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Friday, 3 January 2014

Library Clinic #1 results, or, intro to the EE

All the Grade 11 students cycled through the Think Tank in the last weeks of Term 1, getting an introduction to resources in the library and beyond that might help them with their Extended Essays.

The students were particularly encouraged to take advantage of the wealth of EEs available via the Dover past-student collection, all listed in the shared UWCSEA library catalog.  I demonstrated how the most recent EEs are available as PDF links (for those logged into a @gapps.uwcsea.edu.sg account) from within the catalog -- and told the students they just had to ask and the Dover library would get older EEs scanned and available as links.

Go to catalog.uwcsea.edu.sg and select Dover Secondary -- then search for "extended essays" and the subject of your choice.

The full results of the Exit Ticket, including all comments, can be viewed here.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Just the right term... for some educational research

A teacher came to me today asking about the best place to find research on the optimum lesson length.

He and I sat there for a while, trying to get the right search term in Google Scholar and ProQuest Education Journals (NLB).
  • "class length"
  • "lesson length"
  • "lesson duration"
  • optimal
Nothing relevant was coming up. 

He had to leave, but I persevered a bit longer -- and then I hit it:  "block scheduling".

No one else may be interested in the issue, but here's what I was able to find in a very short time in ProQuest, once I had the magic words.

Eineder, Dale V., and Harold L. Bishop. “Block Scheduling the High School: The Effects on Achievement, Behavior, and Student-teacher Relationships.” National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin 81.589 (1997): 45–54. Print.

Evans, William et al. “Block Scheduling: An Evaluation of Outcomes and Impact.” The Clearing House 75.6 (2002): 319–323. Print.

Hackmann, Donald G. “Constructivism and Block Scheduling: Making the Connection.” Phi Delta Kappan 85.9 (2004): 697–702. Print.

Lare, Douglas, Ann M. Jablonski, and Mary Salvaterra. “Block Scheduling: Is It Cost-effective?” National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin 86.630 (2002): 54–71. Print.

Lewis, Chance W. et al. “The Effects of Block Scheduling on High School Academic Achievement.” National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin 89.645 (2005): 72–87. Print.

McEwan, Anna E. “Time and Teaching.” The Educational Forum 76.1 (2012): 81–89. Print.

Muse, Frederic M. “Reasons Why a School Should Not Implement Block Scheduling.” Allied Academies International Conference. Academy of Educational Leadership. Proceedings 3.1 (1998): 66–72. Print.

Rettig, Michael D., and Robert Lynn Canady. “Block Scheduling: More Benefits Than Challenges. Response to Thomas (2001).” National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin 85.628 (2001): 78–86. Print.

Thomas, Cheryl. “What Is Wrong with Block Scheduling?” National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin 85.628 (2001): 74–77. Print.

Todd, Will. “An Examination of Block Scheduling: Teacher Perceptions and Relationship to Student Achievement.” 2008. ProQuest. Web. 4 June 2013.

Wright, Martha Kathryn Williams. “A Longitudinal Study of Block Scheduling in One South Carolina High School: A Descriptive Twenty-five Year Case Study from Traditional to Block.” 2010. ProQuest. Web. 4 June 2013.

Zepeda, Sally J., and R. Stewart Mayers. “An Analysis of Research on Block Scheduling.” Review of Educational Research 76.1 (2006): 137–170. Print.

The above bibliography was generated thanks to Zotero, where I created a folder in the UWCSEA group called Block Scheduling.  Feel free to add to it.
Copies of the full-text of the articles above are available as links to Google Docs attached to each of the Zotero items -- and the Google Docs are all stored in a Google folder called Block Scheduling -- accessible to anyone logged into their UWCSEA Gapps account.
I haven't read them yet, so I'm afraid I don't know what the consensus is.  I'll leave that to the inquiring teacher to tell us.

Update: 5 June:  His feedback was that the best summary of the issue is Donald Hackman's article "Constructivism and Block Scheduling: Making the Connection."  Having read it, I agree -- great article.  Highly recommended.

Image: cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Earls37a

Thursday, 2 May 2013

English/Literacy Teachers: Share Books and Student Reading

Book discussion groups for teachers on both campuses have started recently, with the aim of exploring young adult and children's literature.

On Dover a group meets Wednesday lunchtimes in the Middle School building to look at different kinds of YA (young adult) literature.  Next week (May 8th) the focus will be on Mysteries/Thrillers.  In the previous session, we discussed "decent tear-jerkers."  Contact Angie Erickson (ane@uwcsea.edu.sg) for more information. 

On East a group meets every Wednesday before school in the Think Tank for booktalks over coffee and croissants, alternately focusing on upper primary and middle school students. Next week (May 8th) we will each share some of our favorite books or recent reads suitable for Grades 6-8.  Check out this list of books for Grades 3-5 people booktalked on April 24.  Contact Katie Day (kda@uwcsea.edu.sg) for more information.

See our joint GoodReads Group:  UWCSEA English/Literacy Teachers & Texts -- where meeting dates/times and booklists can be found.

Feel free to join either group in person or online via our GoodReads page.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Update on professional journals - online

Philip Allan "Review" Journals

We now have access to the archives of:

20th Century History Review
Biological Sciences Review
Chemistry Review
Economic Review
Physics Review
Psychology Review
The English Review

(The same information is available at research.uwcsea.edu.sg/philipallan )

American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)

Click on the image below and "sign in" using the login/password found in bit.ly/accessuwc

(The same information is available at research.uwcsea.edu.sg/aapt )

Remember, all logins/passwords can be found in a Google Doc (accessible only to people logged into an @gapps.uwcsea.edu.sg account) -- just click bit.ly/accessuwc .

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Books/Discussion groups for Professional Learning

How People Learn

Back in Term 1, Nick did a session on professional learning and in Term 2 we asked who might be interested in getting a discussion group together to explore one of the books he recommended -- which is available free online.  (See the previous blog post on Discuss When? How People Learn.)  

Several of you did respond -- see this spreadsheet -- but I failed to follow up in helping groups to form. (Sorry!)  Anyone interested in picking up the project?

Wednesday Morning Book Share

I'm starting a weekly professional learning group next Wednesday, 7:15 am in the Think Tank of the secondary library.  The focus will be on books good for upper primary school and middle school students -- in alternating weeks.  

Bring 5 books to share and quickly book-talk.  

The first week we'll look at books for an upper primary school audience (Grades 3-5).  The following week will be for middle school (Grades 6-8).  And so on.  Everyone is welcome to attend any week.

The goal is to learn about books to recommend to students, for pleasure and/or curriculum connections.

Coffee (Starbucks, if all goes to plan) and croissants will be provided.

Questions?  Contact kda@uwcsea.edu.sg 
Book icon: Nathan Thomson, from The Noun Project

Beyond Mindset:  The Cultural Foundations of Learning:  East and West

A book Nick has recommended to everyone (and which we have multiple copies of) is Mindset by Carol Dweck. 

Click here for the website of the book.

In 2002 Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article for The New Yorker on "The Talent Myth", which features Dweck's work.  

We also have a book in the library called Talent is Over-Rated by Geoff Colvin.

 If you liked Mindset and want to think further, try this more academic text:  Cultural Foundations of Learning: East and West (2012) by Jin Li, a professor of education at Brown University in the States.  

Several of us have read it and think it raises important issues for a Western-oriented school located in an Eastern culture.

From a review in PsycCRITIQUES (Jan 2013):

Jin Li has a refreshing outlook on the cultural foundations of learning, comparing Eastern with Western learners. She is an “insider” with a Chinese perspective who was educated in the West at the graduate level. In her book Cultural Foundations of Learning: East and West, Li examines East Asian foundations of learning after her Western education impressed upon her to reject and question their very validity. Her emic perspective enables her to understand the nuances within an Asian perspective often missed by those coming from an etic or outsider perspective. In returning to her roots, she finds new complexity and value in East Asian foundations of learning and presents an important conceptual distinction between the Western mind model and the East Asian virtue model. At the core of the East Asian learner is the aim of “transforming oneself,” consistent with Confucian principles, whereas at the core of the Western learner is the aim of “learning to master the universe,” consistent with Socratic principles

A good chunk of the book is available for preview via Google Books -- click here.

And, yes, we have multiple copies in the library.

Remember, you can always check what books we have by searching the school catalog.  Start here:   catalog.uwcsea.edu.sg

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Heads Up: especially MS/HS English Teachers

First of all, happy World Read-Aloud Day!

This is the week of Red Dot Book Awards voting.  This is an annual event of Singapore international schools -- and the multiple copies bought for this reading initiative become valuable extended reading & literature circle resources.

Please encourage your class to participate - or invite me to speak to your class for a 5-minute get-out-the-vote pitch.  The books have been up in the library for the past several months and I know a lot of your students have read at least two - which is all that is required to choose ONE per category.

Last votes must be in by a week from Friday.  Winners to be announced on Saturday, March 16th.

See this post on Red Dot Voting on the general Kishore Mahbubani Library blog - which has short 1-minute videos of the book covers flipping like pages - a quick reminder to students of the books up for the awards this year.

There's a QR code for mobile devices to read - making it easy to vote.  I will have my 12 library iPads up on the front desk ready for anyone to use.

NB: Our school code for voting is simply UWCEAST (the voting form asks for a code - so we can tell which school students are voting from).

Trial Databases from Gale Cengage

As you know from the Friday, Feb. 8th Research Skills Professional Learning Day, we are working hard to get our digital resources easy to find and easy to use.  The place to always start (excuse the split infinitive) for all our UWCSEA links & logins -- as well as the National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore eResources is:

For you English teachers, there are two trial subscriptions we have access to until March 15th -- and Susanne Clower, the Dover librarian, and I are anxious to know what you think of them.

You can access them via our Gale Cengage homepage -- on the right hand side.

Literature Criticism Online (read about it here) is a resource we buy once and own forever.  Like very expensive reference books.  Right now, I'm not sure we have the budget for it.

Literature Resource Center (read about it here) is an annual subscription.  It is also not cheap.  So if we buy it, we need to make sure it gets used.  Frankly, I think this is probably the better bet right now.  But if you don't think so, then I don't want to waste our money.

Please have a look at both of them.  Or feel free to tell me what kinds of research your students are likely to do and I will do some test searches myself.