How to Implement Rigorous and Relevant ELA Curriculum Part Two

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My third semester of educational leadership is winding down, and that means I can use more of my summer vacation for blogging about things OTHER THAN EDUCATION!  If you’re still with me, though, here’s a follow-up to my last post about implementing rigorous and relevant ELA curriculum.  Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments. – Bill

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How to Implement Rigorous and Relevant ELA Curriculum

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Leaders often look to best practices, scholarship, and other leaders before making changes in their organizations. However, much of my coursework in educational leadership has called on me to look to myself for answers. I find this to be valuable, as I do not yet have years of leadership experience to ponder; it does me good to envision how I will meet the inevitable changes and challenges I can expect when I assume a formal leadership role. Though I have opportunities to reflect in my coursework, prior assignments required me to ground my reflection in research. This may seem contradictory because most of us self-reflect without considering others’ thoughts, but academia demands explanation enforced by citation.

This post, though, is a reflective narrative reflection, a metacognitive exercise—a record of my thinking about my thinking. And in this instance I will write my way through the problem of implementing a rigorous and relevant ELA curriculum. Here is how I understand the issue.

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Reflection on Learning Theories

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Here is a short final paper I wrote for my class in learning theory.  Even though it answers questions posed by a specific writing prompt, I hope it sparks a little discussion here on the blog.  As school winds down, I hope to get back to publishing more about writing fiction, philosophy, and learning.  For now, please let me know if you’d like to further discuss this paper.  Thanks!

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Learning Theories and Leadership

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learning theory, educational leadership, carol dweck, james comer I wrote this short paper recently for a grad class in learning theory.  I hope it’s useful to those seeking information about the importance of learning theory for educational leaders.  Learning standards and theorists such as Carol Dweck and James Comer are discussed.

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Stephen King On Writing Concepts, Not Plots

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I’ve been reading a lot of story-driven fiction lately, including a lot of young adult books like Divergent and things like Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. This prompted me to delve into King’s On Writing, in which he explains that good stories start from concepts, not plots.

stephen king, on writing, fiction, literature

When I first started writing fiction, I generally started with an idea or feeling I wanted to express, not with stories or characters or anything even remotely interesting to readers. As I evolved a bit, I read Story by Robert McKee and learned the value of plotting out engaging stories with notecards and developing interesting characters using Dungeons-and-Dragons-style character record sheets. This is a laborious approach, but it helped me to refocus my writing. However, it makes for a slow process, and I had to put a my pots on simmer rather than boil while starting a family and enrolling in grad school. Continue reading

Remembering Ronnie: An Old Soldier Tells His Story

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vietnam, purple heart, veterans

I’ve learned there’s more to memorials than this.

I wrote a little while back about learning to listen better. At the time, I was primarily concerned with improving my relationships with my family, friends, students, and colleagues. What I didn’t expect was that actively practicing my listening skills might lock me into an hour-and-a-half long conversation at CVS. Yes, that’s where I spent last Wednesday night, talking with a Vietnam vet named Ronnie. Here’s a brief retelling.

I went out to CVS to pick up some antacid that night. I recently did a little self-diagnosing, and I think I have LPR, or “silent reflux”, but that’s a story for another day. I stood around trying to decide which medicine to purchase, when suddenly I heard a gravelly voice behind me. Continue reading

Will Smith’s Words of Wisdom from the Tonight Show

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I don’t watch a lot of late-night TV. As a new father, teacher, grad student, and martial arts instructor, I don’t have a lot of energy to stay up at night! I do like watching clips of episodes from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Conan O’Brien, and my new favorite, Jimmy Fallon.  You’d have to be living under a rock if you missed his ascension to the hosting spot on The Tonight Show.  If you’re like me, you may have even missed this great interview with his first-ever guest, Will Smith.

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