Connect Issues information
- January/February, 2008
- Vol.21 Num.3, Back issues available
- Focus: Formative Assessment
- There are many problems with education's current practice in testing and assessment. The tests that have provided valuable national data for forty years, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), may be scaled back and some subject areas canceled because of reduced federal funding. The results of statewide tests that have been designed in response to No Child Left Behind often cannot be compared to one another. And none of these tests helps teachers and students to make improvements in an ongoing fashion to benefit students immediately.
A variety of formative assessment strategies can provide regular feedback to both teachers and students, supporting high quality learning and encouraging teachers to modify instruction to support each student. In this issue you'll find articles from classroom teachers, teacher-trainers, and researchers who provide sound evidence of how teaching and learning can improve through formative assessment. Practice is changing, educator by educator, and school by school. Explore these ideas with colleagues and take part in it!
- March/April, 2008
- Vol.21 Num.4, Back issues available
- Focus: Screen Time
- Computers are touted as being both lifesavers and the grim reapers of vibrant elementary education. Reports of advanced student achievement and advanced technological savvy coexist with studies that warn of obesity, poor posture, and eye fatigue, not to mention altered brain development and a growing antisocial, attention-deficit proclivity in our students. What is the role of computers and technology in the K—8 classroom? Is there a place for video games? How much time do our students spend glued to one screen or another?
In this issue we feature articles from educators who use computers as powerful learning tools. Many use them in ways to accomplish problem solving and skill development that is not possible with other tools. The message is clear that the choice to use podcasts, blogs, handhelds, etc., is as vibrant a choice as any other. Trying to remove a screw by whacking it with a hammer will yield less than satisfactory results. Trying to address any educational goal without considering the appropriateness of the "right tool for the job" will yield equally unsatisfactory results. Making time in front of the screen as valuable as possible is the best way we can assist our students as they step into this ever-changing technological world.
- May/June, 2008
- Vol.21 Num.5, Back issues available
- Focus: Learning Outdoors
- The outdoor world presents infinite and indispensable learning opportunities. In this issue we learn about the strong case for taking students outside and doing our part to reunite children with nature.
Today's children have less unsupervised and unscheduled time than in prior generations. How does this affect their understanding of systems like weather, or ideas that all life is interrelated, or their connection to a sense of place? Will this have profound impacts on the decisions and priorities that students will make in future years?
Teachers in both public and independent schools tell stories in these pages that offer examples of addressing curricula while in the great outdoors. Here are ideas for fostering curiosity, fondness, and appreciation for the world outside and our place in it. With our help, perhaps more students can embrace their role as stewards to sustain the world and its resources.
Although these sound like lofty ideals, they are not so difficult to achieve—it all starts by simply going outside!
- September/October, 2008
- Vol.22 Num.1, Back issues available
- Focus: Number and Operations
- "Two and two are four; four and four are eight; Eight and eight are sixteen; sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two." So goes a children's song. Many more rhymes, jump-rope chants, and songs help children to count, order, and sequence the numbered world. Early experiences with number and manipulating groups begin before children ever cross the school threshold. Once there, much of their days are spent internalizing their own sense of number and fortifying it. These early days lay the foundations for working in algebra, fractions, calculus, and many scientific fields as well.
The articles in this issue help us to see the excitement and the challenges of this cornerstone of mathematics. Number and Operations span the full K—8 spectrum of mathematical learning. The topic also stretches across the history of modern education, from the mathematical concerns of Friedrich Froebel, the nineteenth-century developer of modern kindergartens, to the latest thinking on middle school math contained in the highly regarded Connected Math 2, released just this year.
This issue of Connect explores ways to assist children in developing sound ideas about number and operations, giving them knowledge that allows them to ask questions, to turn problems on their sides, if need be, in order to solve them. The combination of practicing isolated skills and engendering the ability to reason is essential for our learners, and the practitioners writing the articles found here do this artfully.
- November/December, 2008
- Vol.22 Num.2, Back issues available
- Focus: Bridging Achievement Gaps
- Race, gender, location, economics—each element plays a role in the odds that can be stacked against many of our learners. These qualities also have an impact on the effectiveness of our teaching.
How do our own biases limit our abilities to see students clearly, to reach out to them in the manner in which they best learn? Do we sometimes define groups of students in ways that say more about our experiences than about theirs?
In this issue we hear from educators, researchers, and experts in various groups of our population. We consider the plight of African American males, and see how one school addresses the issue by providing culturally relevant curricula. We witness the development of a teacher as he considers in depth one learner affected by poverty, read teachers' reflections in a course on poverty, and also learn of factors typically affecting students from impoverished backgrounds.