EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • Artificial Stupidity

    Facebook absolutely insists on showing me "top stories." Every time I open the Facebook page, I have to manually switch back to "most recent," because even though the Facebook Artificial Smartitude Software thinks it knows what I most want to see, it can't figure out that I want to see the "most recent" feed. Mostly because the Facebook software is consistently wrong about what I will consider Top News. Meanwhile, my Outlook mail software has decided that I should now have the option of Focus ...

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    by Peter Greene @palan57
    Wednesday, 24 May 2017
  • Sensei!

    Champions in school, champions at life. Respect. Thank you to our Sensei, master teacher for teaching us never-ending, continual improvement. “Kai Zen!” Karate classes, taught by Sensei, extraordinary meshing of kids and Instructor. Listen to the children with me, powering up their spirits with the sound of “Kiai”, sounds like kee-eye. Here we go! Outfits on, belts tied, spirits soaring. Saying no to bullies, but more than that. Ready to enhance balance, build muscle tone, follow direction ...

    by Rita Wirtz | @RitaWirtz
    Sunday, 21 May 2017
  • Foundation of Social-Emotional Learning

    Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, "Make me feel important."  (Mary Kay Ash) In educational circles today, I hear a lot about social and emotional skills, social and emotional learning, and so forth. Foundational for preschoolers to learn how to relate to the people around them and to begin to regulate themselves is a feeling of being valued and valuable. All children in our classes want to feel valued; they want to know (with the heart not the head) someo ...

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    by R Scott Wiley | @sxwiley
    Wednesday, 17 May 2017
  • pill

    Is There a Pill?

    "Mr. President, the pilot has announced he will be landing the plane in Dallas in ten minutes." "You know, I don't have a good feeling about this. Tell the pilot to turn the plane around and head back to Washington. Okay?" Such was a typical exchange between me and Luke, an eighth-grade special needs student. He usually provided the set up leaving me to improvise some witty response. Genuinely entertained and fully understanding my comeback, he did what any junior high student would do: he g ...

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    by Tim Ramsey | @PlutoTim
    Tuesday, 16 May 2017
  • Twitter logo

    Unfollow Me, Please

    It’s been very busy on my end over the past month. I released my second podcast, published my first flash-read on Amazon, and have crisscrossed the country. Despite all of the good stuff, those who aren’t fans of mine capitalized on some mistakes that were made under my watch. As a superintendent, the buck stops with me.  I am responsible for everything that happens under the time I am there. I’m also responsible for giving and getting the best possible education for students. I’m not pe ...

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    by Jay Eitner | @Jay_Eitner
    Monday, 15 May 2017
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Posted by on in Education Leadership

doctor and elderly patient

Over the weekend, I remembered a profound lesson my father taught me years ago.  As an eye doctor, he explained the shift he made after less than a year of practice.  In his eagerness, zeal, and knowledge, he shared that he could diagnose the patient's eye problem quickly by observation and begin thinking through the treatment process.  Often, he was able to determine the course of action without even talking with the patient!  This resulted in him being able to move more patients in and out of his office, so he could help more patients and increase productivity.

Yet, he came to realize that, even though he proved the necessary physical treatment of the patient's eye, he did not treat their human need to share their story.  Although he knew the necessary course of action to treat their eye, he deprived them of sharing the background on what occurred, their pain, and how it has impacted them.  My dad recognized the need to allow patients to share their story as part of their healing process.  Today, he is known not only for the precision and work he physically does to help heal others, but he is also esteemed for his compassionate heart and sensitivity to others.

I was reminded of this story at an annual retreat with the Worthington Resource Pantry Board Meeting.  As part of the visioning process, a facilitator asked a question that went beyond the physical aspects the pantry provides regarding food, resources, and training to those in need.  The facilitator asked the question: "How do you want clients to feel that are serviced at the Pantry?"

The members of Board all agreed it was a profound question - it isn't just about supplying physical needs to others; it's also about empathesizing with them and treating the whole person.  Our conversations lifted the tone of the meeting, as we talked about the need to provide dignity, hope, pride, welcomed, invited, and a sense of community to the question.

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Posted by on in Project-Based Learning

Screen-Shot-2017-04-04-at-9.06.15-PM.png

First, we kill our students creativity. Next, we ask them to be creative and wonder why they have such a hard time.

We always aspire for our students to move away from fact regurgitation and move toward higher level thinking and deeper understanding. When we ask students to brainstorm and generate ideas, provide solutions to problems, or to think and reason critically, we are really asking them to be creative. The sad truth is that by standardizing education we often kill creativity. The hope lies in the fact that creativity is an acquired skill that can be improved.

If we make a conscious decision to change things up in our classrooms, to change the way we educate our students, we can increase their creativity. With increased creativity they can innovate and be more successful.

The human brain is composed of gray matter and white matter. Gray matter stores knowledge and is used when we think. White matter is tissue through which the brain transfers and connects information. Scientific studies show that extraordinarily creative individuals have more white matter than others. This is good, because it proves creativity is something we can get better at.

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Posted by on in General

In-the-next-5-days.jpg

Sometimes the thought of right now can be overwhelming! We have so much going on in our lives that we feel we cannot add one more thing to our already full plates.

I did not write this post to convince you otherwise. I wrote this post to suggest a different way of thinking about things that pushes tothe side the right now mindset.

Because let’s be honest.

Right now is scary! And when we put right now demands on our brain it usually reacts in one of two ways. And I am not fond of either one.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

alg classroom kids

The list of consequences for kids forced to sit too long is a lengthy one. Among other things, sitting is now considered as detrimental to health as is smoking (the human body was built to move!). Research also has shown us that sitting increases fatigue and reduces concentration, neither of which is an optimal condition for learning. And we all know that young children need to physically experience concepts to best understand them. So, when I tell you that too much sitting in classrooms also leads to an inability to master body and spatial awareness, you might think that it’s no big deal, considering the other consequences.

But let’s ponder it. As adults we use our body and spatial awareness to navigate through the world. We can (usually) walk down a crowded sidewalk without bumping into a lamppost, or maneuver our way around trees on a crowded ski slope. We find our way to work and through large shopping malls. We fit our cars into narrow parking spaces or garages and, more importantly, keep our cars from coming into contact with other cars, people, or objects. We understand the social customs that dictate we not be like the “close talker” depicted on an episode of Seinfeld. We understand that some people do not want to be touched. And when a hug or a handshake is appropriate, we’ve learned how strong and how long it should be.

These are lessons that cannot be learned by sitting at a desk. Like so much else in early childhood, body and spatial awareness must be experienced and practiced if they’re to develop fully. When a baby is born, we realize she doesn’t come equipped with a perfectly functioning proprioceptive sense (awareness of her body in space). That’s why we play “I’ve got your nose,” “This Little Piggy,” and knee-bouncing, lifting, and spinning games with her. But when she starts navigating her way through the world via crawling and walking, the only consideration we give to her spatial sense is whether or not she’s going to bang into the coffee table. And if she doesn’t – or doesn’t continually – we take for granted that she’ll be able to successfully navigate her way through the world.

And maybe she will. But we’ve all had children in our classes who line up too closely to one another, and who bump into everyone and everything. We’ve all had children whose desire to “crash and go boom” overrides any respect for personal space. Who hug or tag or poke too hard. Who view themselves as clumsy or uncoordinated and therefore lack confidence in their physical abilities. And many a child has shown up in second or third grade not knowing his elbow from his shoulder, or unable to distinguish the difference between a lowercase “b” and a lowercase “d.”

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Statistics and family studies provide us with some answers to why some dads will never see the inside of their child’s classroom. One in three children don’t have a father present in the home. That’s a little over 24 million and the number is growing.

Some dads, for various reasons, have learned to mistrust schools. They may have had a rough school experience themselves with teacher or administrators who were less than supportive. Other dads could feel wary of stepping into an active dad role due to present or past issues with the law or substance abuse. These dads may even get to a point where their self-esteem bottoms out and they feel they have nothing left to give their children.

If a dad is working all day, he may not have the opportunity to spend time in the classroom. Teachers will see him briefly at the beginning or end of the day, as he drops off or picks up his child. But, if a carpool line is in place, he may only be a face in the car window.

There is also still a stigma attached to dads who are actively involved in their young children’s education, especially for those dads whose own father was not an active participant. I think this is diminishing, but there is still the lingering belief that a mom holds the primary role of involvement in a child’s early education. It is important that we, as teachers, ensure this next generation of children understands that the early childhood environment is for everybody.

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