Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sit still and be quiet... (98)

The cemetery method... everyone in rows being quiet and compliant:

Edutopia posted a blog post titled: 30 techniques to quiet a noisy class...

The question is... what's wrong with a noisy class?

Let's consider the question of 'should we be trying to keep our students quiet?'

What do we know about how learning occurs? What do we know about student engagement?

What do you think about this comment in response to the blog post?

When I was a beginning teacher I would have loved to have had this list of techniques. But then I learned the real answer to avoiding the problem of students acting up, talking, etc. It is not a matter of controlling the students at all.  

What about this article on 'why so many kids can't sit still in class?' Does this change anything?

What about this article written by a teacher who spent two days as a student to 'remember' what it's like to be a kid in school?

Think about what you want for your own child...

Think about how you want your next team meeting/faculty meeting conducted...

Think about how you retain and learn information best...

Think about real cognitive engagement vs. student compliance...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A new reality starts with a good question... (97)

What if schools didn't use grades and numbers to tell their story and instead used emotion like major companies such as Coke, Anheuser Busch and Google? via @gcouros

What if just one time a teacher said, "We won’t have time for Math today, we have too much PE to do?” via @shareski

What if the world as we know it ceased to exist and everything we thought was important became no longer important? Would our students still have the skills/ability to adapt and find success?

What if 65% of today's grade-school kids ended up working a job that hasn't yet been invented? (article written back in 2011...

What if what we call cheating in school is in fact in the "real world" called collaboration and maximizing time and resources? via @adambellow

What if schools had more open and shared learning walls/spaces like this? via @curriculumblog

Sunday, April 12, 2015

5 ways to gauge student engagement... (96)

Student engagement... a topic that is commonplace in schools and school districts around the world. The goal being that we want to have highly engaging classrooms where our students are intimately and passionately engaged in whatever task they are working on.

Engaged classrooms are where learning occurs and one of the defining characteristics of a great teacher is the ability to have his/her students engaged in learning.

But... student engagement can be a tricky and slippery slope at times because how we define student engagement can vary from educator to educator.

For example, when looking at a student who is working and doing what they are supposed to be doing, can we automatically assume they are engaged? Are they cognitively engaged or are they merely compliant and obedient? What about the kid who is passionately doodling and completely ignoring whatever the rest of the students and class are doing? Do we assume the student is not cognitively engaged because the student isn't compliant and obedient?

The point is simple... student engagement and the gauging of student engagement really aren't as easy or straightforward as some would think.

Also worth noting... most of our kids are truly engaged at most times during the day. The question is... are they engaged in what we are wanting them to be engaged in...

Having said all that, here are 5 ways to tell if your students are truly cognitively engaged in the learning occurring in your class.

1). Your students are asking in-depth questions that are specific and relevant to the learning occurring in your class and the questions go beyond simple yes and no answers.

2). Your students are curious about the topic and are expressing an interest in exploring the topic further beyond even your original intent.

3). Your students are taking the initial and baseline information and are creating and designing something completely different and completely new.

4). Your students are able to explain the purpose and reasoning behind learning what they are currently learning and see how it relates to their lives and the bigger picture.

5). Your students can clearly explain and articulate where they are in terms of their learning progression... they know where they are doing well and they know where they are still struggling.

What other signs and indicators would you say constitute true student engagement?

Monday, April 6, 2015

5 blog posts to get your wheels turning... (95)

1). Self Talk by Seth Godin:

2). The Death of the Final Exam:

3). Your Nostalgia isn't Helping Me Learn:

4). 21st Century Libraries Becoming the Learning Commons:

5). Why I Do the Same Student Projects Over Again:

What if...

And, being an innovator and pioneer won't always be received positively at first...