Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What I Learned @teachSDA

Last night we talked about grades, they can encompass many things; from what a student should do to what they should know but can grades  be both? Check out the discussion at www.teachSDA.org and put your thoughts in @teachSDA on twitter.

Now, I have a bunch of great articles for your reading on this cold Tuesday!  Find a fireplace and a hot drink and enjoy:)

1. Does Spelling Count?
This is one of my favorite and least favorite questions all rolled into one.
As a science teacher, I gave an assignment to my students to create a children's book. "In your book, I want you to explain everything your readers have learned about the different types of clouds and how they relate to weather patterns." Before I even have the chance to hand out a rubric, no less than five children call out, "Does spelling count?!?" I am sure they're hoping for a simple "yes" or "no" (and more specifically a "no"), but this seems to be a teachable moment if I have ever met one. I'm going to seize it . . .

2. Travel the World from Your Classroom: Free iPad Apps for Virtual Field Trips
Not every school has the resources necessary to take their students on an airplane . . . or spaceship. The iPad can bring the world to your students' fingertips in ways never before possible.

3. Projects to Engage Middle School Readers
It's my fault. I'll admit it. During my eight years in the classroom, I ruined at least two amazing literary works by assigning horrifically dull reading projects. My only hope is that those middle school students, whose enthusiasm I quashed, found another way to become passionate about literature.

4. Bell Ringer Exercises
Because of pressure to teach bell-to-bell -- the pedagogical equivalent of force-feeding geese to make foie gras -- many classrooms now start with bell work, short exercises that students complete while the instructor attends to attendance and other administrative chores. Journal prompts and concept questions can focus students on nutritious academic content and initiate a positive tempo for the next 90 minutes of class.

5. Good-to-Go Projects for 2014
When teachers ask how to get started with project-based learning, I acknowledge the "front-loading" that's part of project planning. Before students enter the picture, teachers need to consider the learning goals of a project, develop an assessment plan, and map out at least a rough calendar of the learning activities that will support the inquiry process. Those details may change once students dig in, but having a plan provides a roadmap for the student-directed learning ahead.

6. Who learns in maths classes depends on how maths is taught
There are lots of ideas out there on what to do about this but little evidence to guide university mathematics educators grappling with new ways to teach an old subject to an increasingly diverse student body.

7. A Former Google Exec Reinvents Elementary Education By Putting An R&D Lab In School
Can this one-room school with a Silicon Valley approach scale up a more personalized model for educating kids?

8. Becoming Invisible In My Classroom
I’ve always thought a good teacher is like a good referee in sports: they are at their best when people don’t even notice them. In other words, if I’m doing my job well, students are learning without seeing me teach, hearing me teaching or even knowing I am teaching. If they are learning, I’m doing my job.

9. Resources and Lesson Plans for Social and Emotional Learning
Kentucky's Jefferson County school district shares details about administration, school culture, professional development, and curriculum -- materials that you may adapt for your class or school.

10. Five-Minute Film Festival: Nine Videos on Kindness, Empathy, and Connection
I was also thinking about how many of us are living out the paradox of being ever more plugged in, and ever more aware of what's happening in our community via social media platforms, while at the same time, face-to-face interactions are less frequent than ever before. We are in constant touch, but barely touching. Watching these videos made me remember the importance of re-connecting, treating people with kindness and respect, and being generous and compassionate to both loved ones and strangers.

11. A Principal's Reflections
Education is a reflective practice. This blog provides my views on educational leadership, effective technology integration, best practices, and creating a student-centered learning culture.

12. Teach Kids to Daydream
Mental downtime makes people more creative and less anxious.

13. 3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don't Leave the Church
It’s hard to sort through the various reports and find the real story. And there is no one easy solution for bringing all of those “lost” kids back into the church, other than continuing to pray for them and speaking the gospel into their lives. However, we can all look at the 20-somethings in our churches who are engaged and involved in ministry. What is it that sets apart the kids whostay in the church? Here are just a few observations I have made about such kids, with a few applications for those of us serving in youth ministry.

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