Tagged “Creativity”

Thom Markham

How Project-Based Learning Educates the Whole Child

Over the past decade and a half, I've seen how well-executed project-based learning (PBL) can provide a joyful learning experience for students. Joy is not our number one standard, I realize, but when projects offer the right mix of challenge, engagement, and personalized support, blended with a motivating, meaningful learning experience that reaches deep into the soul, joy is the outcome. You can see it bubble up in the animated faces, big smiles, body language, and open-hearted response of students at the end of a good project. In other words, we've reached the whole child.

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Andrew Miller

Ensuring Critical Thinking in Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning (PBL) can create engaging learning for all students, but that depth of learning requires careful, specific design. Part of this engagement is the element of critical thinking. Complex problem solving and higher-order thinking skills, coupled with other elements such as authenticity, voice, and choice, create an engaging context for learning.

One of the essential elements of a PBL project is the teaching and assessing of 21st century skills, including collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The key takeaway here is teaching AND assessing. You cannot assess something you do not teach. How do we teach critical thinking? Through intentional instruction and intentional experiences. Therefore we need to make sure that the overall PBL journey is one that has both.

Here are some elements of a PBL project that you can double- and triple-check to make sure your students are critically thinking.

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Klea Scharberg

Encourage Kids to Ask Questions and Have Fun

In this month's Educational Leadership magazine, McREL's Bryan Goodwin shares research that shows when students are engaged in learning and can connect it to real-world interests and goals—intrinsic and extrinsic motivation—both standardized curricula and child-development needs are being served. As teachers, we can personalize curriculum standards to student interests and tap into their need for autonomy.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Using Engaging Learning Strategies to Connect School to the Real World

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Learning is active, engaging, and social. Students need to be engaged and motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order creative thinking skills. They are most engaged when they themselves are part of constructing meaning, not when teachers do it for them. By encouraging students to meet challenges creatively, collaborate, and apply critical-thinking skills to real-world, unpredictable situations inside and outside of school, we prepare them for future college, career, and citizenship success.

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we examine effective classroom instruction that embraces both high standards and accountability for students' learning. It can be project-based, focused on service and the community, experiential, cooperative, expeditionary ... the list goes on. These engaging learning strategies are grounded in instructional objectives, provide clear feedback, and enable students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civically. You'll hear from

  • Shelley Billig, vice president of RMC Research and qualitative research team leader for the Broad Prize for Urban District Excellence. She staffed the National Commission on Service-Learning as the research partner; helped found the International Research Association on Service-Learning and Community Engagement; and has conducted national, state, and regional studies on service learning.
  • Jason Flom, a 5th grade teacher at Cornerstone Learning Community in Tallahassee, Fla. He founded Ecology of Education as a collaborative, multiauthor blog in March 2009 to give voice to a range of professionals working in the field of education. Flom is also the moderator for Edutopia's Green Schools Group and is a member of ASCD's Emerging Leaders Class of 2010.
  • Dorvionne Lindsay, a senior at Quest Early College High School in Humble, Tex., winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Lindsay interns at a small surgical hospital and will be a freshman in the pre-med program at Texas A&M University this fall, beginning her studies to be a heart surgeon.

What are the current challenges and opportunities to successfully implementing and sustaining high-quality engaged teaching and learning?

Klea Scharberg

Throughout February: Engaging Learning Strategies

Learning is active, engaging, and social. Students need to be engaged and motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order creative thinking skills. They are most engaged when they themselves are part of constructing meaning, not when teachers do it for them. By encouraging students to meet challenges creatively, collaborate, and apply critical-thinking skills to real-world, unpredictable situations inside and outside of school, we prepare them for future college, career, and citizenship success.

Join us throughout February as we examine effective classroom instruction that embraces both high standards and accountability for students' learning. It can be project-based, focused on service and the community, experiential, cooperative, expeditionary ... the list goes on. These engaging learning strategies are grounded in instructional objectives, provide clear feedback, and enable students to thrive cognitively, socially, emotionally, and civically.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Teaching and Assessing Meaningfully in a Standards-Based World

Great Performances

Post submitted by Larry Lewin and Betty Shoemaker, authors of Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks, 2nd ed., where they tackle the sparkles and blemishes of performance assessments. With expertise in performance-based assessment, differentiated instruction, literacy, integrated thematic curriculum, and teaching comprehension with student-based questioning, they are influencing decision makers about both the importance and quality of great classroom-based assessments instead of high stakes standardized tests. Connect with Lewin by e-mail at larry@larrylewin.com and Shoemaker at dr.betty.shoemaker@comcast.net.

"Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked."

—John Dewey, Democracy And Education (1916)

We have some great news! The second edition of our book, Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks, has just been published. We would like to say that it is single-handedly bringing adequate yearly progress (AYP) to its knees. Well ... we can hope that it at least has influenced, and will continue to influence, decision makers about the importance of and quality of great classroom-based assessments as compared to high-stakes standardized tests.

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Klea Scharberg

How Do You Achieve Quality When You Have Less?

December/January EL

Many schools are experiencing shrinking resources, hiring freezes, and continued accountability pressures—and are responding by using time, material resources, and educators' skills in innovative ways.

With 85 percent of U.S. school districts anticipating cuts to their funding this school year, how can we serve our students and ensure that each child, in each community, is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

How Narrative Feedback Can Crush the ABCs

Post written by Mark Barnes, a veteran teacher and national presenter. His new book on what he calls a Results Only Learning Environment will be published by ASCD in 2013. Connect with Barnes by e-mail at mark@thepaperlessclassroom.com. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.

The argument about the value of grades is one that continually vexes many teachers and administrators. Once educators agree that grades do more harm than good, the debate typically turns to a discussion about what is an appropriate replacement for them. "Study after study has found that students—from elementary school to graduate school, and across cultures—demonstrate less interest in learning as a result of being graded" (Kohn, 1999). How, then, does assessment exist without numbers and letters?

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Lesson Planning for Engagement

Post written by Fiona S. Baker, a teacher educator with an interest in responsive classroom professional development. She has more than 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher, workshop presenter, school consultant, and faculty member at universities and colleges, and she currently teaches at the Emirates College for Advanced Education in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Connect with Baker by e-mail at fbaker@ecae.ac.ae. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.

Why is it that after all the teacher's diligent lesson planning, classroom learners are often disengaged and have little desire to apply effort? There may be myriad reasons for this, but lesson-planning principles and strategies can help draw in learners.

All learners implicitly ask four fundamental questions:

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Setting the Standard for Standards-Based Grading

Post submitted by Whole Child Blogger Matt Swift

At ASCD's Fall Conference in October, educator Mary McDonough used a variety of techniques while explaining the importance of formative assessment in standard-based grading. During her session, "Formative Assessment: Linchpin for Standards-Based Grading," McDonough had attendees share their own experiences and discuss the topic amongst themselves and presented a slide show with everything from detailed instructions to cartoons that related to her presentation. The discussion was lively, and the audience was engaged with the large amount of information they were receiving, but it all came down to one important point:

"It's good for learning," said McDonough of using formative assessment and standards-based grading. "And it's good for the students."

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