EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • Superhero Play? Not in MY Classroom!

    There are many Early Childhood programs that outright ban superhero play. It’s just too risky, noisy, and difficult to control. End of conversation. But, should it really be the end of the conversation? Are there elements of superhero play that are truly valuable and therefore need to be included as part of the preschool experience? Research indicates that play is a significant vehicle for development. It is through play that children experiment with behaviors and roles, explore differences be ...

    by Debra Pierce | easycda
    Tuesday, 09 February 2016
  • b2ap3_thumbnail_sunset.jpg

    I Wonder Where the Wonder Went?

    While attending a literacy conference last week, I listened to a speaker address the problem of curiosity and wonder disappearing from children as they spend time in school. It was not a new thought, of course, but one I had not revisited for awhile. I realized that, having recently retired, my perspective has changed considerably! While wonder seems to disappear during childhood... I can tell you that it does come back! One of the major changes retirement brought to my life was the sudden la ...

    0
    by Cheryl Arnett @c_arnett
    Monday, 08 February 2016
  • Quick Assessment for Differentiation - A Toolbox

    We've all been there: the post-observation conference. Much like a job interview, it can be nerve-wracking, especially for new teachers. Much like job interviews, there are a few questions that should be expected. One of those questions is: How did you group the students? This blog post will help you answer this question and look like a pro doing so. Years ago, when I first learned about differentiation, I assumed it was about providing different kinds of activities to meet the needs of diffe ...

    by Tom Mullaney @edtechtom
    Monday, 08 February 2016
  • Mattersmost6

    What Children Need Most is Adults That Understand Development

      The brain doesn’t fully develop until about the age of 25. This fact is sometimes quite surprising and eye opening to new parents and early years professionals who are interacting with children every day. It can also be somewhat overwhelming to contemplate. It is essential to realize however, that the greatest time of development occurs in the years prior to kindergarten. And even more critical to understand is that by age three 85 percent of the core structures of the brain are formed. ...

    by Deborah McNelis
    Monday, 08 February 2016
  • redfining

    Transactions and Transformation

    My wife is taking a professional development course this weekend, and one of her classmates (a football coach) brought up one the truly genius models of distinguishing between types of coaching. If you're active in the world of coaching, you may know these terms, but for the rest of us, let's talk about transactional and transformational coaching. The transactional coach is trying to make a deal. The athlete has a skill, a power, a strength that the coach needs to win games, so the coach work ...

    0
    by Peter Greene @palan57
    Monday, 08 February 2016
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.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the 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 Early Childhood

There are many Early Childhood programs that outright ban superhero play. It’s just too risky, noisy, and difficult to control. End of conversation.

But, should it really be the end of the conversation? Are there elements of superhero play that are truly valuable and therefore need to be included as part of the preschool experience?

Research indicates that play is a significant vehicle for development. It is through play that children experiment with behaviors and roles, explore differences between right and wrong, and use their creativity. Play also provides opportunities for physical activity and learning more complex skills like conflict resolution and controlling impulses.

From my own experience as a teacher (and a parent of three boys), some children have a clear need to play superheroes. I believe this type of rough and tumble play can support a child’s healthy development in several domains. It involves running, chasing, playful wrestling, planning, creating, and trying out leadership skills. Usually, there is also a good deal of negotiating between children taking place.

wrestle

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in What If?

b2ap3_thumbnail_sunset.jpg

While attending a literacy conference last week, I listened to a speaker address the problem of curiosity and wonder disappearing from children as they spend time in school. It was not a new thought, of course, but one I had not revisited for awhile. I realized that, having recently retired, my perspective has changed considerably! While wonder seems to disappear during childhood... I can tell you that it does come back!

One of the major changes retirement brought to my life was the sudden lack of need to multitask! Stress and pressure disappeared from my days and I now find myself with plenty of time to think about the things that interest me most! My senses are on overdrive as I spend more time outdoors and experience the changes that take place throughout the day, from the early morning frosty trees to the water dripping from the icicles and the sun as it reflects on the snow at sunset. As a teacher, I spent my days inside a building from sunrise to nearly sunset. My thoughts were driven by a need to meet curriculum demands and provide for the needs of my students. Balancing family, job, and other responsibilities directed my thoughts and actions in nearly every waking moment. 

Suddenly it seemed clear what happens to children. As preschoolers, children never need to multitask! They have no stress or pressure. They have plenty of time to think about the things that interest them most! Their senses are on overdrive as they spend more time outdoors and experience changes that take place throughout the day! Everything is new and interesting and captures their curiosity! Nearly every waking moment is spent in play and exploration as they explore the world around them.

School brings a change to that experience. The older children get, the more pressures are placed on them. Their lives are greatly controlled by school where they spend the greatest part of the day inside, being told what to think and what to do. Many children are even controlled beyond the school day as they are scheduled for sports, dance, and clubs! Evening brings homework for many. There is little time left for unstructured thought and feeling. Alarmingly, we are placing those pressures on children at a younger age than even before!

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Assessment

We've all been there: the post-observation conference. Much like a job interview, it can be nerve-wracking, especially for new teachers. Much like job interviews, there are a few questions that should be expected. One of those questions is:

How did you group the students?

This blog post will help you answer this question and look like a pro doing so.

Years ago, when I first learned about differentiation, I assumed it was about providing different kinds of activities to meet the needs of different learning styles. A valuable professional development session about differentiation corrected this assumption with a simple rule: An assignment or activity is differentiated when students are grouped based on assessment results. 

This places a huge burden on teachers if they want to make all or most learning activities differentiated. Teachers need almost constant formative assessment to guide differentiation grouping.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in School Culture

redfining

My wife is taking a professional development course this weekend, and one of her classmates (a football coach) brought up one the truly genius models of distinguishing between types of coaching. If you're active in the world of coaching, you may know these terms, but for the rest of us, let's talk about transactional and transformational coaching.

The transactional coach is trying to make a deal. The athlete has a skill, a power, a strength that the coach needs to win games, so the coach works hard to get that game-winning something out of the athlete. The work between athlete and coach is about developing a particular skill out of the athlete with the goal of wining. If the athlete loses the ability to produce, then the coach no longer needs the athlete, discards the athlete, replaces the athlete, moves on. If the athlete has no ability to produce, that athlete can ride the bench or just get off the team. If the athlete can't help get a W, the athlete is of no use to the transactional coach. For the transactional coach, the athlete is like a vending machine-- you put in money (time, attention) and out comes a treat (victory).

The transformational coach has a broader view. The transformational coach is there to transform the entire athlete, or as one site puts it "by giving individual consideration to all aspects of an athlete’s performance - skills and techniques, motivation and behavior, work ethic and sportsmanship - the transformational coach has the ability to positively affect, and to positively produce, the optimal sports performance of the entire team." The transformational coach looks to transform every athlete on the team (even those who cannot help get the W or have no future in athletics) into their best selves, to build up their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, and in the process teach them how to be their best selves not just in the midst of the contest, but in the larger world.

The transactional coach only needs to check the wins-losses numbers. The transformational coach looks at what kind of people the athletes are when they emerge from the program. For that same reason, it's very easy for a transactional coach to measure "success" with a clear, simple metric, while for the transformational coach, it's much harder to reduce "success" to a quick number.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Professional Development

jump

Recently, a mentor I respect greatly said something that deeply resonated with me. It was as if he said it just for me and me alone. He put words to something I often feel, but shrink away from admitting out loud. He declared, “I often feel weighed down by my own disappointment over my past failures to grow.” I thought to myself, “Yes… me too!” So often, I have such grand intentions about committing to growth in the form of stacks of enticing leadership books to read, professional journals to digest, podcasts to explore, and past professional learning experiences to revisit.

As I thought about my mentor's admission, I was reminded of this truth: Past disappointments don’t determine future outcomes. Anything is possible if I want to change! Andy Stanley wrote about truths associated with change in his book The Principle of the Path. Mr. Stanley explained, “To get from where we don’t want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction.”  

b2ap3_thumbnail_trailsadventure.com-1.png

As I continued to reflect on these ideas about change, I was inspired to brainstorm a plan to jump start my own growth and came up with the steps below. I hope these steps may help you on your own journey towards continual personal and professional growth!

...
Last modified on