Several members of McREL’s Research & Evaluation team contributed to a special series about preK–12 program evaluation on the American Evaluation Association’s 365 Blog. The blog provides “a tip a day by and for evaluators.” In posts published May 1-4, they covered improving one’s listening skills, conducting research in ways that promote deep collaboration with Native Hawaiian communities, and finding inputs other than the normal data points to tell the true story of how a program impacts a school community.
March 31, 2022 | Teacher/blogger Larry Ferlazzo asked panelists on his Education Week blog, Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo, about their best PD experience, and McREL Senior Managing Consultant Tonia Gibson shared hers: peer coaching with a colleague from a different grade level. The teachers at her school in Australia (where there are no formal, high-stakes evaluations) found that a little distance made it easier to focus objectively on teaching practices. Visiting one another’s classrooms four times a year, the peer coaches learned to focus on what students were learning as opposed to what they were doing.
The Sum of It All, an “asynchronous book club” podcast for educators, has dedicated the current season to Bryan Goodwin’s Building a Curious School. Listen along as hosts Audrey Mendivil and Mark Alcorn talk about how overloaded teachers can recognize the hallmarks of curiosity thinking and build techniques aimed at stimulating curiosity and bringing joy into any number of moments in the school day.
January 7, 2022 | Neither silence nor unrestrained chitchat is ideal in an elementary classroom, McREL learning services consultant Cheryl Abla writes in Edutopia. Rather, teachers should guide students in discussing their learning with the teacher and with one another—building a foundation for mastering academic language. Teachers may be hesitant to encourage student talk because they fear chaos may ensue, and Cheryl admits the process can be noisy. But there are practices that teachers can easily implement and model to create conversational structures that support learning.
December 6, 2021 | Traditional questioning of students in the classroom, with its emphasis on teachers eliciting a quick answer and moving on, winds up excluding many students and creating a lackluster learning environment. Better questioning strategies can help students deepen and extend their learning, and McREL instructional expert Cheryl Abla recently shared some ways to ask better questions in the classroom with Edutopia.
September 15, 2021 | McREL consultant Cheryl Abla always has tips for teachers and school leaders on creating a positive environment for learning. With all the anxiety and uncertainty accompanying back-to-school this fall, she’s doubling down. After meeting with hundreds of educators before the school year even started, she’s shared several tactics with the national blog Edutopia designed to immediately address little issues before they can get out of hand—or better yet, prevent them from happening in the first place.
September 8, 2021 | Kansas education leaders are touring the state to talk with thousands of parents, school board members, business leaders, and community members to gather feedback on the state’s “Kansas Can” vision for K-12 education and “brainstorm ways schools can better prepare students for the workforce,” according to a local news report. McREL will compile feedback gathered during the 50-city tour and prepare a report later this year for the Kansas State Board of Education and Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson.
August 4, 2021 | Louisiana-based CYBER.ORG has released the nation’s first-ever voluntary K–12 cybersecurity standards. Developed with McREL’s help, the standards aim to teach students about cybersecurity issues and careers, addressing what it calls “the growing cybersecurity workforce crisis.” CYBER.ORG is supported by the Department of Homeland Security and 18,000 teachers nationwide have signed up for its teaching materials. The organization says that there are more than 464,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., even as the country faces “an onslaught of sophisticated cyberattacks.”
February 8, 2021 | Researchers have identified several factors that contribute to or coincide with student engagement, and McREL consultant Tonia Gibson, writing in Education Week’s Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo blog, puts her finger on a variable that teachers can influence: motivation.
November 17, 2020 | Exposure to violence in and around urban elementary schools is associated with students, particularly more-affluent ones, transferring to other schools, according to a study reported in the American Educational Research Journal and co-authored by McREL research director Faith Connolly.