Edutopia | WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Subscribe to RSS

SEL and Spirituality: Instructional Implications

Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share
Find out why it's important for educators to explore the connection between social-emotional learning and spirituality.
(1)

Comments (4)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Ian the Miller's picture
Ian the Miller
Creative Director for Satyrus Jeering™, The Legendary Facemaker & Storyteller

This is brilliant work Maurice and Jeffrey!

I hope to see the rationale segment of this discussion travel throughout the educator realms.

I feel that redefinition of the term spirituality and the confidence to intentionally implement it will allow further work to be done both within and outside the classroom. Critical components for a new model.

Bravo!

Leslie Stanick's picture
Leslie Stanick
Art educator, Contemplative education, ESL instructor, Teacher educator,

Art-based practices offer students non-verbal ways to explore inner realities that have not yet been processed emotionally or verbally. I invite students and workshop participants into a quiet contemplative awareness of breath, their bodies, heart, hands..... I will sometimes invite inquiry in a particular direction, it might be one word, music, a line from a poem, a feeling, and ask them to sit with it for a few moments, as long as it takes, until they feel an urge to express or see an image. The process is very organic and flows easily from inner awareness through contemplation to expression through various art materials. I have used fabric art, drawing, painting, clay and collage as media for self exploration. As students create, feelings, insights and understandings will arise. Giving form and visual expression, as well as physical expression through movement, will often elicit verbal or written expression during or after the art-making process. The act of making marks or sculpting clay is both visual and visceral allowing an embodied exploration of emotional and spiritual experience.

Todd Sentell's picture
Todd Sentell
Author of the hilarious schoolhouse memoir, "Can't Wait to Get There. Can't Wait to Leave"

OY VEY

I substituted a lot and taught long supply jobs in the special education section of a school for Jewish kids, as well as in their mainstream classes, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

On my first day, in homeroom, a little sixth grade girl with a wild head of hair asked me if I was Jewish.

I said I didn't know.

She looked at me funny, and then cocked her head. Then she asked me if I was a Christian.

I asked her ... How do I know if I'm a Christian?

She made an even funnier face this time.

I said why do you ask.

She asked have I ever asked a question just for the sake of asking a question.

I gave her my most serious face, which took a few moments to make, and then said ... Uh, no.

Mark Wilding's picture
Mark Wilding
Ed PassageWorks Institute

Maurice and Jeffrey: Thanks for taking on this topic! Rachael is smiling! One of Rachael Kessler's most powerful principles was "Welcoming the Unwelcome." This is core to supporting young people (and educators too) to develop resilience and grit. "Welcoming the unwelcome refers to the capacity to see challenges and obstacles as opportunities for learning and growth." - (from page 72 of "The 5 Dimensions of Engaged Teaching" - http://passageworks.org/welcoming-the-unwelcome/#sthash.neqcrYA1.dpuf) - Warm regards, from chilly Boulder.

blog Orienting Educators to SEL Through Video

Last comment 5 days 14 hours ago in Social and Emotional Learning

Discussion The Grit to Jump Hurdles & Grace to Recover From Them

Last comment 3 days 11 hours ago in Resilience and Grit

blog Teach Mindfulness, Invite Happiness

Last comment 2 weeks 1 day ago in Mindfulness

Discussion What Did I Assume About My Students' Summers?

Last comment 3 days 16 hours ago in Mental Health

blog A Look Inside the Classroom of the Future

Last comment 5 hours 42 min ago in Education Trends

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Global Education: Resource Roundup

Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share
Looking for ways to help students appreciate cultural diversity, build awareness about global issues, and develop global competence? Explore these resources for ideas on bringing global dimensions into the classroom.

Comments Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Subscribe to RSS

Provide the Gift of Giving for Students

Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share
Bring the true spirit of the holidays to your school by showing students how they can use their learning to shine a bright light in others' lives.
(1)

Comments (2)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Davr's picture
Davr
Know thyself

Great new initiative in our school this year. Giving back. We put up our turkey in our entrance way. Feathers had specific things students and families could donate. Everything from food, clothing, to doing something nice around the school. Students pledged what they wanted to accomplish, pulled the feather off the bird and once complete replaced the feather with a handprint with their name on it. The real power is having this idea of giving hit the students as they enter; we also repeat this manta of "giving back" during our advisory time.

Our bird is now covered with handprints and the local food pantry will receive a big donation come Thanksgiving. The idea is to continue to season of giving (this time with a Giving Tree with ornaments) to give toys to a local organization or Toys for Tots.

We were surprised and very pleased to see the students step up and we are on our way to accomplishing our goals this season.

(1)
Todd Sentell's picture
Todd Sentell
Author of the hilarious schoolhouse memoir, "Can't Wait to Get There. Can't Wait to Leave"

JELLY FOR GRADES. THE GIFT OF GILLIGAN

Found on my desk late today was a jar of jelly. Nora Mill Granary Georgia Moonshine Jelly, from Gilligan, and a yellow sticky note. His words:

This if for you Todd. Cus your my faivorihc teacher ... Gilligan

I'll be damned. He's already making a solid F in class and I ride him hard but with an understanding touch. I know that doesn't make sense, but you'd just have to be there. I give Gilligan all I've got, and he gives me back a jar of moonshine-flavored jelly. It's a square deal. A struggling child's affection? How oddly sweet is that?

(1)
Todd Sentell's picture
Todd Sentell
Author of the hilarious schoolhouse memoir, "Can't Wait to Get There. Can't Wait to Leave"

JELLY FOR GRADES. THE GIFT OF GILLIGAN

Found on my desk late today was a jar of jelly. Nora Mill Granary Georgia Moonshine Jelly, from Gilligan, and a yellow sticky note. His words:

This if for you Todd. Cus your my faivorihc teacher ... Gilligan

I'll be damned. He's already making a solid F in class and I ride him hard but with an understanding touch. I know that doesn't make sense, but you'd just have to be there. I give Gilligan all I've got, and he gives me back a jar of moonshine-flavored jelly. It's a square deal. A struggling child's affection? How oddly sweet is that?

(1)
Davr's picture
Davr
Know thyself

Great new initiative in our school this year. Giving back. We put up our turkey in our entrance way. Feathers had specific things students and families could donate. Everything from food, clothing, to doing something nice around the school. Students pledged what they wanted to accomplish, pulled the feather off the bird and once complete replaced the feather with a handprint with their name on it. The real power is having this idea of giving hit the students as they enter; we also repeat this manta of "giving back" during our advisory time.

Our bird is now covered with handprints and the local food pantry will receive a big donation come Thanksgiving. The idea is to continue to season of giving (this time with a Giving Tree with ornaments) to give toys to a local organization or Toys for Tots.

We were surprised and very pleased to see the students step up and we are on our way to accomplishing our goals this season.

(1)

blog Orienting Educators to SEL Through Video

Last comment 5 days 14 hours ago in Social and Emotional Learning

Discussion The Grit to Jump Hurdles & Grace to Recover From Them

Last comment 3 days 11 hours ago in Resilience and Grit

blog Teach Mindfulness, Invite Happiness

Last comment 2 weeks 1 day ago in Mindfulness

Discussion What Did I Assume About My Students' Summers?

Last comment 3 days 16 hours ago in Mental Health

blog A Look Inside the Classroom of the Future

Last comment 5 hours 42 min ago in Education Trends

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Subscribe to RSS

Debunking Homework Myths

Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share
Check out these homework myths one teacher debunked and the strategies he used to successfully engage his students in homework.
(5)

Comments (14)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Ben Johnson's picture
Ben Johnson
Administrator, author and educator

Dr. Sues had it pegged. We have too many sneetches on the beaches. While a gold star is such a little thing, and providing it gives the students a little pride and happiness, I totally understand the conundrum. Are we helping the students to be self motivated learners? I suppose the incremental learning done for the star outweighs the dependence we engender. Great question, though, what is your answer?

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, Texas

Mark Noldy's picture
Mark Noldy
21st Century Educator

@bdonalds, two hours of homework in one subject is excessive (for high school). @Ben Johnson, my practice is to praise activity and accomplishments that are praiseworthy, and to provide coaching and encouragement otherwise. But there is an alarming proportion of students who think they deserve an "A" just for showing up. I don't clap for crap.

Corah's picture

4th grade teacher here. I assign a math and a spelling every night (except on days when they've had a test in that subject). They are also expected to read for 20 minutes every night, they can choose what they want to read. Homework should take about 40 minutes including the reading.

I go over the math homework every day. I have made smartboard lessons with the math worksheets and the students go click on the answers to reveal them. Takes about 5 minutes depending on if there's questions or not. All the math homework is to practice and reinforce what was done during the day.

Ivan's picture

Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights into challenges and dilemmas involved in assigning homework, Mr. Johnson. I enjoyed reading your article and reflecting on the issues it addresses.

I think one important responsibility, in addition to all the other important responsibilities that teachers have, is to help students acquire and maintain effective study skills, and I believe this is one issue that your article indirectly brings up.
Instilling good study habits in students is something that should start from the first day of school. Students don't learn automatically and by themselves how to listen attentively and participate actively in class, how to take good notes, and how to effectively organize information from the lesson. I think the onus is on the teachers to lead their students toward acquiring these skills. It is also up to the teachers to provide guidance on other effective study skills such as regular and continuous reviews, the importance of having no distractions (such as a cell phone) on their desks when students do homework or study at home, the importance of not sitting at the desk and over their books and notebooks for a prolonged period of time without taking a break, and so on. There is so much our students need to know about how to study effectively. As you yourself said in your article, it was only when you were in college that you understood that having no homework didn't mean that you had nothing to do, that there was material to be read, reviewed, and consolidated. What you described, indeed, is not homework - it is effective study skills. Engaging in these effective study skills should be, ideally, every student's daily habit, and therefore should not even be viewed as homework or work to be done when no other homework had been assigned.

By helping students acquire better study skills and habits, we help students learn more effectively, which, in turn, motivates them to learn more.

Ivan

(1)
Mike Morgan's picture

The greatest "myth" is that any child will regularly want to do homework. I teach in a progressive school. I am a progressive teacher. I assign work in class that is necessary and furthermore, largely create an environment that is personalized and student driven. Lots of choice...it is Montessori. The real deciding factor for kids doing homework? A kid who WANTS to do homework. I am sorry but I am sick of the nonsense. It has far less to do with the "quality" of the assignment than it does with the grit or complicit nature of the child. Actually, I do not assign homew

Oliver Schinkten's picture
Oliver Schinkten
Science Teacher

At what point is the 40 hours these 9-10 year olds put in during the school day enough? Why have homework outside of school. When do they get to play, hang out with family or friends, eat sleep, relax, etc.....

Oliver Schinkten

J.D. Staton's picture

I'm so very grateful that you choose this topic to bring up for discussion AND that I stumbled over it in my perusing. I attended a brilliant MAT program which I would highly recommend to anyone who requested advice on such a topic. However, with the passage of time and the gain of classroom experience, I'm keenly aware of the deficits my formal educational program contained. Thorough initial student assessment of education skills/familial supports and homework allocation were the two greatest weaknesses in my MAT program, IMHO. Despite graduating with nearly perfect grades, I cannot recall either classroom discussion time, nor books/articles assigned that were related to either of these two very important topics.

I first ran into problems coping with them, during my student teaching experiences in a fifth grade classroom. The first grade class I, simultaneously, worked within had a very simplistic homework system which I just adopted, in toto. My fifth grade mentor teacher wasn't interested in mentoring me, so just left me to flounder - to create whatever system I felt invested in. Without any real guidance from either my school adviser nor my mentor teacher on this topic, I set about creating an unrealistic homework, spelling, reading, and social studies regimen for my students (now aware it was geared more toward 8th grade students, rather than 5th grade ones, the result of never having been taught how to perform an initial educational assessment on this age group).

The complaints from the parents started coming in fast and furious. They were upset that their kids were now expected to do roughly two hours of homework/evening despite competing extra-curricular, familial, and other activities they preferred to engage in. While my mentor teacher was busy making apologies all over the place, on my behalf, along with rolling her eyes about my obvious ineptness on this topic, I was left feeling confused and unsupported.

I'm fortunate to have several friends who were formally educated in other cultures/nations. From talking with them, I'm keenly aware that American students/families often have very low standards, on the topic of education. Most only want education if it's "convenient" and "fun/entertaining" - like it's a purely "optional" or "disposable" product that doesn't impact every aspect of their present/future lives. Discussions surrounding the actual productivity of time spent at school are few and far between, let alone discussions about "on-task" study time during nonschool hours.

While I don't believe we need to follow in the rather extreme footsteps of the Japanese educational system, where students often attend school six days per week for 8 - 10 hours/day (with homework to follow, at home), I'm keenly aware of just how much classroom time is frittered away in most American classrooms (having been raised in the American public school system and having actively volunteered for decades within it, prior to becoming a certified teacher, myself). Additionally, I'm sensitive to the resistance by most students, parents, and other community members toward prioritizing learning activities, outside of the classroom. All the while, I cannot forget that 20% of our students are dropping out of school before completing 12th grade and our educational standing in the global community keeps dropping ever lower, despite the fact we spend more money per pupil than most westernized nations.

All the money on the planet won't replace wasted time and learning opportunities. My MAT program did spend a very large amount of attention on the topic of "focused learning" and "on-task" time, for which I'm extraordinarily grateful. This is where our educational process needs to shift, both inside and outside of the classroom, I believe.

As the author has suggested, unfocused time during "homework" periods is every bit as meaningless and wasteful as unfocused time during classroom lessons. Many thanks for the suggestions as to how to be more efficient in handling assignment grading/monitoring. So much wasted classroom time (and teacher home-time) is spent on these types of activities, along with transitions, unfocused conversations, institutional/administrative rituals, breaks/recess, meals/snacks, etc.

I will never forget just how shocked I was to learn that my fifth grade students could choose to opt out of class time to go "volunteer" to work in the school cafeteria. Of course, the least diligent, least skillful learners were ALWAYS the first students to "volunteer" to waste even more of their precious learning time playing around in the school kitchen (not even learning genuine cooking/food prep skills), rather than spending time in the classroom where they most needed to be gaining and practicing new skills. When I was in elementary school, only the very best students were ever allowed to act as "kitchen helpers" or "school bus monitors", as teachers/administrators were aware those students were the ones least likely to be harmed by such noneducationally-focused activities (let's skip the discussion, for now, about how unethical it is to use students as unpaid laborers, because our school budgets are so poorly prioritized for their learning to occur - other wealthy nations don't waste student learning time on school operations tasks like we do).

I'm just one person and a relatively new teacher, at that. However, I do believe in leading by example. Though I teach in primary grades, now, homework is very much a part of my educational strategy, right along with maximizing every bit of classroom time I have at my disposal.

By using thematic teaching strategies, I'm able to multi-layer lessons, so as to teach several skills/subjects, concurrently. Reinforcing to parents that they are their child's FIRST and most important teachers, I'm able to get them engaged in leading a wide range of learning activities with their child, at home (without it ever being "assigned homework"). The designated "homework" I do assign is often a multi-layered board game (created in class), art/science project, song illustration/performance, or similar activity they are to engage in with a certain number of family/friends/neighbors. Since it doesn't get formally labeled as "homework", but is expected to be done and is followed up on, I find there's less resistance to them completing it. It takes creativity to cram in as much education as possible into a child's world but I know what the consequences are for my students and our country, if they are not successful in perpetually gaining and honing new skills.

Ivan's picture

Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights into challenges and dilemmas involved in assigning homework, Mr. Johnson. I enjoyed reading your article and reflecting on the issues it addresses.

I think one important responsibility, in addition to all the other important responsibilities that teachers have, is to help students acquire and maintain effective study skills, and I believe this is one issue that your article indirectly brings up.
Instilling good study habits in students is something that should start from the first day of school. Students don't learn automatically and by themselves how to listen attentively and participate actively in class, how to take good notes, and how to effectively organize information from the lesson. I think the onus is on the teachers to lead their students toward acquiring these skills. It is also up to the teachers to provide guidance on other effective study skills such as regular and continuous reviews, the importance of having no distractions (such as a cell phone) on their desks when students do homework or study at home, the importance of not sitting at the desk and over their books and notebooks for a prolonged period of time without taking a break, and so on. There is so much our students need to know about how to study effectively. As you yourself said in your article, it was only when you were in college that you understood that having no homework didn't mean that you had nothing to do, that there was material to be read, reviewed, and consolidated. What you described, indeed, is not homework - it is effective study skills. Engaging in these effective study skills should be, ideally, every student's daily habit, and therefore should not even be viewed as homework or work to be done when no other homework had been assigned.

By helping students acquire better study skills and habits, we help students learn more effectively, which, in turn, motivates them to learn more.

Ivan

(1)
bdonalds's picture

Two hours of homework from one class. What about the other classes these kids go to? Two hours from one teacher, two hours from another teacher and so on. Ouch. How about debunking the myth that homework equals rigor.

(1)
Farah Najam's picture
Farah Najam
Teacher Trainer and write on education

Homework? No one wants to do homework! There is a skill to assigning homework that can help your students retain and learn information. Successful homework strategies should be on their way to completion before your students ever leave the room.I make sure that the assignment length and difficulty is appropriate for the age of my students. I give very young children no more than 15-20 minutes of homework at night. My students in grade 4-7 have less than an hour homework and my secondary students have two hours at night.

(1)
Mark Noldy's picture
Mark Noldy
21st Century Educator

I frequently remind math students, "Just because you do not have an artifact-producing submittable assignment does not mean there's nothing to improve your understanding." They are so focused on the "gold stars," they forget the purpose of the class.

(1)

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Subscribe to RSS

Tips for Coaching Teacher Teams

Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share
Check out these tips and sage advice on how to guide a team of teachers and facilitate professional development.
(1)

Comments (5)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Rachael Toy's picture
Rachael Toy
8th Grade math and physical science teacher

I love this article. I especially connected with your reflection of not having the skills when you needed them. So the question is- Besides my own reflection and experiences, where do I go to continue to get PD and become well educated in my coaching skills.

Garrett Munro's picture
Garrett Munro
Teacher, trainer, student, gad fly

Perfect! I love this topic and you offer a really useful and needed perspective on coaching teachers and building community. Can't wait for the book!

I just returned from Shanghai were I ran a workshop on building team culture with staff and students, drawing from many similar ideas and principles, and applying some different theories:

check it:
http://prezi.com/khsqrodeqstc/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0...

screen-cast of an first time run through:
http://www.screencast.com/t/7KOdikFEbBWZ

Shanell Lee's picture
Shanell Lee
2nd grade teacher from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Great article. I can't wait for the book.

Sean_Birmingham's picture

There are countless points made in this article that apply to my team. I am a Special Education teacher and I would love if my team could be granted more time to collaborate. I certainly agree about the point made about adults having all the power in a collaborative environment. It can be difficult to reflect with colleagues if we as colleagues are not willing to take the perspective of others into account. At times, it can be difficult to avoid a power struggle. Thus, the more experience teaching teams have with collaboration, the more effective they will become. The points you made about reflecting upon purpose are particularly insightful to me. Reflecting upon purpose can help educational teams to move past their differences and potential power struggles in order to establish a unified goal for themselves and the greater good of their students.

Cynthia Banks-Obinabo's picture

Good article.Three things I would like to say about professional development. First keeping in mind that teachers don't have much time to devote to irrelevant topics,the need for the presenter/facilitator to be specific and get to the point quickly. So I recommend groups with common needs and interests for maximum participation. For example, all first grade teachers have common goals.In a meeting with first grade teachers the topic should be directly related to the current needs of the first grade teacher. Teachers learn best from small discussion groups and then a communal sharing of ideas at the end.
2. The workshop or seminars should not try to cover many topics but cover the topic at hand very well. Teachers love to make things that they can teach their students to help them learn better. So without any 'hands on' activity the teacher will feel that he/she did not learn anything new. Role playing can be used even in showing teachers how to effectively incorporate technology in the classroom.Teachers left with a list of websites and handouts on how to do things are seldom going to have time to read and follow through. So an effective workshop is one where the teacher actually learns by doing and practicing the skill she is required to implement in her classroom.
3. At the beginning of each workshop, each teacher should be given a chance to explain in a short paragraph what he/she already knows and does with the topic and then if he or she has already mastered the topic the facilitator is presenting, he/she can be utilized in being a group leader. If not those teachers will become frustrated and think 'What a waste of my time'. Not that the presenter was inefficient or the topic was not important but that he or she could have utilized that time in a better way. Remember 'time' is of the essence. The presenter should not take the teacher's lack of enthusiasm personal.
In conclusion, for growth ,mutual respect and trust, facilitators should keep in mind that the teachers are mentally assessing each work shop based on 'how much did I learn,that will be of use to me in my class in the time I spent away from my class?.

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Writing 101 Pinterest Board

Related Tags: Literacy
Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

Comments Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

World of Design Thinking Pinterest Board

Related Tags: Design Thinking
Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

Comments Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

We Love PBL Pinterest Board

Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

Comments Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Students Like Tech! Pinterest Board

Related Tags: Technology Integration
Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

Comments Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Discussion Technology and Pre-K

Last comment 1 week 4 days ago in Professional Development

Discussion 6 Myths About The Flipped Classroom

Last comment 3 weeks 1 day ago in Flipped Classroom

blog The Common Core and Digital Skills Development

Last comment 1 month 1 day ago in Common Core

blog 6 iPad Apps for Creative Writing

Last comment 2 weeks 4 hours ago in Technology Integration

Schools that Work Instructional Coaching: Driving Meaningful Tech Integration

Last comment 1 month 1 week ago in Technology Integration

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.

Pages