As kids head back to school, educators are focused on how to best ensure students succeed in the classroom and in life. That involves students being stronger, wiser, and more powerful. New findings from a national survey released by whole child partner Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign show that breakfast is key to academic success and ensuring resilience for students. The findings also show that rethinking how we serve school breakfast is crucial to enhancing the educational experience for all.
Resilience—the ability of each of us to "bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful" (Nan Henderson); "not only survive, but also learn to thrive" (Bonnie Benard); or even to "bungy jump through the pitfalls of life" (Andrew Fuller)—is more than a trait: it's a process that can and should be taught, learned, and required. Being resilient helps youth navigate the world around them, and schools and classrooms are becoming more attuned to providing the cognitive, emotional, and developmental supports needed for resilience to prosper and grow in each of us.
"If children are given the chance to believe they're worth something—if they truly believe that—they will insist upon it" (Maya Angelou). With that in mind, what benefits do schools, classrooms, and students gain through increased attention to resilience teaching and development? Join us throughout September as we look at how resilience is best developed and whether it should be taught as a curriculum, integrated across all content areas, or organically developed by each student.
Post written by Homa Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global and a contributor to Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, a whole child partner organization. Originally published for Edutopia's back-to-school blog series.
My most important back-to-school supply doesn't fit in a backpack, and it can't be ordered online. It's as essential as a pencil, but unlike a pencil, no technology can replace it. In a sense, like a fresh box of crayons, it can come in many colors. Better than the latest gadget, it's possible to equip every student with it, and even better, when we do, it can transform our world.
To me, summer has always seemed to be filled with opportunities. The weather gets warmer, the days are longer, children are on break from school, holidays are celebrated, and families and friends gather and go on vacation. Summer, particularly for educators, is also a time to look back on the past year—and look forward to the coming one. What worked, what didn't, and what can be improved?
This summer I had the opportunity to observe educators in three settings as they extended their learning through professional development, connected and reconnected with each other and their passion for teaching, and strengthened their leadership skills. At ASCD's Conference on Teaching Excellence in June, attendees were driven to learn about the latest trends in education and engage in more in-depth discussion of proven strategies.
I've had ongoing discussions with artists and educators who aggressively advocate for high-quality human experience they believe they can provide via handheld tablets. The artist is adamant his iPad paintings are a valid form of art. The educator is touting his implementation of iPads to kindergarteners in a Maine public school district. In both cases, I asked the same question: "Are you advocating for this because it adds value, or just because you can?"
I ask the question because we live in the age of "just because I can." We don't need a reason. We simply push the boundaries of traditional assumptions. If I can do something that couldn't be done five years ago, it has de facto value and any arguments are invalid. In a virtual-world vacuum this may be true; in a vacuum there are no real-world implications. But as educators, there are very real implications for how we think about research-based learning theory and the integration of technology into learning. I continue to think through this personal pedagogical dilemma, as a veteran educator and techie. I write this as an open invitation to you to think this through with me.
Post written by Emily Cherkin for Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, a whole child partner organization.
When I tell people I work with 7th graders, I often hear, "Oh, wow. ... I'm so sorry!" They tell me how miserable their seventh grade year was. Sometimes I hear, "It takes a certain person to work with that age group..." before their voice trails off, uncertainly.
I am usually bemused, at turns slightly offended, but mostly, I understand. Because I remember how hard 7th grade was for me, which is exactly why I so love working with this age group now.
As a part-time teacher and a full-time mom, I have been working with 7th graders for the past few years on a curriculum focusing on media literacy and anti-bullying.
Our seventh annual Ethical Literacy Conference was smaller than usual, yet we came away from it with bigger ideas and a stronger sense of success than in past conferences. Our ability to maintain flexibility and respond to educators' needs was key to this opportunity and underscored the importance of balancing "structure" with "free flow" in the learning process.
Post written by Laura White for Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, a whole child partner organization.
Amy Potsou and Elizabeth Stickley have a unique approach to educating students. As 3rd grade and 1st grade teachers at North Glendale Elementary School in Kirkwood, Missouri, they strive to help children "walk in the shoes of others, even if they are of a different background," and "assist others because it's the right thing to do,” not because there's a reward. According to Potsou and Stickley, these are the characteristics of a leader—yet these skills are difficult to teach.