                                                  • Re: Book Talk
                                                    lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                    Stephanie, the addition of mentors and peer evaluators suggest your district is making a major investment of resources dedicated to teacher improvement.  This is very exciting news and could lead to major changes in teacher evaluation protocol for other school districts. When this plan is implemented hopefully you will find some reduction in the stress felt on the classroom level.

                                                  • Re: Book Talk
                                                    lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                    Maria, you made some wonderful points.   A teacher evaluation should be more than one visit to a classroom twice a year and a single piece of paper reflecting the outcome of that those visits.  You are right… if our goal is to improve student achievement then the teacher evaluation should be more prescriptive.  I believe the Danielson rubric will lead to some valuable discussions and recommendations, if time is invested in these measures. 

                                                • Re: Book Talk
                                                  lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                  No post today.  I hope that means everyone is reading.

                                                   

                                                  I just noted the difference between the levels of performance described on page 38.  The levels range from Unsatisfactory to Basic to Proficient, to Distinguished.  I highlighted a comment in my book that Charlotte makes concerning the Distinguished level "some teachers (particularly with some groups of students) may never attain it consistently."  She states further that ...As some educators have phrased it, "Distinguished-level is a good place to visit, but don't expect to live there."  That may be a hard pill to swallow for some educators who expect perfect evaluations as they strive for excellence.  What do you think?

                                                   

                                                  To help you understand the difference between performance levels take a look at  the swimming metaphor on page 41.  It compares a nonswimmer with unsatisfactory, a dog paddle swimmer with basic, a swimmer who knows how to use different strokes and when to use those strokes as proficient and a competitive swimmer who is perfecting strokes with distinguished.   

                                                  • Re: Book Talk
                                                    lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                    Hello readers of the The Framework for Teaching, written by Charlotte Danielson?   Time to join our discussion.  There is a Kindle eReader at stake!  Reply to this discussion and you will be entered into our Kindle drawing.  Ms. Danielson's book is about teacher assessment.  Jump into our discussion.

                                                    • Re: Book Talk
                                                      lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                      Reminder...Time to join our discussion.  There is a Kindle eReader at stake!  Reply to this discussion and you will be entered into our Kindle drawing.  Enhancing Professional Practice A Framwork for Teaching by Charlotte Danielson is about teacher assessment.

                                                       

                                                      Consider the following... recall an ocassion from your experiences as a student.  The memory can be positive or negative.  What makes the moment so memorable?  How has this event influenced you as a teacher today?

                                                       

                                                      For myself, my memory was a time when I was asked to draw an angel.  My angel had brown hair.  Other students in my first grade class drew angels with blonde hair and they laughed at my drawing.  I remember the teacher stood by and said nothing.  I felt hurt that the teacher did not say anything in my defense.  I responded to my peer's by asking them when they saw an angel.  As a teacher today, I have always try to create an environment of acceptance. 

                                                        • Re: Book Talk
                                                          Bowerman@cox.net

                                                          You asked about experiences as a student. I can vividly recall when a piece of my artwork was praised and hung up in the hallway when I was in sixth grade. I had never had an art class since we didn't have special area classes in my Catholic school and my neighbor who went to public school showed me how to draw using perspective. The praise was really over the top and I felt unworthy because I just copied what my neighbor showed me. I wish someone had asked me how it made me feel or how did I learn about this so I could have shared the praise. This experience helps to remind me that it's important to ask questions and let students talk about the experience rather than just putting out my comments. 

                                                           

                                                          I know you've started a book talk, but I've found Outliers:The Story of Successby Malcolm Gladwell to be very interesting!

                                                            • Re: Book Talk
                                                              lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                              Thank you for sharing your memory.  If I had been there with you, I would ask you to show me how to do a better drawing.  We can't go back but we can make things better for our students.  Also... thank you for the suggesting Outliers... I will look for a copy and add it to my bookshelf. 

                                                            • Re: Book Talk

                                                              I was one of the lucky ones who liked school and did pretty well.  The expectation at home was that all of my parents' children would do what they were supposed to do in school.  My parents were middle class working people who ran their own business - which meant my father worked 24/7 for the most part.  Each of the children also had a role in helping with the family business in some way.  I think that work ethic was drilled into us - "if you are going to do something, do it right."  When I changed schools in ninth grade, it was an adjustment for me mostly because I went from a parochial school to a public school and it was a cultural shock.  I continued to do well academically, but the social adjustment took longer.  Some students made life unpleasant for me, but I was fortunate that I met my best school friend that year. Near the end of the year, one of the teachers (and I only had her for home room) made a point of privately telling me she expected to hear about me as I moved on to the high school the next year and that she wouldn't be surprised if I ended up at the top of my class.  I think she had witnessed a year of my struggling to find myself in this new social environment.  I had continued to excel academically that year in spite of everything.  Once I got past that year and went to high school, things got back to normal again. It was nice to have a teacher recognize my potential, as if saying "don't pay attention to those kids, keep on going."

                                                                • Re: Book Talk
                                                                  lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                                  Janet... Thank you for sharing your memory.  Your story illustrates the positive impact a homeroom teacher can have on her student.  Every teacher has the potential to inspire!  

                                                                  OK teachers... here is your challenge... see how many students you can encourage today.  Plant the seeds of inspiration now! 

                                                              • Re: Book Talk
                                                                lsrdhunter@msn.com

                                                                It's not to late to join our discussion.  There is a Kindle eReader at stake! 

                                                                Reply to this discussion and you will be entered into our Kindle drawing.

                                                                 

                                                                Our current book is Enhancing Professional Practice A Framwork for Teaching by Charlotte Danielson.

                                                                 

                                                                Consider the following... recall an ocassion from your experiences as a student.  The memory can be positive or negative.  What makes the moment so memorable?  How has this event influenced you as a teacher today?

                                                                  • Re: Book Talk

                                                                    Sometimes you affect students and have no idea that something you said to them or did for them made a major difference in their lives.  You just think you are doing your regular job and don't think it is anything out of the ordinary.

                                                                     

                                                                    Some years ago after I had moved away from the area where I had first started teaching in a high school (and I mean to a totally different state), one of my former students tracked me down and sent me a letter by mail.  She said that Dear Abby had advised her readers to send a letter to a former teacher and tell them how they had influenced their life.  I would not have ever expected such a thing, and certainly not from that particular student - I didn't think I had done anything out of the ordinary for her. But it turns out that my comments to her in high school had made her day and she remembered that as important in her life at the time.  We were able to find each other through email after that and started communicating.  I could remember her and her friends in my classes and recall things they had done and said to me.  She was amazed that I remembered her and those details.  We have maintained that communication for many years now.  She is a grown woman with a family of her own.  She lets me know about things that happen back in the area from which I moved and keeps me up to date on other former students as well.  It has been very rewarding getting to know the adult version of this former student.

                                                                     

                                                                    I have also had a former student become an administrator and remark that I was one of the teachers who inspired her to go into the profession.  She had been an outstanding student and a joy to have in my class.  She is now an outstanding administrator and I am happy she includes me in her life influences.

                                                                     

                                                                    You don't always know what enduring effect you have on your students.  It is important to keep that in mind when you interact with all of them.  Some day one of them may turn up in your life again as an adult - maybe even turn up as a teacher in your own school.  You may be the model they have in mind when they decide to join the profession.  You may be that one word of encouragement that they needed on a really bad day in their life.

                                                                • Re: Book Talk

                                                                  Linda, how about "The Closing of the American Mind", by Allen Bloom.  It is as relevant today as it was back in 1987.

                                                                   

                                                                  Neil

                                                                  • Re: Book Talk

                                                                    How about Slavoj Zizek's book "Less Than Nothing"?