Todd Finley

Blog Posts

Tags New-Teacher Support
March 10, 2014

Planning a unit of instruction demands skill and mental exertion -- a fact that is not apparent to parents and legislators who believe that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) tell instructors how and what to teach. Despite...

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Tags Education Trends
February 19, 2014

Do you wish your students could better understand and critique the images that saturate their waking life? That's the purpose of visual literacy (VL), to explicitly teach a collection of competencies that will help students think through, think about and think with...

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Tags Student Engagement
January 28, 2014

Since the 1990s, I’ve mothballed the lecture -- "where the teacher talks and hopefully the students listen" -- with other scorned practices: popcorn reading, multiple-choice quizzes, test-prep drills,...

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Tags Assessment
January 2, 2014

"Change your language and you change your thoughts." -- Karl Albrecht

Understanding Academic Language

Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes...

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Tags New-Teacher Support
November 19, 2013

On a spring afternoon in the 1990s, I happened upon one of my professors in a campus restroom. The renowned metaphysical sci-fi author caught me eyeing his hands, which trembled as he lathered them with liquid soap. "I get the shakes before every class starts," he explained. "Every class for 30...

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Tags Education Trends
October 15, 2013

Says Ankur Singh, the writer and director of Listen: The Movie, "They never ask us students what we want from our own education. And since we are the primary stakeholders, that is not OK."

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Tags Social and Emotional Learning
September 13, 2013

Education is catastrophically deficient in trust. Pro-accountability education reformers presume that, absent carrots and sticks, classrooms would be overrun with lazy and incapable teachers. Traditional instructors presume that, absent carrots and sticks, classrooms would be overrun...

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Tags Student Engagement
September 6, 2013

Because of pressure to teach bell-to-bell -- the pedagogical equivalent of force-feeding geese to make foie gras -- many classrooms now start with bell work, short exercises that students complete while the instructor attends to attendance and other administrative chores. Journal...

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Tags Education Trends
July 26, 2013

"There is not a writer in our classrooms today who will not be producing something with a digital writing tool in her or his lifetime." -- Troy Hicks

Troy Hicks frequently uses the words "intentional" and "deliberate" to highlight the need for writers to conscientiously think...

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Tags Student Engagement
June 24, 2013

Whole class discussions are, after lecture, the second most frequently used teaching strategy, one mandated by the Common Core State Standards because of its many rewards: increased perspective-taking, understanding, empathy, and...

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Writing Pedagogy, Engagement, Literacy, and New Media