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  • Why Data Driven Decision Making?
    Why Data Driven Decision Making?   As common core state standards continue to drive education, teachers feel pushed to incorporate more data driven decision making into their instruction.  While teachers recognize the benefits of collecting data they also see the barriers that exist.  Included in these barriers are that data isn’t easily accessible, can some […]
  • Progress Monitoring Data + Coaching= Positive Instructional Changes
    Research has shown that student achievement in Reading has increased due to teachers’ use of progress monitoring data (Roehrig, Duggar, Moats, Glover, & Mincey, 2008).  The positive impact comes from informed decision making and effective lesson-planning to fit the needs of students.  Using progress monitoring data in conjunction with support from a read […]
  • The Power of Feedback
      When thinking about feedback, I believe most teachers would say that it is something that happens naturally in the classroom.  Although it may happen frequently, it may not always happen effectively. Hattie and Timperley (2007) describe feedback as “information provided by an agent regarding aspects of one’s performance or understanding” (p. 81) which happ […]

Use of High-Level Questioning to Increase Student Achievement in Reading

Graduate students Emily Ewing and Amber Remark are using their Action Research to develop their own skills in asking high-level questions during reading activities. Their Literature Review (opens in new window) captures the urgency and promise of developing skills in this important area of pedagogy.

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

They begin:

“Statistics show that most teachers ask an average of 300 to 400 questions on a daily basis however, 60-80% of these questions are low-level questions which only require students to recall something they already learned (Tienken, et al., 2010). Statistically speaking, this shows that upwards of 18,000 questions asked each year in a classroom do not push students’ thinking beyond the point of simply recalling what they know. Although questioning has been long thought of as an important aspect of education, more recently through a variety of research studies, it has been brought to the forefront as a critical component of effective teaching (Hannel, 2009). This literature review shows that the use of planned, structured, and systematic questioning teachers can increase reading comprehension, engagement, and metacognition skills.”

Stay tuned to see their results this August in Sophia!

Thanks for sharing your work Amber and Emily! Best of luck in your research.

Welcoming Spring, with Gratitude!

bouquet-156651_1280 (1)One of the many features of work for which I am grateful is the gift of being able to read teachers’ literature reviews about topics of concern in their practice.

This literature review on The Effects of Gratitude on Student Engagement (opens in new window) serves as a reminder of the importance of gratitude, and the joy of a well-written literature review!

Graduate student in AM2, Vanessa Callaghan, summarizes:

“Numerous studies have investigated the benefits of gratitude, focusing on outcomes such as enhanced well-being, strengthened relationships, and increased life satisfaction.  However, research has primarily focused on adults and adolescents, leaving much to learn about gratitude in younger children.  Drawing upon a large body of positive psychology research, engagement research, and gratitude research, this section examines the connections between the Montessori approach, positive youth development, and gratitude interventions in schools.  Specific gratitude interventions and curricula are examined in order to illuminate various strategies and developmental considerations.  Finally, this section reviews school intervention suggestions in regards to younger students (e.g., six to nine years old) and synthesizes them into a tailored intervention.”

“How Technology Evolves” and Montessori Education

Many people wouldn’t associate computers with Montessori education, but students in our STEM program explore the connections between technology integration and the needs, interests, and possibilities of work students in Montessori settings might do.  Here one of our graduate students explores material that dances with various considerations of how to conceptually understand today’s technology. 


After watching and listening to Kevin Kelly give his presentation titled “How Technology Evolves”, I was struck by the connections to the Montessori curriculum, specifically in the area of biology. He theorizes that technology could be considered the 7th Kingdom, in addition to fungi, plants, animals, etc. I must admit, I was skeptical at first. I thought, “How can technology, which to me seems so mechanical and man-made, be thought of as a kingdom, as something that is living?” However, as he explained his theory, it began to make sense. Organisms move toward specialization, and become more complex, diverse and social; the same is true of technology. For example, the internet is not just used for finding or posting information, but it is also used for connecting and collaborating with other people (i.e. social media, the growth of online classes).

Kelly makes another interesting connection to the Montessori curriculum when he talks about technology being a cosmic force. Hmm….seems to me that Maria Montessori had some ideas about cosmic education. In his lecture, Kelly says, “Somewhere today there are millions of children being born whose technology of self-expression has not been invented.” (2005) Furthermore, he shared a power point slide that expressed that technology provides us with options, choices, opportunities, possibilities and freedoms. As educators, can we incorporate the use of technology in our classrooms to help give children a cosmic education, one in which they can explore, discover, create and imagine?

In the You Tube video “The Machine is Us/ing Us”, Michael Wesch, an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, explains how the web has evolved from a “read only” platform to an interconnected platform where people can upload and share not just text, but also photos and videos. I learned a lot about how at first, web sites were written in HTML, and now they are written in XML. What’s the difference? With XML, data can be exported because form is separated from content, making it possible for everyday users to upload content. It’s not only text that can be exported, but also photos and videos (think blogs, You Tube).   Good thing a person can pause, rewind and replay these videos!

What is the semantic web? I found that in order to understand “A Story about the Semantic Web” by Kate Ray that I had to look up the word after I watched the video. Then I watched the first part of the video again for a second time, and it became more definitive. First of all, the semantic web is an idea that the web can be more intelligent and even more intuitive about how to best serve users. This concept is an idea of the web inventor, a physicist by training, whose name is Tim Berners-Lee. I had not known this previously, so I found it very interesting. At the beginning of the video, the narrator says, “The core problem is our ability to create information has far exceeded our ability to manage it.”   This statement expresses perfectly my conundrum with technology! How do I use it in a way that will actually make me more efficient? How can I easily incorporate technology into my classroom, without having it consume endless amounts of precious time? The idea is to transform the web into more of a database, an index of sorts. Back to tried-and-true technology, the old-fashioned index located in the back of reference books!

Kelly, K. (2005). How Technology Evolves. Retrieved from

Ray, K. (2011). A Story about the Semantic Web. Retrieved from Vimeo:

Wesch, M. (2007). The Machine is Us/Ing Us. Retrieved from

The new Master of Arts in Education: Technology Integration is featured in SCAN!

St. Kate’s is now offering a Master of Arts in Education: Technology Integration.  This new program is featured in this month’s SCAN.

“St. Kate’s new graduate-level program — which plans to offer the choice of a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a certificate — equips teachers with digital skills and an understanding of how to hold the attention of a generation weaned on gadgets. Class topics include computational thinking and computer coding, best practices in 1:1 (one-to- one, a setting in which each student has her or his own digital device) and ethics in the digital age.”


Cross-Curricular Arts Integration Techniques

EDUC658D: Classrooms by Design is a course that focuses on cross-curricular Arts Integration techniques. The final project for the course is a digital presentation demonstrating how a teacher can use Arts Integration methods to tranform an existing unit into an engaging, effective, and student-focused learning experience.

Stephanie Beard created a Prezi demonstrating how fine arts, music, dance, poetry and history can come together for 5th grade students studying Sea Chanteys.

Link to Presentation:  Sea Chanteys

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  • StudyJams
    Comments:Great find in the Montessori STEM group for videos that support math concept learning in a video/song format. - Siri AndersonTags: math, elementary_math, videoby: Siri Anderson
  • Free text to speech software with Naturally Sounding Voices -- Free NaturalReader
    Comments:text to voice readers. You can import complete documents for this - Jaclyn GehrkeTags: tools, text, to, speech, education, technology, teachingby: Jaclyn Gehrke
  • Lesson plans and resources for your SMART Board - SMART Exchange
    Comments:Another free website for teachers with many ready to use SMART board lessons and activities - Katie WolfSMARTboard activities and ideas that support curriculum and standards - kell66yTags: smartboard, resources, lessons, educationby: kell66y
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    Comments:A currently free platform for collaborative work on video editing. Looks sort of like VoiceThread around movie clips. - Siri AndersonTags: In the Director's Chair, video editing, collaborationby: Siri Anderson
  • Top 10 Resources on Phonological and Phonemic Awareness | Reading Rockets
    Comments:Great resource for reading teachers - Stacey KnudsonHighlights and Sticky Notes:Blending (combining sounds) and segmenting (separating sounds) are phonological awareness skills that are necessary for learning to read. There are lots of ways families can work to develop a child's phonological skills.Tags: Reading, Phonemic, Awarenessby: Stacey K […]

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