APSRC Teaching and Learning Blog

In order to provide the latest updates and information from the APSRC Teaching and Learning team, we have created an informational blog. Regular contributors include Barbara Hunter Cox, Kristi Campbell and Teresa Chance. For more information about how to use this blog, please click here.

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10/20/2014 11:31:43 AM

Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries
The mission of the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries is to help school libraries encourage and foster a love of reading, support student learning, and make books and reading materials available to students who otherwise would not have access to them. Grants of up to $7,000 are available to update, extend, and diversify the book collections of school libraries throughout the United States, the American territories, and Department of Defense schools in other countries. Only schools where a minimum of 85% of the student body qualifies for the federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program are eligible to apply. Funds are provided solely for books, e-books, or magazines and serials in print, Braille, or audio form. Requests for staffing, shelving, furniture, equipment, software, videos, classroom book sets, or exams are not considered. All grants are made to individual schools rather than to school districts, foundations, or other entities. The application deadline is December 15, 2014. Online application information is available on the Foundation's website at: http://www.laurabushfoundation.com/



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8/27/2014 11:37:14 AM

Great Resources from Georgia Department of Education's Comprehensive Reading Solutions located at http://www.comprehensivereadingsolutions.com/

The site states "The Georgia Department of Education has funded this site through the Striving Readers initiative. We are using it to providefree access to materials for professional learning. The Georgia Department of Education wants as many teachers as possible to use this content." The lessons show real teachers and their classroom instruction as examples to exemplify the research best practices.



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8/15/2014 3:13:51 PM

New York state has released 50% of their assessment questions aligned to the Common Core. You can find them located at https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-common-core-sample-questions



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8/4/2014 11:30:48 AM

It is difficult to locate great resources for you to use in design of Common Core lessons but here is the link to a very powerful website from the American Natural History Museum. WOW! http://www.amnh.org/explore/curriculum-collections



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7/28/2014 8:26:14 AM

What does Common Core Sound Like in a High School English Classroom? Interesting audio presentation from NPR found at: http://www.npr.org/2014/07/25/335156395/what-a-common-core-lesson-sounds-like-in-a-10th-grade-english-class



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7/7/2014 8:43:33 AM

In case you were vacationing in the last few weeks, OEP did an insightful report entitled Statewide Benchmark Scores Released, Drop in Scores by University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

It is a must read for administrators and contains great information to share with your stakeholders about the assessment. You can access the report at http://officeforedpolicy.com/author/officeforedpolicy/

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7/3/2014 3:46:38 PM

The ADE Dyslexia Resource Guide (Draft document) can be found at http://bit.ly/1kb0zPb.

Remember every educator needs a one hour PD session on Dyslexia. The ADE developed the Dyslexia Professional Awareness piece that is available at www.arkansasideas.org.



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5/28/2014 9:03:18 AM

EdWeek has reported that field testing for both Smarter Balance and PARCC went better than expected. Go to http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/05/06/30fieldtest_ep.h33.html for the full article. This is a good sign that schools are preparing well for online assessments which will be the avenue taken regardless of the assessment utilized. The article shares findings such as schools that provided limited student exposure to technology had a steeper learning curve and most schools reported that the exams were more rigorous than the previous state assessments.



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5/22/2014 1:47:23 PM

Article by Laura Slover, CEO of PARCC

The message I tried to convey: there is no "test prep" for these tests; these are the kinds of test items that require understanding of concepts and application that only come through a year of effective teaching, not through "drill and kill."

I'll give you two quick examples, the ones I used in my presentation: In a typical current 10th grade test, students might be asked to write a letter to the cafeteria supervisor suggesting new menu items explaining why they should be added. While this does require writing and making a persuasive argument, it doesn't require them to use evidence from the text. A sample 10th grade PARCC test item requires the student to read passages of the Declaration of Independence and a Patrick Henry speech and watch a short video. Then students must write about the purpose of government, according to the colonists, based on the texts and the video. Those are the skills that will be expected of them when they enter college or the work place.

In math, an old question might ask students to figure out what portion of stickers are heart-shaped, requiring students to divide the number of hearts by the total number of stickers. In PARCC's sample test, a question about fractions requires students to first place a fraction in the right place on a number line, explain how they know 3/2 is greater than 5/6, come up with their own fraction that is between the two, and explain how they know it is between the two. The student who can answer those questions really knows fractions and will be able to put them to use solving real-world problems.



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5/2/2014 9:53:53 AM

Great article today in Ed Week which announces that "The PARCC testing consortium announced Friday that it has lowered the price of its common-core assessments by more than $5 per student:. to read more visit: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2014/05/common-core_assessment.html



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5/1/2014 4:37:19 PM

The President has requested $200 million in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the ConnectEDucatorsprogram to support teachers' efforts to learn how to make the best use of technology and digital learning materials in their classrooms.



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4/29/2014 9:31:41 AM

New Research that Finds that Parental Involvement Is Overrated

New research from Keith Robinson, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, and Angel Harris, a professor at Duke University, finds that "most forms of parental involvement, like observing a child's class, contacting a school about a child's behavior, helping to decide a child's high school courses, or helping a child with homework, do not improve student achievement. In some cases, they actually hinder it."

In deciding to pursue this research, Robinson and Harris found that the prevailing notion of the benefits of parental involvement was not conclusively supported by academic studies. Their research was designed, then, to address this gap. Through their research they found that parental involvement does not have the impacts on academic achievement that is commonly believed, and in some cases, it can negatively impact achievement and development.



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4/28/2014 1:15:15 PM

Grant Wiggins recent blog provides his insights about assessment and accountability which he titled "Genuine vs. sham accountability." He states "We should not be surprised, then, that there is a rising tide of disenchantment with current resting in many professional and public quarters." He suggests that no one - not policymakers, taxpayers, parents, teachers and especially students are adequately served by the current accountability system that relies on a set of "audit" tests. His blog located at http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/genuine-vs-sham-accountability/ shares his views on what genuine accountability should look like. It makes interesting reading and would serve as a great way to communicate about the issues we face with the implementation of Next Generation Assessment.



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4/25/2014 1:10:35 PM

Achieve the Core in partnership with CCSSO and Achieve have produced a toolkit for evaluating alignment of instructional and assessment materials to the CCSS

What it is:  A complete set of tools to aid in the design and procurement of CCSS aligned instructional materials, including assessments.

Why it matters:  Having Common Core-aligned materials in place is a critical part implementing the standards effectively and makes all the difference in both teacher effectiveness and student achievement.These tools are available at no cost and are located here.


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4/11/2014 2:29:56 PM

Great article on the OEP report and comments by Dr. Gary Ritter on Arkansas Achievement gains by Brenda Bernet on NWA Online. You can read it at http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2014/apr/11/arkansas-pupils-test-scores-climb-20140411



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4/9/2014 8:53:10 AM

Common Core State Standards are experiencing "push back" in several states. One of the best articles that support CCSS implementation was published this week. It is entitled Four reasons that critics of Common Core should reconsider their opposition By Joshua Bleiberg

You can view it at http://hechingerreport.org/content/four-reasons-critics-common-core-reconsider-opposition_15310/



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4/4/2014 10:46:54 AM

The K-12 Center at ETS has created a great one pager on PARCC assessment with updates can be accessed at http://www.k12center.org/rsc/pdf/k12_center_parcc.pdf



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4/2/2014 3:58:04 PM

Illustrative Mathematics has published its first newsletter. You can access it at http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=7dd8264e23047d3ad0bea789b&id=e810e7569e&e=2fc3637ed9

Since it is a continuous challenge to find Common Core related Math resources I wanted to share how to register for these newsletters by visiting their website at http://illustrativemathematics.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=7dd8264e23047d3ad0bea789b&id=3acc084fe9.



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4/1/2014 8:50:47 AM

NASSP has declared the week of March 31-April 4, 2014, as National Assistant Principals Week to honor and recognize the contributions of assistant principals to the success of students in schools across the United States. APSRC wants to join in recognizing this hard working group of educators.



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3/26/2014 9:49:56 AM

Why should we be paying attention to PARCC releases of information? This is answered by Jake Firman, who has written an in-depth article entitled Why Everyone Should Pay Attention to PARCC's Released Test Items. It is a "must" read for anyone trying to prepare for PARCC assessment and can be found at

https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-03-12-why-everyone-should-pay-attention-to-parcc-s-released-test-items



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