Transforming Education for the 21st Century

Helping educators innovate, communicate, collaborate and create.

Determining Innovative Practice (If you have an Innovation Roadmap for your school, review that as well)

Determining a Problem of Practice:
  • What are some of the strength of your school? What areas need to be strengthened?
  • How do you know about these strengths and weaknesses? What are your sources of data? How do you know whether you're making progress in these areas?
  • What else have you been learning from these sources of data?
  • What is puzzling to you about the data?
  • What has felt challenging? What does your faculty continue to grapple with?

A Problem of Practice:

  • Focuses on instructional core (the interactions of the teacher, student and content)
  • Is Directly Observable
  • Is Actionable (and can be improved in real time)
  • Connects to a broader strategy of improvement and the school's action plan (within school or school system)
  • Is high-leverage (would make a significant difference for student learning)

Post your problem of practice here.

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Replies to This Discussion

As a large high school (and one that contains a large number of ELLs and students with IEPs), it is often difficult to make sure that our students don't slip through the cracks or get lost in the shuffle as they navigate their way toward graduation. Teachers often feel frustrated with the motivation and work ethic of their students. Students--especially those who are behind in their credit accumulation--are unclear on what they need to do to catch up.

How do teachers ensure that all students have specific, individualized goals set towards their academic progress in both the short and long terms, and that these goals are aligned with the school's curriculum?
Community service is a core value in our school relating to the name we proudly carry of Eleanor Roosevelt. While classroom time is devoted to community service through our Advisory program, students are still floundering a bit in the completion of this requirement. There are some who have meaningful experiences and some who do not. Students are not aware of the most positive and exciting things that are happening relating to community service across the grades and how students' lives have potentially been changed by this service.

What are students doing for community service and how do they make changes or grow their experiences?
While our school has many innovative elements (online course work, flexible scheduling, field experience requirements, multidisciplinary course focus...), much of what we speak of - in the way of projects/activities - are in the past or fictional, rather than a present and pressing challenge. It seems to be a challenge to make the classroom task address material that is immediate to the student's time and place. The engagement of student skills to real-world problems that have some consequence.Not only on a singular basis, but as a regular practice for course design.

How do we design our courses to integrate seamlessly with current and pressing issues and challenges that are in evidence to our students?
The students at our school infrequently collaborate or communicate on group projects or engage in project based learning. In the few instances where teachers are engaging students in this work, the school is seeing more higher order thinking skills being addressed as part of the core curriculum, These teachers are also having success engaging students outside of the classroom, extending learning beyond the school day.

How do we integrate group projects that involve complex communication and collaboration into instruction?
Problem of Practice
Helping students do well on Task II of the English Regents. This is the focus of our Inquiry Team this year.

How can we use technology to help students succeed on Task II of the English Regents?
Is there a way to expand the use of our advisory google doc to address this challenge?
Susan Ettenheim said:
Community service is a core value in our school relating to the name we proudly carry of Eleanor Roosevelt. While classroom time is devoted to community service through our Advisory program, students are still floundering a bit in the completion of this requirement. There are some who have meaningful experiences and some who do not. Students are not aware of the most positive and exciting things that are happening relating to community service across the grades and how students' lives have potentially been changed by this service.

What are students doing for community service and how do they make changes or grow their experiences?
I think we can all relate to this challenge of turning conversation and collaboration into meaningful action for and by our students.
Curtis said:
While our school has many innovative elements (online course work, flexible scheduling, field experience requirements, multidisciplinary course focus...), much of what we speak of - in the way of projects/activities - are in the past or fictional, rather than a present and pressing challenge. It seems to be a challenge to make the classroom task address material that is immediate to the student's time and place. The engagement of student skills to real-world problems that have some consequence.Not only on a singular basis, but as a regular practice for course design.

How do we design our courses to integrate seamlessly with current and pressing issues and challenges that are in evidence to our students?
Our school has made tremendous progress in the area of learner centered differentiation and would like to continue to develop learner-centered instruction that is inquiry-based, authentic, collaborative and differentiated to meet the needs of diverse students. Very often some students thrive in the environment of learner centered instruction while others require more guidance and scaffolding.

How are teachers ensuring that the proper scaffolding and support are provided for students in a learner-centered, differentiated environment?
Google docs has really helped us. Maybe we could share the template we use with you.

Christopher Ahearn said:
As a large high school (and one that contains a large number of ELLs and students with IEPs), it is often difficult to make sure that our students don't slip through the cracks or get lost in the shuffle as they navigate their way toward graduation. Teachers often feel frustrated with the motivation and work ethic of their students. Students--especially those who are behind in their credit accumulation--are unclear on what they need to do to catch up.

How do teachers ensure that all students have specific, individualized goals set towards their academic progress in both the short and long terms, and that these goals are aligned with the school's curriculum?
1. Students have difficulty drawing conclusions and making inferences. (ELA, plus reading for information and understanding across curriculum areas)

2. Is directly observable - Acuity Item Analysis reports, and tons of classroom observation by all teachers across grades and curriculum areas.

3. Connects to broader strategy of improvement for school, and high leverage: improved test results, but more importantly, improved learning process overall (more engagement and enjoyment for students and teachers). Students would be able to understand, explain, and creatively build upon processes they learn, for examples, to write literary essays, analyze science experiments, conduct internet research, draw tessellations, and solve math problems.
- Possible solution: Use short PowerPoint to chunk process & how it's done
- Use animation that shows and talks through the steps
- Students talk and share what they understood and what they're supposed to do.
- Then they make their own PowerPoint - applying the skill they learned
As a tech person in my school, I feel that we have some base towarding that direction, such as we have online hardware to support instruction needs in the classroom (3 to 4 computers in each classroom with 90% above online everyday), and we have 6 smartboards for 350 students of 16 classes. I think that our staff members need more staff developments for use the new technology. But the problem is where to find the good time for that purpose. About 1/4 of our staff members have problems to use new technology. So how to help them solve the problem as soon as possible is my challenge.

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Your Hosts

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Beth Richards

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Conferences & Webinars

->Visit The EdTech Conference Guide for a listing of upcoming conferences.

->Visit Classroom 2.0 Live for live web events.
->Visit Tech & Learning Webinars for a listing of upcoming events.

Funding Opportunities

Looking for funding for your innovative school or classroom project? Here are some sites to visit with grant funding information.

Grant opportunities on the NYC DOE website (note: accessed only from an NYC DOE connected computer)

eSchool News Funding Resources

DonorsChoose.Org Giving Page


Grants.gov is your source to FIND and APPLY for federal government grants.

Grants Alert

We Are Teachers


Middle School Success Awards for STEM
5K annually for 3 years

Useful grant writing tips.
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