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McREL
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Our expert researchers, evaluators, and veteran educators synthesize information gleaned from our research and blend it with best practices gathered from schools and districts around the world to bring you insightful and practical ideas that support changing the odds of success for you and your students. By aligning practice with research, we mix professional wisdom with real world experience to bring you unexpectedly insightful and uncommonly practical ideas that offer ways to build student resiliency, close achievement gaps, implement retention strategies, prioritize improvement initiatives, build staff motivation, and interpret data and understand its impact.

Helping remote learners practice and reflect on their learning

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Part 6 of 8 | Once students have focused on new knowledge and begun to make sense of it, there’s one surefire way for it to find a home in long-term memory: repetition. To commit new learning to memory, we must return to it on multiple occasions spread over days or even weeks. This is the practice and reflect phase of learning. We repeat new learning to store it in our memory while at the same time reflecting on and receiving feedback on our progress to shore up gaps in our knowledge or skills.

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We’re ‘ALL’ in on effective instructional supports for multilingual EL students

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For years, I’ve been helping classroom teachers and EL specialists learn to support multilingual students who are learning English, so it may surprise you that some of my favorite resources for EL teaching and learning aren’t specifically designed for “learning English” in the narrow sense of conquering vocabulary. That’s because every student, of every background, in every location is in school to learn a sort of foreign tongue: academic language.

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Helping remote learners make sense of learning

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Part 5 of 8 | After absorbing a few bits of information during a relatively short period of time, our brains must pause and process that new information—connecting it with prior knowledge (which makes it easier to retain) or clustering smaller bits of information into larger concepts or big ideas (which leaves with us fewer ideas to juggle). In short, we must make sense of learning. So, how can we help remote learners do that? Here are a few tips drawn from the science of learning and education research.

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Online PD: When good things happen to good content

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When online PD courses first made their appearance decades ago, educators, by and large, were not fans. But the issue was probably not bad content, according to McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin, writing in the February 2021 issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine. Rather, Bryan proposes in his Research Matters column, those online courses suffered the same fate as all content in the web’s early days: it took traditional in-person events and reformatted them in a superficial way, which just fell flat.

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Helping remote learners focus on new learning

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Part 4 of 8 | Now that your students are ready to learn, how can you help them focus on new knowledge or skills? For many teachers, this aspect of remote learning—what often seems like the actual teaching part—is often the most challenging aspect, especially as many tried-and-true strategies for holding student interest during in-person learning have all gone out the window. Fortunately, two key concepts from the science of learning point to ways that remote learning can be as, if not more effective than, in-person.

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Student engagement strategies for learning

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Teachers are struggling right now to maintain an engaging learning environment, whether teaching in person or online or a bit of both. For in-person classes, distancing and masks might make it seem like you cannot connect as well. For online classes, it might seem hard to find time for one-to-one conversations with students or to organize small group collaborative projects. Imagine how your students are feeling! Engagement is critical to the teaching-learning process and without it the real enjoyment of teaching and learning can fall short.

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