Common Core: Crossing Subjects for ELLs

From Education Week, teachers are finding that the Common Core math standards and accompanying curriculum changes are requiring them to rethink their approach with ELL students. The focus on word problems, especially, is requiring the incorporation of language supports for math instruction. While frustrating for some, at the core of the change may be potential for professional growth, reflection, and better service to students.


ELL Technology

I just completed a review of educational technology for ELLs.  I am attaching the document here for anyone interested in reading, and of course adding comment on expanding my research.

Morehouse EDD 703 ELL Technology Research Paper

Thinking in Pictures


Reading through articles this week (and as a component of my current class) I had the pleasure of perusing this article the other day.  The author’s reflections on how her thinking differs from that of most learners around her is a cogent reminder to educators that we should not approach students with preconceived notions of how they are learning.  This individual is clearly high-functioning as a result of his different way of thinking, though others who think in pictures may not do as well in conventional instruction.  Systems thinking encourages us to pay close attention to Mental Models, and reading this gave me a timely chance to reflect on how I have always viewed learning.

Credit goes to the New York Times for the picture.

We Keep Testing, and Nothing Changes

Some worthwhile thoughts from Diane Ravitch.


It is worth noting that American students have never received high scores on international tests. On the first such test, a test of mathematics in 1964, senior year students in the US scored last of twelve nations, and eighth-grade students scored next to last. But in the following fifty years, the US outperformed the other eleven nations by every measure, whether economic productivity, military might, technological innovation, or democratic institutions. This raises the question of whether the scores of fifteen-year-old students on international tests predict anything of importance or whether they reflect that our students lack motivation to do their best when taking a test that doesn’t count toward their grade or graduation. …

Obama and Duncan used the latest international test scores as proof that more testing, more rigor, was needed. The Obama administration, acting out the script of “A Nation at Risk,” repeatedly treats our scores on these…

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Smart Data for the Classroom

Edwards (2013) shares with us the consistent success of the Mooresville Graded School District’s digital conversion initiative: improved test scores, graduation rates, smaller achievement gaps, and a marked increases in college scholarships awarded to the district’s graduates.  A critical reason for this success is the district’s success in tailoring interventions on the basis of individual student data.

Dr. Scott Smith, below, discusses the use of data in the school district and its importance to driving student success:

As he notes, the proper use of the data lies not just in having information, but rather having the right information targeted to the appropriate audience.  Technology can be a great enabler, but only if it is used with direction and vision, which the leadership at MGSD has made top priority (Edwards, 2013).


Edwards, M. (2013). Every Child, Every Day: A Digital Conversion Model for Student Achievement. Boston, MA: Pearson.