7 Things Every Kid Should Master

7 things every kid should masterStudents take tests in schools when there has been “no research demonstrating a relationship between those tests and measures of thinking or life outcomes”. Susan Engel, developmental psychologist at Williams College, argues that standardized tests are useful, if they measure what the students really need. She suggests that tests should measure a student’s abilities in things that they can use in real life and are important to their moral values and though processes.

For example, Reading. Kids should be reading on a daily basis. “What does it mean to be able to read? It means having the ability to read an essay or book and understand it well enough to use the information in some practical way or to talk about it with another person.”

Find out the other things every kid should be tested o...

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Maravillas – Learning Communities

Watch this powerful video about how a small middle school in Presa de Maravillas, Zacatecas, Mexico transformed their community through a student driven approach to teaching and learning.

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A Year of Failure (and what I plan to do about it)

Learning-FailuretoSuccessGuest Post by Craig Gastauer

The 70th Annual ASCD Conference held in Houston truly inspired me (as it does each year I am able to attend).  Ideas about personalizing learning and incorporating student voice, developing student inquiry, and creating a risk-taking environment continue to inform the visions of enhancing student learning in my classrooms.

I was most in awe of the ability of presenters and participants alike to admit their mistakes and share how they grew from those failures.  Unfortunately, my time at the conference also pointed out that throughout the year I lost out on a powerful way to enhance my teaching and student learning: the power of soliciting specific feedback to help me improve.

During the Monday morning session focused on Real Student Engagement with Robyn Jacks...

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Harry Baker: A Love Poem for Lonely Prime Numbers

Harry BakerWhy should you listen to Harry Baker? Harry Baker, Math student and champion poet, was a speaker at a recent TED talk and he shares his award winning poem about lonely prime numbers. In his bio, Harry states that he has always love words and discovering new words he can play with. His Math degree is probably one of the reasons for this brilliant but rich play of words on prime numbers.

Harry has been travelling the world with his poems and won the Poetry Gland Slam World Cup in 2012. Stay on to listen to another poem about purple paper people. Watch the entire video here.

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3 Minute Teaching With Technology Tutorials

blendspaceNearly every teacher or educator have their own favorite tools that they use to connect with students and make learning relevant. Here are a few of simple but powerful tech tools that you can use to better integrate technology in the classroom.

  • EduCanon is a free tool that gives educators functionality with videos. It allows you to insert questions in videos for teaching purposes. With EduCanon, you can build video lessons, invite students to participate and monitor their progress.
  • Tackk is a simple tool that allows educators to create an online digital content discussion. Post videos, questions or any digital content and encourage students to participate in the discussion.
  • Blendspace is an unbelievably easy platform to create powerful lessons in seconds...
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Visible Thinking: Digital Place Mats

placematTrevor Krikst put a digital spin on the traditional place mat exercise. Place Mat is a popular teaching tactic designed to encourage collaboration between students. The digital version provides a way for students to have a discussion on their respective projects through Google Classroom. This allows students to provide meaningful comments to each other’s works making their thinking visible.

Whether its digital or traditional pen and paper, place mats are clearly one of the tried and tested tools that are especially beneficially when prompting groups to incorporate all members’ thinking into the collaborative space. Read more about place mats in Krikst’s We Inquire and Inspire blog.

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Skype Takes These Students on an Ultimate Field trip

Fabien CousteauFabien Cousteau, world-famous oceanographic explorer, is making history with his Mission 31 exploration, turning classrooms into virtual fish tanks thru Skype. This allowed him to share to thousands of students around the world what it is inside a real working lab and the beauty of the marine life around him.

Second grader Julia Szymanski thought “it was so cool to see all of the animals living outside of the window in the ocean” and classmate Owen Herrera “loved the tour of the lab. I learned that it’s hard to be living underwater for a month!”. You can read more about Cousteau’s adventures under the sea here. You can watch the fieldtrip here.

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Developing Questioning

Guest Blogger: Craig Gastauergfp-animals

The focus of this school year has been to personalize the learning experience for each of my students. And in all honesty, I have felt like a new teacher again, striving to gain the foundation necessary to help students build a questioning nature.

But during the last unit focused on building an understanding of how DNA’s code affects the proteins and traits of organisms, I and my students experienced success.  A process of questioning led to multiple pathways of learning for my students.

After an examination of the basics of DNA structure and function, I wanted to “shock” their thoughts. I wanted them to gain a sense of wonder and awe...

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Unmotivated Child? 6 Ways to Get Your Child Going

6-Ways-to-Get-Your-Child-Going_Article“There’s something wrong with the picture if you care more about your child’s grades than he does.”

It is hard to motivate kids. Parents believe that if we ground them, take away their iPhones, iPads, laptops or TV time, then maybe they will listen. It has turned  So how can we motivate kids in ways that will not work against us? Debbie Pincus, a parent and marriage coach, shares how to approach unmotivated kids and get them to respond. The first thing she points out is for us parents to understand what our role is in motivating kids. Next, teach them about the concept of consequences.

As parents, we oftentimes micromanage our kids to ensure that they will not make the wrong choices. Ultimately, as Ms. Pincus points out, our kids are solely responsible for the choices they make...

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Genius Hour – Where Passions Come to Life

genius hourDuring genius hour, personalized learning come to life when kids of all levels become empowered to pursue their passions and work on projects that spark their interests. This allows them to take a break from the usual routine to discover things that they really wanted to do.

Teacher Dallas Thompson from the Centennial Arts Academy encourages his students to pursue their passion projects during genius hour.

“There are no tests, no studying, no curriculum. The students just enjoy learning about something they are truly interested in, by choice.”

His students have different ideas and projects. One student was into karate, another was finding ways to teach gymnastics while another was into cats. Find out what happens in genius hour here.

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