Research

The Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Model

Recognizing that districts are more likely to provide effective instruction when they select instructional materials that incorporate the same approach to instruction, Learning List has begun a series of blog posts about instructional models and the products that use them to frame instruction.  A previous post looked at the 5E Model; in this post, we examine the Gradual Release of Responsibility, or GRR, model.  

As its name suggests, the GRR model gradually transfers responsibility for learning from teachers to students.  The model provides a framework that allows teachers to share knowledge and ensures that students develop competence with new concepts and skills.

According to Fisher and Frey (2008), the GRR model is made up of four components:

  1. Focus Lesson. Often referred to as the “I do” part of the GRR model, the focus lesson is an activity or lesson in which teachers establish the purpose for learning, identify the standards to be taught, connect content to prior learning, and model new content and skills.
  2. Guided Instruction. During guided instruction, teachers guide students through new learning tasks, providing support in the form of questions, prompts, clues, and suggested strategies. Known as the “we do” part of the GRR model, guided instruction may take place in whole group or small group formats. As teachers work with students, they have opportunities to formatively assess learning and provide direct instruction to individual students or small groups who are struggling with concepts.
  3. Collaborative Learning. In this part of the GRR model, students work with peers to practice new skills, clarify concepts, solve problems, and create products. Teachers move between small groups identifying misconceptions and providing support. This is known as “we do it together” part of the model.
  4. Independent Practice. In the final “you do” step of the GRR model, students complete learning tasks independently, synthesizing information and applying their learning in new situations. Students may rely on notes or ask for support, but they are individually responsible for learning outcomes.

The goal of the GRR model is to move from teacher-directed learning to a student-centered, collaborative learning environment.  This transfer may occur over the course of a day’s lesson, a multi-day activity, a unit that lasts several weeks, or even longer periods of instruction. In order to implement the GRR model effectively, curricula and instructional materials need to be vertically aligned so that that sequence of instruction is coherent and students are not missing key instructional pieces or repeating content that they have already learned. When students have access to aligned curricula and purposeful implementation of the GRR model, they have a greater chance of becoming capable and self-confident learners who are able to take responsibility for their own work.

Read More

Cost vs. Effectiveness

A recent article in U.S. News and World Report discusses a report from the Center for American Progress. Analyzing state-adopted materials from 19 states, the authors found little relationship between the cost and quality of curriculum materials.

Though the study looked only at print materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards, Learning List data for print and online products reveal the same about Texas materials.  The table below shows the price of three state-adopted, 100% aligned Economics materials that vary in price by up to $81/student over an 8 year subscription:

This table of 100% aligned, state-adopted and non-state-adopted Algebra I products also shows significant price variance:


The article further states, “schools often used misaligned textbooks, and studies have shown that there is a clear gap between what publishers say is aligned to state standards or effective and what truly fits those criteria.”

This begs the question: how does one judge the “effectiveness” of a material prospectively? With so many intervening variables (e.g., the teacher’s skill, the teacher’s use of the material, the students’ abilities and learning styles, and, for online materials, the district’s infrastructure), it is difficult to predict with certainty whether a material is/will be effective.

Alignment to state standards is one predictive measure of a product’s effectiveness. Another is other educators’ experiences with the product. For that reason, Learning List’s editorial reviews incorporate feedback from multiple educators who personally have used the products with students. The reviews also include a list of reference districts for subscribers to contact before purchasing a product. Finally, educators can share their experience by rating and reviewing the products featured on LearningList.com.

Learning List’s alignment reports, editorial reviews and new spec sheets provide multi-faceted feedback to inform educators’ selection of products and help them use their products most effectively.

Read More

Happy Birthday, John Dewey (1859-1952)

dewey

[Image Source: Biography.com]

Today, Learning List celebrates the life of John Dewey, the American philosopher, social reformer, and educator, who was born in Vermont on October 20, 1859.  Dewey was a leader of the Progressive Movement in American education, which emphasized active learning and democratic classroom practices as a means to transmit the core social and moral values (e.g., tolerance) needed to ensure the social continuity of America’s democracy.

In contrast to previous, more authoritarian instructional models that focused on rote learning, Dewey held that students must be actively engaged with and invested in what they are learning and that curriculum must be connected to students’ lives. Dewey’s approach recognized the role of students’ personal experiences in shaping their learning and that students learn best when they are ready for new content.  This idea was expressed again in 1966 with Jerome Bruner’s concept of the spiral curriculum where concepts are revisited across the elementary and middle grades in order to address differences in students’ readiness to learn.

Dewey believed that teachers should not act as instructional authorities.  Instead, they should serve as facilitators of student learning, observing, supporting, and attending to individual learning needs. Dewey also asserted that the curriculum should be relevant to students and their lives.  For example, in a 1916 argument in support of vocational education, Dewey wrote:

The problem is not that of making the schools an adjunct to manufacture and commerce, but of utilizing the factors of industry to make school life more active, more full of immediate meaning, more connected with out-of-school experience (from Democracy in Education).

This approach to curriculum and instruction continues to resonate in American education. Dewey’s work, along with that of Jean Piaget, is fundamental to the contemporary Constructivist movement. Beyond Constructivism, most contemporary American educators understand the importance of a relevant curriculum and student-centered instruction in engaging students with content and meeting diverse student learning needs.

Read More

Are Digital Resources or Textbooks More Effective? OECD Weighs In

oecd logo 2

Source: OECD

Are digital resources more effective than textbooks? They are certainly more trendy these days. Although Learning List has reviewed hundreds of instructional materials in both formats, it’s difficult for us to say that one format is better than another. Online adaptive products that individualize learning for each student have the potential to differentiate instruction and keep all students challenged, while textbooks are easier to use, particularly for students without Internet access at home. As more digital content providers are entering the K-12 marketplace, we are paying close attention to research and policy discussions about the effectiveness of online products. We thought our readers might be interested in a recent Bloomberg View that summarizes findings from a 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report.

standardized_testThe report’s key finding is that “increased computer use in classrooms leads to lower test scores.”  The OECD compared test results from the 2009 and 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for groups of students who did and did not use digital resources for instruction. Results indicated that “the use of computers was negatively correlated with improvements in student performance” in both math and reading. That is, students who did not use digital resources performed better on the PISA tests, though there were some anomalies.

In addition, students in Japan, China, South Korea and other Asian economies where fewer students use computers, also did better on computer-based assignments. These students were no less comfortable using technology than students in Australia and Northern Europe where computers are more prevalent in instruction.

The reason? The report concludes:

Gaps in the digital skills of both teachers and students, difficulties in locating high-quality digital learning resources from among a plethora of poor-quality ones, a lack of clarity on the learning goals and insufficient pedagogical preparation for blending technology meaningfully into lessons and curricula create a wedge between expectations and reality. If these challenges are not addressed as part of the technology plans of schools and education ministries, technology may do more harm than good to the teacher-student interactions that underpin deep conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking.

Learning List’s Alignment Reports, Editorial Reviews and new Spec Sheets help educators overcome two of the challenges identified in the OECD report: finding high quality digital resources and blending digital resources into lessons and curricula effectively.

multitasking-mobile-devices-557x362The new Spec Sheets are Learning List’s two-page checklist of each product’s key academic and technology attributes. The Spec Sheets complement our more comprehensive Alignment Reports and Editorial Reviews to help educators quickly identify high-quality digital products that meet their students’ needs and can be implemented successfully using the district’s current technology. We hope that this at-a-glance review will help districts’ curriculum and technology teams quickly narrow the list of products to review themselves.

Learning List’s Alignment Reports also help educators integrate digital instructional materials into their lesson plans/curricula for more effective instruction. These detailed reports identify multiple citations (i.e. page numbers, lesson names) that Learning List’s subject matter experts determined to be aligned to the content, context and cognitive demand of each standard. Only by assigning the parts of the material that are aligned to each standard can teachers have confidence that their students are learning the knowledge and skills the standards require.

Stop by our booth (#1817) at the TASA/TASB Convention this weekend, and let us show you how our service and our new Spec Sheets can help your district choose and use instructional materials more effectively. If you won’t be at the conference, request a webinar at your convenience, and we’ll be glad to introduce you to our service.

Read More

Infographic: 14 Ways to Celebrate National Teachers’ Day

National Teachers’ Day is a special day to recognize and show appreciation to teachers in the USA for their extraordinary contributions to education and development. Let’s celebrate and honor them for their special contributions throughout Teachers’ Appreciation Week (May 4-8).

Share this Infographic with others; more details and active links are included below the image:

Click the Infographic to download and share.

Click the Infographic to download and share.

4 Popular Twitter Hashtagstwitter logo1

3 Empowering and Inspiring Videos

[Click Image for Kid President Video]

[Click Image for Kid President Video]

 

A Letter to the Future [Kid President]

 

 

Click Image for "What's Stopping You..." Video

Click Image for “What’s Stopping You…” Video

 

 

What’s Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals?

 

 

Click Image for Science of Happiness Video

Click Image for Science of Happiness Video

 

 

The Science of Happiness

 

 

 

 3 Popular Facebook Sites

  • NEA Today: The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA’s 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States (source: NEA}
  • We Are Teachers: WeAreTeachers celebrates educators with classroom ideas, “helpline” advice, inspiration and laughs every day. Why? Because teachers are AWESOME! (source: We Are Teachers)
  • Mind Shift: Exploring the future of learning in all its dimensions – covering cultural and technology trends, groundbreaking research, and innovations in education. (source: Mind Shift)

4 Ways to Celebrate

  • Host a mini class party for class teachers.
  • Make an Award or Artwork for your Teacher
  • Hang banners on classroom doors as decoration and sign of gratitude.
  • Write a personal “Thank You” note or card to your teachers.

Famous Teacher Quotes

The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth. – Dan Rather

If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people. – Chinese Proverb

Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults. – Abraham Lincoln

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. -George Bernard Shaw

If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around. – Jim Rohn

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. – George Bernard Shaw

© 2015 Learning List

 

Read More

New (Free) Whitepaper: Why Alignment Matters

Why Alignment Matters (whitepaper) © 2014 Learning List

© 2014 Learning List

Has your district ever purchased instructional materials that failed to live up to their claims? If so, you’re not alone. Learning List has reviewed over 500 instructional materials, and only half (54%) of those that claim to be aligned to 100% of the state standards, actually are.  Ever wondered why that happens?

This brief whitepaper, Why Alignment Matters, explains:

  • How Do Educators Define “Alignment”?
  • How do Publishers Define “Alignment”?
  • What Causes the Discrepancy Between Those Definitions?

Alignment Is Critical To Students’ Success.

Before your district starts selecting new materials, download your free copy of Why Alignment Matters.

Read More

Subscribe!

Click here to subscribe for weekly updates.

Connect with us

Categories