Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning by Mike Schmoker
In this 2nd edition of Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning, Mike Schmoker extends and updates the case that our schools could be on the cusp of swift, unparalleled improvements. But we are stymied by a systemwide failure to simplify and prioritize; we have yet to focus our limited time and energy on the most essential, widely acknowledged, evidence-based practices that could have more impact than all other initiatives combined. They are: simple, coherent curricula; straightforward, traditional literacy practices; and lessons built around just a few hugely effective elements of good teaching. As Schmoker demonstrates, the case for these practices–and the need for them–has grown prodigiously.
In every chapter, you’ll find late-breaking discoveries and practical advice on how to simplify the implementation of new state standards in the subject areas; on the hidden pitfalls of our most popular, but unproven instructional fads and programs; and on simple, versatile strategies for building curriculum, planning lessons, and integrating literacy into every discipline. All of these strategies and findings are supported with exciting new evidence from actual schools. Their success confirms, as Michael Fullan writes, that a focus on the best “high-leverage practices” won’t only improve student performance; they will produce “stunningly powerful consequences” in our schools.