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Reading Books Still Rules: What We Talk About When We Talk About Books
best practices Reading Books Still Rules: What We Talk About When We Talk About Books The Irish Times recently reported on a new book by Leah Price, What We Talk About When We Talk About Books. She found that reading actual printed books, ink on paper, was more impactful and more enjoyable to students and people in general than electronic equivalents. Here are some highlights: continue reading September 19, 2019
best practices Content vs Skills: Knowledge is the Key to Education It seems strange to make a case for knowledge-based education in schools. Many of us grew up thinking that schools were where you went for knowledge. Supermarkets were for food. Playgrounds were for fun. Movies were for escape. And schools were for knowledge. But that hasn’t really been the case for a long time. continue reading August 18, 2019
Content vs Skills: Knowledge is the Key to Education
Dog School
best practices Dog School It’s a well-known fact that we don’t deserve dogs. As a species, they are far in advance of human beings in all the values we most prize and seldom achieve: courage, loyalty, unconditional love, patience, resilience, perseverance, I don’t know where to stop. But we are fortunate in that by some quirk of evolution, our two species, human and canine, have been linked together for thousands of years (no offense to cats, but it’s as well known a fact that felines barely tolerate us). Maybe what we’ve been leaning away from since the dawn of civilization is what makes us most human, animals. continue reading June 30, 2019
best practices Kobayashi Maru We live in a super competitive world. And we push kids on to that race track at an early age. School has become, for many, less about learning and more about winning. We win school when we get an A—and we really win with straight A’s. A 4.0 cum isn’t even good enough. We expect kids to take extra AP courses and get that 5.0, a perfect SAT or ACT score. High grades—best colleges—highest paying jobs—happy life. We implant this idea that life can be undefeated. Yet, we know it’s a) not true and b) unnecessarily stressful. Although failure is a dirty word, maybe giving kids experience with something that will confront them with failure in their lives will help them be better prepared for it. continue reading June 13, 2019
Kobayashi Maru
Learning Styles Are Learning Preferences
best practices Learning Styles Are Learning Preferences There’s been some controversy lately about what has become a common practice among educators. In several studies, including recent reports by the British Journal of Psychology and American Journal of Education Psychology, there was little correlation found between the self-proclaimed learning styles of college students and their performance on corresponding tests. People who identified as “visual” learners, for example, did not do better on visual tests than people who identified as “verbal” learners. continue reading May 24, 2019
best practices Three Ways to Assess Without Test Stress Quizzes, games, and short tests to measure comprehension can be helpful to the teacher and fun for the students. But, when it comes to a summative evaluation of student work we often feel stuck with a long test about facts and/or a five-paragraph essay. Long tests do nothing but measure how many facts students can jam into their heads for a day or so before everything is forgotten. Essays are better—if the student is a verbal learner. If not, they just create stress and mental pabulum dripped onto the page or screen. There are other ways to assess how well students are incorporating information and demonstrating understanding. continue reading May 16, 2019
Three Ways to Assess Without Test Stress
What's the Question?
best practices What's the Question? What if I told you that asking questions is the single most important skill we can teach students? Aren’t questions the key to developing critical thinking skills and to writing with depth and complexity? What is all inquiry-based learning based on if not asking questions? continue reading May 10, 2019
best practices What Leonardo Taught Me About Teaching Techniques in one field can be applied to another. In Michael J. Gelb’s book, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, he finds life advice in the Renaissance master’s notebooks that, with a New Age spin, he repurposes to help everybody maximize the genius within. Taking one from Gelb and adding a couple more that I found in Leonardo’s work, I’ll boil it down to three nuggets. continue reading May 10, 2019
What Leonardo Taught Me About Teaching
The Middle School Brain
best practices The Middle School Brain It’s a mess. A young child’s brain is like a tree growing tall and filled with beautifully colored leaves. Then at 11 or 12, a storm hits, shaking the tree, stripping the leaves, cracking the branches, and twisting the trunk. That’s the middle school brain. continue reading May 4, 2019
best practices Discovering Midgard I was a wild child, too restless for my school in the rough streets of Brooklyn, and I spent more time in the principal’s office than in the classroom. In the fourth grade, functionally illiterate, I earned special placement—in the corner of the class. My teacher, Mrs. Coleman, dropped a stack of comic books next to me and told me to make something out of these. continue reading April 17, 2019
Discovering Midgard
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