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Remediation Vs. Intervention (In Practical Terms)

In a previous post, I discussed how remediation and intervention are different. The difference between these two concepts is so great and so important that I feel it necessary to explain why this difference matters.

To illustrate these differences, let's look at two different students.

Melissa has always been an A/B student. Though she has never been in the top of the class, she has always managed to get by. She doesn't love math, but she realizes its importance in her life. Melissa's parents are available to help her with her homework, and she feels comfortable receiving extra help from her teachers. When Melissa got to middle school, however, she was struggling to keep up. The concepts were moving too fast for her, and switching classes made it difficult for her to get the help she needed. The problems were now requiring her to integrate several math concepts at one time, whereas Melissa had previously only needed to memorize a few ideas at a time. Melissa now has…
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How I Begin Leveled Math

For any given unit, I typically offer between 3 to 5 leveled assignments, each based around the grade-level standard but presented in different ways. I find that 5 levels really meets the needs of most of the learners in a classroom, but, of course, that is not always realistic or practical. In general, I group assignments in this way:

If I have 3 assignments, it's typically just low, medium, high. But, if I have 5 assignments, I target my assignments to the following popuations: Level 1: Special education (these will have manipulatives and the assignment may be modified in some way) Level 2: Intervention students (assignments will still be on grade-level but may use easier numbers, or contain prerequisite review, or targeted drill instruction) Level 3: On-grade level (for all level of students, I use Universal Design methods, so that certain accommodations are readily available. This usually includes graph paper, graphic organizers, manipulatives, etc.) Level 4: Advanced learners…

State Testing = Boss Level

I'm part of the first Mario generation. What that means is that I have a different perspective of game play than the younger generation of gamers. Back in my day, there was nothing worse than your parents asking you to do a chore or come to dinner while in the middle of a video game. Back then, there was no pause. Game play was a one-time shot.

Game developers have since responded to this, and games today are often world-based challenges with multiple pathways and levels of completion. Even the linear running games (Temple Run) can be paused with progress saved along the way. Think about Candy Crush Saga. Once you complete one level, it saves your progress and you don't have to replay each level every time you play. You can retry that same level over and over until you get it right. This is part of what makes these games so sensational. The ability to check off, be done, and move on to new challenges. Thinking back to early gaming it's easy to see why video games only appe…

8 Film-Makers for Students: Free, Cheap, and Easy

I love film-making! My children love it and so do my students.

Film-making is such a great way for students to express their understanding and learn from other students. These days there are so many drag-and-drop programs, that even the least techy person can create a professional-looking and imaginative product. The great thing, too, is that many of these programs don't require any special equipment. A class computer, tablet, or the student's smart phone will work just fine.

Seriously, if you haven't tried film-making (whether you're a student, teacher, administrator, parent, grandparent....), I highly encourage you to try it. Really, it is so much fun!

Here is what we love about film-making:

Student 1: The film-making part is really cool, because I like to be on camera.

Student 2: I like the film-making part. It's fun to try out new things.

Student 3: I love to see my "likes" on my YouTube channel.

Student 4: It's better than presenting in front of …

Outgame Your Online Students

I am the digital equivalent of the obnoxious student in class, jumping out of my seat, proclaiming, "Done! Done! Finished!!!" Whenever there is even the slightest uncertainty about anything, I have to be the first to Google the answer. And no, I am not smirking when I find the answer while others are still debating. Ok, maybe I am, but just a little.
My high school years were the beginning of the end of the paper-age. I first searched for a digital image at 15 (Remember Dan's Gallery of the Grotesque, anyone? No? Well, don't look it up.), entered my first chat room at 16, got my first email address at 17, and bought my first eBay item at 18. The digital age still blows my mind.

Jump forward 20 years, and now I'm not entirely sure that my phone hasn't grown into an extra appendage. 

I love online learning. I love everything about it. I love blogs and articles, quizzes, videos, and social media. Clearly I'm not the only one, or we wouldn't have Google, …

I'm Not Afraid of Test Scores and You Shouldn't Be Either

I'm a masochist. No, really. I am. I have a sick, uncontrollable yearning to read the comments underneath news articles. You know the ones - the comments on a NASA article blaming Obamacare for Justin Bieber's arrest - the ones where people make grandiose oversimplifications, like "poor people just need to make better choices" and "all doctors are idiots."

Sure, maybe I just have a twisted nature that seeks pleasure out of this sort of misery, but I have a deeper fascination that often leads me into the dark world of reading similar commentary on the failure of teachers. Have you seen these? They run nearly as rampant as the blame on the President.

Apparently, we are all lazy, overpaid, incompetent, and boring. We only teach because we couldn't handle a "real" major. We hate our students, and we want them punished, but at the same time, we are overindulgent and praise their every effort. Children are rude because of us. Teenagers push down th…