January 21, 2018

Harness Up Iditarod, Common Core, and Marzano

Forging ahead to Nome 2012

Martha Dobson, Iditarod Educational Journalist

Harness the Common Core Standards, Marzano’s research based instructional practices, and the Iditarod for a team to forge ahead in your classroom. The practice of identifying similarities and differences has the greatest effect size of 1.61 which translates to about 45 percentile points. Connections to the Common Core Standards for reading, writing, and math fall at the end of this article. Continue reading for information to incorporate the Iditarod as one of your team members on this educational gangline.

Marzano’s “Top 9” List

Scholar Robert Marzano analyzed 395 experimental studies and calculated effect sizes for nine instructional practices shown to contribute to higher levels of student achievement:

1. Identifying similarities and differences (1.61)

2. Summarizing and note taking (1.0)

3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition (.80)

4. Homework and practice (.77)

5. Nonlinguistic representations such as mental images, graphs, acting out content (.75)

6. Cooperative learning (.73)

7. Setting objectives and providing feedback (.61)

8. Generating and testing hypotheses (.61)

9. Activating prior knowledge via questions, cues, advance organizers (.59)

Source: Marzano, 2003        

http://www.edvantia.org/pdta/pdf/Effective_Instructional_Strategies.pdf  accessed 9.22.12


Using 2013 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail Linda Fenton’s lesson http://itcteacheronthetrail.com/2012/08/27/compare-alaskas-symbols/  to compare state symbols as your springboard, launch your students’ growth using activities requiring them to compare (find similarities), contrast (find differences), and to classify information.

In Linda’s lesson, students research their state’s symbols and Alaska’s corresponding state symbols for the state tree, flower, and bird. Add more information to research and compare and have students classify the information according to plant and animal, evergreen or deciduous, color, size, etc. Students can use this site for research. http://www.netstate.com/states/symb/ak_symb.htm

To increase the scope and depth of student thinking, have them organize the comparisons and contrasts using diagrams such as a Venn diagram or a double bubble map, using this link to locate a template for it– http://www.lifestreamcenter.net/DrB/Lessons/thinking_maps.htm. Then, they can use their diagrams as the basis for outlining a comparison/contrast paragraph or essay.

Morgan & her bar graph of dog treats

Older students can research other facets of their states and Alaska to find more similarities and differences. More similarities are there than you think! Here are some ideas to compare and contrast. Using this link, http://www.citytowninfo.com/places/alaska andthis one, http://www.togetherweteach.com/TWTIC/uscityinfo/02ak/akpopr/02akpr.htm, search for data to compare and contrast between your students’ town and Alaskan towns or villages. Organize the data by creating bar graphs, line plot graphs, writing comparison/contrast paragraphs, or calculating percentages regarding school populations or city populations. Plot race finish times or musher’s times between two checkpoints. At the end of this article, there are more math ideas tied to the Common Core Standards for grades 1-7.

 And, here is another link to information, on the students’ levels, about the different Alaskan regions. http://library.thinkquest.org/3878/   Compare and contrast them with the regions in your state. Students create Power Points or use Prezi  http://prezi.com/  to make  presentations which analyze the information.

This link contains ideas of activities to implement the various Marzano instructional strategies. http://classroom.leanderisd.org/webs/marzano/home.htm

 Common Core Standards connections: Writing Anchor Standards grades 6-12,

–Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

–Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

–Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

–Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


 Math Content grades 1-7

Represent and interpret data using different types of graphs. Grades 1-5 (Bar graphs, line plot graphs)

–Statistics and Probability-Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical

   question has a distribution which can be described by its center, spread, and

   overall shape. Grade 6.SP (Plot race finish times or musher’s times between 2 checkpoints,

   using the race updates or in Race Archives.)

Find probabilities of compound events using organized lists, tables,

   tree diagrams, and simulation. Grade 7.SP (How many mushers who were in first place at any  

   checkpoint won the Iditarod? Use race records on www.iditarod.com for research. Click on

   2013 Race, then click on Race Archives and Search Archives.)