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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in textbooks

Posted by on in General

We talk a lot about how to increase student achievement and improve learning in our classrooms.

A lot of these conversations are centered around what needs to be added or changed in a classroom, NOT what should be removed. Many of the practices that still exist in classrooms across the country are not only outdated, but they are making progress and growth nearly impossible for schools and districts.

Here are 7 ways that you might be making progress and learning impossible for your students.

1. Lecturing too much.

If you didn't already know I'm not a huge fan of Lecturing. Not only does the research not support it (at all), but it is archaic, disengaging for students, and after only 10 minutes, you've lost over 50% of your students. Any longer and those numbers go up.

I truly don't care how good you think you are at lecturing, this is simply an ineffective practice when used on a daily basis or as the primary means of instruction. If you do this more than a few times a week, please stop. Direct instruction and lecturing have their limited place, and I'm not saying they should never happen in a classroom, but they should come in the form of short, purposeful, and targeted discussions with learners, not the tired and broken "sit and get" model of instruction.

[bctt tweet="If some of this hits a little too close to home, it's ok. It is okay for us to recognize that our classroom, or instruction, or management is not quite perfect. We can always improve.

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

As I continue working with more and more teachers I'm often surprised at how many I still see "page turning" to plan instruction. "Page turning" is a form of lesson planning that a teacher uses, that is simply opening a textbook and continuing where they left off during the last lesson. Now don't get me wrong, textbooks have their place in education (I guess), but when teachers rely on them too heavily instruction can suffer greatly, and more importantly, learning does too.

Here are a few reasons you should get textbooks out of your lesson planning and start forging your own instructional path, outside the edges of those pages.

Textbooks Fail To Engage Students

I don't care how many pictures or fun activities exist in the realm of the book you are using, I will almost guarantee that it is not engaging all your students. The simple reason is that the writers of that book don't know your students, YOU DO. I have never (and will never) heard a student mutter "Wow! Chapter 7 was surprisingly fun and exciting! I can't wait to continue working to Chapter 8!" I would bet that you haven't either. That's because textbooks are designed as a curriculum TOOL to be used in lesson planning, not a curriculum in themselves. Students must interact, play with, and experience concepts, not just read about them. (or hear about them during your lectures...which don't work either by the way.)

Textbooks Are NOT Universally Designed

Textbooks are generally written at or above the grade level you are teaching. The pictures, diagrams, and experiences presented in them are also created at that level. I don't know about you, but most of my students, or at least some of them, were below grade level or still achieving their current grade level. I would also like to suggest that the context, circumstances, and lens in which most textbooks view your curriculum are not going to engage or allow for much adjustment or modification if they are your primary lesson planning tool.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Textbooks: How old are yours?

Take a Spring Textbook Walk. Or, Not!

Is this the end of the 35 pound backpack, stuffed lockers and extinction of textbooks?

One School was in the news this past year. Apparently, the administration, Principal and Assistant Principal ordered a round up of all the textbooks in the school, piled them up and away they went. They were believers in no textbooks, better use of technology. Not all teachers and students were too thrilled because they were not ready for such a drastic change, with no input or warning.

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Posted by on in Literacy

reading

Currently in my district at the elementary level, we are in the process of strategically moving away from our basal reading program. We’ve already “cut out” its writing component, as next year we’ll be hitting the ground running with Writing Workshop and the Units of Study. Also, we’ve begun the process of designing our own reading comprehension instruction with the assistance of Reading with Meaning, Strategies That Work, and Notice & Note (both fiction and non-fiction).

Now, while it may be “cool” and trendy to hate on textbooks, for the benefit of all parties involved – students, parents, teachers, administrators, etc. – I believe it’s important to be able to articulate why we are choosing to deemphasize the program.

With these thoughts in mind, here are three reasons to rethink your basal reader.

1. No Books! No Engagement!

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