Blogs on All Grades

Blogs on All GradesRSS
Suzie BossApril 9, 2014

With Earth Day 2014 coming up on April 22, many schools are making plans for one-day celebrations that promote a green message. For deeper learning --and longer-term benefits for people and planet alike -- why not use Earth Day as an opportunity to launch more ambitious projects?

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Ben JohnsonApril 9, 2014

Back in December, on the long drive from Texas to Utah, I had some time to reflect on many things. I considered the reasons why we look forward to the holidays. They are full of celebration, we find out what's going on in the lives of relatives and friends, and we simply enjoy the time together. For some strange reason, that got me thinking about reading Harry Wong's seminal book, The First Days of School, and I remembered being profoundly impressed by his concept of starting school off with a bang by throwing a party on the first day.

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Terry HeickApril 8, 2014

Once it’s begun, you can’t fully separate the person from the task. When the artist is painting, the painter and the act of painting become a single "thing." The emerging artwork becomes a part of it all, too. As a teacher, your "self" is embedded within your teaching -- which is how it goes from a job to a craft. The learning results are yours. You probably call those young people in the classroom "your" students.

The same goes for students as well. There is a pleasing kind of string between the eight-year-old playing Minecraft and his or her digital creation. This is the magic of doing.

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Lori DesautelsApril 4, 2014

Right now, students across the nation are embarking upon a series of standardized tests following intense days and weeks of test preparation accompanied by anxiety and worry from both parents and educators. Many of these test participants are English as a Second Language (ESL) learners with a wide diversity of learning potential, social and emotional challenges, strengths, cultures and interests. Among these young learners, there are many who put themselves to bed in the evening, get themselves up and ready for school, and do not have breakfast, arranged homework times or adult support to guide their school days.

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Matt LevinsonApril 2, 2014

For many students, the process of learning new material can feel like swimming in an ocean with fish moving in many different directions. Additionally, the information itself can feel like fish swimming in the minds of students -- overwhelming them, causing anxiety, uncertainty and even fear. They can feel as if what they're trying to learn has no order, especially when context is lacking.

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Maurice EliasApril 1, 2014

“But why do I have to go? School is not fun!” That quote is from a first-grade child, asking his mom why he has to go every single day to this place that he was told was going to be a lot of fun, but has not lived up to the hype. If he could articulate further, he might say, "I am only six. I like to have fun, but school is not fun and from what I can tell, it's going to get worse every year, not better."

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Marc AndersonApril 1, 2014

This morning I got lucky . . . I read poems. Not even the blistering wind's roar amidst the frigid temperatures of a lingering winter could keep me from imagining "spring hope."

Spring Hope
And now the weeping willow turns to green.
So brilliant red, the robin’s breast,
Just like the sun, now sinking in the West,
And down the lane more signs of spring are seen.
(M. Jones, Poetry Soup)
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Rebecca AlberMarch 31, 2014

The idea of co-constructing knowledge with students can be a scary thing for many of us teachers. The age-old role of teacher as orator, director, sage has been handed down for centuries and most of us grew up as students looking to teachers in this way. It's hard to shake.

Co-constructing knowledge means giving up the myself and them role of teacher and students and fully embracing the wonder and journey of us.

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Joshua BlockMarch 27, 2014

Recognizing the Disconnect

Anyone who has worked with young people knows the student I am thinking of right now. When greeted, he (or she) keeps his eyes on the floor while mumbling a response. He may doodle constantly, or maybe he takes every free moment to mindlessly scroll through messages on his phone. He is the connection that feels impossible to make. Nothing seems to excite him, and when he turns in work, it is usually something partially completed with little thought.

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Petra ClaflinMarch 26, 2014

"Q & A teaching" is a practice that I was sometimes guilty of, and one that I've frequently seen throw off a lesson in many other teachers' classrooms. This occurs during the direct instruction portion of the lesson -- the instruction turns into a Q & A session instead of the teacher giving a clear model or explanation.

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