Enhancing and Improving: Getting Even Better!

By Sue Land, M.Ed.

February/March 2011 Link Lines

Can you believe we have now entered a new year and you are beginning a long stretch of uninterrupted instructional time? No long holidays away from school to slow the momentum, except for an occasional snow day! Take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your students’ learning experiences with ideas highlighted in the February/March Link Lines. This issue of the newsletter is full of effective teaching strategies and helpful resources to keep you going through the long winter.

You are motivated and engaged, but what about your students? Doing One Thing (DOT) to Step up Student Engagement stresses the importance of increasing student opportunities to respond (OTR) to instructional tasks during class time, in an effort to support and encourage positive academic and social behaviors in the classroom. Spicing up Your Instructional Repertoire: Working Smarter, Not Harder suggests ways to motivate your students by incorporating prompting and praise into your teaching routines and procedures. For additional information on how to engage students in instructional activities, click on the following link to review Considerations Packets on active engagement and positive behavior strategies: http://education.wm.edu/centers/ttac/resources/considerations/index.php

Do you have students who struggle in reading, writing, and math? How full is your toolkit for teaching these areas? Reading + Writing = Stronger Literacy Skills elaborates on the link between reading and writing and discusses how to enhance reading comprehension through extended writing activities. Sample questions that require students to analyze text and use higher-order thinking skills when writing personal reactions are provided. Access the Considerations Packet Unlocking Reading Comprehension: Writing Is the Key for further information on how to support reading comprehension through writing at the address given above. With regard to math, Building Instructional Math Muscles: Balancing the Content and Process Standards stresses the importance of teaching the process standards that are embedded in the Essential Knowledge and Skills found in the Virginia Mathematics SOL Curriculum Framework documents. Among other things, the article provides a table that describes the process standards along with helpful resources for balancing content with process.

Strong leadership continues to be critical for enabling schools to accomplish the many tasks that cannot possibly be accomplished by one person alone. Do One Thing Today to Unleash the Leadership Potential in Your School focuses on nurturing the strengths of others to ensure that the leadership tasks that take place in successful schools occur in your school. A list of reflective questions based on the work of Kouzes and Posner is provided to “enable others to act.” In addition to reading this article, visit Kouzes and Posner’s website at http://www.leadershipchallenge.com/WileyCDA/ to further explore the leadership strategy “enabling others to act”.

Finally, utilize those cold winter nights to expand your knowledge about teaching and learning.  Check It Out! highlights new books and other library materials to enhance and inspire your teaching.

To learn additional strategies, we encourage you to attend upcoming T/TAC-hosted events. For more information, click on the links below:

VDOE T/TAC W&M Inclusive Leadership Series Preparing and Empowering Schools for Inclusive Practices (January 26, 8:30 AM - March 23, 3:00 PM)

Imagine the Possibilities: Policies and Practices that Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities (February 10, 8:15 AM - 3:30 PM)