A Teacher Like You

A lot of the time, when a child is considered at-risk, one of the reasons is that they might not be considered the brightest or the best or the most important of the group. They might not be on the honor roll or their parents aren’t around as much. They’re average students, and I think that, sometimes, we forget that everyone’s child matters. These are kids who aren’t used to hearing that they did a good job, or even being asked what they’re doing this weekend or whether they changed their hair. They don’t get a lot of attention.

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This kind of wisdom and insight is priceless.

Wanted: Time to Collaborate

Collaboration improves student performance.
A study [PDF] from the University of Pittsburgh found that fostering teamwork in schools improved student test scores.

Collaboration hones ’ skills.
Boston College professor Andy Hargreaves argues that we can’t make great schools just by hiring great teachers. If schools become spaces where teachers learn alongside students, both new and veteran teachers strengthen their practice.

Collaboration nurtures healthier school cultures.
Studies of teachers in both Massachusetts and Chicago [PDF] suggest that schools with collaborative communities also have higher teacher retention and and higher job satisfaction.
Read more: Wanted: Time to Collaborate — Medium
How about you: do you have time to collaborate?

The lessons I learned trying to teach my child generosity

what if the act of giving doesn’t come naturally or easily, but instead requires practice and patience?

It is true that giving can help strengthen relationships among siblings. Studies on human behavior by psychologists, anthropologists, economists, and marketers all find that gift-giving is a “surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping to define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends.” And it is the giver, not the recipient, who experiences the biggest psychological rewards from the exchange. The gift giver experiences positive changes in brain chemistry, an increase in endorphins and a feeling of euphoria during and after giving a gift. According to Jeffrey Froh, Psy.D., of Hofstra University, and Giacomo Bono, Ph.D., helping others and being generous are essential for creating grateful, connected children. Feeling connected to those they are helping leads them to develop and value social relationships. Within a family, where siblings often compete with each other for attention, such connections are essential for healthy family life.

This time of year is a good moment to reflect on the value of gift giving. Surprisingly, it can have more benefits for the giver than the receiver.

Numbers on stairs help kids learn to count

A simple but effective trick… that could fit into any school!

“…by placing the numbers on each stair, it gets them counting in their heads”

This is a great idea that is relatively easily implemented.

Helpful Ways Teachers Can Work With a Class Clown

They derail lessons, steal the spotlight and, to make matters worse, sometimes they’re actually funny. It’s not easy enforcing class rules when you’re laughing.

What if we looked at class clowns differently? What if, instead of seeing them as a nuisance, we saw them as gifted? A little misguided, sure, but still gifted.

Here’s another take:

It’s instructive to look at the situation from the student’s perspective. The truth is, when they make a silly comment, their intention isn’t to humiliate you. How you feel about it emotionally isn’t even on their radar. They just want to crack up their classmates. That’s it.

But when a student steps outside those boundaries to deliver an ill-timed one-liner, it can have the opposite effect. It can pull the entire class off task. It can cause silliness and excitability. It can encourage others to do the same.

One more:

“The biggest issue is a sense of self,” says Dr. Rama Pemmaraju Rao, a former assistant clinical professor of child, adolescent, and adult psychiatric medicine at the University of Alabama Medical School who is now in private and public practice in Asheville, North Carolina. “Kids are always evaluating themselves through others’ eyes, looking for positive feedback, and if they don’t get it, they compensate. If they have a talent for humor, that’s when they appoint themselves the entertainment committee.”

We want to know what you think! Do you have any tricks and insights into dealing with a class clown in a positive way?

Students Share How and Why They’d Change Education

From the wonderful MindShift blog from KQED:

Students have a lot of opinions about how their could better serve them. We just have to ask.

“I started my school year by asking my challenging my juniors with another essential question: how might we own and control our education? I’ve asked them to think about why they are still in school (they all know plenty of people who have dropped out or been pushed out of school), and what they want out of the valuable hours of their wild and precious life that they spend in our classroom. This resulted in a classroom manifesto, and in my serious consideration about how to radically individualize my class. It’s exciting and it’s dangerous, so, naturally, I’m digging it. I also want my beautiful young people to realize that, as 11th graders, they have more immediate experience and expertise in American public schools than any other young people, save the (frazzled, worried, ass-kicking) seniors. They have a lot to say. I am re-envisioning an important part of my work as being ways for other humans in the US to hear what our young people need, what they notice, and what they are thinking.”



Four questions that encourage growth mindset among students

When working with young people, choosing which behaviours to praise can have a profound impact. In one study, children aged one- to three-years-old who were praised for their effort were far more likely to develop a growth mindset five years later (pdf). This is because praising effort provides a template for young children to follow, whereas praising ability doesn’t give them any guide on how to behave next time.

Get students to spend a few minutes writing down how doing well at school can help them achieve future goals. Combine this with teaching them that their ability can be improved, and you have a powerful combination.

One popular theory, pioneered by Carol Dweck, professor of at Stanford University, is the idea of growth mindset. Dweck explains that some students believe ability is malleable and can be improved (a growth mindset), while others think it is set in stone, probably decided at birth (a fixed mindset). Evidence suggests that those with a growth mindset seek out feedback on how to get better, persist with work for longer and cope better with change – all attitudes teachers want to develop in their young charges.


How to build a better teacher: Groups push a 9-point plan called TeachStrong

The groups, organized by the left-leaning Center for American Progress under the banner TeachStrong, want to make the status of teachers an issue in the 2016 presidential race and in policy discussions on the state and local levels.

“We feel like this is the perfect time to bring people together who are hungry to turn the page on some of the contentious fights around testing and accountability,” said Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress. “What we need now is to focus on high-quality instruction, and there’s a lot of agreement that the way to do that is to get strong teachers in every classroom. We think this should be the next big reform in .”

A coalition of 40 education groups — including some strange bedfellows — is starting a national campaign aimed at “modernizing and elevating” the teaching profession.

9 Amazing Augmented Reality Apps for Teaching

The future of teaching is here and it’s free!

Augmented reality works well in schools because it brings close to real life experiences to the classrooms. It’s fascinating to see the faces of students when they have the opportunity to explore space, the human body, cells or chemistry elements. You appreciate how eager and engaged they become with some simple AR apps.

The plastic skeleton in the corner is still cool though.

Minecraft: The New Oregon Trail?

Popular game being used to teach children chemistry

The aim is to engage young scientists in a fun and interactive way.

Minecraft players use building blocks to create structure and landscapes.

“So why not molecules? We showed it to a class of children the other day and there were lots of wows and gasps.

“This just really grabs their attention. It is a really novel way of engaging them and delivering information to them.”

What do you think? Do video games have a place in the classroom?