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  • active learning - joy

    Learning: What’s Joy Got to Do with It?

     Music educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) claimed that joy is the most powerful of all mental stimuli. It’s an interesting contention, especially considering the many non-joyful stories I hear from educators and parents. Stories about children crying over tests. Children with so much homework that there’s little time for anything else, let alone joy, in their lives. Children discouraged by schooling as early as kindergarten. Children stressed out, burned out, acting out, and droppi ...

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    by Rae Pica
    Tuesday, 21 April 2015
  • I Am a Professional... Hear Me Roar!

    One of the biggest complaints most early care and education professionals have is the lack of respect for what they do. They are responsible for our youngest and most vulnerable children, whose bodies and brains are developing at an astounding rate… more so than at any time in their lives, except for, perhaps, prenatally. And yet, the important work of child care is passed off as insignificant– something anyone could do. Furthermore, it is often compensated at less than an oil change and child ...

    by Debra Pierce
    Tuesday, 21 April 2015
  • If Kids Planned the Lesson…

    If you were to plug “Great Lesson Plans,” into just about any search engine, all sorts of useful information for teachers immediately pops up. Instead of going online, though, how about thinking about a great lesson from a student’s viewpoint? One good way to find out what students really want is to simply ask them how they would like to learn the day’s material. Or, administer a quick survey (www.surveymonkey.com). Solicit student advice via exit tickets or suggestions dropped into a suggestion ...

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    by Julia G. Thompson
    Tuesday, 21 April 2015
  • Invitations to Learning

    My colleague told me I am a master at “Invitations to learning.” I was honored for her to give me such a compliment, and a little curious because I have never heard the term before.  She used the phrase to describe the way I encouraged a student (I will call him Ben) to join in our writing sharing activity (inside outside circle , I wonder painting).  I wonder… did Joan invent this phrase?  I thought, I’m not a master… you just happened to be here to see my Ben work throug ...

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    by Michelle Davies
    Sunday, 19 April 2015
  • b2ap3_thumbnail_Control-children.jpg

    Teachers Control Most Aspects of A Child's Day! There Is One, A Big One, You Don't!

      Children have the difficult task of remembering all the rules and limitations of their day. There are just so many dos and don’ts. My mother was the queen of those and it even came down to which doors to keep open and which ones must remain closed. Some things don’t change. As I walk into my mother’s house, I actually have to stop, re-acclimate myself to where I am so that I get it right with the garage door, then the den door into the main house. Last time she changed the rules. I cou ...

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    by Karen Stone
    Sunday, 19 April 2015
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Posted by on in What If?

 active learning - joyMusic educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) claimed that joy is the most powerful of all mental stimuli.

It’s an interesting contention, especially considering the many non-joyful stories I hear from educators and parents. Stories about children crying over tests. Children with so much homework that there’s little time for anything else, let alone joy, in their lives. Children discouraged by schooling as early as kindergarten. Children stressed out, burned out, acting out, and dropping out. Oh yes, and popping antidepressants at an astonishing and alarming rate. 

Sadly, none of that surprises me anymore. After all, what part of today’s emphasis on accountability and academics screams joy? How much joy comes from prepping for test after test? How much joy do we witness from students bent over desks and filling in bubbles? How much joy is experienced by students whose success, along with their teacher’s, depends on how well they do on those endless tests?

Granted, there isn’t a whole lot of research to back up Dalcroze’s contention – because there aren’t many researchers who would have considered it a worthy topic. But there is some, including a recent study by two Finnish educators, which points to several sources of joy in the classroom. They include:

active, engaged efforts from the children;

...

Posted by on in Early Childhood

One of the biggest complaints most early care and education professionals have is the lack of respect for what they do. They are responsible for our youngest and most vulnerable children, whose bodies and brains are developing at an astounding rate… more so than at any time in their lives, except for, perhaps, prenatally.

And yet, the important work of child care is passed off as insignificant– something anyone could do. Furthermore, it is often compensated at less than an oil change and child care workers aren’t expected to have as much in the way of training as the local oil change guy.

oil change

In spite of the continued dissemination of research indicating the critical importance of the first five years, there is still a huge information disconnect for the general public, parents, and legislators.

Traditionally, caring for children was considered “women’s work,” requiring no training, except perhaps being a parent, but that wasn’t necessarily a prerequisite either. “Babysitting,” as it was called, was done in the home for a number of children, while the caregiver went about her daily routines.

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Posted by on in Education And Training

If you were to plug “Great Lesson Plans,” into just about any search engine, all sorts of useful information for teachers immediately pops up. Instead of going online, though, how about thinking about a great lesson from a student’s viewpoint? One good way to find out what students really want is to simply ask them how they would like to learn the day’s material. Or, administer a quick survey (www.surveymonkey.com). Solicit student advice via exit tickets or suggestions dropped into a suggestion box. All of these are good ways to find out what your students would like to do in class.

At this point in the school year, though, we probably know our students well enough to be able to predict what they would do if they were given the plan book for a day. Here are some of the essentials that many students would probably like to see included in a great lesson plan.

1. An opening exercise that allows them to chatter away while making the transition to the day’s lesson. The exercise should also be interesting while reminding them of what they already know. Something like a Round Robin exercise, for example.

2. Silly videos related to the topic are always a plus. Even better are student-made videos.

3. Games of just about any sort—low or high tech. Board games are always good no matter what. Student made board games are the best.

...

Posted by on in General

My colleague told me I am a master at “Invitations to learning.” I was honored for her to give me such a compliment, and a little curious because I have never heard the term before.  She used the phrase to describe the way I encouraged a student (I will call him Ben) to join in our writing sharing activity (inside outside circle , I wonder painting). 

I wonder… did Joan invent this phrase? 

I thought, I’m not a master… you just happened to be here to see my Ben work through a difficult moment. 

Ben had been arguing with his table mate… "I didn’t push in the line, I was there first."

When I asked about it, the friend (call him Chris) defended himself and my Ben cried.

...

Posted by on in General

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Control-children.jpg

Children have the difficult task of remembering all the rules and limitations of their day. There are just so many dos and don’ts. My mother was the queen of those and it even came down to which doors to keep open and which ones must remain closed. Some things don’t change. As I walk into my mother’s house, I actually have to stop, re-acclimate myself to where I am so that I get it right with the garage door, then the den door into the main house. Last time she changed the rules. I could feel the anxiety build as if I was 5 years old once again. Oh my goodness, that was a long time ago and it is still there. I remember as a child thinking I had no freedom or choices. And not getting it right back then, caused many tears and bad feelings about who I was. Though this is a personal example, classrooms also have many dos and don'ts and teachers and aides have good days and bad days.  Some days those rules are flexible and some days, you know those days, they aren't.  A teacher I had in the 5th grade, I even remember her name, she would yell with such an attitude that I would hide under my desk.

Children believe that they have no freedom and very few real choices. As young children, there aren’t many. Yet, they do have one very important freedom, what they think and feel. Teaching children that they do have choices in small structured ways gives them the ability to become and feel an independence even at a very young age. They become aware of managing their emotional day in their thoughts and responses. They learn to choose to listen to negative messages or not too. They learn to feel hurt or think about whether that person may be having a bad day. Learning that it isn’t always about them is an important life skill. Our emotional well-being depends on this as it would have changed many of my belief systems along the way that certainly were embedded in that 5 year old emotional memory bank.

Choice is an important lesson to teach in the emotional intelligence spectrum. However, we tend to forget about those feelings and thoughts and make choices about peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and jelly. Though also critical in feeling less controlled, we must not forgot to teach the emotional choices even at a very young age.

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