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Posts tagged ‘Book Whisperer’

Lexile is A tool

For the past 11 years, I have supported teachers in their use of Lexile as one resource when they consider both student’s reading levels and text complexity. The Lexile Framework for Reading comes from Metametrix and is used by numerous companies – Scholastic, NWEA, Follett, to name a few – to help students and teachers identify texts that would be appropriate for independent, guided and challenge reading. Metametrix is quick to point out that this Lexile score alone is not the sole determiner for text choice. What Lexile provides is an idea of the content students should be able to read and comprehend about 75% of the time based on vocabulary and sentence complexity.

For instance, consider helping a high school science teacher figure out that if the sole source of information for his students in one unit is the textbook, it may or may not be a useful resource for students in his classroom. Taking a minute to use the Lexile Analyzer to get some baseline information (beyond what the publisher said the “grade level” of the book was) about the text lead to the discovery that more than half of the students in the classroom would benefit from having additional sources of content at a variety of reading levels. There is nothing earth-shattering in the revelation, but definitely beneficial when the teacher (with the help of the media specialist) was able to gather a couple of other resources, making the content more accessible. Not to say that teachers aren’t doing this already, Lexile may just be an additional resource for these efforts.

Lexile seems to be a hot topic this month as a new school year gets set to begin. The point Paul Hankins makes in his blog about “the lex-aisle” is a vivid illustration of how any well-meaning tool can be used in ways in which it was not intended. (And I love this phrase as a reminder.) He references Kylene Beers’ blog where she reminds us of the five-finger method for children to use as they help themselves determine if they can read a book. Donalyn Miller shares her concern about the situations in which Lexile becomes the sole factor in book selection. I support all three points of view. For me, it is about triangulating the data…and teaching our students to do that as well.

What if a Lexile is a (starting) point? What if students are taught the five-finger method? Then what if we add in the factors Metametrix says Lexile doesn’t take into consideration: genre, theme, content, interest or quality? How would it look and what would it take to start with a student’s interest, use a Lexile and teach the student the five-finger method? Teachers and media specialists have ideas about the appropriateness of texts’ theme and content. They also have ideas about the quality of texts. How might we help students recognize and learn how to use a variety of tools (including Lexile) to assist them in their reading choices – activating them to own this piece of their learning?

New ideas about attention…thoughts on summer reading loss…virtual PE class

This week I found a new blog that fascinates me. Linda Stone names concepts I have turned over in my mind for years about attention. Linda does research on attention…”Attention is the most powerful tool of the human spirit. We can enhance or augment our attention with practices like meditation and exercise, diffuse it with technologies like email and Blackberries, or alter it with pharmaceuticals. In the end, though, we are fully responsible for how we choose to use this extraordinary tool.” She defines “continuous partial attention,” “attention density,” “ages of attention” and a few other terms new to me.

This concept from Alan Kay of Apple via Linda Stone is so intriguing to me — point of view is worth 80 IQ points — to consider when putting together a team or group to problem solve, brainstorm, reflect…

How to help kids avoid the summer reading loss – did you know as few as 4-5 books could to that? See what the Book Whisperer has to say.

You know how I advocate for video games in education – after a tornado, this physical education class goes “virtual.”

An infographic that shows what times of day are better for blogging

Creating data visualizations without software is challenging. The Miso Project has just released Dataset, a JavaScript library to help setup the foundation of any good data graphic.

It’s spring so it must be test-taking season…

It is important to remember that being a good reader comes before being a good test taker and here is what the Book Whisperer has to say on that subject…

Like some of the work NWEA has done with the Bureau of Indian Education – Learning coaches are a recommendation from the Wallace Foundation… 

…and in Danbury CT — Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor urged state residents to call for education reform this past Thursday.  A shift from teacher-training lectures to coaching in the classroom and small group instruction would help educators improve their craft, he said. This “small group instruction” fits the Teacher Learning Community model well.

If you use MAP and want to understand more about the growth data, register for this free, NWEA webinar on April 18th. Dr. John Cronin, Director of the Kingsbury Center at NWEA, will explain the distinctions between projected growth and aspirational growth targets, and how to effectively use growth metrics to better understand your student learning outcomes.

The Colorado Growth Model and students at West Denver Prep – not just measuring achievement

Dylan Wiliam explains how formative assessment can improve teacher effectiveness and student learning in a new webinar, “Practical Techniques for Implementing Formative Assessment.” You can access this second in a series of three free webinars on formative assessment here.

Check out this case study and the use of MAP – Reversing Low Math Performance: A “Paradigm Shift” – Wayzata High School

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