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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Common Core in Action: Reviving the Civic Mission of Schools

Edutopia blogger Anne O'Brien outlines how the Common Core State Standards can help promote the civic goals of schools.

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A Call to All Social-Emotional Learning Leaders

Edutopia blogger Maurice Elias asks SEL and character education leaders to work together to create a set of guidelines and to also decide on a common language and terminology.

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Melanie Smith's picture

There are so many "buzz" words in our field, I appreciate the effort that will go into integrating ideas and creating common language. Thank you

Gail Poulin's picture

This sounds helpful. As an educator of young children, I can see that others on my team have the same goal but the language is always moving and once the kids leave our classrooms, they have different language going out the door with them to their next classroom where they regroup for even more new language.

The Dixie Diarist's picture
The Dixie Diarist
Teacher, Writer, and Artist

When it all comes down to it, if kids and teenagers easily and naturally say "thank you" and "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" and "you're welcome," and then if they're generally kind to one another, then somebody's done a great job ... parents or teachers or both.

Saying "please" is pretty darn powerful, too.

Caleb Winebrenner's picture
Caleb Winebrenner
Teaching Artist currently based in AZ.

Interesting article. I agree that the landscape feels very like the Tower of Babel," but I think this misses a critical point of the discussion, focusing not on what it is, but rather how to most effectively do it (speaking from my bias as a teaching artist).

I've linked this article and another that may interest people in my post for November 12, here: http://wp.me/p2RoSH-9d

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Gratitude Can Fuel School Transformation

Blogger Elena Aguilar describes how developing a practice of gratitude on our campuses can help change the culture and climate of our schools.

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Making the Most of Mentors for Students

Blogger Suzie Boss provides pointers for teachers on how best to utilize adult mentors who help their students with projects.

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5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students

To inspire more inquiry in the classroom, blogger Rebecca Alber offers up five questions to routinely ask students.
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Norah's picture
Norah
Early childhood teacher, writer, life-long learner

This is a great article and the questions are very effective ones for extending thinking, learning, and thinking about learning; all slightly different things. Sometimes it is easy to ask "Why do you think that?" when an incorrect answer/explanation has been given, and ask "How do you know that?" when a correct answer/explanation is given. This can alert the student (and others) to the appropriateness of the response. I think that if the "thinking" question is asked for all responses, students are asked to provide more information which may either clarify to the teacher where the misunderstandings are, or help the student to explain and clarify their own understandings.

Norah's picture
Norah
Early childhood teacher, writer, life-long learner

Thanks also for all the other comments on this blog. I have enjoyed following the links through to other posts: and interesting conversation.

Trevor Teter's picture
Trevor Teter
middle school science inclusion teacher.

my thoughts exactly. We get comfortable asking those questions and getting those safe answers, but that is not my definition of engaging. Think deeper teachers! Model the messy inquiry method. Work on logic puzzles. Answer questions that do not have a definite answer. Get out there!!! (I feel better) Have a great day/night!

Trevor Teter's picture
Trevor Teter
middle school science inclusion teacher.

So I was trying to add the question related comment to the very first comment-maker (her name escapes me (due to frustration)) as a reply. However, it appears in the general stream of comments to this post. Which I think is brilliant.! Just wish my comment appeared in her reply comment-box-space. ???

Trevor Teter's picture
Trevor Teter
middle school science inclusion teacher.

As for the rest of you. I think you are GREAT and FANTASTIC for reading this article and leaving comments to be known, This is a community that I would like to be more a part of. The Inquiry Club,
I'm in. I love the advice. LOVE it!!! The idea that we should give them 5-7 seconds is a bit disgusting if you stop and think about that some more... more than 7 seconds. PLEASE!! Let's consider the following..... stumble, stumble,trip. Sorry, I get so excited and nervous all at the same time. Kids are so important and we have to learn how to honor them as well as teach them to honor themselves by honoring others. PEACE

Garreth Heidt's picture
Garreth Heidt
High School Liberal Studies teacher, Design-minded educator, Forensics Coach

I'm moving to a new position as a HS teacher next year after 20 years of crafting a curriculum unique to my district's middle schools. My position at the HS is in the English department but the vision for the class is, according to the superintendent, "Different, deeper learning, more critical and creative thinking...."

Ok then. So one of the first things I thought of, given its importance to all students, is to start with the Philosophical theme of "Who are you?" I've readings from David Eagleman's Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (chapter 1, "There's someone in my head and it's not me."), Pink Floyd (of course), The Matrix (of course), David Levithan's novel Every Day, studies of language and words and how thought and words define us (some Wittgenstein in there), an episode of Radiolab called "Words", and studies of Carol Dweck's work on Growth and Fixed mindsets.

Mike, this is a tremendous question and I really like how you present it. Any ideas you have for me would be greatly appreciated. Obviously such and essential question as this will last more than just a unit. I've tried to sketch out other areas of exploration (and I'll be soliciting student interest for these units) on "My Community", "My World", and "Other Worlds." No matter what, though, it will all come back to the question of "Who are you?" and the attendant question, "How do you know?" (Hello Descartes.)

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal
Facilitator 2014

Garreth, that sounds like a GREAT class. My favorite essential question ever was "What really matters?" Much like your question, it lends itself to all kinds of content and connections. Can't wait to hear how your class goes!

(And, as an old Forensicator myself, I'm also happy to see you include that in your profile!)

Garreth Heidt's picture
Garreth Heidt
High School Liberal Studies teacher, Design-minded educator, Forensics Coach

Hey Laura, Are you associated with the Waldorf school program at Antioch? For a few years I was considering Waldorf school training. There's a great one near me in Montgomery County, PA.

Thanks for the kind words. As with any new endeavor, it's a bit frightening. We'll see how it goes. I'm prepping a lot for it.

Garreth Heidt's picture
Garreth Heidt
High School Liberal Studies teacher, Design-minded educator, Forensics Coach

Oh, and one other thing. I'm just about finished a book called Think Again" by John L. Taylor. It's about philosophical thinking and reunifying the curriculum through PT. It's based in the English system, so it uses somewhat different terminology, but it's premise is sound and universal. All teacher interested in philosophy as a way to engage students at the HS level (9th--12th grade) will find much of the slim tome useful.

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The Mind of a Middle Schooler: How Brains Learn

Blogger Heather Wolpert-Gawron defines important brain terminology while providing a classroom scenario where a middle schooler's brain is hard at work.
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UC Study: 5 Findings on College Success for Low-Income Youth

Blogger Bob Lenz shares how urban high schools can increase the number of low-income youth graduating and attending college.

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Are School Librarians Part of Your PBL Dream Team?

If librarians know about upcoming projects, they can help to spark curiosity even before project launch day.

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A Teacher Perspective: Advice for Principals

Blogger Ben Johnson offers his observations to administrators to help them build better relationships with teachers.
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Brains, Brains, Brains! How the Mind of a Middle Schooler Works

Blogger Heather Wolpert-Gawron launches this three-part series by advising middle school teachers to read up on brain research which will give insight on how the 'tween brain works.

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