California Educator

December 2018 / January 2019

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academic language. Give students an apple and let them touch it, feel it, taste it, listen to it crunch, and afterwards list the relevant words emerging from the expe- rience: red, smooth, moist, cold, crunchy, fresh, delicious, waxy, sour, tart, etc., are words which will enhance recall of the experience with the high-utility words used across the curriculum. " Teach ers shoul d mo d el lin gui stic precision. Instead of asking students, ' What do you think will happen?,' ask ' W hat do you p re d i ct will o c c u r , can someone hypothesize for us?' Students will encounter these academic words throughout the school day, and in instruc- tions during standardized tests. Even in mathematics and science, have students use (not just read) words like osmosis and metamorphosis, which are often used metaphorically in literature." Use all of the senses — and visualize "Deep and long-lasting learning requires using our senses. Enhancing academic language within every discipline — inter- disciplinarity — is especially valuable for linguistically impoverished students. In math, have children say, ' When solv- ing this problem, I first … FILL IN THE BL ANK …. Next, I …, and then, I check the reasonableness by ….' Writing out their internal dialogue improves students' thinking. It i s al so advantage ous for students to draw pictures of the problem and their procedures for solving it. "In one exercise, we place a red, a blue and a yellow toy car into a dark tube. We ask, 'In what order will the cars exit th e ri g ht end? Th e l eft end?' We f lip the tube and pose the same questions. Manipulating those images correctly in the mind's eye, using one's working memory, indicates the child's readiness for symbolic mathematics. "Educators often distribute math work- sheets with 50 nearly identical problems. [Research has] found that after the sixth problem, the next 44 make virtually no contribution to cognitive growth. Instead, additional visualization and experience with manipulatives improved mathemat- ical thinking." Soften the border between disciplines " S t u d e n t s m u s t a c t i v e l y ( t h r o u g h i n t e r a c t i o n s w i t h t h e t e a c h e r a n d p e e r s) c o n n e c t k e y c o n c e p t s a c r o s s t h e d i s c i p l i n e s , u n d e r st a n d i n g t h a t each subje ct area i s m erely a p ar t of the same whole — ' knowledge.' "e human brain evolved from having lengthy periods to learn about objects and events. Our 55-minute-long classes, with subjects changing hourly, should be exchanged for 90-minute periods of learning focused around an intriguing p h en om en on or th em e . Fi nl a n d h a s a d o p t e d t h i s a p p r o a c h a n d t h e re b y 'softens' the artificial borders between academic disciplines. Students learn in the same manner that adults solve problems in the real world — using all disciplines simultaneously." Experiential, connected learning "Brain research tells us that students l earn b e st by imm ersin g th em selve s deeply in investigations and projects, where they experience, ref lect, write, draw, think and engage in constant dia- logue and discourse — opportunities for language production. Classrooms should be buzzing with conversations where cognitive development emerges naturally. "Project Based Learning, and other learn er -cent ered instr uctional strat - egi e s, typi f y thi s appro a ch . We have STEM and STEAM, along with my model, S.T.2R.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, e- matic instruction, Reading/Language Arts, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) learning, which replicates how profes- sionals solve real-world global challenges. The goal of formal education is not to accumulate knowledge, but to learn its wide range of applications." Professional learning for teachers " We know from research that increases i n p r of e ssi o n a l l e a r n i n g o p p o r tu n i - ties sponsor improvements in student achievement. Between 10-20 percent of a teacher's time should be devoted to professional learning. It could begin with a facilitator sharing the latest research, followed by teachers holding weekly/ monthly 'S.T.2R.E.A.M.-posiums,' where faculty from all disciplines engage in rich conversations about what is work- ing most effectively with their students. Continuously learning new strategies for reaching a greater percentage of our diverse California student body is how one becomes an effective teacher." More on the Science of Learning Hear Kenneth Wesson speak at CTA's Instruction & Professional Development pre-conference to the Good Teaching Conference, Feb. 1, 2019, in San Jose, and March 22 in Garden Grove. Register at " Nothing is more important to academic success than a robust academic vocabulary." 57 D E C E M B E R 2 018 / J A N U A R Y 2 019

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