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Professional Learning Blog

Helping Our Students Apply Prior Knowledge to New Situations

“Some students do not use their capacity for making connections, a uniquely human capacity. They approach every situation as if it is the first time they ever saw such a problem or task.” When Cathy Gassenheimer came across this article by Art Costa and Bena Kallick recently, she was hooked. So much so that she asked them for permission to post it here. In this short piece, the Habits of Mind authors and advocates share insights and practical tips to help students access and apply prior knowledge to current learning.

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Making Writing Fun and Easy: Using Generative Sentences

During a Zoom chat with Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey about their book This Is Balanced Literacy, Cathy was intrigued by the generative sentence strategy they shared. “It’s flexible and stretchable ( think ‘silly putty’) and can be used from first grade through high school. And its deceptive simplicity makes it a useful tool for teaching writing face-to-face and online!”

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Happy Holidays! Here Are a Few Little Gifts from Us You Might Have Missed

Happy Holidays! You deserve all the rest and relaxation that comes with the winter break. I hope that’s happening for you! We know how busy you’ve been, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you missed a few of these posts from the past few months. Please don’t feel obligated to read them, but if you find yourself a little restless – as educators often do before the ‘restart’ – maybe you’ll find an idea or bit of inspiration. See you soon!

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Our Students Can’t Wait: SEL Teaching Tools and Processes for Anytime, Anywhere

It’s rare that we really push ourselves to learn a new skill without an immediate need for it, writes Stoney Beavers. “We work hardest on something when the necessity is squarely in front of us.” Right now that urgent necessity is effective support for students’ social and emotional learning. “The tire is flat,” he says, and a new book from Corwin has tools we need to integrate SEL into virtual, blended, or in-person environments.

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