Blogs on All Grades

Blogs on All GradesRSS
Judy Willis MDFebruary 19, 2014

We are facing a problem with tests in education.

Students are strongly influenced by the implied messages they deduce from what is being tested, especially when the test is emphasized as high stakes in terms of their grades. Further, they can draw dangerous conclusions about their own role in the learning process by what is done with the assessment results.

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Matthew FarberFebruary 19, 2014

All well designed games begin with a spirit of fun. Some games must deliver a serious and purposeful message, too. An example is Nightmare: Malaria, an iPad game with a similar mechanic as the popular side-scroller Limbo. The difference here is its message: malaria is dangerous and kills, especially in developing nations. Actress Susan Sarandon voices the beginning cut scene, and the action takes place within a sick young girl's blood vessels and brain. The mission is to save teddy bears while avoiding mosquitoes. It's dark and chilling, yet still engaging to play -- no easy feat! When you die, a message about malaria pops up, along with a plea for donating mosquito nets. To preview the game, download for free, or donate a net, go to Escape the Nightmare.

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Maurice EliasFebruary 18, 2014

In its comprehensive case study report on socially inclusive schools, Special Olympics' Project UNIFY identified the common factors across schools that had created a bridge from social inclusion programs to a genuinely positive school climate. The case study findings are here, and I'm also going to share with you key lessons learned that reflect my own work in fostering inclusive settings.

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Stacey GoodmanFebruary 17, 2014

A few years ago I took my students to see an exhibit of work by William Kentridge, an artist from South Africa who uses drawings, robotics, and animation to explore themes of historical memory. What's not to love? However, when I went to the museum lobby to wait for them -- a full five minutes before the meeting time, there they all were, apparently bored and fidgeting with their smart phones. A trip to the museum seems requisite for many art and history teachers, but without a little imaginative planning, might feel like a real drag to our students.

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Abbie KopfFebruary 14, 2014

Editor's note:This post was coauthored by Philomena Jones, a Big Thought Fellow with a focus on literacy development and arts education. Her background is business writing, recruiting and K-college public and private education.

Bookworms everywhere mourned the state of our country when Pew released a poll that found 23 percent of Americans didn't read a single book in the previous year. Things aren't looking particularly encouraging for future generations, either. Experts estimate that only 1/3 of parents regularly read to their children, even though reading plays an immense role in cognitive development.

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Terry HeickFebruary 14, 2014

Learning is a culture.

It starts as a culture with the students as human beings needing to understand their environment. And it ends as a culture with students taking what we give them and using it in those physical and digital environments they call home.

Even the practices that promote or undermine the learning process itself are first and foremost human and cultural artifacts. Literacy, curiosity, self-efficacy, ambition and other important agents of learning are born in the native environments of students' homes.

Further, learning is ongoing, perishable and alive -- just like culture.

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Whether you're a softie who jumps at any opportunity to tell everyone around you how much you love them, or a curmudgeon who thinks February 14th is a holiday manufactured by Hallmark and the candy industry to make everyone spend money, Valentine's Day gets a rise out of almost everyone. I confess to being the former, so I couldn't help gathering a collection of videos to celebrate the art, the science, and the mystery of love. As always, please preview anything you want to share with students -- there are some mentions in this playlist of topics not appropriate for the littlest ones. Enjoy!

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Ainissa RamirezFebruary 12, 2014

February is a time when Americans reflect on the tremendous contributions of people of African descent. While names like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks are known, names of famous black scientists and inventors are not as common. Well, not until now. Let's examine some notable men and women who made great achievements in science, technology and engineering. Here are some examples of giants on whose shoulders we stand.

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Donna Wilson, Ph.D.February 11, 2014

Editor's note: This post is co-authored by Marcus Conyers who, with Donna Wilson, is co-developer of the M.S. and Ed.S. Brain-Based Teaching degree programs at Nova Southeastern University. They have written several books, including Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice.

Enhancing Student Commitment

Explicitly teaching students about neuroplasticity can have a transformative impact in the classroom. A central facet of our work as teacher educators is teaching about how the brain changes during learning. Many teachers have told us that these findings have had a positive effect on their expectations for their students and on students' perceptions of their own abilities.

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Suzie BossFebruary 7, 2014

International educator Scot Hoffman is a big believer in the power of curiosity to drive learning. After nearly two decades of teaching around the globe, he also realizes that school isn't always so hospitable to inquiring minds. (As Einstein said, "It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.") That's why Hoffman has developed The Curiosity Project, a self-directed learning experience that engages students, parents, and teachers as collaborators in inquiry.

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