March Reading Madness Round 2

The Winners Are In!  Time for Round 2!

Your votes have been counted, and we are moving to round 2 of SURN’s March Reading Madness!  Please take a minute and vote for your favorite books.  Only the books with the top votes will advance to round 3!  Please also share with your colleagues and students for more fun!

March Reading Madness Schedule:

March 3 – Round Two
March 10 – Round Three
March 17 – Quarter Finals
March 24 – Semi-finals
March 31 – Final Championship

The Official Bracket Based On Your Input:

Click to enlarge image.

Click to enlarge image.


Please visit our Google form to vote.  It should only take about two minutes—it is super quick!

More Information on the Books:

White Dolphin

Ruth and the Green Book

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

The Book Whisperer

Accessible Mathematics

The Energy Bus

Teach Like a Pirate

Mindset

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

To Kill a Mockingbird

Mr. Peabody’s Apples

Another Visit to a P4C School

Another stop in the UK for Jan and Jenny involved traveling to London’s East End to visit a school that is using P4C. In this session, a video was used as a stimulus to get students to generate questions for discussion. One student recorded the following question for her group- see images.

The school has approximately 600 students ages 3-11. The outdoor space is designed to be used in all kinds of weather including rain- see image of all the boots. It was raining the day Jenny and Jan visited the school and some younger children were experiencing cause and effect by jumping in puddles in school- provided rain gear. Like other schools we have visited to discern possibilities for the 2016 SURN study tour, music is an integral part of the school with students starting at age 3 with rhythm lessons and acquiring skills and a keen ear so that when they get a school-provided stringed instrument at age 7 they are well prepared.

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Another Day in The UK

As SURN Director, Jan Rozzelle, and Assistant Director, Jenny Hindman, travel through the United Kingdom to visit schools they may visit for the 2016 Study Tour, they have been building relationships with school leaders. They are learning about how these schools are using research and practices

Jan and Jenny engaged in conversation with Jill Harland and Jo Davies, co head teachers at Brudenell Primary School in Leeds England. Their passion for seeking out research and placing it into tactile is evident. For the past 5 years teachers at Brudenell have engaged children in P4c (Philosophy for Children). When asked what p4c helped them do, the year 3 and 4 students in Mrs. Acton’s class said, it “warms my thinking” “I like p4c because there are millions of answers,” and ” it helps us reason and think fast,”

The mud kitchen in the outside play area at Brudenell

The mud kitchen in the outside play area at Brudenell

We saw evidence of the growth mindset (Carol Dweck‘s work) and Will Ord‘s mindfulness. Every space in the school communicated care and learning. Like the schools we visited in Berwick-upon-Tweed students questions and work covered walls making the values and learning in the school evident.

Present made by a student in response to the query of what life would like without books

Present made by a student in response to the query of what life would like without books

The action research being conducted by teachers and support staff on questions of interest in their context was especially interesting to us. We sought to know more about this school wide job-embedded professional development by talking with faculty members and the co-head teachers.

James Nottingham identified this school as one for SURN to visit and we hope to include it on the 2016 study tour we are planning

SURN Observes P4C!

As SURN Director and Assistant Director, Jan Rozzelle and Jenny Hindman travel through the United Kingdom to visit schools they may visit for the 2016 Study Tour, they have been building relationships with school leaders. They are learning about how these schools are using research and practices

Jan and Jenny traveled to see two schools in Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is located on the east coast of England near the Scottish border. Both schools start at Reception (kindergarten) and continue through upper elementary. They have approximately 150 students.

At Holy Trinity Primary School, we had the honor of listening to students in Mary- Rose Blythe’s class engage in a p4c experience. P4c stands for Philosophy for Children. The students made observations about a stimulus material in this case a painting. Then they generated words and questions. The class voted on a question and engaged in rich dialogue about it. In the process they agreed, clarified, disagreed, and refined their thoughts. A fish bowl strategy was used. The students on the outside made their thinking visible using a map.

Student work from Holy Trinity Primary School

Student work from Holy Trinity Primary School

At Tweedmouth West Primary students filled every space and their teachers invited students to think through multiple ways of approaching content. For example in Anne Robertson’s classroom students were to work graphing data. Her students shared different ways to display data including Carroll charts, bar graphs, and others – we left before seeing students collect their chocolate data.

Tweedmouth West Primary Students

Tweedmouth West Primary Students

In another room we heard students practicing violin. The violin teacher works with students in both schools. The rhythm of music has impact in other subjects such as reading.

Tweedmouth West Primary Students Practicing Violin

Tweedmouth West Primary Students Practicing Violin

James Nottingham, 2014 SURN Leadership Academy speaker, recommended both of these schools to us.

SURN Around the World

Jan Rozzelle and Jenny Hindman, SURN Director and Assistant Director, have been spending this week in Edinburgh. They had an amazing conversation with The Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School  teacher and class guardian, Dr. Mark Burgess, who described the values and hallmarks of a Steiner Education. Dr. Burgess trained for two additional years to become a Steiner teacher. The focus of learning is on the student. The format for learning includes verse, song, recall of the previous day’s learning, time for the new material, a portion of the day is called the will where students continue to develop and show their learning. Jan and Jenny experienced through Dr. Burgess’ words the Steiner vision.

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Jan in Edinburgh with a Scotsman playing bagpipes

Jenny

Jenny petting Greyfriars Bobby, a faithful dog whose legend is a popular children’s book

It’s Time for March Reading Madness!

Welcome to SURN’s March Reading Madness

Twenty books go head-to-head in this exciting twist on March Madness.  Welcome to SURN’s first annual March Reading Madness!  Starting on February 24th and continuing throughout the month of March, you get to vote on which book you think is the best.  There are six rounds over the course of the next few weeks, and only the books with the top votes advance to the next round.  Excited about your book?  Don’t forget to vote!

March Reading Madness Schedule:
February 24– Round One
March 3– Round Two
March 10– Round Three
March 17– Quarter Finals
March 24– Semi-finals
March 31– Final Championship

bracket

Click to zoom in

The Official Bracket Based On Your Input:
 

How to Vote:

Please visit our Google form to vote.  It should only take about two minutes—it is super quick!

More Information on the Books:

White Dolphin

Ruth and the Green Book

Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Pete the Cat

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Wonder

Lightning in a Jar

The Book Whisperer

Accessible Mathematics

The Energy Bus

Teach Like a Pirate

Camp

Riding Freedom

Mindset

Lean In

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

When You Were Little

To Kill a Mockingbird

Mr. Peabody’s Apples

Happy New Year!

SURN is excited for 2015 and everything that this new year brings with it! One piece of exciting news is SURN’s recent creation of a Twitter account, making it easier than ever to share resources and ideas with our followers. Do you have a Twitter? Follow us! Also, if you haven’t already done so, like our Facebook page, too!

We want to share with everyone some updates and reminders for the year…

First, Kerri Mahoney, SURN College and Career Readiness Coordinator and Ph.D. Student in Curriculum and Education Technology at The College of William and Mary is facilitating an event on March 26th called “Teaching and Technology: Best Practice for Secondary ELA.” This day will focus on how technology can be used in the classroom to enhance and support learning in secondary English Language Arts. Click here for more information and the registration form for this event.

Additionally, on May 1st, SURN is hosting a workshop titled “Hire the Best: Effective Educator Interviews.” This event will be facilitated by  Jennifer Hindman, Ph.D., SURN Assistant Director and Author of Effective Educator Interviews: How do I hire good teachers? (ASCD, 2014). For more information and the registration form for the May 1st workshop, click here!

Finally, the 19th Annual SURN Leadership Academy is being held on June 22-23, 2015. Among others, Diane Sweeney, author of Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Principals and Coaches (Corwin, 2010) and Student-Centered Coaching at the Secondary Level (Corwin, 2013), and Deb Masters, Director of Visible Leading Plus will be speaking. Spots are filling up fast, so be sure to register soon! For more information and the registration form, click here!

Be sure to check out the SURN Calendar of Events so you don’t miss out on any valuable events in these busy months of 2015! Questions? Email us at surn@wm.edu.

Happy New Year!!

Congratulations!

SURN partners have been busy celebrating many accomplishments! 

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At the recent School of Education Awards Ceremony, Rachel Ball received the SURN Virginia L. McLaughlin Collaborative Leadership Award. This award was established by SURN to honor Dr. Virginia L. McLaughlin for her tenure as Dean of the School of Education.

 Angie Seiders_VASCD Impact Award

Angie Seiders, SURN Principal Academy Mentor, was recently recognized as the VASCD Region 2 Impact Leader!

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At the recent School of Education Awards Ceremony, Wendy Gray received the Chandler Family Scholarship. This scholarship is given in recognition of a graduate student in the Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program who demonstrates a commitment to serving in the field of Education.

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Also at the School of Education Awards Ceremony, SURN Graduate Assistant, Jennifer Pogue, received the Frances C. Hudgins Memorial Endowment. This scholarship is awarded in support of a student preparing for teaching or studying guidance and counseling.

Join SURN in congratulating these individuals when you see them!

A review of “The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi”

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Book Review by SURN Logistics Planner and Research Assistant, Tia McClenney

I have studied Nazi Germany since I was 7 years old but Neal Bascomb’s “The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi” introduced me to an aspect of the war to which I hadn’t been exposed. The novel went outside the general presumption of WWII and Nazi Germany and instead gave an astounding look at government and spy operations in capturing a well-known Nazi leader. The novel provokes questions among the reader, influencing consideration to what goes into the development of division, war, and its aftermath.

I was gripped by the logistical operations of the Holocaust, with Bascomb going outside of what was done and instead explaining how it was done, enlightening the importance of prosecuting such a high ranking Nazi leader and all involved. It gave a look into how many were surreptitiously connected in implementing Hitler’s Final Solution – an operation that ultimately resulted in 11 million deaths. Have you ever questioned how this was so tragically achieved? “The Nazi Hunters” gives a look into the answer.

I also valued how Bascomb provided a remarkable glimpse into the progression of a spy operation and likely, this is what will amaze readers the most. The detail that goes into (and even what doesn’t go into) a spy sting is fascinating – though it is difficult to use such a word surrounding the premise of this particular operation. “The Nazi Hunters” further provided an acknowledgment of how much happens in the world around us while we remain unaware. This aroused further questions in my reading such as how often is someone’s death written off as a homicide, but is actually the result of a spy operation; or how often is a person’s disappearance written off as foul play, but is actually the result of a spy operation? Having a glimpse into a spy procedure was eye-opening to say the very least.

Outside of the basic theme of the novel, it had a robust undertone of passion. It enthused me to read of humans so determined to achieve a justice that wasn’t even directly their own. – Despite the obstructions, the failures, and even the times when the men stood alone in wanting to continue their mission, the desire to bring justice to a wrong consistently dictated the operation. The book provided a story of passion for human goodness without even having to state the word.

There are many other aspects of Neal Bascomb’s ““The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi”” that will captivate the reader and ignite a realm of emotions. Though the novel is based on a time many decades ago, it begs the question of how much of the story is still prevalent in our world today. What do I mean by that? Come to your own conclusion by reading the book!

Start a Reading Revolution in Your Classroom!

How often do your students make true connections to what they are required to read in the classroom?  Do your students react with boredom or frustration when you want them to read?  If so, consider flipping your class through the power of blogging!

There is so much value in what we want our students to read, but sometimes it can be a battle to get them to engage in a successful reading process.  There are many ways to transform reading in the classroom, and one exciting way is through flipped blogging.

A flipped classroom is one where students engage in learning at home in order to have an understood foundation of a topic before returning to the classroom.  Once they return to the classroom, they participate in project-based learning that supports and extends the learning they did at home.  Flipping the classroom with reading as a focus allows students to read in the classroom while the teacher models successful reading strategies.

Overview of the process:

  • Students choose any work of fiction appropriate for their reading level
  • Students read in class 3-4 times a week for 2.5 weeks.  They must read actively, but get to choose their method: index cards, post-it flags, bullet points in their notebooks, etc.
  • At home, students write their blog using the Writing to Learn method.  They have the freedom to craft posts on topics of their own choosing.
  • Every day that they read in class, students blog about the experience at home.

 (Sztabnik, 2014)

Flipped Blogging

For more information, please visit

Start a Reading Revolution: Flip Your Class With Blogs