WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2013/2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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an interview with dr. david lussier Evaluators traditionally would zero in on the teacher; now they are watching the students, too. g Enter the iPad "One example would be looking at questions and questioning styles, which is a real skill," Lussier Lussier sees tablet computers as a powerful says. Effective questions, he explained, spur students to think more deeply and critically. The tool for tailoring lessons to the individual teacher should act like a coach or moderator, generating class-wide discussion by asking students students and helping teachers assess progress. to comment on one another's answers. Students could be learning the same lesson, Lussier aims to visit each of the district's schools at least twice each month, spending 90 min- but with different software applications. utes to two hours observing classes and meeting with the principals. "One of my measures of Those having trouble mastering the material success will be how little time I spend in that chair," he says, pointing to his desk, "and how would no longer bear the stigma of being much time actually in the schools." seen using a more elementary textbook. The day before his interview with WellesleyWeston Magazine the superintendent visited a half To better integrate computers into overall dozen classes at the middle school, accompanied by the principal. After sitting in for six or seven instruction, the district last year piloted the minutes, the two chatted in the hallway about what they saw. "That's a chance for us to calibrate "One-to-One" initiative in several fifth grade our expectations," Lussier says. One observation they discussed was how the teacher accommo- classes. Teachers received special training in dated students' varying learning styles. For example, writing key phrases on a word wall helps using the tablet in their lessons and students engage students who are more visually oriented. were issued their own iPads. Lussier says the first couple of times he visited the pilot classes, he was surprised to find nobody using an iPad. Rather than being disappointed, he was delighted. The teachers had the students use the iPads only when it was appropriate. "It may be that they spent 15 minutes checking in on something, but [afterward] they're working together," he says. "That's the ideal situation." This year, all fifth graders are being issued iPads. Given financial constraints, Lussier expects that in the future parents will be asked to supply their own tablets or pur- We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 3 / 2 0 1 4 chase them through an installment plan. The computer itself has become a lesson subject. In surveys and forums, the district found that parents vastly underestimated how much time their kids were spending online. "We know that they are really good at what we call passive social media, using Instagram, 58

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