A monthly eblast highlighting school-based successful practices, tools, and resources that support teaching and learning.
January 2017
Each month’s IndistarBURST highlights a few successful school-based practices, tools, and resources that support teaching and learning. This month we focus on the Instructional Team and also feature valuable information about family engagement, personal competencies, and apps for the classroom. All of these resources are available through the Academic Development Institute (ADI) and the Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL) and support Indistar© use.

Tune in to the  Leadership and Innovation Learning Exchange Series webinar
which will focus on Instructional Teams
Wednesday, February 15th at 1:00 pm CST (2:00 pm EST, 11:00 am PST) 

Register Here

To register for IndistarBURST, go to and click on the words “View the monthly eblast."  Click the “Subscribe” button in the top left corner of the screen.
Listen to an outstanding principal talk about her Leadership and Instructional Teams in Indicators in Action.  She describes how she integrates many effective organizational and substantive practices in her school. Note particularly what she says about her Instructional Teams, beginning at 0:47 in the clip. Open the screen shot above and select number 13 - *Teaming Specifics on the left of your screen.
Now that you’ve heard this principal describe her teams, take a look at what a highly effective Instructional Team looks and sounds like in action. Click the photo below of this fourth-grade math Instructional Team. Select #11-Instructional Team in Action and listen to their 5-minute discussion.
They are analyzing pre-assessment information for their geometry unit, discussing what their students’ strengths and weaknesses are, and then sharing techniques and activities to address the areas of weakness so students can be successful. All that in 5 minutes!
How does your Instructional Team function?  How do you analyze data and assessment information to make teaching decisions?  What have you found to be useful ways of sharing good teaching practices? Please share your ideas and read what others have written in IndistarConnect.
Continuing our focus on Instructional Teams, we hope you find the following blog helpful. It highlights the key ingredients of and guidelines for creating successful Instructional Teams. Click on the screenshot below.
“The evidence is now beyond dispute. When schools work together with families to support learning, children tend to succeed not just in school, but throughout life” (Henderson & Berla, 1994, p. 1).
This quote provides the opening for an excellent article from the School Community Journal that challenges us to rethink parent involvement to focus on family engagement. This move requires “a more expansive view of parent engagement which includes multiple constructions of how parents are involved.” Click here to read the Abstract and the entire article.  
And please visit the School Community Network for the many resources available there and the School Community Journal for thought-provoking research, essays, and book reviews.
This month we delve more deeply into the Personal Competencies, which were introduced in the December IndistarBURST. Each month we will feature one competency. In this issue we will highlight Cognitive Competency. Future months will highlight the other competencies (Metacognition, Motivational, and Social/Emotional).
Click on this book by Sam Redding, Personal Competencies: A Framework for Building Students' Capacity To Learn, and scroll to page 6 for additional information about Cognitive Competency.
For further reading on Personal Competencies, visit the list of Personalized Learning Effective Practices and Indicators. See also our Related Resource page.
edshelf is a great resource for finding websites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and electronic products for teaching and learning. This month we want to highlight two tools,  Google Tour Builder and Story Kit.
Google Tour Bulder is a web-based storytelling tool, which lets you easily create and explore stories and places around the world. Based on the Google Earth plugin, you can create a tour of any subject of your choosing, zooming in to show the places where events took place, and easily integrating the story’s text, photos and videos. Your tour will fly users from one place to the next along the storyline of your tour, immersing them in the relevant places through Google Earth’s imagery and the custom content you provide.
Story Kit - Create an electronic storybook. Make use of the little gaps in life – on the sofa after dinner, in the back seat of the car, or on a train – to do something creative together.
To create your story:
  • Write some text.
  • Illustrate by drawing on the screen, taking a photograph of something you see, or drawing on paper and then photographing the paper, or attaching photos from your album.
  • Sounds can be recorded for telling your story or as sound effects.
  • Layout the elements of your story (text boxes, images, and sound clips) freely by dragging them or pinching to resize.
  • Add, reorder, or delete pages from your book.
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