Friday, October 18, 2013

The brain in education... (40)

Here is your lifelong learner 'brain' hit list for the week:

1). 9 things educators need to know about the brain

2). Boys' and Girls' brain processing differs

3). Girl brain and boy brains: What educators need to know

4). The impact of writing on our brain

5). Left vs. right brain in which side are teachers?

1). A lack of sleep has a significant impact on one's ability to do many of what we would consider to be simple but yet essential tasks.

2). There are two brains and each is quite different from the other.

3). The girl brain and the boy brain have some significant differences that affect learning and affect brain development.

4). There are different stages and different compartments for memory.

5). The stressed student will perform significantly worse when compared to the student who is not stressed... especially over the long term.

6). Physical activity has a significant impact on overall brain activity and brain performance in the short term.

7). Different parts of the brain are engaged depending on the activity and the information that is being accessed in the brain.

8). Exercise affects the brain in a positive manner and impacts several of the most vital features of the brain.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Everything rigor and more!... (39)

Here is your lifelong learning 'rigor' hit list for the week:

1). 4 myths about rigor in the classroom

2). How to add rigor to anything

3). Rigor is not a four letter word

4). DOK stem questions to increase rigor

5). The rigor meter

Rigor is about quality, not quantity – Rigor is not increased by assigning more homework; it results from depth over breadth.

Rigor is for everyone – Rigor is not something reserved just for advanced students.

Rigor is about learning, not punishment – Rigor is about growth and success, not failure.

Rigor litmus test:

~ When you ask a question, do the students need to know just one piece of information or do they need to know several pieces of information to formulate their answer?

~ Can students look up and find the answers to the questions they are being asked by a simple Google search?

~ When a student finishes their work, do they get to do more of the same type of work or are they allowed to transfer what they've just finished into other content areas?

~ If you are absent, do the students have the proper support to continue working or does the learning come to a halt because you aren't present?

- Do you ask high level rigorous questions only then to allow low level less than rigorous responses? For example, a student responds with a 'yes' or 'no' response and then the teacher moves on, or a student doesn't know the answer, and the teachers goes to the next student. Rigor requires the teacher and the student to 'extend' the questioning and the answering beyond just the surface.

~ Do students say your class is hard because they haven't memorized all the dates, definitions, or names of the people involved? DOK level 1, basic recall and memorization, can be quite hard and difficult, but it's NOT rigorous.

**Please remember, you need to have DOK levels 1 and 2 before you can have levels 3 and 4, but if you only have levels 1 and 2, then you are shortchanging your students. Also, just because something is 'hard,' does not mean it's rigorous...

Rigor is not…
50 math problems for homework when fewer will achieve mastery.
More worksheets for the student who finished the assignment early.
Using a seventh grade text book with your high performing sixth grade students.
Covering more material in a shorter period of time.
Just for a select group of students.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

10 small ways to make a huge difference in someone's life... (38)

Here is your lifelong learner hit list for the week:

1). At the end of the day, send a short thank you or complimentary email to someone who helped you or did something great that day. For teachers, send a quick email or make a short phone call to a parent about their child. Bonus, do a hand-written personalized note and hand deliver it...

2). Find some information or resources for someone who you know is either looking for assistance or struggling with a particular situation. This may include finding someone else who excels in this particular area and asking them to reach out to this person to help them through this process.

3). Surprise a colleague and do something that is typically on their job responsibility list. This is only effective when the intent and purpose are to help. Don't use this as an opportunity to outshine or one-up, or you risk turning a positive gesture into a negative.

4). Stand up for someone who you know is right and struggling to make progress against the masses. This could be as simple as saying something publicly in a meeting or sending an email and including others on that email. The key here is to show your support and help to validate the points that are being shunned. Bonus, by doing this you may empower and embolden others who feel their voice is not being heard...
5). Commit to doing something in the future that will help someone to do something in the present. There are countless times when others need a little support and encouragement to get them over the hump of trying to do something or change something. Your gesture of commitment in the future is just what they need to get the ball rolling in the present.

6). Find something funny and share it with others. You can't ignore the power of laughter and when presented at just the right time, a good laugh is the difference between an average day and a great day.

7). Finish the task you said you would finish. You would be surprised at how often we say we will do something to only finish half of the promised task. Be the difference and go the distance by finishing what you said you would finish... this means a lot to people.

8). Present someone a challenge you think they can handle and would be excellent at overcoming. Present this challenge in a way that highlights the strengths of others, and remind them that you believe their skill set is perfectly aligned to tackling this challenge. The key here is to empower and send a boost of confidence to someone who may be lacking of late.

9). Start saying 'yes' and 'why not' more than 'no' and 'that's not possible.' Be careful with this, because if you always say 'yes' then you will become overwhelmed and over-committed. In the same breath, don't always say 'no' because you will become the person who nobody approaches with new ideas or possible changes. Help someone by embracing their creativity and innovation by giving them a green light.

10). Be yourself and don't try to be someone you aren't. Far too often we try to be who we think others think we should be, and in the end we ultimately disappoint both them and ourselves. Be yourself and others will be greatly appreciative.