EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • stop bullying

    Nipping Bullying in the Bud

    I don’t know about you, but when I think about bullying in school, I tend to think about older kids. You know, middle school tough guys and mean girls. But I recently had the privilege and the pleasure of interviewing Blythe Hinitz, co-author of The Anti-Bullying and Teasing Book, and Jill Berkowicz, whose thoughtfulness and wisdom has made her a frequent contributor to Studentcentricity, and the topic was the prevention of bullying, beginning in preschool. When I asked Blythe why we had to ad ...

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    by Rae Pica | @raepica1
    Monday, 27 February 2017
  • GHOJONES.jpg

    7 AM

          Why on Earth would anyone do a Google Hangout with students at 7 am? Well, before you begin jumping on my case about the fact that students need more sleep and that their optimal thinking times are later in the morning, let me explain.  First, know that the class I did the Google Hangout with was in a different time zone than me. Second, I was the one in the 7 am time zone. Not them. It was 9 am where they were. The class I had the honor of speaking with, not to, ...

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    by Jon Harper / @Jonharper70bd
    Saturday, 25 February 2017
  • Don’t Ban the Smartphones – Ban Boredom

    Smartphones and tablets appear in the classroom news almost daily, but seldom in a positive context. Cyberbullying, sexting, binge gaming, social media addiction – the focus is too often on the downside of modern technologies. The most intuitive response is to stir clear from all that, just to be on the safe side, thus inevitably making it “a boring side”. We say “prevention”, but what we often mean is “total ban”. Well, an ostrich attitude has never led to anything good. KEEPING UP WITH THE ...

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    by Jana Rooheart | JRooheart
    Thursday, 23 February 2017
  • children singing

    Only a Moment Ago

    My elementary school music teacher, Mrs. Erdle, encouraged us all to join the school choir. I loved music (and still do), so I jumped at the chance to have an extra hour of singing at the end of the day every Friday. I was the only boy in the entire sixth grade who signed up. Mrs. Erdle rarely used the textbook containing old standard compositions like “Hot Cross Buns” and “Frere Jacques.” Instead, she introduced us to some of the “hip” new music of the early seventies from new acts such as T ...

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    by Tim Ramsey | @PlutoTim
    Wednesday, 22 February 2017
  • quiet students

    Quiet or Compliant?

    Recently, I read a study about the importance of the practicum experience for pre-service teachers (Leko and Brownell, 2011). Reflecting back to my own experience reminded me that, first of all, I am closer to retirement than the dawning of my career, and second, times have certainly changed. My practicum focused on maintaining control. Control meant that learning was happening in your room.  Old school evaluations focused on students in their seats, quietly listening to the words magical ...

    by Gina Taylor @RLTaylor94
    Tuesday, 21 February 2017
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Posted by on in Education Policy

When I send my children to school, I imagine that I am sending them into an environment where caring professionals are encouraging and challenging them to learn new ideas and engage in new experiences, anxious to open my kids' eyes to new possibilities. I am counting on teachers to provide understandable connections to what the kids already know and help them create a bridge to their future studies. Fundamental to the teachers' efforts, I imagine, is an overarching concern for my children's well-being.

So I confess I am baffled by the silence from teachers, when it comes to the health risks caused by daily classroom screen time.  I would have expected educators to clamor for more information, call for medical and scientific support, and rush to mitigate the situation once they learned that daily use of digital devices poses serious health risks to their students. But that hasn't happened, despite all the media attention and medical research that has recently been made available.

And the research is clear: daily computer use damages children. Myopia tops the list. The USC Roski Eye Institute, in its largest and most recent myopia study, showed that daily screen time is the likely culprit for childhood myopia doubling in our country.

Retinal damage (which can lead to macular degeneration and blindness) is next. Prevent Blindness America and voluminous medical researchers report that children's eyes absorb more blue light than adults: the damaging HEV rays go straight to the back of a child's eye.

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

letter flashcards

It’s becoming more and more commonplace to see programs using flashcards and worksheets in their attempt to jumpstart literacy development. These early academic activities are touted as best approaches and provide tangible take-homes for anxious parents who don’t want their children to “get behind.”

Unfortunately, what’s really important to early literacy is largely being overlooked and the best opportunities to make learning matter are going unnoticed.

These programs need to stop the nonsense and expense of fancy and unnecessary academic curriculum. Instead, there needs to be a focus on just 5 things, using an approach that is age-appropriate, meaningful, and purposeful to young children.  Research tells us that these 5 are the best predictors of early literacy:

speaking to child

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Posted by on in Tools, Shortcuts, Resources

Screen-Shot-2017-01-19-at-4.24.19-PM.png

Videos can be a great way to deliver content learning to students. But how do you leverage video instruction to maximize learning? After all, school isn't the movies.

EDPuzzle

I use EDPuzzle to prep videos for instruction. You can sign up for free as a Teacher, upload and trim YouTube or other videos, and insert questions (quizzes) or prompts for students to answer or discuss during the video. Students sign in with a Join Code you give them or via their Google Classroom email.

EDPuzzle.png

I recommend trimming videos to less than 10 minutes and include a question/prompt every 2 minutes or so. For example, I used a 5 minute video today and included 3 discussion prompts in it.

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Posted by on in General

b2ap3_thumbnail_Thank-you.jpg

I am a teacher. For over three decades, I have taught in the public school system. Most of the teachers and administrators with whom I have worked have been focused on what is good, what is right, what is important for the students in their charge. The number one priority for all has always been the well-being – present and future – of the children who grace their classrooms.

Our system is not broken. We are not broken. Like any organization, there are areas that require attention, that demand improvement. But our system does not need to be demolished and buried. The work that we do must not be vilified.

I have two college degrees in education. I know educational theory and practice. I live it every day. I have seen programs come and go and come back again in a shinier package. I have watched as experts with little or no experience in this field craft legislation and directives that are meant to guide my instruction. I have watched as their solutions to correct the ills of this system crash and burn. Then, with my colleagues, I have endured the wrath of scorn for the failures produced.

Yet we stand strong and show up again and again, day after day to greet the children in our classrooms. We are not broken.

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Posted by on in Education Technology

In 2009, I attended the wedding of a good friend who wanted to wear a bow tie to the ceremony. He was opposed to wearing a clip-on but could not tie a bow tie. He told me he learned to tie it by watching YouTube. That resourceful friend is the first example in my memory of someone using YouTube to learn something new.

Today, it is well understood that YouTube is a great platform for learning. The iconic Crash Course channel has more than five million subscribers and teaches multiple subjects. TED-Ed makes high-quality short animated videos about many topicsThe Great War posts weekly videos about what happened in World War I exactly a hundred years ago in addition to many single-subject special episodes. By the time the channel is complete, it will be a massive open online course (MOOC) that gives learners an exhaustively deep understanding of World War I. Much like my friend learned how to tie a bow tie on YouTube, my wife and I learn how to make delicious meals from the Edgy Veg. One last example to drive this home - a family taught themselves how to build their own home by watching YouTube!

So Who Goes To This Website That Teaches People So Much?

The middle school, high school, and college students we teach don't just like YouTube - they are addicted to it. One study found 85% of Americans aged 13 to 24 regularly watch it and two-thirds of them say they "can't live without it." You can read the full report which puts average YouTube viewership for 13 to 24 year-olds at 6.2 hours a week, for yourself.

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