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Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher

I really appreciated your

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I really appreciated your post, especially your three bullet points about the importance of caring relationships, the desire for meaning, and the power of mastery. If those three elements are present, learning can't help but improve. When I was teaching, my second grade team and I did a "business unit" with our students. Students worked in three's to sell a product or service -- they borrowed start-up money from the class bank, had to keep track of their spending and income, and had to repay the loan at the end of the unit. It was a very successful endeavor. Looking back through your lens, I think the fact that students cared about each other and were part of a strong community were key to that success. The personal engagement that came from creating a product or service themselves and learning about money and commerce in such a meaningful way really was another important factor. And, the fact that the project inherently allowed students to master the material and complete a task successfully helped as well. Your framework is so helpful, and paying even more conscious attention to those three factors would no doubt make the project even more effective. Thanks!

10-12 grade science teacher in Columbus, OH

I just attended a 2-day

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I just attended a 2-day workshop on PBL and a 2-week class on brain-based teaching and learning. Your comments are so relevant and build on what I've been learning. Thanks!

Student Teacher from Georgia

Great ideas for ELLs too

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The ideas that you speak of (caring relationships, desire of human meaning, and the power of mastery) have extremely relevant and beneficial implications for English language learners. These students are taking linguistic risks on a daily basis and would benefit greatly from the encouragement and caring that the teacher can provide. What is also important is to respect these individuals backgrounds and attempt to utilize or bring in their “cultural funds of knowledge” (Moll et.al 1992) into the classroom curriculum. Cultural funds of knowledge can be thought of has the historical and cultural bodies of knowledge or skills that students and their families have. Rather than seeing cultural differences within the classroom as obstacles, the research done by Moll et.al (1992) encourages teachers of diverse learners to see cultural differences as funds and become “brokers” of these funds of knowledge. Using cultural funds of knowledge can be a perfect platform for project based learning and social emotional learning as well. Research about teaching with cultural funds of knowledge suggests that students will feel their cultural identity is appreciated and be more apt to participate in achieving academic goals. As you have said, students are navigating a changing world and we do must alter our mindsets as teachers to serve them intentionally and proactively.

Middle School, Tucson, AZ

Thanks for the post Thom!

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Thanks for the post Thom! It's amazing how attending to the "soft skills" eases the way for any other learning. I wonder why we often forget this at the same time we want students to lear more and more content?

Middle School Writing Teacher and Technology Coordinator

Inspiring

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I believe in your message and so linked to your website. I loved the post Teaching young people to go deep-the power of purpose. I reflected on these posts here: Purpose, Pedagogy, and Beneficence
We have a new teacher at our school, and I'm hoping we will be able to develop projects that help kids discover their interests and talents, lending ideas toward career interests.

English Teacher from Artigas,Uruguay (South America)

Awesome post!!!We are trying

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Awesome post!!!We are trying to work or to introduce the concept of "soft skills" in our class projects.I strongly believe that it is going to be really useful.Thanks!
Maria Noel

Director, Antioch Center for School Renewal

Great post!

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We've been doing this with our Critical Skills Program for 25 years with great results. It really makes sense to teach the "soft" skills in the context of meaningful problems and projects- everything becomes more meaningful and learning on both fronts really takes off. I look forward to hearing what other folks are doing!

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