Tagged “Research”

Klea Scharberg

Ask Dr. Judy Webinar: What Neuro-Logical Emotional Interventions Promote Growth Mindset, Academic, Social, and Emotional Success?

Join renowned author, neurologist, and teacher Judy Willis for an exciting free webinar to learn which "neuro logical" strategies encourage information to pass through the brain's emotional filters to reach the most powerful cognitive control centers in the prefrontal cortex.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 3:00 p.m. eastern time
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Discover the the interventions that reverse negativity, promote positive attitudes, increase participation, and build student confidence to persevere through challenges.

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Klea Scharberg

Ask Dr. Judy Webinar: How Can Students Remember Next Year What I Teach This Year?

Join renowned author, neurologist, and teacher Judy Willis for an exciting free webinar on long-term memory strategies.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 3:00 p.m. eastern time
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Once information gets through the brain filters and becomes working memory, it needs further processing to become long-term memory. Strategies of mental manipulation are needed to develop neural circuits of long-term memories. This webinar will connect the up-to-date memory research from neuroscience, including discoveries about neuroplasticity and pruning, with classroom instruction strategies to promote accurate, durable, and efficiently retrievable long-term memory.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Schools Can Reverse the Sedentary Trend

Monica Lounsbery

Post submitted by Monica A.F. Lounsbery, PhD, professor and director of the Physical Activity Policy Research Program, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

When we were growing up, when someone said physical activity they usually meant exercise, or exercise and physical activity were one and the same. That was also a time when we walked or rode our bikes everywhere, at school we had daily physical education and recess three times per day, and playing outside with neighborhood friends was the best social opportunity a kid could have. We didn't have computers or cell phones, our families had only one car, and while we had television, we only had a handful of channels. Television programs were geared mostly to adult viewers and signed off in the late evening. We had cartoons, but they were only on Saturday morning until 10:00 a.m.

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Eric Jensen

How Important Is Exercise at Schools?

While many schools are reducing physical activity because of time constraints created by the No Child Left Behind Act, a large group of studies has linked physical activity with cognition.

The researchers have come at the topic from a wide range of disciplines. Some are cognitive scientists or exercise physiologists. Other advocates are educational psychologists, neurobiologists, or physical educators. The applied research, which compares academic achievement between schools where kids have physical activity and those where they don't, also supports the hypothesis.

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Klea Scharberg

Ask Dr. Judy Willis Webinar: How Can I Help My Students Remember What I Teach?

Join renowned author, neurologist, and teacher Judy Willis for an exciting free webinar on strategies to increase how effectively your students can store and recall content.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 3:00 p.m. ET
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The key to forming new memories and storing information is the brain's practice and experience recognizing and constructing patterns. The best glue to promote the consolidation of new information into short-term memory is activation of prior knowledge. In this interactive webinar you will take a journey through the brain and learn proven Neuro-LOGICAL strategies for building patterning skills, activating prior knowledge, and more.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

School Environments: Transforming Learning Spaces

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Schools that take a whole child approach to education are conscious of the intersection between physical space and the academic, social, and emotional development of students. The learning environments we create—the physical along with school climate—can either help or hinder learning, development, teaching, and collaboration.

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we look at what kind of school environments optimize the way students learn, teachers teach, and communities interact and hear from guests who are creating learning environments that facilitate the process of ensuring students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. You'll hear from

  • Bob Pearlman who shares his extensive experience and expertise working at nearly every level of the school transformation process. Extend your learning with resources on new learning environments to support 21st century learners. Download a free chapter on designing new learning environments, written by Pearlman, from the book Rethinking How Students Learn.
  • Kristin Cuilla, director of new school development for New Tech Network, who describes how schools and communities are rethinking teaching and learning to create and transform learning environments where students are highly engaged.
  • Luis Torres, principal of P.S. 55 in the Bronx, N.Y., and a 2011 ASCD Outstanding Young Educator, who will share how he has used nearly every part of the learning environment, from the halls and walls to the neighborhood and community partnerships, to revitalize the school, students, family, and community. Learn more about Torres' work in this interview:



What is your school doing to transform the learning environment in ways that make a difference for students' learning and development?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Setting Priorities for a New Era of Family-School Engagement

Adapted with permission from "A New Era of Family Engagement," by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement, 2010, The Education Innovator, IX(5), pp. 1–4. Copyright 2005 by the U.S. Department of Education. Originally featured in ASCD Express.

Research studies point to the need for many more comprehensive, strategic approaches to bringing parents and families into partnerships with schools for the purpose of increasing student achievement.

According to the National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group, a leadership collaborative that informs the development and implementation of federal policy related to family, school, and community engagement, there is strong research evidence that "parental beliefs, attitudes, values, and childrearing practices, as well as home-school communication, are linked to student success."

The Harvard Family Research Project, under the direction of its founder and director Heather B. Weiss, convened a group of key stakeholders in parent and family engagement—including the PTA National Office, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and the New York Community Trust—to create the Working Group. The group tasked itself with assessing the quality of available research in order to inform the emerging policy discussions about education reform under the Obama administration.

"There is a skyscraper full of research showing how parent, family, and community engagement is crucial to children's learning and school success from birth on," according to Weiss. Leaders in the field are using this available research, she further notes, to "redefine what effective engagement is and to guide the development of the policies and practices that will achieve better learning results."

Family Engagement Should Be a Key Reform Strategy

With the U.S. Department of Education and others "expanding their commitments and investments and thereby creating opportunities to build and integrate effective engagement," Weiss and her Working Group colleagues wanted to ensure that family engagement is viewed as a core innovation and reform strategy.

The Working Group began by enumerating a set of priorities to build a strong foundation for family, school, and community engagement, including

  • The need for a coherent and comprehensive strategy to guide family, school, and community partnerships;
  • A consciously designed infrastructure to elevate the essential nature of engagement as a reform strategy; and
  • Improvement of data systems in terms of timeliness, relevance to parents and families, and accountability for outcomes that strengthen the quality of family engagement.

Foster a Continuum of Family, School, and Community Partnerships

From their deliberations, a new definition of family engagement emerged—one intended to catalyze innovative national policies and programs to help ensure the highest quality of educational opportunities from birth through young adulthood.

Realizing that those opportunities will require partnerships among families, schools, and communities to promote kindergarten readiness, improve schools, and increase student achievement, the definition calls for

  • Shared responsibility on the part of schools and other community agencies and organizations that commit themselves to engaging families in meaningful and culturally respectful ways;
  • A continuum of engagement across a child's life, from Early Head Start programs to readiness for college by high school graduation; and
  • Reinforcement of learning in multiple settings—at home, in prekindergarten programs, in school and extended learning programs, in faith-based institutions, and in community programs.

In March 2010, the Working Group released Taking Leadership, Innovating Change: Profiles in Family, School, and Community Engagement, a compendium of 12 innovations in family involvement that are advancing student learning. As a group, the innovations "engage families along a continuum, drawing in hard-to-engage parents, ... supporting and reinforcing involved families, ... and empowering parent leaders to transform schools."

Taken together, the Working Group's examples represent a vision of family, school, and community engagement as a shared responsibility and a continuous process that takes into account the multiple settings in which learning occurs and the education process that goes from cradle to career.

Klea Scharberg

Middle Grades Roundup

Ah, middle grades ... a complex, challenging, and confusing time in adolescence. Also a complex, challenging, and confusing age for adults to support and develop! In April we looked at the crucial importance of this childhood stage. Supporting students as they transition physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially is key to ensuring that they are successful and healthy in high school and beyond.

Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests Al Arth, a professor of education at York College in Nebraska, and Caroline Bloxom, principal of Pocomoke Middle School in Maryland.

Watch how Pocomoke Middle School has created a safe and welcoming learning environment for students by combining a rigorous curriculum with strong emotional support for its student body.

Explore "The Transition Years" with ASCD's Educational Leadership, and learn what authors recommend as students move from early childhood into elementary school, through the middle grades, and then into 9th grade. Noted middle school educator Rick Wormeli shares five mind-sets that can help educators ease the middle school transition for their students.

Develop a "both/and" mentality to maintain an equal commitment to middle grades students' academic success and personal growth. Author Bob Sullo offers insight, experience, and resources to help educators guide students through the messy process of identity formation and create learning experiences that increase achievement and minimize disruptions to learning.

Support the social, emotional, and metacognitive growth of middle grades students with appropriate environments, strategies, and programs that provide structure for academic success. Find 12 positive and developmentally appropriate educational practices (and school examples of each) in author Thomas Armstrong's book The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice.

Equip students with skills for future success early. Guest blogger Jason Flom shares his school's two-part plan to ensure that students leave elementary school with some basic communication and leadership life-support systems.

Create a culture of caring for middle grades students and staff in your district like Hesston Middle School in Hesston, Kans., did through its Transition Buddy Program.

Build student capacity in the middle grades through project-based learning (PBL). Guest blogger Andrew K. Miller shares developmental stages in the PBL process that provide focused guidance and foster student growth emotionally, socially, and cognitively.

Understand the purpose of middle schools and the strategies that make them work. Louisiville, Ga., principal Samuel Dasher shares elements that can improve the success of any school.

Read what educators had to say about the middle grades 20 years ago in the December 1973 issue of Educational Leadership, "Middle School in the Making?"

Share what you love—and what challenges you—about teaching students who are transitioning from kid to adult.

Find ways to support and develop middle grades students from whole child partners the American School Counselor Association; Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning; Developmental Studies Center; National Association of School Psychologists; National Education Association; National Middle School Association; and National School Climate Center.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Highlighted in Edutopia's Schools That Work series, Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., developed its CARE for Kids social and emotional learning program to help students become better learners while developing the skills necessary to become self-aware, caring, and connected to others. Find tips, resources, and how you can replicate it in your school. In this video, students start the day sharing feelings with their peers.

In late March, ASCD held its 2011 Annual Conference in San Francisco, where sessions engaged participants in dynamic, diverse dialogues addressing the challenges of learning, teaching, and leading, including:

How do your school and community create learning opportunities that really engage and challenge students and move them to the next level in their academic experience?

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


Ontario School Tests Effects of a Later Start Time: Students at a Toronto, Ontario, school are earning better grades, coming to school more often, and getting more sleep since the school pushed its start time to 10:00 a.m. The school began starting school at 10:00 a.m. in 2009—later than the previous 9:00 a.m. start—in response to research showing that teenagers are predisposed to waking up later. Educators say they are encouraged by learning gains and improvements in students' well-being. (ASCD Worldwide SmartBrief, 4/28)

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

One Size Doesn't Fit the Middle Grades

We love a good one-size-fits-all approach. It's uncomplicated and seems to get to the heart of the problem without being bogged down in the details. It gives us focus and helps us know where to invest resources.

The problem is, issues involving humans are rarely, if ever, straightforward and simplistic enough for this kind of approach to be successful. In few cases is this truer than when it comes to the problems we face ensuring the success of each student during the middle grades.

Research has shown that no one factor, such as teacher support or parent involvement, is the key to a winning formula. While many factors are important, each one has only a modest effect. Only when multiple factors come together can we consistently and powerfully support students in making progress.

To further complicate education and development of students during the middle grades, most young people are consumed with trying to determine who they are, who they want to become, and how to establish their independence. Middle school educators are faced with droves of students who resist the one-size-fits-all approach at every turn.

Although we must attend to students' need for freedom, choices, and opportunities to explore and express their identities, these needs cannot trump the academic learning that must occur. To guarantee that we are successfully supporting, developing, and educating students in the middle grades, we must take a "both/and" mentality to maintain an equal commitment to their academic success and personal growth.

Throughout April, we're looking at what research and experience tell us about creating "both/and" middle grade environments where students thrive and educators maintain their sanity. Download the most recent Whole Child Podcast, read and post your comments here on the Whole Child Blog, and e-mail us resources and examples of promising practices.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month's newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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