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Favourite Professional Resources

I have many favourite professional resources.  Some are new to me this summer, and I am still reading them for the first time.  Some are old favourites that I come back to again and again. 

Math Resources:

Dr. Small's Big Ideas helps me to understand common misconceptions children have, their mistakes are not random.  Using the Big Ideas in Math, I can teach Math through problem solving and am much less dependent on using a Math textbook.

Likewise, Good Questions by Dr. Small allows me to differentiate my Math instruction using Open questions.  Using Open Questions is great for formative assessment and helps me to get a handle on what my students truly know and can do.

Update: Jan. 6, 2013 For Christmas I received Chapters/Indigo cards!  HOORAY!  Today I spent them on new resources.  One of the new resources I bought was recommended to me by our Board's Math Consultant.  According to the Chapters/Indigo website: 

"This book provides all the tools to make communication come alive and to ensure the classroom is a vibrant, collaborative learning environment. Centred around three main sections-Mathematical Discourse, Reading in Mathematics, and Writing in Mathematics-Dr. Cathy Marks Krpan provides practical suggestions on how to create such an environment."

Resources for Writing:

Marvelous Minilessons for Teaching Intermediate Writing, Grades 4-6 The Write Beginning
I like Marvelous Minilessons and 6 + 1 Traits  because they provide practical strategies for explicitly teaching writer's craft.  I like The Write Beginning because it makes co-creating success criteria with your students meaningful.

Resources for Reading:

Independent Reading Inside the Box
Comprehension & Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action

Strategies that Work

Independent Reading Inside the Box helps make Reading Response meaningful.  It allows you to differentiate comprehension strategy instruction and makes students accountable for their independent reading.  To Understand helped me to understand comprehension really is.  It helped me to understand the difference between understanding at a surface level and truly helping the students to develop the abillity to understand deeply.  Inquiry Circles is still  new to me, but I'm hoping to teach much of my Language through collaborative inquiry. I'll let you know how it goes.

Jan. 6, 2013 - The other new resource I bought is:  What Really Matters in Response to Intervention by Richard Allington.  The acronym RTI is being thrown around a lot in our Board, but I'm not sure everyone using the term really knows what it means.  I'm hoping this well help me intervene for those students in my class who are reading below benchmark. 
Here's what it says on the Chapters/Indigo website about the book:

"Dick provides a comprehensive discussion of the factors that inhibit poor, disabled, and second-language learners from achieving and offers a number of research-based instructional strategies and routines for turning struggling readers into achieving readers. "

Resources for Assessment:

I'm really excited about this one, it is chalk-full of easy and practical strategies you can implement immediately without a ton of extra work or prep on your part that will make teaching more meaningful and targeted.
Embedded Formative Assessment

Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie is a must-read for all teachers and administrators.  Hattie helps us to understand why it is so important to be reflective and intentional in our practice.  It is critical that we know understand the impact of what we do on student achievement.

 Front CoverHow to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students - I bought this book 8 months ago and am finally reading it.  Why did I take so long!  My students could have been benefiting from it all year!Author Brookhart shares current research on descriptive feedback, what increases student success and motivation, and what type of feedback shuts students down.

Digital Citizenship Resources:

I'm hoping to use digital tools to engage my students more.  It will be a new and interesting adventure!

Keepin' It RealDigital Tools for Teaching: 30 E-Tools for Collaborating, Creating, and Publishing Across the Curriculum

Professional Learning
In Intentional Interruption Steven Katz explores barriers to professional learning.  He aptly defines "learning" as permanent change in practice.  What makes us so resistant to change?  And how can we overcome that resistance to be the effective educators our students need us to be?

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