Rebecca Alber

Blog Posts

Tags Student Engagement
March 31, 2014

The idea of co-constructing knowledge with students can be a scary thing for many of us teachers. The age-old role of teacher as orator, director, sage has been handed down for centuries and most of us grew up as students looking to teachers in this way. It's hard to shake.

Co-...

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Tags Student Engagement
February 28, 2014

There's a lot that I like about the Common Core standards. For one, as a former high school English teacher, I'm thrilled by the literacy standards for secondary math, science, and social studies. I also think the standards for speaking, writing, listening and reading build nicely from kinder to...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
January 24, 2014

What's the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? It would be saying to students something like, "Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday." Yikes -- no safety net, no parachute, no scaffolding -- just left blowing in the wind...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
January 16, 2014

Every Monday, my seventh grade English teacher would have us copy a list of 25 words she'd written on the board. We'd then look up the dictionary definitions and copy those down. For homework, we'd re-write each word seven times.

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Tags Student Engagement
January 16, 2014

When students graduate from high school, there is a collection of important (or core) skills we want them to possess. That's where the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor standards (CCRA) come in. With 32 anchor standards in total in the areas of reading, writing, speaking,...

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Tags Student Engagement
October 31, 2013

My first year teaching a literacy coach came to observe my classroom. After the students left, she commented on how I asked the whole class a question, would wait just a few seconds, and then answer it myself. "It's cute," she added. Um, I don't think she thought it was so cute. I think she was...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
September 27, 2013

What is new and different in the Common Core? When it comes to the writing standards, a heavy emphasis on audience for one thing, and this is very good news. The "audience" for student writing was once the lone teacher sitting after school with her cup of coffee, a red pen, and a stack of...

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Tags Student Engagement
August 30, 2013

Ah, listening, the neglected literacy skill. I know when I was a high school English teacher this was not necessarily a primary focus; I was too busy honing the more measurable literacy skills -- reading, writing, and speaking. But when we think about career and college readiness, listening...

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Tags Student Engagement
July 23, 2013

Summer is the time to look over those unit plans. As you reflect and rethink lessons, here's something to consider: How can you turn direct instruction into experiences where students instead discover?

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Tags Student Engagement
May 13, 2013

Adults forget all that they do while reading. We are predicting, making connections, contextualizing, critiquing, and already plotting how we might use any new insights or information. Yep, we do all that when we read.

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Literacy, social justice, blended learning, engaging students, and differentiated instruction
UCLA, Stanford University