EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • b2ap3_thumbnail_test-taking-strategies.jpg

    What the Tests Don't Tell Us

      It is no secret that today's youth are tested and re-tested at astounding rates.  Ever since the implementation of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which mandated annual yearly testing for students in all 50 states as a means for measuring progress; teachers, parents, and students have been inundated with a kind of testing mania. Clara Hemphill in her op-ed piece Too Much for Testing to Bear states, "Parents, teachers, and certainly t ...

    0
    by Lindsey Lipsky
    Tuesday, 03 March 2015
  • Beach Balls or Raw Eggs? Sharing Sensitive Information with Parents

    Taking good, objective notes during observations is critical for documenting behaviors and development. A fair number of these to share at conference time can really make a difference. When approaching parents with a problem behavior or a concern about development, it is far easier to do so when you have a series of documented observations of the issue in question, rather than simply trying to give a verbal run-down of what you "think" is going on. Through the observations, you can approach par ...

    0
    by Debra Pierce
    Tuesday, 03 March 2015
  • Imitative art

    The Demise of Creative Self-expression

      Consider the following stories that I’ve come across in my years as an education consultant:  A teacher gave her class an assignment to draw horses. One little boy turned in a picture of a blue horse and received a grade of F. His teacher explained that horses are white, black, or brown. The little boy, who went home in tears, was confused because in his house there was a painting by Franz Marc in which three blue horses roam a brightly colored field. Teresa Amabile wrote ab ...

    0
    by Rae Pica
    Monday, 02 March 2015
  • Get Gritty and Grow

    Before, when I would hear the word 'grit' I would think of John Wayne. A strong, silent figure standing in solidarity with a cigarette and a 5 o'clock shadow; this embodiment of grit refuses to smile and takes no prisoners. Tough and strong, grit is essentially a cowboy. So how did my association of the word grit evolve from The Duke to the resilient five year old that still raises her hand after offering an incorrect answer? Let me explain... Duckworth says: "Grit is passion and ...

    0
    by Brianna Baranowski
    Sunday, 01 March 2015
  • Create Opportunities for Student Success

    When teachers at any grade level think about their classroom responsibilities, their focus is almost always on how to cover the mandated subject matter: the knowledge students should gain and the skills they need to develop. Although these are the key components of instructional planning, too often we neglect to build in specific ways we can help our students master that material as well as learn the behaviors that will enable them to become successful adults. We lose sight of the big picture: h ...

    0
    by Julia G. Thompson
    Sunday, 01 March 2015
View more blog entries
  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Recent blog posts

Posted by on in What If?

 b2ap3_thumbnail_test-taking-strategies.jpg

It is no secret that today's youth are tested and re-tested at astounding rates.  Ever since the implementation of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which mandated annual yearly testing for students in all 50 states as a means for measuring progress; teachers, parents, and students have been inundated with a kind of testing mania.

Clara Hemphill in her op-ed piece Too Much for Testing to Bear states, "Parents, teachers, and certainly the children are weary of the standardized tests that have sapped so much of the joy from the classroom and pushed so many teachers to replace creative, imaginative lessons with timid and defensive ones."

If you read the messages coming out of public schools today, more emphasis is placed on a child’s reading and mathematics score than on his or her own character, personality, and talents, despite a growing body of evidence that these characteristics are what truly count for life-long success.

Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of the Miami-Dade County School District in Florida states, “Right now, this year, we’re facing about 32 different assessments, different tests that our students will have to take, in addition to about 1,200 different end-of-course assessments mandated by both state and federal entities,” (Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour).

...

Posted by on in Early Childhood

Taking good, objective notes during observations is critical for documenting behaviors and development. A fair number of these to share at conference time can really make a difference. When approaching parents with a problem behavior or a concern about development, it is far easier to do so when you have a series of documented observations of the issue in question, rather than simply trying to give a verbal run-down of what you "think" is going on.

Through the observations, you can approach parents with sensitive information in a very objective manner, which gives you credibility and information that is hard for them to ignore or dispute. There should, of course, be as many postive notes taken about a child as there are ones less positive. If things appear too one-sided, a parent can be put off and less receptive to what you have to say.

teenage-girl-playing-voll-010

Think about your approach before the conference. Couch your concerns with examples of things you enjoy about their child and areas in which he is doing well. How you deliver the information you want parents to hear is as important as what you have to say, because one will enable the other. I always tell my students that sharing  information with parents is a lot like playing catch. When you have positive and happy news to share, it's like playing with a beach ball... it's big, soft, easy to throw, and catch.

holding-egg-637x600

...

Posted by on in What If?

 

Imitative artConsider the following stories that I’ve come across in my years as an education consultant: 

  • A teacher gave her class an assignment to draw horses. One little boy turned in a picture of a blue horse and received a grade of F. His teacher explained that horses are white, black, or brown. The little boy, who went home in tears, was confused because in his house there was a painting by Franz Marc in which three blue horses roam a brightly colored field.
  • Teresa Amabile wrote about her excitement in getting to the easel and clay table every day in kindergarten, where she had access to bright colors and big paintbrushes and many other art materials. Her excitement was such that when she returned home in the afternoons, she wanted only to play with crayons and paint. Although she didn’t completely understand, she was thrilled to one day overhear her kindergarten teacher tell her mother she had the potential for artistic creativity. The next year, however, art became “just another subject.” Gone was the free access to art materials. Even worse, in second grade, her class was given small reprints of painted masterworks and asked to reproduce them with their crayons. The children’s reproductions were then graded by the art teacher. (Teresa became an expert on the subject of creativity, but kindergarten was the pinnacle of her artistic career.)

  • A father described the wonder he felt when his young daughter, carrying easels, paintbrushes, and watercolors, accompanied him to a lake and, in moments, perfectly captured the essence of the September scene before them. His wonder turned to dismay, however, when she came to him for help in drawing a sailboat soon after she began school. Her teacher, it seems, didn’t care for interpretive artwork. Rather, the teacher insisted that the class create sailboats from dittoed triangles. (Years later, when planning her semester schedule, the young woman was appalled by her father’s suggestion that she take creative writing or beginning painting. Her response? “Who, me? Paint or write? Good grief, Dad, you ought to know better than that!”)

  • A first-grade girl who, when asked to draw a butterfly like the teacher had drawn on the chalkboard, happily put purple polka dots on her butterfly – and was promptly scolded. After all, the teacher’s butterfly had no polka dots on it.

I was reminded of these stories when I recently received an email from a preschool teacher who is a science specialist who visits many different schools and programs and says she rarely sees “child-designed art” displayed. Rather, the wall displays are full of “nearly identical flowers, snowpeople, mittens, etc., where each child has been guided to produce something like the teacher’s model.” Similarly, she told me, “cute crafts” are all the rage on Pinterest and early childhood blogs.

Why the inclination to fit children into a mold – even prior to today’s “standardized schooling?” Why do so many educators and parents knowingly and unknowingly discourage creative expression?

An early childhood professional once told me that he believed creative children were much more difficult to deal with, so he purposely tried to discourage creativity. I’m hoping that was an anomaly! I think the reason most adults knowingly discourage creative self-expression is because they see little value in it. But consider these key personality traits of highly creative people cited by Teresa Amabile in her book, Growing Up Creative:

...

Posted by on in Education Policy

Before, when I would hear the word 'grit' I would think of John Wayne. A strong, silent figure standing in solidarity with a cigarette and a 5 o'clock shadow; this embodiment of grit refuses to smile and takes no prisoners. Tough and strong, grit is essentially a cowboy. So how did my association of the word grit evolve from The Duke to the resilient five year old that still raises her hand after offering an incorrect answer? Let me explain... Duckworth says:

"Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.Grit is having stamina.Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out,not just for the week, not just for the month,but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint." 

Students with Grit

The hot topic in education as of late is teaching students to be more gritty. We are slowly backing away from adhering to each student's intelligence modality and guiding them to think outside their neurological comfort zone. Encouraging students to make mistakes and pick themselves up afterwards will build a more resilient and courageous child. Rather than driving towards a product of high achievement, we are now putting more thought into the process itself. To me, this enables students to learn from their mistakes and adapt to the post-education world with more ease. Angela Duckworth, the pioneer in 'grit research,' highlighted in her TED talk that grittiness is tied to endurance. 

In her research, Duckworth also noted grit to be a stronger indicator of success than IQ score. Students that refuse to give up or shut down after a failure are more likely to follow through on their goals and dreams. Embracing a growth mindset will also help students achieve more grittiness; when they understand that intelligence is not fixed, but can be developed, students are more likely to invest in their learning (and thinking).

...

Posted by on in What If?

When teachers at any grade level think about their classroom responsibilities, their focus is almost always on how to cover the mandated subject matter: the knowledge students should gain and the skills they need to develop. Although these are the key components of instructional planning, too often we neglect to build in specific ways we can help our students master that material as well as learn the behaviors that will enable them to become successful adults. We lose sight of the big picture: how we can create opportunities for our students to succeed.

The consequence of this simple oversight is not benign. Without including a variety of ways to help students learn to be capable learners, we make it difficult for them to learn and grow. The result is that teachers and students alike will face hours of frustration instead of academic success.

Caring teachers purposefully build in opportunities each day for their students to be successful. They use a variety of techniques, strategies, tips, and activities to appeal to as many students as possible. This multi-faceted approach to the complex and challenging problem of reaching and teaching students is a tactic that works for many successful educators.

Although every teacher’s classroom is as unique as a fingerprint, it’s not difficult to begin to purposefully include opportunities for students to be successful. To make sure that you have offered your students as many opportunities for success as possible, consider adapting some of these suggestions to meet the needs of your classroom.

1. Show students how to maintain an organized notebook. Keeping up with notes and papers is an important skill that can make it easier for students to succeed.

...