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Print newsletters featuring timeless tools and resources to support the facilitation of professional learning.

 

Tools for Schools, November/December 2006, Vol. 10, No. 2

Tools for Schools, November/December 2006, Vol. 10, No. 2 Newsletters Decisive action: Crucial steps streamline the decision-making process By Valerie von Frank Educational consultant Ann Delehant tells the story of a school district that once created a rule for group decision making stating, “All decisions will be made by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached,…

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Tools for Schools, August/September 2006, Vol. 10, No. 1

Tools for Schools, August/September 2006, Vol. 10, No. 1 Newsletters Snapshots of learning: Classroom walk-throughs offer a picture of learning in schools By Joan Richardson Nadia Carlson* steps into an elementary classroom and pauses at the back of the room. Her focus today is to observe exactly what students are doing. She scans each cluster…

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Tools for Schools, May/June 2006, Vol. 9, No. 4

Tools for Schools, May/June 2006, Vol. 9, No. 4 Newsletters Appeal to the heart as well as the head By Dennis Sparks My assumptions: Initiating and maintaining the momentum of significant change requires experiences that appeal to the heart as well as the head. Intellectual engagement alone is usually insufficient to produce such changes. An…

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Tools for Schools, February/March 2006, Vol. 9, No. 3

Tools for Schools, February/March 2006, Vol. 9, No. 3 Newsletters Technology closes the distance: Remote professional learning experiences create new challenges for staff development leaders By Tracy Crow Kimberly Tyson remembers an “aha” moment in her early development as a facilitator of videoconferences. She was working with a well-known speaker in a video conferencing environment…

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Tools for Schools, November/December 2005, Vol. 9, No. 2

Tools for Schools, November/December 2005, Vol. 9, No. 2 Newsletters Transform your group into a team By Joan Richardson A professional learning community craze is sweeping the country. School after school is setting aside time for teachers to meet in grade-level groups or subject-area teams. PLC time is noted on calendars that parents hang on…

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Tools for Schools, August/September 2005, Vol. 9, No. 1

Tools for Schools, August/September 2005, Vol. 9, No. 1 Newsletters Focus groups zoom in on school district’s concerns By Joan Richardson Imagine this scenario: The Laredo School District ends school at 1 p.m. every Wednesday to provide time for teachers to work with colleagues during their workday. Although parents initially supported the idea, after a…

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Tools for Schools, April/May 2005, Vol. 8, No. 5

Tools for Schools, April/May 2005, Vol. 8, No. 5 Newsletters Cultivating your own expertise: Starkville demonstrates how a homegrown conference can build leadership By Joan Richardson Janet Henderson remembers the first meeting vividly: a cluster of teachers who had been inspired by attending national conferences sat down in the hallway of Starkville High School to…

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Tools for Schools, February/March 2005, Vol. 8, No. 4

 Tools for Schools, February/March 2005, Vol. 8, No. 4 Newsletters Engage all the senses: to increase learning By Nusa Maal If you really want to engage learners, try taking a multisensory approach. Presentations that appeal to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic modalities simultaneously connect more deeply and have a lasting impact. Everyone has a dominant learning…

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Tools for Schools, December 2004/January 2005, Vol. 8, No. 3

Tools for Schools, December 2004/January 2005, Vol. 8, No. 3 Newsletters Break the in-service habit By Joan Richardson About 10 years ago, teachers at my kids’ school spent part of a back-to-school night explaining the new math curriculum to parents. My daughter’s teacher focused on what the district wanted children to learn and parents listened…

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Tools for Schools, October/November 2004, Vol. 8, No. 2

 Tools for Schools, October/November 2004, Vol. 8, No. 2 Newsletters Taking measure: Innovation Configurations gauge the progress of a new initiative By Joan Richardson When 2,500-student Madison Parish School District in Louisiana prepared to introduce a new reading curriculum, members of the reading cadre first developed an Innovation Configuration (IC) map. Identify components of an…

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Tools for Schools, August/September 2004, Vol. 8, No. 1

Tools for Schools, August/September 2004, Vol. 8, No. 1 Newsletters Process: Select the strategy that works for your context and content By Lois Brown Easton Imagine a school that has an environment of staff growth and learning. The climate that makes learning possible for adults in this school can always improve, but the school can…

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Tools for Schools, April/May 2004, Vol. 7, No. 5

Tools for Schools, April/May 2004, Vol. 7, No. 5 Newsletters Consensus: Arrive at an agreement — agreeably By Joan Richardson Each time a school or district forms a team, study group, or working group to explore an issue, there is usually an underlying assumption that these groups will operate on consensus. Team members will not…

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Tools for Schools, February/March 2004, Vol. 7, No. 4

Tools for Schools, February/March 2004, Vol. 7, No. 4 Newsletters Lesson study: Teachers learn how to improve instruction By Joan Richardson When Becky LaChapelle and Nancy Sundberg joined a lesson study team in Rochester, N.Y., two years ago, they were expecting to learn how to improve their ability to teach mathematics. What they didn’t expect…

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Tools for Schools, December 2003/January 2004, Vol. 7, No. 3

Tools for Schools, December 2003/January 2004, Vol. 7, No. 3 Newsletters Powerful Conversations By Stephanie Hirsh Cathy Gassenheimer, director of the Alabama Best Practices Center, believes high-quality professional development is essential to improved student learning. In 2002, she instituted a process to identify and showcase schools with high-quality professional development. Instead of asking schools to…

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Tools for Schools, October/November 2003, Vol. 7, No. 2

Tools for Schools, October/November 2003, Vol. 7, No. 2 Newsletters Build a bridge between workshop and classroom: Follow-up activities put training into practice By Joan Richardson A little more than 20 years ago, Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers put the concept of “followup” into the toolbox of staff developers after they said their research had…

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Tools for Schools, August/September 2003, Vol. 7, No. 1

Tools for Schools, August/September 2003, Vol. 7, No. 1 Newsletters Test your professional development IQ What’s your professional development IQ? Several years ago, NSDC deputy executive director Stephanie Hirsh was searching for a way to surface misperceptions about the value of professional learning in public schools. She hit on the idea of creating a test…

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Tools for Schools, April/May 2003, Vol. 6, No. 5

Tools for Schools, April/May 2003, Vol. 6, No. 5 Newsletters Consensus By Joan Richardson Summer is the natural time for staff members to engage in high-quality professional development – a chance to learn about the new curriculum or new instructional strategies. Summer gives teachers time to reflect on the learning without the immediate pressure of…

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Tools for Schools, February/March 2003, Vol. 6, No. 4

Tools for Schools, February/March 2003, Vol. 6, No. 4 Newsletters A measure of concern: Research-based program aids innovation by addressing teacher concerns By Karel Holloway What happens when programs intended to improve student learning aren’t successful? Staff carefully researches potential programs, hand-selects one to address the specific needs of the students, and thoroughly prepares teachers….

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Tools for Schools, December 2002/January 2003, Vol. 6, No. 3

Tools for Schools, December 2002/January 2003, Vol. 6, No. 3 Newsletters Read your way to success: How to choose and use articles for presentations By Joan Richardson Chuckling at a Dilbert cartoon or reading a thought-provoking article seems to be part of virtually every professional development workshop, presentation, or course. Read your way to success:…

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Tools for Schools, October/November 2002, Vol. 6, No. 2

Tools for Schools, October/November 2002, Vol. 6, No. 2 Newsletters Listen carefully: Good communication skills build relationships that foster school improvement By Joan Richardson AS AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL leads a staff meeting, he says that he believes all students in this school are capable of learning at high levels. Then he invites comments from…

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