We've all heard of the fight or flight response. We go into survival mode when threatened by something or someone. We either put up our dukes (literally or metaphorically) or take off running (literally or metaphorically). Students often go into survival mode when they feel threatened by an overwhelming cognitive task or confusing text, or when they are called on and don't know the answer, or are confronted or teased by another student (or a teacher!) Can one even learn in such a setting?
Do you have students who rarely raise their hand when you ask a question? When I think back about kids in my classroom who didn't participate at first, I remember Jared and Maya (whose names I changed). Jared was polite, listened to his classmates, and did his homework. But when I asked questions or set up class discussions, Jared remained silent. Maya was really creative and an avid reader. She also didn't participate, frequently had her head down in class, and was reluctant to start work. Some of our students might sit quietly through each lesson or be visibly disengaged. Maybe they don't understand the lesson, are embarrassed, or hesitantly wait for another peer to share. Jared and Maya certainly aren't unique.
I grew up loving basketball, and Alan Seiden was the best high school basketball player I've ever seen. He was also my neighbor and a classmate at Jamaica High School in New York City. One of the most indelible memories from my youth is watching Alan hit one beautiful jump shot after another at Madison Square Garden as he helped lead our team to the city championship. The New York Times compared him favorably to the basketball legend Bob Cousy. He went on to St. John's, became one of the greatest stars in the history of that university's basketball team, and was a two time All-American. He also played briefly in the pros.
It's February and love is all around us. You might be thinking, "Really? Where?" That's because it's so easy to get down in the dumps during the winter months and only focus on all of the problems you face in the classroom. Just remember that Valentine's Day is when we're supposed to show our love to family and friends.
It's been a long time since I was in elementary school. But I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I wasn't the cutest, skinniest or best-dressed girl. I wasn't even a popular girl, but I had an advantage; I could sing like "nobody's business," and my teachers loved that about me. As a result, I think I was spared the bullying that could've come from classmates due to my lack of the aforementioned qualities.
When I was school age, I never told a lie, but I bet many of you readers have lied in your youth. Okay, so maybe I did lie a few times . . . All of us have encountered students who've told us lies during our professional careers. One of the best I heard recently was when a teacher confronted a student for copying, word for word, from Wikipedia. The student responded, "I can't help it if Wikipedia copied my paper!"
Part of a building successful 1:1 program is building partnerships with the entire school community, especially parents. At The Nueva School (and possibly at your school, too), we have found that some parents may have inadvertently relinquished their parental authority when it comes to all things digital. Here's a reflection from one of our parents:
In this nine-part series, we will look at important factors that influence the happiness and social and emotional learning of elementary school age children. These are very useful in helping students learn, manage emotions better and increase empathy. Each blog features one letter of the acronym HAPPINESS:
H = Happiness
A = Appreciation
P = Passions and Strengths
P = Perspective
I = Inner Meanie/Inner Friend
N = Ninja Mastery
E = Empathy
S = So Similar
S = Share Your Gifts
In this post, we’ll explore the Inner Negative Meanie, the Inner Positive Friend and the choices that every student has.
I tried to write a single piece on raising digital kids at home -- but childhood is just too epic a journey for a single piece. Still, the overall strategy for technology in the home is the same from birth to high school graduation: match their developmental level, and make sure they understand whatever medium they are using from the inside out: who made this, how does it work, and what does it want from me?