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Monday, March 8, 2010

Doing What Works

First, the good news: I have a follower! Woo-Hoo! Sounds kind of silly after nearly a year of blogging, but understand that I recently moved How to Teach Novel from WordPress to here at Blogger. In doing so I kept my posts, but unfortunately lost my comments, my followers, and my Google rank. But as they say in sports, this is a rebuilding year! So join the fan club! Follow me! Pity follows are gratefully accepted.

Second, the equally good news. I discovered a pretty cool resource, courtesy of our tax dollars, called Doing What Works: Research Based Education Practices Online. Now some of you, knowing that this site comes from the government, might be laughing uncontrollably at the title, but trust me, there's some really good stuff here.

Doing What Works is a site that synthesizes educational research with actual classroom practice. Of prime importance to us are the resources provided for Adolescent Literacy. Four recommended practices are featured: Vocabulary Instruction, Comprehension Strategies, Engaging Text Discussion, and Intensive Intervention.

Each of these four practices is in turn broken down into Practice Summary, Learn What Works, See How It Works, and Do What Works:
  • Practice Summary provides a one-paragraph synopsis of what the teacher will achieve through this practice, plus a Multimedia Overview.
  • Learn What Works includes video segments of experts discussing the practice, as well as Key Concepts (in real language, not jargon), Research Evidence, and Related Links.
  • See How It Works allows you to be a fly on the classroom wall through teacher-narrated Presentations illustrating the practice in action. Sample Materials are provided in pdf format for downloading. 
  • Do What Works contains both Ideas for Action and Tools and Templates, designed to help teachers and administrators implement the practices immediately.
For even the most experienced teachers, this site offers a reminder of the basic practices essential to literacy instruction. For beginners, it's an excellent introduction and primer for making literacy work in the classroom by implementing direct and systematic instruction. This site is the "science" of teaching; the "art" is left up to us.

Looking for a terrific text as a desk reference for this site? The English Teacher's Companion is strongly recommended for its straight-forward advice on instruction, organization, and growing in the profession. The Doing What Works site recommends author Jim Burke's web site as well.


Book Lovers Delight said...

=) we just started up our blog a few month's ago..I really enjoy your blog. Please feel free to follow us.

Elizabeth & Karina

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