05 May 2014

Marshall Matters #533

Marshall Memo #533 offers some thought provoking ideas and thoughts. As we come to the end of our academic year, I am placing my efforts of reflecting on this year and looking at ways that I can improve my work processes next year. So, let's get started with my 2 top interesting things from Marshall Memo #533:

1. Parental involvement does not necessarily impact positively on children's learning, here are a list of things that do not necessarily boost achievement:
-   Observing a child’s class;
-   Contacting the school about a child’s behavior;
-   Checking in with the teacher;
-   Attending PTA meetings;
-   Helping decide a child’s high-school courses;

-   Helping a child with homework.

In contrast to this list the writers suggest that the following strategies are much more effective in supporting children in their learning
-   Discuss what the child is doing in school (in most racial/ethnic groups);
-   Request a particular teacher for a child.
-   Communicate the importance of school and an expectation that the child will go to college;

Does parent involvement ever help? Yes, say Robinson and Harris. “We believe that parents are critical for how well children perform in school, just not in the conventional ways that our society has been promoting.

“Parental Involvement Is Overrated” by Keith Robinson and Angel Harris in The New York Times, April 13, 2014 (p. SR7), http://nyti.ms/1gvtDCn

2. Challenging Gifted Children
Every student deserves to learn something new every day. Having just completed a Walkthrough reflection with my PMP leader I am pondering the notion of differentiation. I know the 4-5 year olds in my class well, I constantly check in with them to see how they are, what their interests are and ways that I can support and challenge them. I have a class of 15 students, of these 15 students 10 of them are English Language Learners. I have a group of students who are incredibly talented and resourceful. They are my thinkers, they are my theorists. This article confirms what I have been pondering for some time.
Bestowing the “gifted” label isn’t a helpful response to this situation, argue the authors. Instead, they suggest doing a better job with differentiation:-   Identify specific instances where students’ academic needs aren’t being met. Teachers might ask themselves, “Who is not being challenged in my math classroom today?” or “Which students won’t learn anything new from next year’s science curriculum?”
-   Create or locate appropriate interventions to meet those needs.
“Gifted Ed. Is Crucial, But the Label Isn’t” by Scott Peters, Scott Barry Kaufman, Michael Matthews, Matthew McBee, and Betsy McCoach in Education Week, April 16, 2014 (Vol. 33, #28, p. 40, 34), www.edweek.org; Peters can be reached at peterss@uww.edu.