If you are like Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick then you can skip this post on how to follow Burlington Public Schools through our various social media accounts. Coach Belichick outlines his feelings clearly on social media in the short video below.
Click on any of the icons below to follow our activity:
- In Burlington we have clearly defined what math is in the elementary levels and prioritized what students need to know in grades K-5 within these defined areas.
- Our priorities are Number Sense, Number Concept, and Numeracy
- We have clear measures to check on the progress of all students and specific interventions we employ when we find students are lagging in progress.
- In addition we have clear data to see how we are progressing both as individuals and at each grade level.
- Slide 7 – Shows what was done last year in the first year of this work by Mrs. Fortunato and her team.
- Slides 8-9 show the five clearly articulated parts of Number Concept
- Slides 10-11 show the five clearly articulated parts of Number Sense
- Slide 12 states what all Burlington students should be able to do in regards to Numeracy by the end of fourth grade
- Slides 22-29 describe the assessment procedures that we use for Numeracy in grades K-5
- Slide 43 highlights what are assessment procedures will look like next year and beyond
|BPS Math Coach Carrie Fortunato|
- What we teach all students
- How we monitor the progress of all students
- What interventions we put in place when students are struggling
As we prepare for the start of another school year, we want to remind our Burlington Public Schools families how to keep up with all of the latest happenings from our school system. One of the best ways to stay on top of what is happening is following the district and school blogs. One way to follow our blogs is to enter your e-mail address into the box on a specific blog from which you would like to receive updates. Activating this option will set you up to receive an e-mail any time there is a new post published on that particular blog. In addition each e-mail that you receive will allow you the option of stopping the e-mails from that blog at any time.
If you are following a number of blogs, I encourage you to look at an RSS feed service such as Feedly. This will allow you to see posts from all of these blogs in one place.
A few blogs that you may want to follow to get started
Other ways to stay up to date with BPS
Please let us know if there are any other social media resources that you would like to see Burlington Public Schools access to share information!
One of the highlights of our New England 1:1 Summit is the classroom visits where we allow our fellow educators from across New England to see our staff and students in action. The feedback that was shared by the over 200 educators who visited classrooms at the elementary, middle, and high school level was tremendous. Check out some of the comments in the slides below. They certainly are an affirmation of what we get to see every day of the school year in our Burlington classrooms!
|The future of books (Photo credit: Johan Larsson)|
On Monday, I posted some thoughts regarding an article from last week’s Washington Post that was titled Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say. I was excited to see a rebuttal to Michael Rosenwald’s perspective by his Washington Post colleague Valerie Strauss this week.
In her article, Actually, online skimming probably hasn’t affected serious reading after all, Strauss notes the skepticism of Daniel Willingham, a cognitive scientist from the University of Virginia. Here is a bit of what Willingham had to say:
“… teachers aver that students can no longer read long novels. Well, if we’re swapping stories, I — and most of my classmates — had a hard time with Faulkner and Joyce back in the early ‘80s, when I was an English major.”
“A more plausible possibility is that we’re not less capable of reading complex prose, but less willing to put in the work. Our criterion for concluding, “this is boring, this is not paying off,” has been lowered because the Web makes it so easy to find something else to read, watch, or listen to…If I’m right, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that our brains are not being deep-fried by the Web; we can still read deeply and think carefully. The bad news is that we don’t want to.”
While I find Willingham’s feelings on online reading versus more traditional means more palatable than those cited in Rosenwald’s artilce, my conclusion is still the same. There is no one right answer! We need to embrace the struggle between reading online and reading from paper-based products. Forcing our students to do one or the other denies them the opportunity to see the benefits that each has to offer. In addition, there needs to be an increased focus on the advantages of online tools so that students can meet more modern standards of literacy, like the ones below described by the National Council of Teachers of English in its Definition of 21st Century Literacies:
Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.
|Burlington students presenting at the recent New England 1:1 Summit|
As we near the completion of our third year of being a 1:1 tablet school in Burlington, I continue to ponder what is the next step. Glancing in the rearview mirror, it is hard to believe that nearly three years have passed since we distributed mobile devices to over 1,000 high school students in a school that had previously policies in place against mobile phones and MP3 players just two years earlier. In fact, the integration of iPads into classrooms went so well that we expanded down to our middle school the following year and added in half of our elementary grades this year. While I am excited that Burlington Public Schools will have iPads for students in all grades at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, I am also anxious about our continued growth as learners. A few years ago we were looked at as a progressive school for our work in deploying mobile devices and allowing our school environment to look more like the real world where access to online resources is ubiquitous. However, just providing access was really the starting point, and as I see other schools still struggle just to get the infrastructure in place to provide the same access I worry about stagnation.
How can we continue to move forward?
Looking at some of the work of Amy Edmondson recently has helped me to frame my thinking a bit. Edmondson, a Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, has written a great deal about organizational change. She describes four zones for organizations involved in change initiatives in her article titled The Competitive Imperative of Learning:
- Apathy Zone
- Anxiety Zone
- Comfort Zone
- Learning Zone
Although my descriptions of the four zones are be a bit different than Edmondson’s, I think that these four zones can be repurposed rather nicely for schools making the move to 1:1 environments.
This is where our school was back in 2008-2009 when we did not allow students to bring their cell phones and other mobile devices into our classrooms. Living in the Apathy Zone, means that you give little or no credence to the fact that having students access web-enabled devices could add any value to learning.
There was certainly a sense of accomplishment as we moved beyond our state of denial and embraced the reality that we would be better preparing our students for what they would be facing if we allowed access to mobile devices. However, this move also moved us into the Anxiety Zone, a place where educators run the gamut from the apoplectic few who are still shocked that we would put these gadgets in the hands of every student, to the app-addicted staff members who want to learn about every new app that hits the app store. Of course, our continuous focus on a Professional Development model which focuses on a few foundational web-based resources that can provide easy wins, along with regular time for colleagues to share best practice, provided an exit route from the Anxiety Zone.
But there was still trouble ahead because the next stop, the Comfort Zone, is one that can breed complacency and a false sense of security. This is the place where a great deal of reflection is needed to be sure that momentum is not halted. This is our current reality in year three of 1:1 in Burlington. We have a seen many more examples of students being empowered and following their passions to do things that we would not have seen prior to our 1:1 implementation. This was evidenced during the recent New England Student Showcase during the New England 1:1 Summit. However, we still have a lot of work to do in establishing the learner-led environment that will make these types of experiences the reality for all students.
This transition would put us into the Learning Zone, a place where collaboration and creation is the norm for all learners (both staff and students). This is the place where we stop asking questions like “How often do you integrate technology in the classroom?” and start focusing on the tools of differentiation that can foster endless opportunities for students to show their learning in ways that best suit their learning styles. Of course, the challenge here is allowing staff the same opportunities in their Professional Development so that they can make the connections as learners that will allow them to seek these same options for their students. We can clearly see the Learning Zone on the horizon, our challenge is not to become satisfied with our arrival in the comfort zone.
Stay uncomfortable my friends!
Many of our students took part in the Computer Science Education Week initiative this past week and spend an hour learning how to code. According to the data compiled by the folks csedweek.org, over 15 million students took part in the Hour of Code initiative. Check out a few of the tweets compiled from our #bpschat Twitter feed during the course of the week. You can also check out the activity from around the world by checking out the hashtag #HourofCode on Twitter.
Thanks to all of the staff members who gave their students an opportunity to participate in this initiative! For those who did not participate, the resources are available on the Computer Science Education Week site. There are also a number of great resources for those who want to continue coding on the Beyond One Hour section of the website.