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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Identifying Technology to Support Differentiation

Post written by Melinda Sota, Ben Clarke, Nancy Nelson, Christian Doabler, and Hank Fien

Educational technology is compelling, largely because of its promising capability in enabling differentiated instruction. In a classroom of 30 students with diverse abilities, technology can allow teachers to more effectively instruct students within this wide range. However, the promise of using technology for differentiation relies on a range of high-quality information used to (1) diagnose students' learning needs, (2) map those learning needs onto the program's objectives, and (3) evaluate the evidence for the program.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Gaming in the Classroom Can Be an Epic Win

Post written by Mikaela Dwyer, a journalism student at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. She considers herself a human rights activist and spends her time volunteering on campus and with various local nonprofits. After graduation, Dwyer hopes to join the Peace Corps and then become an investigative journalist for human rights issues.

Jane McGonigal - 2014 ASCD Annual ConferenceResearch has proven that children who play games have the opportunity to become great creative and critical thinkers as well as quick problem solvers, resourceful engineers, and empathetic individuals. For years, however, the media has tried to convince parents and educators that gaming is a way to escape real-life problems and a real waste of time. Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, held a session at the 2014 ASCD Annual Conference advocating that gaming can be an incredibly positive thing. It is our responsibility as the adults and role models in the children's lives, however, to focus on the benefits of gaming when talking to them.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Discover the Flip: Putting Learning at the Center of the Classroom

Flip Your Classroom - ASCD and ISTEPost written by Mikaela Dwyer, a journalism student at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester. She considers herself a human rights activist and spends her time volunteering on campus and with various local nonprofits. After graduation, Dwyer hopes to join the Peace Corps and then become an investigative journalist for human rights issues.

Both Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, authors of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student In Every Class Every Day, grew up in educationally privileged homes, so their homework struggles usually ended with a few simple questions for Mom or Dad. As educators, however, they realized that not every student has this opportunity; why are teachers sending students home with the hard stuff? In their 2014 ASCD Annual Conference session "Foundations of Flipped Learning," they explored the flipped classroom concept.

Flipping the classroom allows students to watch recorded lectures at home and work with teachers in class the next day. This way, students are able to actively learn with their teacher by their side, rather than stressing over homework because there is no one to ask for help.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Honoring Maya Angelou’s Call To Be Somebody’s Rainbow

Maya AngelouIn March 2013, Maya Angelou greeted 10,000 ASCD Annual Conference attendees in Chicago, Ill., with a song of hope and gratitude:

"When it looked like the sun wouldn’t shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the cloud."

It's not just that we have rainbows in the sky, but in the clouds themselves, she explained. So that even when it seems like the rain won't let up, we have something there to encourage us.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Meaningful Professional Learning: One School’s Story

Post written by Linda Ashida and Kim Miklusak

The most important aspect of professional learning is its relevance to the classroom: authentic topics and immediate usefulness to every teacher. The clearest way to make sure this is accomplished is to hand over some of the structure to the teachers themselves who can then learn from each other. At Elk Grove High School in Illinois, professional learning that started in small, interdisciplinary Peer Observation Groups (POGs) inspired schoolwide institute days that are completely staff-led—with support from the administration—and that have transformed the culture of learning to empower and energize each and every educator.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Supporting Readers in Science

Post written by Sarah Carlson, Deni Basaraba, Gina Biancarosa, and Lina Shanley

When most people think about reading in science, they think of heavy and densely written texts—the kind you find in science textbooks. Although textbooks remain a staple of science education, they—along with laboratory notes and scholarly reports—are notably lacking from the exemplar science texts referenced in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Rather, the Common Core exemplars include excerpts from articles in popular science magazines, manuals, procedural texts, and (at the high school level) primary-source documents (for example, an excerpt from a translation of Euclid's Elements).

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Getting Back to the Real Policy Basics

Post written by Howard Adelman, PhD, and Linda Taylor, PhD, codirectors of whole child partner Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA.

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model provides another opportunity to get back to policy basics.

A fundamental societal need is to end the marginalization (and ongoing fragmentation) of efforts to transform how schools address barriers to learning and teaching and re-engage disconnected students. To this end, our work emphasizes embedding all specific initiatives into a broad school improvement framework that can guide development of a unified and comprehensive system of student and learning supports. Such a framework enables using the growing interest in the "whole" as a catalyst to effectively weave together the full range of existing school-home community resources.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Engaging Curriculum: A Foundation for Positive School Culture

Post written by David Hunter

As a curriculum designer who advocates for project-based learning, I strongly believe that curriculum plays a major role in the school culture but can often go unconsidered when developing a vision around that culture. At first glance, curriculum and culture may seem to be separate issues, but when you look deeper, curriculum can be a foundation for the culture because it's representative of how students are interacting with learning on a daily basis. To that end, creating a positive school culture requires that students play a part in curriculum design and implementation.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Rethinking Classroom Pedagogy in the Standards-Driven Classroom

ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit ShowPost written by Amber Medin

The long-term benefits of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been touted by the academic community at large, yet it's often difficult to envision the light at the end of the tunnel when dealing with the demands and challenges of actual classroom implementation. Although these standards make it clear what is expected of students, many teachers are left without a road map explaining how to approach and properly convey this new material in the classroom.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Building Bridges to El Salvador: A Model Global Curriculum

Post written by Kerry Dunne and AnitaCristina Calcaterra

We are so proud of the Arlington, Massachusetts, global education unit of study on our sister city of Teosinte, El Salvador! But before you read about it from us, please let three of our 4th graders tell you what they have learned about Teosinte:


Arlington is a densely populated urban/suburban town bordering Cambridge, Mass. We house a diverse population that includes immigrants from all over the world, and our students range from children who have parents who are both professors to children who are non-literate, new arrival refugees. We would like to highlight our global education focused interdisciplinary initiative that could be replicated by any school or community with a sister city or partner school elsewhere in the world.

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