Table of Contents

Welcome, Colleagues 

1. What Do We Mean by Best Practice?

The Common Core State Standards
The Consensus on Best Practice
Common Recommendations of National Curriculum Reports
The Importance of Best Practice Principles
The Balanced Classroom
So What’s New?
The Bigger Picture

CRITICAL ISSUE: Indicators of Best Practice

2. The Seven Structures of Best Practice Teaching

VIGNETTE: Katie Muhtaris, Fifth Grade
Gradual Release of Responsibility
Classroom Workshop
Strategic Thinking
Collaborative Activities
Integrative Units
Representing to Learn
Formative-Reflective Assessment
Can Teachers Still “Teach”?


3. Best Practice in Reading

VIGNETTE: Sarah Ahmed, Eight Grade
A Look at the Reading Standards
The Common Core State Standards for Reading
Qualities of Best Practice in Teaching Reading
Reading in Science, Social Studies, and Other Subjects
Exemplary Instruction: A Feast of Books in First Grade, Pat Barrett Dragan, Martin Elementary School, South San Francisco, California
Recommendations on Teaching Reading

CRITICAL ISSUE: Just-Right Technology

4. Best Practice in Writing

VIGNETTE: Jessica Lopez-Rosario, Second Grade
A Look at the Writing Standards
Qualities of Best Practice in Teaching Writing
Exemplary Instruction: Writing in an Interdisciplinary High School Class, Neil Rigler and Ken Kramer, Deerfield High School, Deerfield, Illinois
Recommendations on Teaching Writing

CRITICAL ISSUE: Best Practice—English Language Learners

5. Best Practice in Mathematics

VIGNETTE: Susan Friedlander, Sixth Grade
A Look at the Mathematics Standards
Qualities of Best Practice in Teaching Mathematics
Exemplary Instruction: Introducing Multiplication to Third and Fourth Graders in a Title I Math Lab, Susan Hildebrand, Jenks East Elementary School, Jenks, Oklahoma
Recommendations on Teaching Mathematics

CRITICAL ISSUE: Special Education

6. Best Practice in Science

VIGNETTE: Brad Buhrow, Second Grade
A Look at the Science Standards

Qualities of Best Practice in Teaching Science
Exemplary Instruction: The Role of Heat Transfer in Understanding Plate Tectonics, Olivia Jones, Lincoln Prairie School, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Recommendations on Teaching Science 

CRITICAL ISSUE: The Arts: Visual Art, Music, Dance, Drama

7. Best Practice in Social Studies

VIGNETTE: Debra Henderson, Seventh and Eighth Grades
A Look at Social Studies Standards
Qualities of Best Practice in Teaching Social Studies
Exemplary Instruction: Asking Good Questions in U.S. History, Andrew Pascarella, Juarez High School, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendations on Teaching Social Studies

CRITICAL ISSUE: What School Leaders Can Do


8. How to Achieve Best Practice School Wide

VIGNETTE: Mcauliffe Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois
Why Is It So Hard to Get Such Efforts Going—Especially in Schools That Are Struggling?
What Schools Can Do to Meet the Challenges
What Individual Teachers Can Do
Exemplary Instruction: An Eleven-Year Schoolwide Change Effort, Indian Lake School, Lewistown, Ohio

9. Proof and the Pendulum—Assessing Best Pratice

Research on Best Practice Approaches
Assessing Best Practice in the Real World
So, What About the Pendulum Metaphor?