Post written by Jill Bass, director of curriculum and teacher development for Mikva Challenge's Center for Action Civics. Connect with Bass by e-mail at email@example.com. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.
Every teacher has at least a handful of moments with students that make him or her think, "This is why I became a teacher." One such moment for me was on a campaign trip with about 60 students in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2007.
Post submitted by whole child blogger Caroline Newton, a sophomore at Temple University. Newton is studying journalism and writes for Jump: The Philly Music Project magazine.
"The goal is to create an environment that is meaningful, challenging, and in which the students' minds are actively engaged," said Rick Smith, author of Picture This! and Conscious Classroom Management.
Smith not only presented his teaching style, but he also used that approach to lead his ASCD Annual Conference session, "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lecture." He encouraged the crowd to applaud whenever they felt the urge, especially because movement increases circulation to the brain, making you smarter.
Post written by Naomi Thiers, associate editor, Educational Leadership
What would it take to make all the children we serve strong readers?
It's a bold question to ponder as you prepare for the coming school year. Sadly, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, U.S. students are not all strong readers. But authors in ASCD's Educational Leadership (EL) summer issue, "Strong Readers All," share stories of how they successfully helped all learners improve their reading skills—by using nontraditional approaches at every grade level.
Post submitted by whole child blogger Paulina Malek, a senior majoring in magazine journalism at Temple University. She hopes to report on poverty, race relations, and animal rights issues in the future.
Educators often worry that what they teach goes in one ear and out the other, but the right language can help produce a more engaged and efficient classroom, said Jenny Edwards in her ASCD Annual Conference session "How to Talk So Students Learn."
Creating a learning environment that conveys excitement, relates content to students' lives, and makes students feel comfortable and intelligent will engage students in the lesson and help them internalize the information.
My name is Sandi Lauzon and I am the vice principal at Byrne Creek Secondary School responsible for technology. I try to attend the Computer Using Educators of British Columbia (CUEBC) conference every year, as it is without a doubt the best way to connect with like-minded educators who ultimately leave you inspired by the techno-risks they have taken in their classrooms. Their stories of innovative practices always start with a passion to shift learning and teaching in a new direction, but more often than not they include bureaucratic hiccups; creative work-arounds; young heroic teachers willing to take risks; and students who adapt, engage, learn, and, ultimately, teach us all.
At the end of the conference, I like to mill about and catch up with colleagues from other districts. With my iPad in hand, I asked one of the board members how the iPad Inquiry project was going. CUEBC lends out 11 iPads to teachers to use in their classrooms for a month at a time, and I had been following the project online. As it turned out, the iPads did not have a home for the following six weeks and I left the conference with them and a lot to think about before Monday morning. In my role at Byrne Creek, I had already been looking at how the iPad could be used with our English language learners, and now we had the opportunity to justify a purchase of 20 iPads if this pilot project was successful. All we needed was a passionate teacher with the skills to move beyond the apps, who could embrace the iPad as a powerful tool for student learning and was not afraid to jump in and explore the potential of the iPad as means of engaging, creating, and communicating.
Helen Erickson, without dipping her toe in to test the water, accepted the challenge and jumped right in. Here is her story.
Meeting students where they are is key to their social, emotional, and academic success. A piece of this puzzle is to allow them to be empowered in the learning process. We want to ensure that we are teaching the whole child and providing each student a learning experience that meets his personal needs. Who knows the child better than herself? Students are aware of their likes and dislikes, their own opinions, the things that they feel confident with, and the things that challenge them, as well as the dreams they have.
Sometimes we need to step back, let go, and empower our students to take charge of their own learning. The following five strategies will prove to be powerful when utilized with any age.
At the Institute for Global Ethics, we call it Ethical Fitness: an approach and process to help young people and adults internalize ethical values and frameworks for critical thinking about ethics. Like physical fitness, we believe Ethical Fitness comes about through discovery and constructing knowledge. We discourage a didactic approach to ethics because it risks reducing a deeply meaningful topic to one that is dry, passive, and boring. It's also ineffective.
Post submitted by Tim Magner, executive director of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), the leading national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. Magner has had an extensive career in education, serving most recently as the vice president of Keystone for KC Distance Learning as well as the director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education. Follow P21 on Twitter @P21CentSkills.
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has spent nearly 10 years bringing together leading education, business, and nonprofit organizations to provide a unified framework defining what students need to know and be able to do, not just to succeed but to lead in the 21st century. By defining success holistically as the fusion of both knowledge and skills, P21's Framework for 21st Century Learning is focused on preparing students for college, career, and citizenship. The Framework includes the 4Cs of creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking and problem solving, together with life and career skills and a mastery of technology, media, and information.
To many students, school is just a place they go. How do we create engaging learning experiences that make school more personal for them? Students need to be motivated in their learning before they can apply higher-order, creative-thinking skills and, ultimately, be prepared for their future college, career, and citizenship success.
Post submitted by Teri Dary, cochair of whole child partner the National Coalition for Academic Service-Learning (NCASL) and service-learning consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. At NCASL, she leads collaborative efforts to advance academic service-learning in the school setting among state-level service-learning experts. Connect with Dary through the NCASL website and follow her on Twitter @NCASL_TeriDary.
Service-learning engages students in powerful ways, helping them to increase their academic engagement and performance, civic engagement, and social-emotional learning. Students connect to the community and their classmates in ways that are far more powerful than simple cooperative learning. And by applying their knowledge and skills to solve actual community problems, students experience the real-world value of what they are learning in school.