Posts Tagged ‘Edutopia’

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Beyond the School Year

July 1, 2019

Happy July!

I hope you’ll take the time to reflect on the 2018-2019 school year and consider your successes and challenges. We know that summer is a time to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge. In order to do that it is important to look back in order to move forward. I hope you’ll ask yourself the broad questions as well as specific ones. Getting ‘down in the weeds’ about of own teaching can be very productive.

I see that Edutopia included an article that dispels the myth around students learning slipping during the summer. The original study that supported the loss of summer learning is from the 1980’s. Paul T. von Hippel, a policy professor at the University of Texas at Austin revisited the study and he learned that there are flaws in the study. He claims that the testing methods “tended to distort the test scores”. It’s an interesting follow up and I suggest that you READ the article.

Proven or not, I wonder about visual and performing arts. We’ve all heard that students lose ground in reading and math but what about their other areas of learning? What about their progress in music or visual art? When your students left on the last day of your class did you suggest that they keep drawing or playing their instrument? Did you help them devise a plan to continue ‘working at’ their art form? We all know that during summer vacation many students spend more time engaged in the arts than they have time for during the school year. Community arts programs, day and overnight camps, museum and gallery programs, activity specific programs – in many communities opportunities in the arts are plentiful. Are these ‘art experiences’ or ‘high quality arts education’? I wonder, do learners keep developing their skills, creativity and passion for the arts during the summer in great part, thanks to these programs? What do you think?

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Edutopia

November 14, 2018

Maine art educator

Carol Shutt retired in June after 27 wonderful years as the K-8 art teacher at Mount Desert Elementary School in Northeast Harbor. Congratulations to Carol for her article that was recently published in Edutopia called Making an Event out of ArtThe piece is about the annual Arts Week (20 years) and suggestions on how to plan for one.

You can read an interview with Carol posted last February on this blog.

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Two Good Articles

August 22, 2016

Edutopia article

Edutopia is a website published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF). Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.14.22 PMFounded in 1991 by filmmaker George Lucas and venture capitalist Steve Arnold, the Foundation “celebrates and encourages innovation” in K-12 schools.

This is an interesting article called Learning From the Band Director, written by Dr. Rob Furman, published by Edutopia. He includes a list of what any teacher can learn from the band director. I include #2 below. You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

Performance- Based Learning: Music directors have always been driven by performance-based learning. The learning process in a band room is based on projects. The need to prepare for a concert, a small ensemble performance or a solo act is the definition of performance or project-based learning. Band directors teach the art and science of music, as they are preparing their students for their performances. Students know that each of them is responsible to the group as a whole.

A second article called Creating an Ecology of Wonder written by Stacey Goodman, an artist and educator from California. He believes that the best way to “cultivate imagination and wonder is through art”. He includes six ways to cultivation the ‘learning ecology’, as her refers to it. I include #4 below. You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

Create Assessments That Reward Good Questions, Not Just Good Answers                    What if we framed our exams as a series of answers and asked our students to ask questions? How do we take rote, clichéd statements such as, “Columbus discovered America in 1492,” and reveal them to be fraught with more misinformation than relevant information. Asking the right questions is the basis of good scholarship and query, and these questions are motivated by wonder.

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13 Common Sayings to Avoid

September 20, 2015

What did you say?

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 8.34.52 PMDr. Richard Curwin, the Director of the Graduate program in behavior disorder at David Yellin College wrote an article for Edutopia that is called 13 Common Sayings to Avoid. As you start off the school year you might want to give these some thought. I know there are some on the list that I said to students during my 30 years of teaching. Perhaps you as well.

The link to the entire article is at the bottom of this post.

Here are the first four:

1. “You have potential but don’t use it.”
Students feel insulted when they hear this, and while some accept it as a challenge to do better, more lose their motivation to care. Instead, say in a caring way, “How can I help you reach your full potential?”

2. “I’m disappointed in you.”
Of course we occasionally are disappointed in things that our students do. In addition, the result of openly expressing that disappointment depends as much on the way we say it as the words we use. But students have told me that they hate hearing a teacher say this. The problem with this saying is that it looks to the past. A more helpful approach looks to the future. The alternative might be more like, “What do you think you can do to make a more helpful decision the next time you are in a similar situation?”

3. “What did you say?”
This is the challenge that some teachers might throw down when walking away from a student after a private discussion about behavior and hearing that student whisper something. “What did you say?” is just bait for escalation. Do you really want to know what was whispered? It’s better to ignore that unheard comeback and move on. You don’t always need to have the last word.

4. “If I do that for you, I’ll have to do it for everyone.”
In our book, Discipline With Dignity, Al Mendler and I make a strong case for the policy that fair is not equal. You can’t treat everyone the same and be fair. Each student needs what helps him or her, and every student is different. Further, no one wants to think of him- or herself as one of a herd. It’s better to say, “I’m not sure if I can do that, but I’ll do my best to meet your needs in one way or another.”

5. “It’s against the rules.”
Rules are about behavior. Often there are many behaviors from which people can choose in order to solve a problem. Some may be within the rules. Try saying this instead: “Let me see if there’s a way to meet your need within the rules.”

6. “Your brother/sister was better than you.”
Never compare siblings or anyone else in a positive or negative way about anything. Comparisons can only lead to trouble regardless of which side of the coin the student is. My grandchildren always ask me, “Who’s your favorite?” What if I actually gave an answer?

Link to the entire article: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/13-common-sayings-to-avoid-richard-curwin?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=090915%20enews%20CM%20gm&utm_content=&utm_term=top4&spMailingID=12355161&spUserID=MjcyNzg2Mjk4MTAS1&spJobID=620643703&spReportId=NjIwNjQzNzAzS0.

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STEAM Bootcamp 2015

August 20, 2015

 Saluda Trail STEAM Middle School, SC

This is from Edutopia

At the beginning of every school year Saluda Trail hosts a STEAM Bootcamp for 4 weeks to promote common language and direction for all staff and students. The Bootcamp concentrates on building the 21st Century Skills and the 4Cs- Communication, Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking. Through the Bootcamp the entire school is on the same page and track. Watch the video.

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Kindness

September 1, 2013

I got this thing about kindness

We’ve all heard the golden rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. I just finished reading Wonder written by R.J. Palacio. The book was selected for one of the  Maine Student Book Award’s, 2013-14. It is about a boy who is home-schooled during his early years due to a facial deformity that prevents him from attending school. When it is time for 5th grade his parents decide to send him to a prep school which causes angst for some in the school community and challenges for the child and family. The underlying message that is woven throughout the book is kindness. In the end, kindness is the king (and queen)!

As we start another school year I think about the students who go to school from families filled with love and kindness and others who aren’t so fortunate. Kindness is a simple thing that can make a huge impact on the development of a child. No matter what age level you teach it is important and essential for students to be touched by kindness. I remember from my early years in teaching the students whose goals seem to be to make teachers miserable. It wasn’t until I realized that there was a reason for every behavior that I started to reach out to those students through kindness. It took so little effort on my part yet impacted the student enormously.

We know the value of “relationships” and how important they are between student and teacher. Human connections are imperative to successful classrooms for all students. In Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

As we start the new school year I have included some quotes on kindness that I hope will inspire you like they have me!

  • Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.  ~Mark Twain
  • Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.  ~Seneca
  • When I was young, I admired clever people.  Now that I am old, I admire kind people.  ~Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.  ~Author Unknown
  • Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. ~Henry James
  • In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.  ~Author Unknown
  • The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.  ~Charles Kuralt, On the Road With Charles Kuralt
  • Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.  ~Marian Wright Edelman
  • As the bus slowed down at the crowded bus stop, the Pakistani bus conductor leaned from the platform and called out, “Six only!”  The bus stopped.  He counted on six passengers, rang the bell, and then, as the bus moved off, called to those left behind:  “So sorry, plenty of room in my heart – but the bus is full.”  He left behind a row of smiling faces.  It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.  ~The Friendship Book of Francis Gay, 1977

Below is a link to the Edutopia article from May 2013 called Five-Minute Film Festival: Nine Videos on Kindness, Empathy, and Connection. They are resources to view personally, share with colleagues, parents, community, and/or perhaps show to your students or at a faculty meeting. Some are TED talks, some from YouTube.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-kindness-empathy-connection

Thanks to Kal Elmore for sending me the link.

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