KDSL Global interviews Sue Beers

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Sue Beers, the Executive Director of MISIC. Now serving 160+ school districts in Iowa and other states, MISIC began in 1998 as a collaborative between 15 school districts in central Iowa.

 

What inspired you to work in education and curriculum? 

My mother and grandmother were teachers. I just followed in their footpaths! My interest in curriculum development came for designing my own lessons and curriculum, as we had no state or local curriculum guides. I received a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and while doing that study, became intrigued with not only writing curriculum, but leading others in this work as well. As a Director of Curriculum for 19 years, I had the opportunity to work with teachers from all content areas and grade levels to design and implement high-quality curriculum.

 

Tell us about the books you have written for ASCD.

As a former language arts teacher, literacy has always been my passion. Early in my career, I discovered that I had a significant number of high school students who were reading below the 5th grade level. I also realized that even my high-performing students were unable to independently process and understand the content-area text that they encountered. Many had simply stopped reading and waited for teachers to tell them what they needed to know.

I started researching and studying how to help students use text to learn in all content areas. This has been my lifelong passion and resulted in my writing 5 Action Tools for ASCD in the area of literacy in the content areas. The books were Reading Strategies for the Content Areas, Reading Strategies for the Content Areas Volume 2, Writing to Learn in the Content Areas, Adolescent Literacy, and Teaching 21st Century Skills, which included a great deal of literacy connections.

In addition to literacy, I am passionate about providing high-quality professional development programs for teachers and administrators. ASCD asked me to develop a set of tools for this, resulting in another action tool on this topic.

 

 

What is the importance of integrating literacy skills in science curriculum?

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) standards include alignment to the literacy skills students need to be able to read, write about and talk about science concepts. If one knows a lot about science, but cannot share that knowledge by communicating with others, the advantage of that knowledge is loss. If they cannot read science content, they will miss a key method for gaining science knowledge. There are specific tools and methods for reading science that need to be explicitly presented to students. Science teachers are not asked to be reading and writing teachers, but rather to use reading and writing to help students learn their science content. Science teachers need to help students unlock the content by giving them the tools they need to comprehend the unique structures, vocabulary and nuances of scientific language. In addition, they need to provide opportunities for students to write about their learning in order to deepen and sharpen their understanding.

 

To learn more about MISIC visit http://misiciowa.org.

 

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Making connections among a myriad of initiatives and supporting learning through humor and example are professional passions for Sue Z. Beers.  In workshops delivered across the country, Sue shares strategies and tools for creating effective learning opportunities that prepare students for college, careers and citizenship.  Improving teaching and learning will necessitate that teachers, administrators and district personnel participants deeply examine their own current practices against best practices.

Sue’s 40-year career as a classroom teacher, program coordinator and district administrator has provided her with hands-on experience in the areas of effective teaching and school improvement.   As the founder and current Director of the MISIC Consortium, Beers works with over 160 school districts in Iowa and other states in guiding the alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment in order to improve student learning.

As a consultant, speaker and ASCD Consultant, Sue has shared her expertise and experience with school districts and educational organizations nationally and internationally to improve teaching and learning in the areas of

  • Using Professional Learning Communities to Achieve Effective Instructional Change
  • Leading the Implementation of the CCSS: Strategies and Resources
  • CCSS Implementation in Literacy and Math Classrooms
  • Key Shifts of the CCSS in Literacy and Math
  • Reading and Writing Strategies in the Content Areas
  • Literacy Across the Curriculum
  • 21stCentury Teaching and Learning
  • Professional Development Planning
  • School Improvement Planning
  • Effective teaching strategies
  • Curriculum Development
  • Assessing Student Learning
  • Using Data to Inform Instruction

 

Sue co-authored ASCD’s “Leading the Common Core” professional development institute and is also the co-author of Reading Strategies for the Content Areas:  An ASCD Action Tool, Volumes 1 and II  and Using Writing to Learn Across the Content Areas:  An ASCD Action Tool.   She has also authored an ASCD Action Tool on Strategies for Designing, Implementing and Evaluating Professional Development, Adolescent Literacy and Teaching 21st Century Skills.

 

 

KDSL Global Releases Paper on Arts in MENA American Curriculum Schools

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DUBAI, UAE, 28 January 2019 – KDSL Global today released a paper which examines the implementation of the National Core Arts Standards in the USA and in the MENA region. Published in 2014 as a result of a three-year nationwide collaborative effort, the goal of these standards is to assist teachers in developing PreK-12 curriculum that guides the enhancement of artistic literacy among learners.  KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

Lana Hallmark, arts consultant and paper author stated, “The opportunity to participate in telling the story of the National Core Arts Standards came at a timely moment for me. As I look ahead to the revision of the fine arts academic standards in Arkansas in the coming summer, having this fresh review of the background and goals of the NCAS will be invaluable and will certainly impact this important work for the students in my state.” She co-wrote the paper with Kevin Simpson (KDSL Global Managing Director) and Joyce Huser (the President of the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education). Huser said, “The 2014 National Core Art Standards (NCAS) for the fine arts have provided a rich and in-depth guide for meeting the learning needs of students at the PreK – 12th grade levels in my state of Kansas as well as in many other states across the nation.  They have also provided a resource for preparing pre-service teachers and guiding experienced educators in developing and providing a holistic arts education. With an emphasis on process-based learning, these standards have had a great impact on enhancing learning and applying real life application to learning.  Students love this.  While it is a challenge for teachers to transition from the old to the new standards, the professional development that has been provided across the nation has been invaluable in meeting the goals and intentions of these standards. I am pleased to have been a part of the writing process and continue to provide quality professional development in helping teachers understand these standards and how to implement them in their instruction.”

The paper features a list of arts resources, case studies, and results from surveys that would provide data regarding the implementation process in the USA. Questions educators and leaders responded to ranged from impression of the standards, timeline, professional development, and more.

The paper can be downloaded at: http://kdslglobal.com/Arts%20in%20MENA%20American%20Curriculum%20Schools.pdf

 

KDSL GLOBAL PRESS CONTACT
+971 52 542 7009
Kevin Simpson, kevin@kdslglobal.com
www.kdslglobal.com

 

MENALearns Portal

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During 2018 the MENALearns Portal will be a new resource for educators at American curriculum schools. Our KDSL Global intern had a chance to chat with the team this past summer about what the portal is, how it is different and future plans.

 

What is MENALearns? 

MENALearns will be an online portal for educators at American curriculum schools based in the Middle East and North Africa region. This is a collaborative effort with Xblended and KDSL Global. It is for educators with resources reviewed, created, and shared by educators. Tools and resources will be related to curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional learning, and more. Six educators from six countries reviewed the initial portal and provided feedback to the team. We call this group our first educators. During the summer of 2018 we collaborated with an educator from the region who served during the month of July with the purpose of reviewing and selecting additional resources for K-12 educators on a wide range of topics. The site will launch later in September 2018. A free introductory webinar will be held on 1 October at 6pm Dubai time. Users will have the option to become a member of the community as a MENALearns Teacher, MENALearns Leader, or a MENALearns School. Special rates for new members will run from October- December 2018.

 

There are many online platforms and resources nowadays. How is MENALearns different from these?

This is very true! We wanted to craft a resource that was specific to educators who are based in the MENA region. Often there are resources from the states with references and images that students and educators may not be able to connect with. Educators who we spoke to openly shared this information. We wanted to have a blended approach with materials from the states along with resources provided from educators in the region. This will grow over time as we encourage educators and leaders to share resources from their schools and classrooms. Also, we asked American curriculum educators in the region where they go to online to access resources to use in planning. A plethora of websites was listed. We then asked what if there was one place where they could access most of the sites they used. All were interested and first users talked about how organized, comprehensive, and easy to navigate the portal was.

 

 

What are the future plans for this portal?

We will see what the future holds. As we receive feedback we will make changes and update information as there is always something new to learn. Our short-term plans is to make as many American curriculum schools and educators aware of the portal as possible in the MENA region. In the future we hope all will be a MENALearns School.

 

 

To stay updated on MENALearns email menalearns@gmail.com. The portal will launch later in September 2018.

 

 

Jenessa Dsilva
KDSL Global Intern
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07
Facebook: @KDSL Global

 

Moral Education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

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Education simply must not mean obtaining a degree or passing a grade with good marks but it should also instill good moral values, ethics, and character. This is exactly what the newly established moral education system in the schools of the United Arab Emirates instills. The Moral Education curriculum will not only build character but also introduce ethical outlook, foster community, and teach culture.

Moral Education is based on these 4 pillars:

  • Character and Morality
  • The Individual and the Community
  • Civic Studies
  • Cultural Studies

Moral Education is an initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, that was first announced in 2016, piloted in January 2017, and has been implemented in grades 1-9 since September 2017. The first pilot was in 19 schools across the UAE. Schools in the UAE have started implementing moral education lessons within the curriculum and it is said to have been inspired by classes in Japanese schools where pupils are given a chance to think about how different scenarios will affect people around them.

According to Dr. Dsilva, (academician and education expert) moral education is important for today’s Hi-Tech Generation due to the many social influences. On a more international outlook the newly implemented program focuses on “developing student awareness of the shared human experience and making them messengers of the values they embody.” By focusing on a local viewpoint its aim is to “develop responsible, cultured, engaged adults ready for the wider globalized world.”

What are the benefits that come along with implementing a moral education curriculum?

-Humans are known to be social beings and moral education teaches them basic moral values, socializing skills, and good social habits like respecting elders, being honest, learning to share, and being kind. It fosters them into better people. Dr. Dsilva also shared that in the past in her culture children would be under the care of grandparents, uncles, and aunts living together in the same house. This gave them great opportunity to understand moral values such as respecting elders, honesty, truthfulness, caring, and helping each other. However, in today’s fast paced world where parents leave their families to migrate to find a better job or a higher standard of living, their children lose the chance to be with their elderly grandparents and therefore they may lack the chance to learn moral values such as caring for elders.

-Implementing such a system in school years allows students to practice good character with their fellow classmates and friends. Therefore, it is the need of the hour and every school must dedicate some time for imparting such moral values.

-It brings a more socially responsible generation and develops a sense of respect towards mankind. Moral education help to teach the young generation to be honest when there are wrong doings around them.

Dr. Dsilva was asked how she thought moral education would impact youth in the future. She replied that, “In the modern world of technology and artificial intelligence, the new generation at times is going away from values of kindness towards others and toward the environment. Having moral education sessions will invigorate an ecosystem around the youth to act responsibly towards others.”

 

To learn more about Moral Education in the United Arab Emirates please visit https://www.moraleducation.ae/ or follow UAE Moral Education on Twitter https://twitter.com/uaemoraledu.

 

Jenessa Dsilva
KDSL Global Intern
Website: www.kdslglobal.com

What risk are you willing to take?

MidSchoolMath National Conference 2016

MidSchoolMath was founded as a direct result of extensive research into the US math crisis and the complexity of the problem. It is the first company to answer the quintessential question posed by every middle school math student: “When am I going to ever use this?” At the National Conference held during 2-3 March 2018 in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Megan LeBleu gave a talk to educators about the importance of taking risk for math students. Below you will find this talk.

I taught math for 14 years at a middle school in Albuquerque, NM. My colleagues and I spent our planning time modifying our curriculum quite a bit, trying to make lessons accessible to and interesting for our students. In general, though, I was still teaching how I was taught. I do, we do, you do. I was fearful that my students would fail if I didn’t “teach” them first. I didn’t really value what they brought to the table, regarding their own intuition and creative problem solving.

But then 4 years ago, I attended a MidSchoolMath PD. I learned about story being used for learning, about these ideas of productive failure and productive struggle, and it made a lot of sense to me. I was also exposed to the idea of global math education… there ARE actually teachers, math students, and people outside of the U.S… all around the world…

It was then, 4 years ago, that I took a risk that ultimately led my students (and myself) down a path of discovery and learning. I accepted a challenge to create a math story project… a story in which math is embedded as a useful tool. Had I ever thought of using story in math class? No. Had I ever even seen story used in a math class? No. Not like this. The concept was completely foreign to me. Yet I saw value in it for my students… mathematical value and cultural value.

So, I dove into the unknown and created Expedition Everest, where my students would be mountaineers on Everest, encountering significant math problems on their way to the summit. Now let me tell you… My students live in a high-poverty area, riddled with gang violence and drug use. They rarely think outside their neighborhood, much less outside the country. While creating Expedition Everest, and even after, people questioned the relevancy of the topic to my students. How is Mount Everest relevant to students in Albuquerque? And maybe it isn’t…. initially….

But, by taking a risk, stretching myself, thinking outside the textbook… I was able to create mathematically enriching tasks…. Tasks that allowed my students to question, to use their intuition, to offer creative solutions….Tasks that were so intriguing, my students were willing to try, fail, struggle, and persist until they reached a solution. All the while, they were honing their math skills, discussing strategies and ideas, AND at the same time, they were learning about the tallest mountain in the world, about the Sherpa of Nepal, and about an animal called a yak. Their world was now bigger than it was before. And I, I had never had so much fun teaching.

We don’t all have to take our students to Mount Everest as mountaineers. Nor do we have to take them to Myanmar as secret agents. But we can do SOMETHING. Maybe it’s just restructuring the curriculum we currently have. And we might fail. But so did Edwin Link, and his pilots…at first. If WE don’t have the courage to take risks, and to push ourselves to explore the unknown, how can we expect our students to do the same?

As you go forward throughout the school year, consider this: what risk are you willing to take, to give your students, and yourself, the chance to fail, struggle, persist, and grow… as learners, and as global contributors?

Megan LeBleu is a National Board Certified teacher who taught math at a high-poverty middle school in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 14 years. During those years she became a master at collaborating with fellow teachers, making math curriculum engaging and accessible to students. She is highly skilled at integrating technology in the classroom and is well versed in the Common Core math standards. 

To learn more about MidSchoolMath visit  http://www.midschoolmath.com/.
Check out this article about Megan and her math classroom  https://www.abqjournal.com/348546/math-made-fun-with-trip-calculations.html.

Encouraging students to consider a career in teaching STEM*

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Profile on Julio Mendez: Science teacher, lifelong learner, and founder of the STEM Education Introductory Program

As well as being a busy Physics and Chemistry teacher in Chicago, Julio Mendez has founded the innovative STEM Education Introductory Program – it gives high school students the opportunity to earn college credit through a series of lectures and hands on teaching practice at a local middle school. We ask him all about the project, and how it came about.


You are a science teacher – where do you teach, and what led you down the path of both STEM and teaching?
 

I teach Physics, Chemistry and the Education 101 class at Perspectives Charter School – Joslin Campus, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. I also teach Engineering courses (Project Lead The Way curriculum on Saturdays) through Project SYNCERE. This is a non-profit in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Teaching is a second career which found me more due to circumstance than through any active effort. I had returned to school for a Physics degree and was looking for a part time job when my wife suggested I look into Project SYNCERE. I decide to go interview and try it, and the rest is history, as they say. I fell in love with the kids’ ability to look past all the crap they are dealt and still seek knowledge. Having been raised on Chicago’s south side and dealing with a lot of the social issues they are living with made me relatable and my natural sarcastic demeanor and ability to look past slights allowed me to create good relationships with the students. I saw at once that this is where I needed to be and then I just found ways to keep pushing myself to learn, grow and sharpen my craft.

The STEM part is easier to explain: I’m a nerd. I love science and all that it tells us about the universe, I always have. I also understand the need for our communities to be better represented within these fields. We have been neglected for a long time and those who looked away are now realizing that they will need us in order for the world to continue its progress.

 

What inspired you to set up this program encouraging high school students to consider a career as science teachers?

When I was considering become even just a part time teacher, I started looking into the profession and the history of teaching and learning. I came to the realization that education is one of the oldest forms of community building that there is. Until recent human history, we have learned everything from the previous generations in our communities. From hunting and gathering, to planting and growing and so on, we learned it all from our elders, who did it before us and learned it from their elders.

When the opportunity with the Shell Oil Company and the Smithsonian Science Education Center and their call for applications came to my attention I knew the solution had to come from within the community, to create a new lineage of education. There is also a long tradition of finding “fixes” for our communities from outside, as if we hadn’t the talent or abilities to be the solutions ourselves. I have seen our children do some incredible things and come up with some huge ideas that would amaze the greatest thinkers, but because they don’t show high scores or even high rates of high school graduation, their ideas and grand thinking and potentials aren’t acknowledged.  Given all this I knew that the solution to a lack of science teachers of color had to come from our own ranks, the students of color. It was just a matter of convincing the kids they could be the solution and that being a teacher is a viable career (harder than it seems) and convince all the powers that be, this is a viable solution (harder than it should be).

 

Could you describe your aim in setting up the Education 101 program? Who is it designed for and what will they learn?

The biggest aim for the program is to give students of color the opportunity to see themselves as STEM subject teachers. Let them see a side of teaching that they don’t get to see; mostly because they have a very different experience with the teaching profession. They do not have the opportunity to see a lot of themselves in these roles, so they can’t identify with the profession. They just need to see they can and some might.

The students in the class are exposed to the history of education in the country, including the injustices our communities have gone through, the  definition of what a STEM teacher needs to be, exposure to informal science education, observing teachers, the complexity of the classroom, the preparation for lessons, reading and writing college level papers. This will be set around Socratic discussions and group projects that will be catered to the students’ abilities and raising expectations at every turn.

Was the creation of your program partly in response to the lack of diversity found in the teaching profession?

The creation of the program most definitely has to do with the lack of diversity in teaching. It is very difficult to be a teacher of color within a system which serves mostly students of color and yet we are an overwhelming numerical minority, especially in the STEM subjects.

 

A Student’s Perspective: Here’s what one of the course participants, Jada Woodard, has to say about the Program

Why did you apply?

I applied to the Education 101 course because I am thinking about being an educator. I thought it would give me the upper hand when I do attend college to study education. In addition, I wanted to find out if it was really something that I wanted to do.

What’s the best thing about the course?
The best thing about the course is that I am able to learn about the previous educational system, the current educational system, and the future of the educational system. I love that I am able to give my perspective as a student while learning the perspective of a teacher. We are able to talk about topics within the educational system that others aren’t willing to talk about, students of colors and teachers.

What’s the hardest part of the course?
The hardest thing about the course is actually putting yourself in the shoes of an educator. My student mindset slightly limits my ability to think like an educator. It is something that we as a class are working on to do.

What are you learning right now?
At the moment, we are learning how to effectively make lesson plans. In a month or sooner, we will able to teach this lesson plan/activity to a middle school class using the five aspects of an effective classroom that we have learned.
I think the reason there are not many STEM teachers of color is because of the lack of knowledge and resources. I think that in some schools STEM is a luxury. Although we do get taught science and math, it’s not taught or introduced in a way that makes it relevant to engineering and technology.

 

To learn more about the STEM Education Introductory Program contact Julio Mendez at jmendez@pcsedu.org.

 

*STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

KDSL Global Releases Paper on Social Studies at American Curriculum Schools in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, UAE, NOVEMBER 12, 2017 – KDSL Global today released a paper in collaboration with The Global Sleepover, which examines the progress American curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi have made on implementing the UAE National Education and Social Studies Standards. KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global Managing Director stated, “Schools, leaders and educators are working hard to implement the Social Studies Standards around the UAE. KDSL Global felt it was opportune to spotlight tools for policymakers, school administrators, and teachers to create awareness around these standards. It is important for schools to be aware of what resources exist to ensure they are building high quality social studies programs focused on what is best for students.”

The paper features recommendations for schools seeking to improve their programs of study and social studies specific resources, such as The Global Sleepover’s K-5 interactive curriculum. Geeta Raj, President of The Global Sleepover added, “In creating our K-5 interactive curriculum on UAE social studies, we first conducted in-depth research on the history, cultural heritage and traditions of the UAE. Then, using the rich resources, images and documents we discovered, we created child friendly stories covering various facets of UAE history. Children love stories and remember historical events better through characters, imagery and captivating plots. Finally, our interactive design allows for a child to hear music, see photographs, watch videos and learn vocabulary words as he/she reads the story. It’s a perfect blend of education, entertainment and engagement.” Visit https://globalsleepover.com/uae-social-studies-curriculum/ to find out more about this curriculum.

 

The paper can be downloaded at: https://tinyurl.com/y954kvld

KDSL GLOBAL PRESS CONTACT

+971 55 344 9286

Kevin Simpson, kevin@kdslglobal.com

www.kdslglobal.com

 

College, Career, & Civic Life (C3) Survey

Invitation for Social Studies K-12+ Educators

 

Dear Educator,

Social Studies education underpins a strong democracy–your participation in this survey regarding the implementation of the College, Career, & Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards will provide documentation that can be used by Social Studies advocates to seek private and federal funding for Social Studies education.

(If you have never heard of C3, please hit reply to email kimdoneil@gmail.com and indicate your state, district, and/or school. This information is very important to the study. All contact information will remain confidential.)

Data will be analyzed and reported in a white paper by Kevin Simpson, Founder, KDSL Global, and Kim O’Neil, NCSS President 2015-16.

The survey will take 10-15 minutes. By completing this survey by September 15th, your name will be placed in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. Participants may receive a copy of the published white paper if requested. All contact information will remain confidential.

Please participate in this important survey.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me. Please forward this email to as many K-12+ educators as possible. Your time is greatly appreciated!

 

Best regards,

 

Kim O’Neil