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Posted by on in General

 

Let Freedom Ring in Your Classroom!

When the bell rings, is it the ring of freedom or that of condemnation for your students at the start of class? Freedom is something that we hold very dear to our hearts in this country. We wave flags to celebrate it, our soldiers sacrifice their lives to protect it, and we tout it as one of the most defining factors of the United States.

While I'll admit that intro was probably a bit much...I still want to ask you: Do your students have the freedom to learn in your classroom?  While visiting teachers in their classrooms, I still find instances of the traditional, outdated, and archaic model of instruction where a teacher is standing at the front of the room, delivering content (in their way) and expecting the students just to absorb it and grasp its meaning upon first listen.

This traditional model of direct instruction and ineffective lecture-based content delivery leaves almost no freedom for your students to actually learn. They just passively accept their fate as non-engaged, un-inspired learners. They have little say in what they are doing or when, and even less accountability for their progress toward mastery of the content. In order to change this, I'd like to share 5 ways to give your students more freedom in your classroom.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Anyone who has young children, teaches them, or has spent time with one knows that “Why?” is their master question. Once it starts, there’s no stopping it. Although adults do their best to come up with answers, the interrogation becomes an endless loop. When one question is answered, the next one comes right on its heels. And yet another and then another.

painful

Soon, the adult feels like there’s no escape. He looks for a way out… changing the subject or pointing out something new. But then the new direction triggers a renewed barrage of “Why’s.” Geesh. This can be tiresome. Nonetheless, it is incredibly important for children. New connections are being made in their brains at an astounding rate. They are trying to figure things out and understand how things work. They’re not only learning, but learning about how to learn.

Research tells us that children have a curious, scientific drive from the very beginning, even before birth. Those of us who have spent time around toddlers and preschoolers have seen them behave like little investigators. They are curious and observant, using all their senses to soak up information. When something new or unexpected happens or when they figure something out, they just light up.

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Posted by on in Education Policy

kids and computers

I've been concerned that teachers are not paying enough attention to the health risks they are imposing on our children now that schools require students to use digital devices every day, and at ever younger ages. Ironically, teachers themselves seem to be avoiding this critical education.

What happens to children who use digital devices every day? Researchers and doctors agree that the risks for permanent retinal damage, physical pain, myopia, headaches, anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes, addiction, and suicide all increase. Add in homework on a device, and you can add sleeplessness, and the well known host of ills that accompany it: more weight gain, more depression, inability to focus, irritability, hyperactivity and poor school performance.

Since publishing "First, Do No Harm," my first article on EdWords, I have not had much feedback from teachers. The health issues posed by digital devices were recently discussed on BAM! Radio Network, in a Rae Pica interview. I hope you'll listen to it. You can determine how free of known hazards your own classroom is, and what steps you can take to help protect your students.

It's important to note that these health issues expand into our children's overall well being, and how our kids are going to grow up. Here is an article from Psychology Today you might find illuminating. I wrote it for Dr. Victoria Dunckley's blog. Dr. Dunckley is leading the national conversation about the impact of digital devices on children's mental health and brain development.

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Posted by on in General

 audience3.jpg

He wrote the bright orange book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, yet the mistake he shared on My Bad was not considering his audience. Right now, you’re probably thinking, what the heck? I mean, the guy wrote a New York Times Bestseller called Contagious. Am I really buying that he didn’t know what his readers wanted? “He knows more about what makes information ‘go viral’ than anyone in the world,” said Harvard professor, Daniel Gilbert.

So, what happened? He admitted, his first book Contagious did quite well. His second, Invisible Influence, not as well. Even though he believed his second book was better written. But there was a major difference between the two books. Contagious had a clear audience and Invisible Influence didn’t.

Jonah spoke about the curse of knowledge and how it is easy to fall victim to this. He often lectures about the curse of knowledge and yet when it came to writing his second book, he was guilty. During the interview, Jonah quickly explained the curse of knowledge.

 

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Posted by on in General

 

So go figure. I find everything else but the missing socks. Where do those socks go, anyway? Now that I finally tossed the odd ones, will the mates turn up?

I’ve never been so organized as since I moved into this tiny (to me) house, used to bigger spaces and maybe grander places. But for two years I rented this vacation house, not by the beach but in glorious green South Eugene, to be honest, really for my big poodle, Gus.

Right near old growth trails and ferns, dog parks, lots of places to explore. Deer and turkeys abundant. This area reminded me of my old California property. I thought this might be home. Check it out awhile, give it a test, then maybe buy it.

Even has an old chicken coop on the side, but I was asked not to use it. Made no sense to me, since barking dogs all around far noisier than chickens. Little house on terraced property. Inside 70’s architecture, interesting features, woody. I really fit in here and mixed it up, a combo of Eugenian hip, with old Chinese antiques.

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