Sunday, November 13, 2016

10 thoughts on school culture:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Our kids need different, not more...

We've all been there and we've all done it.

As the teacher, we teach something but the students don't understand it.

In our minds the material and skills are quite simple and straight forward, but for some reason the students just aren't grasping the information.

Our natural instincts take over and we do what makes sense to us...

Maybe if I talk louder and more slowly and repeat myself 4 times the students will understand it.

Maybe if I give more homework problems for practice the students will eventually work themselves into understanding the material.

Maybe if I explain it a few more times the information will begin to sink in.

And then... with all these maybes, we still don't see results.

So, then we do once again what makes sense to us...

Let's repeat all those maybes because something's bound to stick if we do it all again.

It's like a bad recurring dream and we've ALL been there and we've ALL done it.

As educators we tend to believe that kids need 'more' of whatever we are doing if it's ever going to make sense to them.

So we give them more... and more... and more... more right up until the kids are disgusted and we the educators have forgotten why we are even doing what we are doing.

The more we give the further our students get from actually understanding or mastering the skills.

Let's ditch the 'more' and start focusing on ways we can get the same information or skills across 'differently.'

Our kids don't need more of something they don't understand... they need what they don't understand presented differently.

Oh, and while we are at it, let's commit ourselves to allowing our students to have a voice in determining what different might look like.

You never know, their version of different just might make all the difference...

Monday, October 24, 2016

10 thoughts to get you thinking about #education...

Friday, August 12, 2016

10 ways technology transforms student learning:


1). Technology elevates the depth and scope of learning that can occur in the classroom.

2). Technology brings relevance and a certain level of ‘freshness’ to the content.

3). Technology shifts the role of the educator and empowers students to take control of their learning.

4). Technology provides opportunities to amplify student voices and expand overall reach.

5). Technology connects experts and those ‘in the know’ to students and their learning. 

6). Technology increases the speed and accuracy of students getting feedback to further guide their learning.

7). Technology provides opportunities for students to get a more personalized learning experience.

8). Technology builds independence and capacity to be a self-learner.

9). Technology creates a platform for students to raise awareness about a cause and/or initiate change toward a cause.

10). Technology becomes a bridge between what kids hope for and what is currently possible.


Friday, July 8, 2016

10 things students want all teachers to know

1). Students want you to actually spend the time to get to know them...

Get to know your students by name as soon as possible. Learn something unique about them and find out what makes them tick. Students know when teachers don't know anything about them, so make getting to know your students a top priority.

2). Students want to have a voice in the learning process and want to share 'their' way of doing things...

Students want learning to be done 'with' them... not 'to' them. Schools are idea factories with a seemingly limitless amount of new and fresh ideas, so it's time we start tapping into that potential. Also, students bring unique perspectives and ways of thinking about life, so let them move up from passenger and let them drive the bus from time to time.

3). Students want to be treated with respect and dignity...

Students don't magically become motivated when they are embarrassed. They also don't appreciate it when you call them out to make a point and use them as an example. If you wouldn't like somebody doing it to you, then don't do it to your students.

4). Students want to be 'appropriately' challenged with meaningful and relevant learning experiences...

Students learn pretty quickly the differences between meaningful and productive work and mindless busy work. Students want you to push and challenge them with learning that provides them the skills to succeed. Additionally, students want and need the necessary supports as they struggle and navigate these more challenging learning experiences.

5). Students want educators to know that they too have bad and off days...

We all have bad days, and students are no different. Also, some students have quite a lot occurring in their lives outside of the education world. With that, education is at times understandably just not a top priority for them. Empathy and understanding go a long way in the classroom.

6). Students want their interests and passions to be infused into the learning that occurs in the classroom...

All students have interests and passions that go beyond the traditional school setting. It's these interests that students want you to integrate and combine with the learning that occurs in your classroom. When students are able to explore and further develop their interests while simultaneously meeting classroom learning objectives, great things are possible.

7). Students want educators to be truthful and honest...

When students feel you are being truthful and being honest, they can start to trust you. When students trust and respect you there are few things they won't do for you. This two-way street takes time to develop, but will yield significant dividends in the long-run.

8). Students want to be partners with you when it comes to the learning process...

Students don't want a 'teachers' vs. 'students' mentality in school. Students are looking to you for partnership and camaraderie in regard to learning and growth. It's this shift in traditional mindsets that really strengthens trust and collaboration between teachers and students.

9). Students want to know the work they are doing and the time they are committing to school will actually make a difference in the world...

Students spend a significant amount of time in school as they grow up, so it's only fair and appropriate that the time they spend and the work they do actually goes toward making the world a better place. The disconnect between doing something that makes a difference in the world and simply just doing something, makes all the difference.

10). At the end of the day, all students want to know their existence matters and that they are important...

Don't we all...?