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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

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Susan Applebaum's picture
Susan Applebaum
2nd & 3rd Grade teacher from southern California

Teaching the 'me' generation to collaborate feels next to impossible. It takes numerous times of practice to really get what you seek in collaborative learning. When undertaking these kinds of activities expect to fail and it will begin to go well. Many times the students don't realize they are sabotaging their own good intentions due to their habit of focusing upon themselves.

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True Grit: The Best Measure of Success and How to Teach It

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Scott Rigsby, the first double amputee to complete a the Hawaiian Ironman triathon
Edutopia blogger Vicki Davis identifies the nature of grit, its necessity and value of grit in education, and ten ways of teaching students to develop their own grit.
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Hifi's picture
Hifi
Character Education Researcher and Critic

There isn't a shred of evidence that grit can be taught or otherwise inculcated in children, no less the techniques that amount to no better than wishful thinking that you are experimenting with.

All I can say is watch out for unforeseen consequences because you don't know what you are doing. You could be making things worse.

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher's picture
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher
Computer Fundamentals, Computer Science and IT Integrator from Camilla, GA

Thank you for responding, however, I've cited a lot of links and information here and as a researcher, it would be more helpful to respond to the research that is quoted in the article. What do you say about resilience? What do you say about the growth mindset and that research? I actually argue that grit may have been around a while but another word is being used - what do you say about that. While it is easy to be inflammatory, it is important that we dialog with evidence and discussion, so I challenge you to return and respond. Thank you.

And yes, we all must watch on this. But as a teacher for 13 years, I've been around long enough and many of these things are part of what I've done a very long time. I've never seen negative consequences from helping children have a strong work ethic - of course it is balanced (some kids need to learn to relax) but this isn't born in a vacuum or a quite office but 5 and often 6 periods a day for 13 years.

Hifi's picture
Hifi
Character Education Researcher and Critic

Vicki thanks for the response. It's too bad you felt you needed to characterize my comments as inflammatory. I accept your challenge.

Unfortunately, there is no research quoted or referenced in your article demonstrating that grit can be imparted by a school program (nor for any of the other 100 character traits that are variously and uniquely used in the industry, for that matter).

The closest was the U. S. DOE "draft" paper, Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century". In their conclusion on page 93, the authors support my position, "In this accountability-driven climate and in communities that place extremely high expectations on students, grit, tenacity, and perseverance may not always be in the students' best interest. For example, persevering in the face of challenges or setbacks to accomplish goals that are extrinsically motivated, unimportant to the student, or in some way inappropriate for the student can have detrimental impacts on students' learning and psychological well-being. Little systematic research has investigated this. Researchers need to explore the different reasons for demonstrating grit and what potential costs may be."

Regardless, I was not able to find any references to scientifically acceptable research ("systematic research", i.e. double-blind, measurable, etc.)

I am happy to provide you with some actual scientific studies though.

I. October 2010, a federal study, the largest and most thorough ever conducted, found that school-wide Character Education programs produce exactly ZERO improvements in student behavior or academic performance.

Reference: Efficacy of Schoolwide Programs to Promote Social and Character Development and Reduce Problem Behavior in Elementary School Children The Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. October 2010.

II. Here's one proving the unintended consequences of good intentions.
"In a troubling study conducted by Joan Grusec at the University of Toronto, young children who were frequently praised for displays of generosity tended to be slightly less generous on an everyday basis than other children were. Every time they had heard "Good sharing!" or "I'm so proud of you for helping," they became a little less interested in sharing or helping. Those actions came to be seen not as something valuable in their own right but as something they had to do to get that reaction again from an adult. Generosity became a means to an end."

Effects of Rewards on Children's Prosocial Motivation: A Socialization Study - Richard A. Fabes et al., Developmental Psychology, vol. 25, 1989

Please also see the Wikipedia entry on Character Education, specifically the section on Issues and Controversies. Has lots of references to solid theoretical and evidentiary research. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_education#Issues_and_controversies

Please allow me to challenge you, in good turn, to return and respond.

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher's picture
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher
Computer Fundamentals, Computer Science and IT Integrator from Camilla, GA

HIFi,
I will respond as best I can considering it is 1:24 am and I just finished grading papers. I have a couple of things I'd like to point out --

Read the article:
"Some would argue that grit is inherent in Albert Bandura's research on self-efficacy, and that resilience is also part of it. But you can't just implement "character education" and think you're teaching grit. In 2008, the Character Education Partnership divided character into two categories: core ethical values and performance values. In my opinion, grit would be categorized as a performance value."

I didn't advocate for character education, in fact pointed out that "character education is not grit." I also don''t think that praising for generosity applies to grit either -- there's quite a bit on HOW praise often has the opposite effect.

The purpose of the article is to point out that grit may have been around for some time -- i.e. resilience (didn't see a reply to that one) and isn't clearly known how to be taught. It also points out some of the current reading on it as well.

I'm a full time classroom teacher and had several of my researcher friends read this post before it went up because I know that it had to pass muster with researchers. I'm reaching out to them tonight to see if they will give me some input and also respond on this.

I do think that there are right and wrong ways to teach things but I also totally believe that often we have to help students understand who they will be before they can do.

I totally agree with what you quoted and I included that draft paper in the article for just that reason "Researchers need to explore the different reasons for demonstrating grit and what potential costs may be."

This is certainly something we must study and understand more deeply. To ignore the findings and discussions happening about this topic in education would be mistaken, but I'm not sure I'm understanding your arguments.

You're advocating not sharing with children the importance of persistence and grit when faced with a tough task? Learning is hard work and I've found that most work worth doing requires some grit.

Honestly, I'd rather be asleep right now but this is an important conversation - I guess it takes some grit to be a full time educator involved in this conversation and that grit wasn't instilled by having it easy as a child but by having hard tasks. It was also instilled by parents who talked to me often about persisting and having grit and determination in the face of struggle and hard work. So, while the research is working to figure out a scalable way to share and discuss this sort of topic - if it is discussed at all.

As a classroom teacher, it is something that is just there and is something we do talk about sometimes. It isn't something I "praise" per se but it is something we discuss and are aware of. It makes a difference -- my school has consistently won many state championships, literary events, and beyond and grit and determination is part of what we teach. We perform very high for the size we are and I think that part of that is the work ethic we instill - not through barbaric rote means but just living it out day to day.

I'd be interested in understanding and knowing if you think this topic should be ignored in schools b/c I'm not sure that any teacher can ignore the fact that many subjects are hard and it is often the willingness of students to persist that helps them grasp it.

Thank you for taking the response. I can see much better your thinking. It makes me very happy when people like yourself add to the dialog in meaningful ways. This is one of the values of Edutopia - putting the important conversations out there for the world to join in and discuss. Thank you for taking the time to care enough to share your views. You have my respect and gratitude.

Lee Graham's picture

I enjoy Bandura's research on self-efficacy, personally and see this as an avenue for helping students to see the impact that perseverance can have. As I help students develop the skills that mean they can actually complete a complex task, I also model the completion of the task (hard work and all) and provide the appropriate supports to help them to complete the task. I also enjoy Wiggin's take on feedback. Compare what students intended to do with what they actually did. As I have students create an online course, I have them - near the end of the process - apply the Quality Matters rubric to their peers' course. This allows them to very clearly see how what they intended isn't always realized, and they can self-adjust to make certain that the impact of the product is what they intend. This is certainly a volatile topic Vicki! I think that we are all operating from the perspective that we want children to be successful in their lives, and as teachers, we want to do our best to support that success. I think through careful implementation of new strategies, and close monitoring of the impact of the strategies on students (it is important that we insure that our own performance has the intended impact as well!), often through an Action Research framework, we can insure we do not harm our students, and instead act as much as is humanly possible in their best interests. Thank you for having the courage to tackle this complex topic!

Colin Osterhout's picture
Colin Osterhout
Graduate Student, University of Alaska Southeast

The Daniel Pink video on motivation's primary drivers: autonomy, mastery, and purpose was excellent. I've had his work on my reading list for a while and those topics have definitely been in evidence in my own career path over my entire life. I enjoyed Angela Duckworth's video as well. Both excellent watches and have served to give names and labels to what I've been feeling for a long time, thank you for sharing!

Hifi's picture
Hifi
Character Education Researcher and Critic

Thank you for your thoughtful reply Vicki.

The bottom-line here is can you build grit via a program in public schools? "The honest answer is I don't know," Angela Duckworth.

Just like gravity, we suspect that something we can associate with grit exists, but there is little if any theory about where it come from. My suggestion is that testing hypotheses about such things doesn't belong in the classroom. Worse for grit is that unlike gravity there is no standard of measurement. So do ever know if anything improves it?

What we know does work is training and practice. We can measure a deficiency in math skills; we can measure an improvement in those skills as a result of a math program. Even better we can compare the results of one program to another.

G.W. Bush, of all people, said, "the adoption of public programs should be results-based." Duh!

BTW, you might be interested in knowing something about me. I am the author the Wikipedia article on Character Education. What qualifies me? Nothing, except that I was driven to take the substantial time to research, write, and maintain it in order to thoroughly debunk the Character Counts! program that my district got sold on, and in turn sold to their constituents. (Wasn't grit, it was aggravation. )

Coachpatrickv's picture

Vicki. Thank you for such a great post on grit. I reference it often in the work I do on goal setting. Along with proper planning and practice, grit is essential for durable goal achievement. I would also suggest the importance of the pygmalion effect in helping kids to develop grit. First, we need to let them know that we believe they are capable of more. Best wishes. Patrick Veroneau

gberry's picture

I believe it is not the role of education to teach students "grit". That is the role of parents. The problem with our educational system is not the teachers; it is the parents. Students come to the educational system unprepared to be taught. They do not have respect for the educational system. They do not want to put in the effort, yet expect high results. They take no responsibility for those results and blame his/her failures on everything else. All of these habits were learned at home and teachers are expected to break and/or retain what was taught to them by their parents and without the support of the parents. When they are unable to, just like the students, they blame the educational system and the teachers.

Adam Buchbinder's picture

As a current educator and a former student who struggled with learning challenges, my grit was instrumental to my academic and career success. Grit is something we can develop internally with concerted volition. Grit is built upon struggle and circumstance. Grit transcends unlikely odds. We should all aspire to increase our grit and find ways to implement it in our teaching.

Some folks have suggested that grit is difficult to measure and standardize. Both of these are true statements; but by avoiding teaching resilience and grit only because it's hard , we deprive our most vulnerable students of their greatest social and academic weapon. If our mission as educators is to provide equality of opportunity to our students, than we must implement grit into our curriculums and we must do it now.

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Adam Buchbinder's picture

As a current educator and a former student who struggled with learning challenges, my grit was instrumental to my academic and career success. Grit is something we can develop internally with concerted volition. Grit is built upon struggle and circumstance. Grit transcends unlikely odds. We should all aspire to increase our grit and find ways to implement it in our teaching.

Some folks have suggested that grit is difficult to measure and standardize. Both of these are true statements; but by avoiding teaching resilience and grit only because it's hard , we deprive our most vulnerable students of their greatest social and academic weapon. If our mission as educators is to provide equality of opportunity to our students, than we must implement grit into our curriculums and we must do it now.

(2)

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Back-to-School Resources for Parents

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Find resources to help children begin school with a positive mindset, support their transition into a new school year, and prepare them for fall learning.

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3 Ways of Getting Student Feedback to Improve Your Teaching

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Edutopia blogger Vicki Davis asks her students for professional development help, ending the year with in-class focus groups, a survey, and a call for anonymous notes that will guide her in improving her practice next year.
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Valerie Threlfall's picture

There are also some great survey tools like the YouthTruth survey which allows you to capture school wide feedback as well as classroom specific feedback from students about their experience. www.youthtruthsurvey.org (disclosure: I helped found the organization in 2008).

Scott Rosenkranz's picture
Scott Rosenkranz
Teacher and Ed Tech Developer

Feedback from students needs to happen often. We need to create a feedback rich environment daily. That's why I created Oncore. To see my project visit oncoreeducation.com

Mrs. D's picture

Thank you for reminding us that a master teacher realizes the value of setting time aside for reflection. In order to have valid reflection we must have student input. For younger students I like using the apple and onion strategy coupled with sticky notes. I tell students write down your 'apple' for the year (good thing) on one sticky note and write down your 'onion' for the year (bad thing) on another sticky note. I then have students place their sticky notes on a large apple and a large onion. Next students could share more about their 'apple' or 'onion' if they so chose in a class circle time discussion. I have also seen a variation of this with roses and thorns. This gives younger students an opportunity to reflect individually first, get up and move and then share as a group.

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Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA's picture
Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA
Advocate, Lawyer, Teacher and Founder of Beyond Tutoring

Another unconventional way to get student feedback is to have them construct a rubric for YOU as a way of teaching about how you are grading. Then when they get formal assessment grades, you can also receive grades as a meaningful way to explain how grades are instructed. This can be done as a class so you can really engage about grades, assessments and your own performance. This is only for the very bold!

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JSpadine's picture

This is my first year teaching, and this post brought to my attention the importance of student feedback! I keep thinking of what I want to change or adjust for next year, but as always, students working as a group can accomplish more than I ever can on my own! I will definitely try the end-of-year focus groups. Thank you for sharing this idea.

Dr. Dickenson's picture
Dr. Dickenson
Assistant Professor of Teacher Education

Love the idea of using feedback as a summative self assessment but also believe it should happen more often such as at the end of a unit and through informal assessments at the end of a class especially when you are trying something new. Sometimes I just am honest with my students and say "this was the first time I tried this project what did you like about it, what did you not like about it and what do you think would make it better." Also for your summative assessment I would recommend first you begin with likert-type questions where you list each of the projects and have students rate using a five point scale. This would help students recall all of the things you did throughout the year. Then include your open-ended questions at the end of the assessment so students can give greater depth to their responses.

Nancy Walter's picture

I just completed a World War Z unit using Zombie Geography from Social Studies Services. Next year it will be my opening unit, too. You can never have enough Zombies or Pirates.

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Margot Schultz's picture
Margot Schultz
Waldorf Teacher

Yes! Feedback is priceless. I think it always needs to be taken with a grain of salt because students don't always understand what I am trying to do at a higher level and the agenda behind what I teach, how I teach it, when I teach it, etc. and so sometimes the comments can reflect that lack of understanding.

However, generally speaking it is very useful because most of the comments are genuinely insightful feedback, for example, on comprehension, pacing, interest, etc. which helps me adjust to meet their needs. And that, as we know, leads to better comprehension, understanding and integration which is what it's all about as far as I'm concerned...

Nancy Walter's picture

I just completed a World War Z unit using Zombie Geography from Social Studies Services. Next year it will be my opening unit, too. You can never have enough Zombies or Pirates.

(1)
Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA's picture
Katie Schellenberg, JD, MA
Advocate, Lawyer, Teacher and Founder of Beyond Tutoring

Another unconventional way to get student feedback is to have them construct a rubric for YOU as a way of teaching about how you are grading. Then when they get formal assessment grades, you can also receive grades as a meaningful way to explain how grades are instructed. This can be done as a class so you can really engage about grades, assessments and your own performance. This is only for the very bold!

(1)
Mrs. D's picture

Thank you for reminding us that a master teacher realizes the value of setting time aside for reflection. In order to have valid reflection we must have student input. For younger students I like using the apple and onion strategy coupled with sticky notes. I tell students write down your 'apple' for the year (good thing) on one sticky note and write down your 'onion' for the year (bad thing) on another sticky note. I then have students place their sticky notes on a large apple and a large onion. Next students could share more about their 'apple' or 'onion' if they so chose in a class circle time discussion. I have also seen a variation of this with roses and thorns. This gives younger students an opportunity to reflect individually first, get up and move and then share as a group.

(1)

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Arts Integration: Resource Roundup

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All points of arts integration -- from implementation in the classroom and engaging students, to linking the arts with core curriculum -- are covered in this roundup of useful Edutopia blogs, articles, and videos.

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Robyn Hill's picture

Can't tell you how much I appreciate this article with organized sites and apps. Thanks for integrating common core and arts and making it applicable.

Brandon Zoras's picture
Brandon Zoras
Science Teacher in Toronto, Canada

What a great set of resources. I am a science teacher but my favourite lesson from when I was in teachers college was when the prof had us think of science lessons that fit with another subject area. She had us make an entire unit on space through the arts. They called it Astrocreativity! I tried the lessons a few years later with my own students and they loved it. I am a big fan of bringing in choice assignments where students can use arts in science!

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To Teach Effective Writing, Model Effective Writing

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Edutopia blogger David Cutler believes that the best writing teachers model writing for their students. He suggests six strategies, including continuing to hone your own craft and demonstrating the value of sharing finished work.
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AnokaEnglish's picture

denni_swill, I'm interested in how you do this USSW, and with what grade level. Can you talk more about the set up of it? It sounds like something I'd like to try in my classroom.

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

AnokaEnglish,

Time is always a problem. You have to ask your heart, "What's important to me?" And if writing is one of them, then you will find the time. I get up before my wife and kids almost every day to write, blog, comment on blogs, etc.... I write before my students show up in the morning during the school year and sometimes at lunch. When I was finishing my masters degree and publishing a book..I was up at least two hours before my family. I'm also way more productive in the morning than I am at night.

My reading and writing time are separate in my schedule, so I also have time during writing to write myself. This is one tool to I use to help set the environment at the beginning of the year. I sit and I write. If I hear chatter or talking, I say, "I'm writing and can't concentrate if you are talking." No lie. This works like a charm for the most part.

If i'm writing a kids book, I always share it with my class. Sometimes even the terrible first drafts right from my notebook. And I ask for specific advice. It's a good model for conferencing. I wouldn't worry about your writing being "good" enough to share. Remember, you are a community of writers helping each other write. Your students will respect you for asking them for advice on a piece and it will also make them feel more comfortable when you give them feedback.

I hope this Helps,
Gaetan

Ethan Mellor's picture

Excellent material, David!
Keep 5 points, without other assessment by the very hard to develop as a professional writer.

Maria T's picture

One way I teach effective writing is by fostering fluency first. From day 1 in my 7th grade class, students free write while classical or new age instrumental music plays and lights are dimmed. While students write, I walk around and write--all while observing my students. I note how many are right-hand dominant, how many are left-hand dominant; I note how many are chewing pencil ends; I note how many are feverishly scribbling; I note how many are struggling; I note how many need prompting. My anecdotal notes about my students help me create the community of writers we need to be in the days ahead.

K. Svrjcek's picture

Hi! What a wonderful post, thanks for starting this conversation!

In my school we have a large push for writing and promoting effective writing strategies. Yes, practice makes perfect (or at least better!) The Value of Sharing looks much different in my classroom as a special education teacher. I share what I am writing and talk aloud about my writing asking the students about my writing (if it sounds okay, do I need to change the way It sounds, are my words spelled right?) they are engaged in helping me with my writing since many of them have trouble at this point creating their own writings (they are still creating their own though of course!)

The Real World Writing is always an important part of my classroom in EVERY ASPECT! Making these connections to the real world are so important for everyone. It says why we are doing what we are doing. We currently use the Scholastic - Traits of Writing for our writing program. For my classroom I have to do a lot of differentiation as well as assignments/lessons to create more prior knowledge for my students to be able to comprehend. Overall, the program is filled with much writing prompts and real work situations where writing may be needed.

I would love to know what types of writing programs others use in their school and if they like or dislike them!

EneasEnglish's picture

I agree, we must not be afraid to let our students see our writing process. If they are able to literally see us changing, adding, or even editing a mere paragraph, they would have more of a buy-in when we asked them to revisit their work as well.

Will M.'s picture
Will M.
Traveling the world to learn about education

This reminds me of a time I co-taught a lesson on congress with a civics teacher. We broke the class into the two houses of government and each student introduced a class rule as a bill. The rules went through committees etc... and a few ended up making it through the process. At the end, we asked them to write a page to describe the process they went through to make sure they could communicate about the processes they were supposed to be learning. To our dismay, only a couple students actually wrote with the level of detail we were looking for and we wondered if they actually 'got it.' Next class, we did the same lesson but right before the writing part we took the best paper from the first class, put it under the document camera and said 'this is what an average piece of work should look like.' The result? That level of writing ended up being average in that second class. A class which normally had a reputation of being rowdier than the first. Hurray! Yes, modeling and sharing writing is awesome.

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

K. Svrjcek,

I think the teaching of writing is more philosophy, than following a program. Programs are great for resources, but when you try to implement a writing program you will find that there's not much writing going on. There are many authors you can check out who have thoroughly written about teaching writing (not programs). I always point teachers in the direction of Donald Graves (A Fresh Look at Writing) for a good foundation. Lucy Caulkins, Ralph Fletcher, Barry Lane, Tom Romano, Nancie Attwell. Vicki Spandel's "The Nine Rights of Every Writer" is a great short book. I've read all these authors and created a system that works for me within the writing program my school uses.

Gaetan

Farah Najam's picture
Farah Najam
Teacher Trainer and write on education

When teachers write, we provide a positive model for the students. Our example says we give more value to writing and find it useful, more so than when we sit and correct papers while the students write. When teachers sit and write, we give ourselves a chance to test our own writing assignments. One never understand why students didn't seem to enjoy more wholeheartedly my "Imagine You're a Hypnotist" topic--until I tried it myself. When a teacher writes, we help demystify the act of writing. Students many a times think that experienced writers find writing easy or have some magic ability to "get it right the first time." If we share our projects or write in front of the students, they can see what a sloppy, difficult act writing is for all writers.

Rian Sid Oncog's picture

This is by far the greatest article I have read. I'm also a writer in my own way that's why this comes very helpful, and I'm also a future educator which is why this article has a double purpose. As a writer, the suggestions mentioned in the article is very helpful on improving my skills in writing and as a future teacher, I could apply the suggestions in my future discussions. I must say that the suggestions are very effective.

S. Guillory's picture

Mr. Cutler,
Two things resonated with me as I read this blog. First, and foremost, I believe in sharing my writing for my graduate classes and explain the frustration I sometimes have in having to rewrite not once or twice but sometimes five or six times with my students. The reason I do this "commiserating" with my students is because as seventh graders they complain about editing and rewriting. It is the part of the writing process I have had the most problems. Although the topic may not interest them, they are eager to assist Mrs. G. with her paper, and they also realize that I am not "the expert" in the classroom. This student-teacher collaboration fosters a community of respect and trust.

Second, I try to have my classes edit twice. The first time we engage in a whole class edit to see if their classmates are understanding and are on the right track. Depending on what type of paper and the topic, there are many ways I accomplish these tasks that I will not mention here. Other times I only use my stronger students to assist me with editing during our writing periods; however, I now have a few ideas which will encourage and empower my weaker students from your section on your writing workshop. Thank you for your wonderful ideas.

Finally, as this response is my first post to this site, please excuse any errors as I learn to navigate through.

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denni_swill's picture

Writing every day is also useful. I used a technique called fast writing or USSW [like USSR uninterrupted sustained silent writing] for achieving in a few minutes of writing the composing, sharing and reviewing process on a range of ideas fiction and non-fiction. the type of response [genre] could vary. Everyone writes, including the teacher, sharing is optional. Potential topics are initially provided by me but later brainstormed with students. It also emphasised the oral connection. Often students wouldn't finish their stories in the allotted time but would continue to invent their responses as they shared.

(1)

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Project-Based Learning vs. Problem-Based Learning vs. X-BL

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John Larmer of the Buck Institute for Education clears up any confusion on the difference between project-based learning, problem-based learning, and whatever-else-based learning.
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carolyn's picture

I think that this article did a good job at breaking down what project based, and problem based learning is. They have similarities between them, but the small details make a difference. I also enjoyed reading some of the other comments I think that they gave some perspective and opinions on the differences between the two different learning styles. overall good article, I now have a better understanding of the two.

Sarah Quigg's picture

I agree that education has gotten really heavy with acronyms lately. Although this article offers some clarity of the terminology of these engaging approaches, the bottom line is that they all are designed to get kids to become active participants in learning. I am less concerned about what to call what I'm doing in the classroom as I am concerned about whether or not it is working for my kids. Any time you can give them real world issues to problem solve and let them practice communication skills that they will use in the working world, they benefit and have fun in the process.

Abdelillah's picture

True enough the confusion between is cleared up but don't you think at bottom that both PBLs are complementary?I believe they make up the main aspects of the same approach.
You pointed out to 4 competences.Would you please identify them.Additionally,do both PBLs share the same 4 competences?

John Larmer's picture
John Larmer
Editor in Chief at the Buck Institute for Education

They're totally complementary! That's what I'd hope to convey. The 4 Cs are critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Hi Abdelillah,
I agree about the idea of all forms of Experiential Learning being complementary. One of the grad classes that I teach for Antioch University New England specifically examines project-based, problem-based, place-based, and service learning, looking at their similarities and differences, and works on determining when each is most appropriate to use in the classroom.

Abdelillah's picture

Hi Dan,
What's meant by place-based and where it overlaps with project-based and problem-based.Thank you in advance.

Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program

Hi Abdelillah-
Dan did a great job of summarizing the differences, but I'd add that Place-Based Learning is usually a tool to ramp-up the level of rigor in a Problem or Project Based lesson since it places the learning in a more public context. David Sobel is a colleague of mine and he's sort of the father of the Place-Based movement. You can read more about his take on it here: http://www.antiochne.edu/teacher-education/integrated-learning/placed-ba...

Will M.'s picture
Will M.
Traveling the world to learn about education

Thanks for this. Very useful in clarifying the nuances between solid instructional approaches. Two other phrases I find help me focus instructional decisions are "treating students as sense makers" and the question "what can students do with what they know?" Also, deliberately communicating the group dynamic skills students should be refining as they complete projects and solve problems can insure they grow by leaps and bounds over the course of the year. Thanks again for a thought provoking article!

Dr. Richard Curwin's picture
Dr. Richard Curwin
Director, Graduate program in behavior disorder, David Yellin College

Hi John,

I am so proud of you. This post is a great example of your thoughtful and helpful contributions to education. I hope to see more of your posts on Edutopia in the future.

Your former and very proud teacher

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Teach Your Kids to Code: 6 Beginner's Resources for Parents

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Blogger Matt Davis has collected some handy resources that parents can use to help their kids start learning about computer programming.

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Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

I'd also recommend getting involved in the Hour of Code: http://code.org/educate/hoc.

From the website:
Hour of Code is an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour.
You can also teach the Hour of Code all year-round. Tutorials will work on browsers, tablets, smartphones, or "unplugged."

From everyone I knew that did this in their class, they were very happy with it and it offered a way to make learning code a bit more recurring than just a one-lesson stint.

Also, my friend and educator, Sam Patterson (who wrote this post about Coding for Kinders: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/coding-for-kindergarteners-sam-patterson) also wrote this helpful post on how to get started with the hour of code: http://www.mypaperlessclassroom.com/2014/08/primary-teachers-learn-codin....

Enjoy!

JasonR's picture
JasonR
CEO of Ucodemy, Father of two and advocate for CS in schools

We are also working hard on finding, enhancing and creating new resources that teachers and parents can use to get kids involved with coding. Try out one of our free courses at http://courses.ucodemy.com

You can also sign up to try out Itch; our very own classroom version of scratch @ www.ucodemy.com/itch.

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7 Tenets of Creative Thinking

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Michael Michalko explains that everyone is an artist and that it takes belief and persistence to nurture this quality. He offers seven principles about creative thinking that he wishes he'd known as a student.
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zep's picture
zep
Education Specialist

#5 is a wonderful point, particularly when contrasted with the entire concept of standardized accountability testing & grading. Also appreciate the post-modern #7 which contrasts to any adult measuring and, or evaluating the work of a child. Of course an adult can facilitate, if only they would avoid the conventional school practice of evaluating students.

Marshall Barnes's picture
Marshall Barnes
Founder, Director of SuperScience for High School Physics

This article has so much misinformation in it that it would be shocking if it weren't for the fact that this is par for the course now in the creativity and innovation promotion industries. I say this as a recognized master in creativity who has applied advanced creativity techniques in 30 different fields and achieved 40 significant breakthroughs to date.

Especially misleading is #6 There Is No Such Thing As Failure. By over emphasizing the obvious - that you can learn from your mistakes, Michalko, makes the same error that those who promote "smart failing" do, - ignoring the costs of failure. Failure in all levels of life has varying degrees of costs and consequences. How many of you would want to drive a new car whose manufacturer had engineering teams that worked with this ethic? Well, it's happened and we know the consequences - property damage, injury and sometimes loss of life. Failure is to be avoided, learned from when it happens, yes, but not just so the same mistakes are not repeated, but that other types or errors can be avoided as well.

He also makes the critical error, that to me proves that he has nothing more than the most shallow and pedestrian understanding of creativity, and that is to cite the over-cited Edison quote about not failing, just learning how many thousand of ways something didn't work. What people don't don't hear much about is how much Edison hated Nicola Tesla, the true genius that gave us many other inventions among them, AC power (which Edison fought against tooth and nail and even killed elephants as a scare tactic against AC). Tesla would have flashes of inspiration, work out the details and then build his ideas which would work immediately. That's one reason why Edison hated him. Compare Tesla's method to Edison's and it's easy to see which is preferred. Edison's method wastes time, resources, and money as you go through trial and error over and over and over again. Edison had good ideas but he was not a creative genius because creative geniuses apply their creativity to all aspects of the problem solving process, a fact lost on Mr. Michalko. So failure is minimized and becomes less of a factor. It takes many Edisons to equal one Tesla, so many Teslas are worth far more than any number of Edisons. That's a lesson that companies concerned with innovation are learning now.

So how do you get more Teslas? By teaching people how creativity really works, where it really comes from and how to really use it. Something that it would appear is far above Mr. Michalko's pay grade and abilities...

If you want to learn more about how misinformation is running rampant in the innovation promotion industry (and obviously elsewhere), read my new blog - Paranovation at http://www.paranovation.blog.com .

Ed's picture
Ed
Cross-age tutoring program director with an interest in elevating youth

I think the discussion on Michael Michalko's point #6 "There is no such thing as failure" is a bit more nuanced than either Michalko or Marshall Barnes present.
Yes, there is such a thing as failure. It is when an idea does not work and you have learned nothing from the failure. In the lab, I designed all my experiments with components that ensured that no matter how the test came out, I would learn something that would inform an improved experiment next time. Even then, I would still have failures when, unknown to me, a formerly reliable reagent had gone bad or a machine was malfunctioning.

Has Edison been more of scientist, instead of a dogged technician, he would have analyzed his failures, drawn and tested conclusions, and arrived at successes with fewer trails.

I agree mostly with Mr. Barnes about Tesla with regard to his superior creativity. Tesla had the ability to hold and manipulate a large volume of detail in his head. By the time he resorted to experiments in the physical world, his success rate was very high because he had already conducted multiple experiments in his head, and eliminated the false leads. On one transatlantic cruse, he designed a dynamotor (if I recall correctly) in his head, complete with detailed dimensions. He passed on his design to his technicians when he landed, and the fabricated machine worked on first try. As a simple way to convey the concept of holding and manipulating multiple details in your head, try converting the fraction 13/37 into its decimal equivalent to fifteen places, while on a hike, all in your head.

The rivalry between Edison and Tesla displays a point not mentioned by either Michalko or Barnes. Emotions play a large role in hampering a person's creativity. This reduced Edison's ability to look at AC current objectively. I have seen a number of scientists get stuck on a pet idea and spend large parts of their careers passionately work to prove they are right, even when they clearly were not. Human emotion and reaction, displayed as an inability to change one's mind blocks creativity. Stated more positively, cheerful attitude, combined with passion and purpose supports a deeper mental nimbleness and creativity. This works for scientist and all creative endeavors.

Emelina Minero's picture
Emelina Minero
Editorial Assistant

Your quote about how Thomas Edison viewed failure reminds me of a quote form Michael Jordan, "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

I love your blog post and completely agree that "You construct reality by how you choose to interpret your experiences."

The first tenet, "You Are Creative," reminds me of the thought, feeling, action loop. You said that if people don't believe they are creative, they won't act creative, and they won't be creative. Their thoughts impact their feelings, which in turn impact their actions.

It amazes me how cultivating self-awareness impacts our ability to become conscious of our thought patterns, ones that impact us both negatively and positively, and how we can use that awareness to look at how those thought patterns/beliefs came to be, and either replicate them, or challenge and change them.

Suzanne's picture

Creative thinking can be encouraged through question stems and prompts. The revised Bloom's taxonomy model for higher order thinking develops an approach to thinking. It deepens understanding of a topic from recall, to analysis and application. I liked the second tenet how it takes work. Each idea begins a process for learning and how to learn leading you to the right answer.

anil kk's picture
anil kk
PhD Candidate in Science Education

Very important points to ignite and sustain creative spirit in the learner. Great presentation.

Sarah Z's picture
Sarah Z
Reading Instructor, Tutor and Blogger focused on improving education for struggling students

Thank you so much. What a beautiful article.
I began to read this thinking I would find ideas for me as a teacher; I ended up finding inspiration and encouragement for me personally instead.

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Will M.'s picture
Will M.
Traveling the world to learn about education

I think building students capacity to be creative is the great unanswered challenge in education today and I've struggled with how best to do it over the course of a year. It's not what you know anymore, it's what you can do with what you know. Also, should we seek to measure growth in creativity or does that undermine the effort by manufacturing a 'right answer'?

Sarah Z's picture
Sarah Z
Reading Instructor, Tutor and Blogger focused on improving education for struggling students

Thank you so much. What a beautiful article.
I began to read this thinking I would find ideas for me as a teacher; I ended up finding inspiration and encouragement for me personally instead.

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