EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • Should We Allow Our Students to Cheat?

    The answer is a resounding, yes!  We should absolutely allow our students to cheat. Bear with me while I explain. As teachers we've all experienced the "class" discussion during which our five top students are engaged and contributing, while the others are slumped in their desk, playing with their pencil,doodling on their notebook or dreaming out the window.  So how can we engage all our students in the discussion? Well, first we have to set all students up for success by giving them ...

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    by Sharon Skretting
    Saturday, 28 March 2015
  • Buddies

    The Buddy System Overcomes The Bully System! Buddy Up Those Classrooms!

      There is nothing like your very own buddy. We can also have many buddies. Classrooms can be filled with buddies. Teachers, you can make this happen especially in the younger grades so that it becomes the “new normal” in our upper grades. It’s not too late in the upper grades but it is easier when it begins when children are basically color blind until they learn differently. Each child has a new buddy each week until every child has experienced each child in his classroom as his buddy. ...

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    by Karen Stone
    Friday, 27 March 2015
  • It's All About the Driving Question!

    It was a graduate course called "Technology-Assisted Project Based Learning" where I learned this phrase - the Driving Question. But should a driving question exclusively belong to Project-Based Learning or should it be embedded into any kind of learning? And, if yes, perhaps there are even more components that can be "borrowed" as well? Let's review Project-Based Learning first. Question 1: Define Project-Based Learning Answer: The key words for PBL are: innovative, intrinsic motivation ...

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    by Tsisana Palmer
    Friday, 27 March 2015
  • The Invisible People in Your School

    Right now, there are invisible people in your school. No, not some sort of ghosts like those who haunt people in books and movies; in your school are students who are “invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see” them for who they are (not unlike the unnamed narrator in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man who’s self-description is quoted here). They’re largely unnoticed, many are compliant, and all are disconnected. Some of them think this is the only way they’ll e ...

    by Aaron Hogan
    Thursday, 26 March 2015
  • Technology Resources for Busy Teachers

    After 17 years in the classroom, I understand how difficult it can be for teachers to keep up on the rapidly changing world of educational technology on top of all of the other responsibilities that come their way. That's why I’m excited to join EDWords to exchange ideas with fellow educators.  My goal is to share resources with everyone from the novice to the tech enthusiast.  I’ll share classroom tested technology resources that are intended to solve problems and make your life ...

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    by Nick LaFave
    Wednesday, 25 March 2015
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Posted by on in General

The answer is a resounding, yes!  We should absolutely allow our students to cheat. Bear with me while I explain.

As teachers we've all experienced the "class" discussion during which our five top students are engaged and contributing, while the others are slumped in their desk, playing with their pencil,doodling on their notebook or dreaming out the window.  So how can we engage all our students in the discussion? Well, first we have to set all students up for success by giving them something to contribute.  Letting them "cheat" before they share is a strategy  I have found to work like magic in my classroom.  In my classroom we call it "Treasure Takers!" and   here are the steps:

1. Hand out a venn diagram, chart, or series of questions you want them to fill in to get the discussion started.  Click on the picture  for a free versions of editable Treasure Takers activity sheets including: venn diagrams, and blank chart.  Just add your own labels and questions and your good to go!b2ap3_thumbnail_characteranalysis1.jpg

2. Give them a limited time (a few minutes) to fill in everything that they think they know about the subject/ concept/ question to be discussed.

3. Then tell the class that that when you say " Get the Booty! " they are allowed to wander around the room and "steal an idea from another person's paper, then come back, record it and steal again from someone else until you give the signal to come back to their ship by saying, "All aboard!"   Tell them they must be quiet to be sneaky as they "steal" other people's treasure.

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Posted by on in General

 

Buddies

There is nothing like your very own buddy. We can also have many buddies. Classrooms can be filled with buddies. Teachers, you can make this happen especially in the younger grades so that it becomes the “new normal” in our upper grades. It’s not too late in the upper grades but it is easier when it begins when children are basically color blind until they learn differently. Each child has a new buddy each week until every child has experienced each child in his classroom as his buddy.

Why does this work? The word buddy itself connotes friendship. The Thesaurus gives synonyms such as pal, playmate, companion, and partner. Wikipedia says you are one of a pair or a team. Well now, that certainly says a great deal for the idea that the buddy system can overcome the bully system amongst children of all ages.

The way this works is magic. I have witnessed it many times and teachers can not get over how something so simple can resolve many social issues in a classroom filled with diversity. My buddies all look different, feel differently and were raised differently. But they are my buds and so I too become color blind, diversity blind and open up to a great wealth of knowledge and understanding about the world around me. Classrooms are just small communities that mirror out global one. When children get to experience someone as their buddy, they become protective and more empathetic and that is where we are heading. You do not bully your buddy..you take care of him/her.

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Posted by on in Tools, Shortcuts, Resources

After 17 years in the classroom, I understand how difficult it can be for teachers to keep up on the rapidly changing world of educational technology on top of all of the other responsibilities that come their way. That's why I’m excited to join EDWords to exchange ideas with fellow educators.  My goal is to share resources with everyone from the novice to the tech enthusiast.  I’ll share classroom tested technology resources that are intended to solve problems and make your life easier, while increasing opportunities for creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration in your classroom.   My hope is that these concise posts will help teachers incorporate more technology in their classrooms, preparing our students to be digitally literate citizens.

Understanding that teachers are busy, I’ll share new EdTech resources with a brief description as to how it can help teachers improve instruction and student learning.  I hope you’ll follow these posts (you can subscribe below) and join the conversation in the comments.  I look forward to sharing and learning.

 

During presentations and workshops, I'm often asked how to edit YouTube videos (without the hassle of complicated editing software).  My first EdTech resource, TubeChop, is an easy way for teachers to put together the parts of a YouTube video they want their students to watch.  Read more below:

 logo-tubechop  

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Posted by on in General

b2ap3_thumbnail_Children-Modeling-Who_20150324-195718_1.jpg

When children are playing, it is a good time to see how they talk and treat one another. They model you! Children watch everything you do and then translate it into their language. They imitate you in their attempt to get ideas on how to connect,talk and get what they want from their friends. They watch your body language and your facial expressions. What kind of example are you providing for your children? Are they yelling, huffing and puffing, telling little white lies, and controlling what is happening?

I have watched children in preschool playing with their classmates and lo and behold I learn how they are spoken to at home, how the adults speak to one another and who controls what is happening in their homes. I have watched children in elementary classes out on the playground, playing a game and working as a team. I then learn how it is being done at home.

When children hit their teens, they begin to model their peers and want to portray those who seem to be popular and are getting the attention they crave. And we wonder why cyber-bullying is so rampant amongst this age group. We also haven’t been able to stop it.

I will take it one step further. Married couples more often than not model the relationship their parents had and so childhood behavior patterns continue and we pass them on from one generation to another.

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Video shared by on in Education Leadership

Continuous effort–not strength or intelligence–is the key to unlocking our potential.
– Winston Churchill

It's all about our students. We say this, we write this, we educators truly mean this! An example of how and why we all do what we do in education is captured in the video shared in this blog post. At Caruso Middle School in the Communications Media Arts class, teacher Julie Witczak engages, inspires, and empowers students each and every day!

 

In the video below, "Brothers" "...is a story told by an 8th grader about his 6th grade brother and the bond they have." I asked Julie to share with me the background from class about this awesome video project:

From Julie: "It actually started when we watched the movie "Front of the Class". I carried this piece over from Skills 4 Life because it is an inspiring movie about a man who has Tourettes Syndrome and it took him 25 interviews to get a teaching job.  At the end of the movie, we talked about abilities and I noticed that Jake didn't say much at all.  I approached him after and said "How come you didn't share?" He said sometimes it is hard to share because it can be emotional.  I said well you have a great story to share, maybe you should make a video so you can share your thoughts.  <strong>The assignment was for 8th graders to create a video that tells a story they want to share with the world.  They could really do anything and Jake decided to share his story.  The cool part is that three other kids were involved with it and needed no credit at all or to be featured in the video.  I was super impressed with them as most 8th graders enjoy their "stage time".   

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