three Education Philosophy Resources
1. Montessori, Maria. The Montessori Method. Wilder Publications. 2009. (ISBN-13: 978-1604595789)
Though not truly or authentically Montessori, I think my method of teaching has been leaning towards letting my students select their own curriculum (within the strict limits of Jefferson Parish Public Schools pushing Louisiana State Standards). Maria Montessor advocated for a well-rounded education including what today would be called SEL (social emotional learning) and that the child is completely capable of initiating learning and pacing herself or himself appropriately. Independence is an important SEL skill, and all students will need to exhibit some level of independence throughout their scholastic careers. All students are also, at some point, responsible for their own actions and their own learning. Educators must be able to help students realize their own independence early enough so that no matter what kind of learning environment they may find themselves, they can find a way to succeed.
2. The Philosophy of Education Society
The Philosophy of Education Society is a US-based group of people dedicated to none other than the philosophy of education. Membership includes students and educators, as well as (surprisingly) philosophers of education. Their site links to a number of scholarly publications on pedagogy.
3. Philosophy of Education: Western and Indian Perspectives
Chapter two of an educational thesis, available on Shodhganga (an Indian website where scholars can post their thesis), delineates the differences in educational practices and philosophies in Western and Indian societies. The author guides the reader through a chronological review of Western educational philosophies before doing the same for Indian. Just as American educational philosophy was heavily influenced by religion in its earliest phases, so was Indian education.
five Research-Based Teaching Strategies
1. Setting objectives and providing feedback
Specific learning objectives need to be defined and communicated to both students and parents. Students should also be engaged in helping define their own learning objectives, though the learning outcomes will often be outlined by common core standards. By letting the student help set her own learning outcomes, she can actively engage in and take charge of her education. Young people are often capable of making decisions on their own and should be given the option to do so in order to help them succeed and, more importantly, to know that they can succeed. Elementary students especially need to be given the skills to become independent and take charge of their scholastic careers. Students can also connect their current learning objectives to previous knowledge and set goals for future investigations. Thus, constructive feedback is also important to the students meeting their goals. Reflection and introspection are learned skills, skills that many adults struggle to master. Educators should guide students to meeting their goals by determining appropriate assessments (formative and summative) and then communicating with students about their performance. Even the most introspective learners need outside perspective in order to grow and move forward, so it is imperative that educators give honest but gentle remarks about how students' performance and how it can be improved.
2. Cooperative learning
Often called "small-group learning" cooperative learning allows small teams of students of varying ability and understanding to work together on common tasks. When these small groups are successful, students feel independent and responsible for their own learning and their group's learning. Students are not only learning the content of the lesson, but how to collaborate and behave as a team, a skill necessary in many work environments. Students are also encouraged to engage in discussion, which may be more difficult as a whole class or one-on-one with the teacher for some students. If one or more students do not do their part, the group does not function as it should, and students are responsible for holding themselves and each other accountable. This method allows students to take ownership of their learning, but can be difficult when discipline problems are encountered and must therefore be carefully planned and well-structured to keep students on task.
Similar to providing feedback requiring some introspection on the students' part in order to grow, metacognition requires the students to have some recognition of their own understanding prior to, during, and after mastering their goals. When students have been taught how to be self-aware, how to learn, it allows students to gain individual ownership of their education. They can focus on learning content that they know they need to learn (and hopefully therefore want to learn). Otherwise known as self-awareness, metacognition is a higher order thinking strategy that emphasizes our ability to grow through challenges. Students are encouraged to reflect on and assess their own understanding (or confusion), and therefore become more reflective learners when challenging tasks outside of the classroom.
4. Repeated Reading
Repeated reading is a strategy to help students develop fluency and is often used for students with disabilities. Repeated reading can be conducted in a number of ways, often beginning with the teacher leading the whole glass, small groups, or one-on-one reading first, then allowing the students to read independently, in groups, in pairs, or as a chorus (all together). The goal of repeated reading is to repeat the same passage until it sounds smooth, like a conversation, rather than a read text. This strategy allows students to practice reading with a familiar passage and can be differentiated based on students' current reading proficiency.
5. Cover-Copy- Compare, A Drill and Practice Technique
Similar to repeated reading for ELA fluency, timed drills are known to increase students' fluency of math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). Allowing students to memorize math facts can help them respond automatically during assessments, reducing their anxiety about testing. Cover-Copy-Compare involves students looking at a math problem, covering it up, answering the problem (recording their answer at the same time), then revealing the problem again to check their work. The instant gratification of students checking their own work allows them to correct deficiencies for each math fact, but is less effective than timed drills.
These are the traditional resources I have found to be helpful in my research.
- Journal of Teacher Education. This is the official journal of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Its aim is to link research and teaching practice. An article in one of their more recent editions, researchers attempt to find the relationship between candidates' standardized test scores and their teaching effectiveness in Math and English. Another evaluates the changing role of teachers and teacher educators in implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, which is near and dear to my heart as the third grade science teacher at Green Park Elementary.
- Educational Leadership is a journal of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Unlocked articles can be read online for free (while the rest require membership). The issues are theme-based and are open to submissions from leaders in education. One of the more intriguing recent articles details how elementary educators have created a curriculum based on depth and story-telling, as opposed to a series of unconnected facts.
- ERIC is an online index of scholarly articles related to education, run by the Institute of Education Sciences. Hundreds of topics and journals are made available. ERIC lets the reader know if an article is peer-reviewed and provides direct links to journals and articles.
- Teaching and Teacher Education publishes international primary research and review papers for educators with no single approach or paradigm. As with most online journals, not all articles are open access. The article I would most recommend at the moment is "Effects of professional development on the quality of teaching: Results from a randomised controlled trial of Quality Teaching Rounds." Though it is quite lengthy and dense, it makes the case for using the Quality Teaching Rounds technique to develop PDs that effectively improve teaching.
- Serravallo, J. 2015. The Reading Strategies Book. Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Given to me as a gift at the beginning of my teaching career, this book is full of strategies that correlate to the reading common core state standards we must teach our students. It's an excellent resource to help scaffold reading goals for an entire class whose reading levels vary widely. It is also helpful with helping students write about reading, such as prompting them to understand how illustrations help them understand an informational text so they can write their own captions. There are colorful anchor charts for almost every strategy that teachers can make for their classes, as well, which help keep what would be a dry text interesting.
- McCarney, S. ed. 1994. The Teacher's Resource Guide. The staff development guide to the most common learning and behavior problems encountered in the educational environment. Columbia, MO: Hawthorne Educational Services, Inc. This book was also gifted to me at the beginning of my career to assist with my transition to a self-contained third grade classroom. It is very plainly broken down into categories of behavior by subject and discipline (reading, math, relationships, motivation, etc.). Within each category, numerous helpful strategies are given to correct the behavior. For example, I have one student in particular who has trouble not speaking out of turn and has not responded to loss of conduct points and even receiving detentions. I believe reinforcing the correct behavior over a long period of time will be the most positive way to correct his behavior.
- Partin, R. 1999. Classroom Teacher's Survival Guide. Practical Strategies, Management Techniques, and Reproducibles for New and Experienced Teachers. West Nyack, New York: The Center for Applied Research in Education. The third and final book that was gifted to me beginning my teaching career, this book has a broader approach to sculpting a successful teaching career, with advice on how to create a learning community, and how to effectively use one's time throughout the day. There's even an entire chapter devoted to professional development with a list of professional organizations and scholarly journals (though, being almost 20 years old at this point may require some updating).
Useful education websites that I have found are listed below in no particular order.
It's like youtube, but for teachers! Videos abound. The site likely isn't banned (like youtube can often be on certain school wireless networks), and it ensures that the videos will be safe for kids. My colleagues and I have been using Teachertube to show instructional videos that may not otherwise be available on the Jefferson Parish Public Schools network.
Everybody likes free, especially when you're a teacher. This site has free printable sheets for student work, anchor charts, and classroom management (SEL posters, sign-in/ sign-out sheets, etc). There's also a blog portion for teachers to share ideas with each other.
Jefferson Parish schools regularly use Brain Pop and Brain Pop Junior. My students love taking the quizzes that pop up at the ends of the educational videos. There are also printable activities that can be used singularly or in interactive notebooks, as well as ideas for writing activities and games.
Whether or not you use interactive notebooks with your students, this site has tons of free math worksheets and tables (algebra, statistics, trigonometry, etc). I'm not a fan of giving students endless worksheets, but sometimes we need things to keep them silently occupied if they finish with tests early or need enrichment or extra help at home.
This is another blog-style site that offers resources for teachers to stay connected to each other and world news. There's even a handy jobs section for those seeking employment.
Adapted Mind offers mini lessons for students who may need enrichment or extra support. You are required to become a member to use Adapted Mind but it is free. The creaters seem to be in tune with the common core standards, because lessons are broken down into ELA and Math, separated by grade-level, and then further by skill. You can sign up and immediately jump into lessons. I plan on letting my students do these lessons during centers.
Though the graphic user interface may not be the most beautiful, Soft Schools offers a LOT of free resources, worksheets, and games. Sometimes too many options can be overwhelming, though.
I've used this site to pull some last-minute games and worksheets for centers. I also have several students who need extra help in math and have been able to give them some additional practice. A few things are free, the rest are available by subscription.
My students' understanding of math is all over the map. Some have a very good grasp on the basic concepts and can move forward quickly, others are struggling with everything, and some are in the middle (they understand the concepts but have difficulty applying them to word problems). This site offers some help for educators on how to teach math to children, as well as additional games, worksheets, and VIDEOS.
This is another site my colleagues in Jefferson Parish have introduced to me. Though it requires money to acquire its resources, they are often worth paying for. We have used some of the goal-setting or data-tracking pages to help our students assess their learning and reading accomplishments so far this year.
Teachers love organization. It makes life easier. At least, it makes our jobs easier. Really Good Stuff is a site that sells to teachers, and while most teachers I know don't enjoy spending money as much as they enjoy earning it, there are a lot of useful books, activities, posters, and organizers for purchase on this site.
More worksheets designed to help students meet the Common Core Standards. Obvious preference is given to math and ELA while science and social studies take a back seat. All worksheets come with a key, just in case the educator giving the worksheets is ever confused about the correct answer on an elementary-level math quiz.
Flocabulary is hilarious! Cartoon videos set to hip hop music with tons of content. The downside is you have to pay for it. But, you can get a 14-day trial and extend it by one month if you get 10 other teachers to sign up. So much fun, and the students love it.
Free lessons! Free videos! And links to graduate programs in education and professional development websites. This site is for the teaching professional who is looking to develop their skills and move forward in their careers.
During centers and after tests I love to let my students get their colors out. Unlike other color-by-number multiplication and division sheets, these "pixilated" sheets don't reveal what the image actually is until the student has completed a significant portion of the work. By that point, they're happy to complete the image to hang on the wall of student work and show that they're learning their multiplication and division facts.
The Teacher Next Door is set up and run by an individual who has lots of ideas for hooks, games, and activities (Martha Stewart style). She also offers links to her social media pages and store (if you're looking to spend money). Her blog-style page is a good starting point if you're looking for conversation stems or writing prompts for your students.
Honestly, most of the resources I've found because I've been looking for free stuff (because I'm a teacher and I don't make a lot of money). There are free printable posters, free classroom management techniques (some of which are quite humorous), and contests for working teachers (because free stuff is always welcome).
Edutopia is a wonderful site full of resources for teachers. Educational videos can help teachers explore a number of topics, from creating a learning environment for students with Autism, to how to help your students resolve conflicts. A collaborative section of the website allows teachers to communicate their challenges and ideas with one another.
While I was teaching my students about time this online tool was so much fun to use. I also urged my students to use it to study at home. Time is a difficult concept for young people, especially elapsed time, and this handy website was a nice way to integrate technology into the lesson.
1. Post rules/procedures/norms for every lesson. Let your students know what you expect of them.
2. Use Kagan structures for group learning (such as stand up, hand up, pair up). Teach students how to work together. Don't just expect them to know how to do it.
3. Give praise, constructive feedback, and encouragement when you notice students doing the right thing or when they answer questions correctly.
4. Greet your students by name. Let them know that they are individuals and they matter.
5. Provide scaffolding for students who either need enrichment or help. Every learner is different.
6. Practice active listening. Develop a relationship with your students based on their interests, needs, and desires.
7. Know and state the purpose of every lesson and activity. Don't let your students flounder. Let them know where they're going.
8. Check for understanding often and in a variety of ways. Don't assume your students "get it." Make sure they're learning. This also allows students to track their own learning - let them know that they're on the right track!
9. Allow students to ask questions. Hold your students' interest by engaging with them. Let them delve deeper into topics that interest them. Clarify things that confuse them.
10. Treat all students equally. This may be the most challenging of the best practices listed. We all have biases, even if they're not intentional or explicit. Draw names to ensure you don't call on the same students all the time. Make sure everyone follows the same rules and receives the same rewards and consequences. Build trust with your students.