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Innovation Academy Guidelines

Guidelines for the Academy Instructional Model including an overview of the model, classroom artifacts that demonstrate the model and information on the PBL planning and implementation Process and additional artifacts

The UTTIA District Model explains the research-based model for creating and sustaining a school culture that promotes collaboration, connectivity, and excellence for all students. It includes a bulleted summary for each of the topics in the model, providing the reader a quick view of a large body of content. To borrow a common analogy, it gives the reader the “big rocks” and the “medium rocks” of problem-based learning (PBL), PrBL (problem-based learning), and instructional coaching. Should the reader want more information, there are many books available that provide deep dives into the topics in the model. This provides a one-stop-shop for PBL, PrBL, and instructional coaching.

The primary instructional model being used at the UT Tyler Innovation Academy schools is project- or problem-based learning. Project- or problem-based learning is an inquiry-based instructional model where students learn content standards through their creation of a project or finding a solution to a problem.

Why is this resource useful?

Project- and problem-based learning provide students to learn their content while doing both of these job skills of the future. For most teachers, this kind of instruction isn’t an easy shift. Most current teachers learned using a much more traditional type of instruction. Depending on the age of the teacher, this was okay at the time for the future jobs of that time. In 2018, we have a problem with our workforce. The workers that colleges and high schools are producing must have the skills to do the work of today. Education must be responsive to the job market and PBL/PrBL are excellent ways to do that. Teachers need support no matter what kind of instructional strategy they use. Instructional coaching is a respectful way of helping teachers grow their practice so they can help students grow in their learning.

Middle School Survey

Survey and reflection questions for middle schoolers about transitioning, academic habits and interests

Northeast ISD uses student surveys to assess needs of the STEM program, including Summer Bridge.  This input assists the evaluation of the program and plan for future school years. Many of the survey questions address transition from middle to high school, and Summer Bridge is a large component of transition. 

Parent Survey

Survey and reflection questions for parents whose child attends summer program

Summer Bridge Surveys allow districts to receive feedback from all participants—parents, students and staff. This feedback is reviewed yearly and used to revise, refine and enhance the Summer Bridge experience for parents, students and staff.

Writing Centers Consultant Training

Agenda for training consultants for writing centers

These resources use the word consultant for the students who are trained and who will be staffing the writing centers.

This document includes:

  • Agenda for two half-day consultant training (pg. 1-2)
  • Flyers for the Titan Literacy Camp used to recruit students to be tutors in the writing centers (pg. 3-4)
  • Script for calling parents and a letter to parents inviting their teens to be student leaders in the writing centers (pg. 4-6)

The following steps will get you started in creating your own writing centers.

1. Use data to determine the need for writing support.

2. Create a list of items to be purchased or located.

To create the center, you’ll need the following:

  • Tables and chairs, not desks
  • Computers and printer
  • Writing resources
  • Stipends for teachers to manage the center
  • Funds to train student leaders to be the writing consultants

3. Secure funding for the writing center.

Guiding Questions:

  • Does the district/campus currently have funds to create the center?
  • Does the district/campus have partners who might donate resources for the center?
  • Does the district have a fund that teachers/campuses can apply for project funds?
  • Are there local foundation that might fund it?
  • If the answer is “no” to the above, can the materials be gathered from existing resources with a plan to add resources as needed?

4. Create a plan for creating a student-run center.

Considerations:

  • Location – Since students may be alone in the center at times, the center should be located in a very visible location.
  • Decide when the center will be open. Before school? Lunches? Advisory? After school? Saturdays?
  • Determine the qualities/characteristics of the students who will man the center.
  • Decide what you want the student leaders to do tutoring on.

5. Putting the plan into action.

  • Plan a training retreat for the student leaders.
  • Recruit student leaders.
  • Set up the writing center.
  • Advertise to the students.

6. After six weeks, evaluate the effectiveness of the center and make changes as needed.

Writing Centers Resources

Bibliography of important writing texts and teacher resources

This is a large list of literacy resources including:

  • Information for the writing center tutors
  • Writing in science and engineering
  • Style manuals
  • Notetaking
  • Grammar handbooks and posters
  • Guide to notetaking
  • Furniture and office supplies to create the center

For campuses who wish to improve writing across the content areas, see pg. 2-3 for resources that support teaching writing.

The resources in this toolkit are available for anyone to download, edit and use. We do require you to create an account so that we can email you with updates about the toolkit.