Reflecting on a Year of Learning

summer sunflower
Beth Melton

I love summer. Besides relaxing on the deck and late evening runs, it is such a nice time to regroup and reflect. In preparation for this post, I took a look at my end of year post from last year, and it was nice to revisit some old favorites.

I hope you find some new favorites in my top list of resources from the 17-18 school year.

Relevant in an All-White School? The teacher evaluation rubric asks teachers to embrace diversity in the classroom, and in many of our rural schools where the majority of students are Caucasian, the diversity less visible. This article from The National Association for Multicultural Education helped me to understand some of the ways that teachers in these environments might think about how to help students understand and experience social justice and equity.

Assessment Through the Students' Eyes This ASCD article outlines the difference in the assessment experience for students on "winning streaks" and "losing streaks," and helped me to think about how we can use assessment to empower students rather than discourage them.

Critical Thinking: Why Is It So Hard to Teach? This meaty article about critical thinking helped me to understand the complexities of critical thinking. The author, cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham, says that "critical thinking is not a set of skills that can be deployed at any time, in any context. It is a type of thought that even 3-year-olds can engage in - and even trained scientists can fail in."

The Boss of My Brain I have always been fascinated by the power of teaching students metacognition. It is a complex concept (thinking about your thinking), and this article gives some great concrete ways to teach students to be the boss of their own brains.

Punitive or Restorative: The Choice is Yours This chapter from the book Better Than Carrots or Sticks starts with a Frederick Douglass quote: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men," and then provides inspiration around classroom management and discipline that are effective and respectful of students.

The Nature of Reading Development, Reading Difficulties, and Effective Instruction Educational psychologist David Kilpatrick's keynote at the 2017 Reading in the Rockies conference summarizes his research, which illuminates the need for shifts in how we think about reading development and reading difficulties. Most compellingly, he states that we do not have different theories about reading development for struggling and typically developing readers - rather, we must look at how our instruction can support them differently.

The End of Average Todd Rose studies the "science of the individual," and in this compelling talk from Harvard's 8x8 series, he explains how the "average" student doesn't really exist, and how, by assuming they do, we hurt all students.

What are the most inspirational professional resources you've found this year? How did they influence your thinking? Share in the comments!