Academic language is the set of words, grammar, and organizational strategies used to describe complex ideas, higher-order thinking processes, and abstract concepts.

Jeff Zwiers (2008)

How do we empower diverse learners with the academic language essential for school success?  Let’s discuss this important topic on Monday, August 18th at 6pm EST during #thetileonechat on Twitter. Thank you, Tiawana Giles (@TiawanaG) for this opportunity to be a guest moderator this week for your great Twitter chat! For readers who like to have time to think about questions early, I’m posting each question now in this blog. As a chat participant, I…

Read more Leave a comment

Improvement Science Meets Neuroscience

Confirmation bias and implicit bias pack a double punch in shaping how we use data in our professional learning communities and classrooms to serve our kids. If we are looking at the wrong data or interpreting it via implicit blinders, the science of our data-driven process isn’t going to save us from false assumptions.

Read more Leave a comment

Professional Learning

I really enjoyed the intentional and thoughtful planning behind every teacher move presented by Tonya Ward Singer. She truly speaks to the value of honoring personal experiences, and how to understand our students, as we expect excellence for all students through the lens of equity and access in teaching and learning. Sandra Santos-Alvarez Instructional Coach PARTNER WITH TONYA TO  BRING IMPACTFUL PROFESSIONAL LEARNING TO YOU Title and Description Length Multilingual…

Read more

Use Observation Data to Reflect in Humble Inquiry

Our data shows some students are struggling in our lessons. Now what?

This is the pivotal moment.  Do we focus on providing supports to the students who demonstrate struggle? Or do we also focus on how to evolve our teaching? Are we using data only to sort students for services, or also to challenge our assumptions and change our approach?

Read more Leave a comment

Observe with an Asset Orientation

We have high expectations. We actively engage students. We observe to take notes on what they say and do. We are feeling on top of our formative data-gathering game!

Then, brain science enters the equation with humbling news: We don’t always see what’s right in front of us. This is especially true when we have implicit biases—which, as humans, we always do. We have all been conditioned by false narratives about racial difference, language hierarchies, and gender differences—whether we believe them or not.

Read more Leave a comment

Expectations Define What We See

For observation data to matter, we need to be clear on our learning intentions. For it to matter for equity, we need to be aware of our biases and intentional about disrupting defaults of low expectations for students from historically-marginalized groups. What do you see as students engage? How do you interpret the data? How do your lived experiences shape what you see?

Read more 3 Comments

Four Verbs to Hone Your Observation Superpowers

Observing students is one of the most important teaching skills. It is also one of the most under-prioritized in professional learning initiatives and district-wide change. Using observation data for equity requires more than watching students — we need to learn to see beyond our own biases and use new data to challenge our own assumptions.

Read more One Comment