Blogs on All Grades

Blogs on All GradesRSS
Anne OBrienJanuary 28, 2014

There is a lot of misinformation being spread about the Common Core. And some of it the public believes. The 2013 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Towards the Public Schools found that of those who had heard of the Common Core, 49 percent of respondents agree with the false statement that the initiative will create standards in all subjects, and 39 percent agree with the false statement that the Common Core was developed based on a blend of state standards.

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Rebecca AlberJanuary 24, 2014

What's the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? It would be saying to students something like, "Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday." Yikes -- no safety net, no parachute, no scaffolding -- just left blowing in the wind.

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Dr. Allen MendlerJanuary 23, 2014

"When are we going to ever use this stuff?" is a protesting lament heard by most teachers several times a year. It comes from students with little patience to put up with ideas or concepts too abstract or irrelevant for them to fathom. Many more students share this thinking but have sufficient impulse control to keep their lips from expressing the same thought. Now more than ever, with Common Core emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving in an ever-changing world of information and technology, there are even many educators who struggle to identify content that is important and relevant.

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Ben JohnsonJanuary 23, 2014

Eighty percent of what we do as learning engineers is ask questions. Because this is such a big part of what we do to inspire learning, we should do it really well! I began thinking about the research I have done that says that we have a long way to go before we can say that we ask questions really well, and then I thought of the wild hogs in Texas. There are millions of them. They are definitely not endangered and are frankly on the nuisance list. What if the way we ask questions was as tenacious, energetic and prolific as the wild hogs?

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Donna Wilson, Ph.D.January 22, 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.

During the school year, students are expected to listen to and absorb vast amounts of content. But how much time has been devoted to equipping students with ways to disconnect from their own internal dialogue (self-talk) and to focus their attention fully on academic content that is being presented? Listening is hard work even for adults. When students are unable to listen effectively, classroom management issues arise.

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Lisa Flook, PhDJanuary 22, 2014

Editor's note: Simon Goldberg, Lisa Flook's colleague at UW-Madison's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, contributed to this post.

It's 6:00 AM on a frigid Monday in mid-January. You know the feeling -- the darkness outside, as if you're moving through molasses, slogging through just to get out of bed. Through your morning ritual, you're finally at school. And it's just the beginning of a long, grueling day, in a seemingly endless week, and a never-ending year. You find that you don't have much patience for your students, frustrated with what feels like their commitment to making your life difficult. You feel isolated and alone, unsupported and up against something much bigger than you can handle -- in a phrase, burned out.

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Suzie BossJanuary 17, 2014

I recently visited a school district where teachers are experimenting with Genius Hour. Sometimes called 20 percent time after the Google practice of reserving a day a week for individual research, Genius Hour offers students a regular time each week to tackle projects that reflect their personal interests and passions. (Blogger A.J. Juliani explains the reasoning behind 20 percent time.)

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Of the many ways that technology enhances our lives, one compelling example is assistive technology (AT) -- tools to help people with learning or motor disabilities complete everyday tasks. In schools, assistive tech can mean the difference between a student falling behind or being able to successfully work alongside other kids in an inclusion model. Check out Edutopia curator Ashley Cronin's new roundup on assistive technology for a comprehensive list of resources; to accompany that, I wanted to share some amazing videos I've found about how technology can empower kids with special needs.

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Joe HirschJanuary 16, 2014

I recently began to use a certain four-letter word in my classroom. The kind of word that most teachers wouldn't dare say, not unless they wanted to raise eyebrows among colleagues, supervisors and parents. But I use it freely. And loudly. Now my students say it, too -- when they struggle with a worksheet, strike out on the ball field, fumble with the final strokes of an art project. Some of them have even taught the four-letter word to younger siblings at home.

"Grit." A four-letter word that every teacher and student should know and use.

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Rebecca AlberJanuary 16, 2014

Every Monday, my seventh grade English teacher would have us copy a list of 25 words she'd written on the board. We'd then look up the dictionary definitions and copy those down. For homework, we'd re-write each word seven times.

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