Tag Archives: learning and cognition

A Learning Support on Using Context for Understanding

Because by now it is a truism that context determines meaning, I won’t bother to ornament this post with the myriad quotes about that maxim. Moreover, I think the preponderance of posts containing context clues sheets on this site affirms my insistence on using context to help students understand meaning–particularly of the vocabulary words they must possess in order to achieve in school.

While rummaging through the archives just now, I round this learning support on using context for understanding. It’s really just a squib that I copy and paste into worksheets in various iterations in order to support students in mastering this way of knowing. Looking at it, I can see how it could serve as the basis for a variety of worksheets.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Terms of Art: Higher-Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)

“Sophisticated cognitive ability, including the ability to understand complex concepts, to compare and contrast different opinions, or to apply conflicting information to the solution of a problem that has more than one answer. Although such skills are highly praised today—and indeed, often prized above content knowledge—they cannot be attained without also gaining mastery of a significant amount of knowledge to think critically about.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Research and Practice

FINAL THOUGHTS: LIMITATIONS OF RESEARCH

“The scope of what researchers can accomplish is limited in many ways…. Though ideally researchers would assess the learning and cognition of a representative sample of people, meaning one that best captures the breadth and diversity of humanity, in practice this is hardly ever the case. Furthermore, most if not all brain and cognitive researchers conduct their analyses in laboratory settings, where as many variables are identified and controlled as possible. Compared to the control of a laboratory, a classroom is filthy with variables of many types.

Why should the distinction between the control of variables and other factors in laboratories and classrooms matter? Put simply, it matters because ‘evidence-based’ is often mistakenly interpreted as meaning the same thing as ‘field-tested.’ To say that a particular teaching strategy or curricular initiative is ‘evidence-based’ can indicate many things. It certainly may mean, as most assume, that the phenomenon has been studied in classroom settings by educational researchers and teachers and has been found to work. And it this latter situation is the case, great! However, more often than not this label means that a particular educational strategy or initiative is based on evidence that has emerged from research studies conducted in laboratories, or it is based in evidence.

There is certainly nothing wrong with this other definition and I also do not believe that it is intentionally used to deceive. Indeed, many of the strategies proposed in this text represent exactly this type of research-based practice, namely those that have yet to be tested in classroom settings. However, any time you come across something that is research-based rather than research-validated (or field-tested), remember that the minimum threshold for this label is that the strategy is based on a review of the existing literature. Thus it is ‘field-tested’ or ‘research-validated’ and not ‘evidence-based” that should be seen as the educational equivalent of the ‘Good Housekeeping’ stamp of approval.”

Excerpted from: Rekart, Jerome L. The Cognitive Classroom: Using Brain and Cognitive Science to Optimize Student Success. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013.

Ross Greene’s Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

Elsewhere on this blog I’ve mentioned the work of Ross Greene. I thought, somewhere along the line, I’d posted his Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems. If it’s somewhere on this site, I can’t find it. If you’re working with troubled kids, this is a handy compendium of the challenges developing kids face.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Inclusion (n)

“The practice of placing students with disabilities in regular classrooms in accordance with federal law. To the maximum extent possible, students with disabilities are supposed to be educated alongside their peers in regular education classrooms unless ‘the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily’ (P.L. 94-142020 U.S.C 1412 (5) (A)).”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

Hamlet’s Blackberry

About ten years ago, when I still listened to National Public Radio regularly. I heard William Powers interviewed. He was discussing a research endeavor at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy that resulted in report he titled Hamlet’s Blackberry. Over the years, I meant to read it. Then, in 2010, he expanded the original essay and published it as a book.

But the original essay, at 75 pages with the works cited page, is still available at no cost under the link, if you search “Hamlet’s Blackberry PDF,  The Death of Paper.

I have a particular interest in the history of books and book lore, including changes in printing technologies, I had an interest per se in this piece of writing. For educators, I think this is a good read because it says some things we need to know about the reading and reception of texts.

And Mr. Powers is a fine stylist, so this is a quick and breezy read about a subject that is, by any measure I appreciate, quite profound.

A Complete Lesson Plan on the Greek Word Root Anthrop/o

Rain continues to fall in New York City, a manifestation of Hurricane Florence, which is about to put a beatdown on the Carolinas. I’m glad to be in my dry apartment working on posting this complete lesson on the Greek word root anthrop/o, which means man and human. I start this lesson with this context clues worksheet for the noun humanity to provide a basis for the heuristic work this scaffolded worksheet with an independent practice assignment requires of students. The context clues worksheets can serve as the prior knowledge students will need to help them understand the meaning of this Greek word root.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.