Measure What You Treasure: Soccer Goals, Factory Lighting, and Monitoring Plans

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 3:35pm

by Dr. William L. Heller, Using Data Program Director

Cross-posted on the TERC Using Data blog

There is an important lesson to be learned from a soccer game played between Barbados and Grenada at the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup. In this tournament, tied games would go to sudden death overtime, and any subsequent goal scored would be a “Golden Goal” worth two points. Barbados needed to win by two to progress to the next round, and in fact they were ahead 2-0, when Grenada scored.

soccer ball on the goal line of the fieldWith just minutes left in the game, a quick-thinking Barbadian player scored on his own goal, tying the game in order to invoke sudden death and buy some time for his team. Grenada’s players then tried to score on their own goal, hoping to lose by one, but Barbados was able to successfully defend Grenada’s goal. The game went into overtime, and Barbados won 4-2.

You would think that it...

Citifari Supports Teaching Matters

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011 - 11:47am

For a limited time only, citifari will offer a free landmark photo tour to the first 50 individuals that make a donation to Teaching Matters. Don’t miss out on this exclusive opportunity to photograph some of New York’s most unique landmarks.  Together with a small group of no more than 10 people, a citifari guide will lead you through a 2-1/2 hour walking tour through several of the city’s most scenic destinations.

To learn more about this exciting offer and sign up for your free tour go to:

To make a donation to Teaching Matters go to:  Suggested donation $50.00. You must present a printed copy of your donation receipt at the start of the tour.  


NYC Students Take a Stand on Social Issues

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 11:56am

Student PresentationNEW YORK, May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/— Does the death penalty violate the eighth amendment? Is marriage for same-sex couples a civil rights issue? Do gun control laws violate a person's Constitutional right to own a gun? Next week—as part of Teaching Matters' citywide Voices and Choices culminating events—hundreds of middle school students will convene at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum and Pace University to take a stand and voice their opinions on these questions and many more.

The week begins with a Civil Rights Student Summit at Pace University on Monday, May 16 at 9:00AM. Eighth-grade students from middle schools across the city will...

Google Marketplace: Will Educator Choice Increase Innovation?

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Friday, May 13, 2011 - 9:17am

Innovation chalkboardHow do you get a truly innovative educational product into the hands of classroom teachers? The answer is, "It's not easy." According to Chad Dorsey, President and CEO of the Concord Consortium, in the article "Perspective: Distributing Innovation," the problem is two-fold. The first hurdle is the costly, time-consuming process of research, development and user-testing necessary for producing products teachers can effectively use. Next is the daunting task of product distribution in a competitive landscape where the major distribution channels are dominated by larger publishers. While these challenges have seemed insurmountable, Google's growing EDU Apps Marketplace is poised to dismantle both barriers by providing educators greater choice and easy access to digital tools they can use in the classroom.

In general,...

Next Generation Learning Challenges: Wave II Finalists

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 - 2:45pm

Writing MattersTeaching Matters is pleased to announce that we have advanced to the second round of consideration for a Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant. The Wave Two challenge is to create open source digital content and assessments that will help classrooms meet the new Common Core standards. The NGLC initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Teaching Matters' proposal, "Writing Matters: Improving Online Instruction, Monitoring and Achievement for Urban Students" was one of 40 finalists chosen from a pool of over 200 applicants. Writing Matters maximizes the benefits technology can bring to underserved middle school students in the mastery of writing. The proposed project will enhance the program's technology platform in order to support direct learning and differentiated instruction and to help educators capture and respond to student performance in a more timely fashion.

NGLC is a...

The Portico Problem: In Praise of Item-Level Data Analysis

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 3:33pm

by Dr. William L. Heller, Using Data Program Director

Cross-posted on the TERC Using Data blog

As a facilitator of the TERC Using Data institute, I try not to play favorites among the different stages of the process. Every link in the chain is important towards improving student outcomes. But I must confess that I always look forward to the item-level analysis with just a little extra bit of enthusiasm. This is where the school-based data teams that I work with are most likely to achieve a breakthrough and gain new understandings about the problems their students are having. Even the teachers who arrive being the most skeptical about the importance of data are subject to “Aha!” moments when they actually look at the questions their students got wrong on the exams and are able to specifically target a cause and a solution.

Item-level analysis is a crucial step when interpreting what test scores mean. New York State provides a performance indicator for each question, but these can often be inaccurate or...

Game Changer

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Monday, April 25, 2011 - 11:28am

by Evan O'Donnell, Director of Technology

“Microsoft Killer” “Who Needs Handhelds?” “Rollin’ on Chrome” - what provocative blog title catches the most attention?  The point being, while the Google Chrome Laptop might look like a run-of-the-mill laptop, it is a game changer.  

Matte Black, lightweight, thin, web cam, Intel processor - don’t know the speed, don’t know the storage space or ram.  None of this matters.  There are two major shifts in thinking and usage when it comes to the Google Laptop, and more specifically, the Google Laptop in Education:

1. Hardware as a Service

Principals, what would you pay per student per year for a device that was always online, had access to tons of free software and worked seamlessly with your school’s communication / collaboration and...

East Bronx Academy for the Future: Innovation Unleashed in the IZone

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 4:55pm

by Jeff Branzburg

East Bronx Academy Featured in EdWeek's recent article on the NYC Innovation Zone, as well as on the local news channel NY1East Bronx Academy for the Future is a 6th - 12th grade school located just south of the Bronx Zoo.  Teaching Matters, the lead and founding community partner of this New Century School, has worked collaboratively with Sarah Scrogin, the founding school leader, to push the envelope on ways to use technology to enable learning innovation.  Now, buoyed by an entirely new level of central support from the NYC Department of Education's Innovation Zone, EBA's focus is to pioneer new models that transform what schools look like, personalizing instruction to the needs of each individual student, and dramatically improving student achievement.  Teaching Matters will be hosting an ...

Feeling Hopeful About Assessment for the First Time

By: Lynette Guastaferro Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011 - 10:33am

Students Studying at Cathedral Senior High School in New Ulm, Minnesota...

Something happened recently that not only surprised me, but gave me hope about the potential impact the next generation of assessments will have on our schools. The principal of a school slated for closure reviewed one of Teaching Matters’ project-based civics programs and said to me, “I need this, it will help our kids pass these new tests!” Normally, I’d take his comment as an insult — Our civics program reduced to a test prep tool?! But this particular principal has been involved in a pilot program where teachers are designing performance tasks to assess student learning, in preparation for the adoption of the new Common Core Standards.  His school is one of approximately 100 pilot schools that are among the first to address the cultural shift, as schools grapple with what it means to measure student performance beyond the multiple choice test.

In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Education awarded $330 million in grants to help...

NYC Educators Meet TED

By: admin Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 2:50pm

TEDTeaching Matters is proud to be a key sponsor of the 2011 TEDxNYED conference.  TEDxNYED is an all-day conference focused on empowering innovation in education. The conference will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at The New York Academy of Sciences.

In an effort to increase the presence of urban educators at TEDxNYED, Teaching Matters offered fellowships to 10 New York City educators to participate in what promises to be a engaging and informative event. Attendees will hear from world-renowned educators including Will Richardson (author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms) and Alan November (November Learning).

For more on TEDxNYED please visit:

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