Blogs on Upper Elementary (3-5)

Blogs on Upper Elementary (3-5)RSS
Vincent A. MastroApril 17, 2014

Critical thinking is the means by which we objectively analyze the pros and cons of a situation in order to make informed decisions. It is a fundamental skill that is of such importance that many colleges and universities require their freshman students to complete an introductory course. The Common Core Standards also recognize the value of critical thinking, declaring it as one of the explicit skills children are to learn. This leaves teachers with the difficult task of teaching this complex skill to elementary school children.

How will children learn critical thinking? The answer is: "It depends."

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Homa TavangarApril 11, 2014

During the first Earth Day in 1970, tens of thousands of Vietnam War protestors took to Central Park in New York and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia calling for peace on earth. Today, the movement has grown substantially and quietly, shifting attention toward the science documenting alarming global environmental degradation and offering young learners a platform for supporting the planet's physical health, ensuring a home for their future.

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Beth HollandApril 2, 2014

What if Dead Poets Society were set in modern times? Would Mr. Keating (Robin Williams' character) tweet Walt Whitman?

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. #significantquote #carpediem

Would the students have created a Facebook group rather than sneak off to a cave? Or would Mr. Keating have told the students to turn off all devices and leave them in their bags, maintaining the traditional classroom setting? I think it would be more of the former.

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Brian PageMarch 27, 2014

My daughter is in elementary school. She hates math, but she loves to count her own money! I have used her allowance to help bring basic mathematics alive, including some of the lessons created by the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability exhibited on the website Money As You Grow. These are 20 essential, age-appropriate financial lessons -- with corresponding activities -- written explicitly for parents. At a time when parents are most involved with their children's lives, this is an ideal resource to engage them about teaching money management skills at home.

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Mark WallaceMarch 25, 2014

Busy, distracted, sleepless, anxious, stressed . . . overwhelmed. Sound familiar? Over the past few decades, we have moved from the industrial age of linear work to the dynamic multifaceted age of knowledge work -- with more information and stimuli than ever before. Feeling lost and pressured is a unique knowledge work phenomenon, but one that can be relieved.

In 2008, I was introduced to David Allen's book Getting Things Done: How to achieve stress-free productivity, and found my life changing for the positive -- increased stability and control, higher engagement in the present, and an increased desire to take creative risks in my teaching practices.

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Jennifer GonzalezMarch 24, 2014

So. You've tried flipping your class, and it didn't go well. Or you've heard about flipping and want to try the approach, but you're pretty sure it won't work in your school. Don't give up yet -- with a slight twist, flipping might be possible for you after all.

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Ainissa RamirezMarch 17, 2014

Marshmallows can predict your future.

In the 1960s, there was an experiment with marshmallows. Children at the nursery school on Stanford’s campus were placed at a table and had the option of having one marshmallow now -- or getting two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes while the researcher left the room. Children used many tactics to distract themselves while waiting, like kicking the floor, pulling their braids, and covering their eyes. Only about 30 percent of the children could hold out long enough to get the reward. But more importantly, it was found that those who could resist the marshmallows as preschoolers performed better in school later in life. Researchers found that self-regulation was a better predictor to success than IQ.

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Becky Mladic-MoralesMarch 12, 2014

Children's books with multicultural settings and characters can transport us on a global adventure, dispelling negative stereotypes, teaching tolerance and respect, encouraging pride in kids' cultural heritage, and showcasing universal human emotions and feelings. When paired with extension activities, quality multicultural literature teaches kids about the world beyond our communities while sharpening their critical thinking skills.

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Donna Wilson, Ph.D.March 12, 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.

Incorporating exercise and movement throughout the school day makes students less fidgety and more focused on learning. Improving on-task behavior and reducing classroom management challenges are among the most obvious benefits of adding physical activities to your teaching toolkit. As research continues to explore how exercise facilitates the brain's readiness and ability to learn and retain information, we recommend several strategies to use with students and to boost teachers' body and brain health.

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Monica BurnsMarch 6, 2014

There are so many ways to use mobile devices with students. You can create interactive textbooks for children to read, ask them to explain their thinking through screencasting or help them access informational text using QR codes. Mobile devices can also be used to help students practice foundational math skills and build their math fluency.

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