Category Archives: Notes

Reading Goals

phases s

In my reading and writing across content (it really should be literacy across content but I did not name it), I need to make my reading goals clear. This is the one academic year where I offer this course every semester so I have a chance to test out, tweak, revise.

Here are my reading goals that I am trying out:

Students will be immersed in reading experiences where they have to

  • visualize ideas and situations in text (doodle notes)
  • make connections (bulletin board discussions, post it connections, yarn bridges)
  • ask questions (questions as feedback, positive presuppositions, question as paraphrase)
  • draw inferences
  • evaluate and determine what’s important (creating mini lessons to teach each other)
  • notice and analyze the author’s craft (reading circle, writing circle, model texts)
  • recall ideas (discussion, doodle notes, alaka’i)
  • self-monitor while reading (brain map)

I need more ideas on drawing inferences but it may not be a stand alone. More like a simile is a type of metaphor is a type of figurative language strategy but not necessarily true that a metaphor is a simile. Not sure if that makes sense but is is just on the edge of cognition and clarity.


CCSS mana’o

I’m not sure how to use this, or which hat of mine I would use it for, but I want to note it down for later thought.

CCSS is being adopted/adapted for KSH and I will begin some side work on creating curriculum aligned to CCSS and CBE. CCSS aligns with Danielson, and done proficiently, both lead teachers to distinguished based on a more constructivist pedagogy. As an instructional coach, I get that.

But put on my other hat, that of reading specialist, I worry about those students who are already so behind that the Matthew effect is in full effect and as they move forward in our system, they actually fall farther and farther behind, even despite our best efforts. I must look to the voices dominant in this realm – those people whose passion is the reaching of reluctant secondary readers.

Here’s an excerpt from Kylene Beers on some words of wisdom regarding CCSS as quoted in Professor Nana’s blog:

“My own CCSS (Critical Core School Standards) that might have a chance of creating students who are indeed college and career ready reads like this:

All administrators and teachers will work together to create in all students a passion for learning, a joy in discovering, a tolerance for risk, the stamina to try again, respect of others, and belief in oneself. Schools will be seen as communities of learning where at the end of the year children are saddened to leave, count days until the next year begins, and “I want to try it” is heard far more than ‘Is this for a grade?'”


So why is this quote, of everything I read today, so important?
I need to understand the students I am creating curriculum for.
As a former AP teacher who made sure that I flunked my students at least once in the year perhaps for my own cognitive dissonance moment, I have to remember that AP students have their own built in survival mechanisms that keep them from shutting down when the going gets tough. I cannot only write curriculum for those students who will learn regardless of who stands in front of them. I must write for those students, true, but also for the students who struggle and everyone in between.

I can only create rigor and bring out critical thinking if the why of the unit is connected to the students. I need an appropriate hook, but it needs to be more than a metal shiny thing that skims the water with no sustenance attached. And staying with that metaphor, I need valid intentions for why I am trying to hook them in the first place. It needs to be a win win for all, including the teacher and the nerd and the struggler, etc. They have to “want to try it.” The challenge with CCSS is that I am trying to prepare them for a college and career experience that may not even exist right now, so we must teach through culture. I cannot think of anything else that is solid enough to hold on to. I think for our students the passion and joy will come from the culture. I may be far off base, but I need to try it.

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Using What Moves Me


A friend went to the ASCD conference so I used her login to look into the virtual conference. What I found was the keynote by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

My notes:

ASCD 13 Keynote

From marching with MLK, Jr.

  • all things are possible
  • the way we think about ourselves, the language that we use, the way we interact with each other, the value we hold, become the most important thing

• Every generation was becoming better educated until recently. The 35-70 year old Americans are the second most educated generations in the world

• Not the same for the under 35

• 30% of Americans have college degrees

• 36% of whites

• 19% of blacks

• 14% of Hispanics

• 55% of Asian Americans

2/3 of Americans over 25 do NOT have college degrees

What do we have to do to increase those numbers?

How many believe there are many more Chinese and Indian children than American children?

  • 1.3 billion Chinese
  • 1.1 billion Indians
  • =2.4 billion people
  • 10% will be high achievers, so 10% of 2.4 billion is 240 million
  • there are only 310 million Americans
  • we are a small country. What gives us strength is our creativity, our innovation, our diversity – how do we harness the creativity and innovation to make a difference?
  • We especially need graduates in STEM, but it does not take away the importance of arts, humanities and social science. We need both. Our graduation rate for engineers = 6%. Europe = 12%, Asia = more
  • We math teachers can look at a kid and spot the kids that don’t get math right away.  The kids that can get it quickly, can also lose it quickly. We tend to think about speed as being smartness rather than depth and struggle as a way to learn
  • Our culture tends to do a one or the other talent search, either math/science or arts/language. Must it be that way?
  • Why are fewer than 2% of the PhDs in science going to minorities (blacks, hispanics, Hawaiians)
  • What does it really mean to expect that all students can succeed?
  • ask students to give feedback on how to help them succeed
  • in our system, do we see all people of all races achieving at the same level?
  • what works?
  • build community among students
  • help faculty rethink how they teach
  • pull students into the actual work
  • building trust among the students

ú  students will rarely say they need help (especially minority students)

ú  the tutoring labs need to be for those students that want to get an A, not just the ones that don’t want to get a C or lower

ú  when focus on specific groups and their particular problems, you can address things that can help everyone

ú  if they have never seen it, it’s challenging to believe that it can happen.

  • How do we use technology as a tool rather than having the tool rule our lives?
  • We must prepare students to use the technology, but also to control the technology – ethics, history, thinking through the big questions – one skill he wants every student coming to college to have beyond reading is to ask good questions
  • How do we create an environment where we ask students to take ownership of their own education.  How many students are bored in school? How do we take what we know about technology and learning to change the model?
  • Are we as innovative as we can be? We need to get away from the lecture model. People can’t listen for more than 20 minutes intently.
  • Flipped classroom from his perspective: in engineering/math – teacher assigns a 20 minute video explaining a concept. Students watch it. Teacher assigns the problem before class. They meet in groups, using blackboard and work on the problems. Based on what she sees in the problem solving, she can present another 15-20 minute lecture based on what they could and could not understand.
  • Expecting the students to see how much they can understand themselves first, and base the lecture piece on what they didn’t get. Teacher in class continues to monitor the groups.
  • In terms of the future, we learn together, not alone.  Asian countries you get fewer problems that require more thought and are worked on together
  • how do you make sure everyday that you are elevating people and not pushing them down?
  • watch your thoughts, they become your words, watch your words, they becme your actions, your actions become your character, your characer becomes your destiny
  • Every child needs A teacher to believe in them.

How can I use this in my own project?

What Dr. Hrabowski has done by concentrating on minority students is what I’m doing. He says by concentrating on the specific needs of one type of student, in my case Hawaiian students, I am creating information for all students. Good teaching is good teaching. Belief to action to destiny – the ho’ailona – the pandanus fruit is ripe – the time is now.

Qualitative Research with Dr. Joanne Cooper, Part 1

Defining qualitative research

  • Not in lab
  • Data collected in the field, sensitive to people and places
  • Does not involve sending out instruments, such as surveys
  • Gathers up-close information by talking directly to people or observing how they act in a chosen context

Researcher is the key instrument

  • Researcher collects the data
  • Highly dependent on the reflexivity of the researcher.
    • How do your values or experiences color your perceptions of this world and your participants?
    • How will you set aside these values in order to see/hear your participants clearly (look for places where you’re surprised – reveals your biasis) (journal)
    • How are you an insider and an outsider to this situation? (Journal)

Involves an emerging approach

  • Need to have a plan, but the design must be sensitive to events/people in the field
  • Cannot be tightly prescribed (flexible, but not loose)
  • Examples: questions may change, forms of data collection altered, participants or sites may change
  • Do need a guiding research question or questions (need to look at what assumptions are buried in question or what terms need to be defined)

Involves sense-making interpretation

  • examined meanings people bring to social or human problems
  • Brings forth voices of the participants (if in transcript, you’re doing most of the talking, wrong!)
  • How do they make sense of their world
  • Does not focus on the meanings that the researcher or the literature bring to the problem
  • Focuses on multiple perspectives, theme, should reflect multiple perspectives
(Journal topic – role of the researcher – my genealogy as a researcher)
Focuses on the voices of participants
  • Your job is to bring forth the voices of the participants
  • Often involves giving voice to those who have been silenced
  • Get your voice out of the way in order to HEAR them
  • Involves narratives or words, not numbers in order to represent their voices
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