EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

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    Sometimes The Best Part To Change Is You

    “When we change one part of the chemical formula, we change the nature of the results” - Stephen R. Covey Sometimes the best part to change is YOU. Last week, my students and all other chemistry students at my high school, took the stoichiometry test (the “stork llama tree” test according to my iPhone’s voice recognition :) and, as it happens every year, many did not complete all of the calculations, thus the test, in the time allotted for it. In our PLC meeting the next day, we (a pentagon ...

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    by Oskar Cymerman | @focus2achieve
    Tuesday, 09 February 2016
  • Moonshot

    5 Steps to Change in a Changing World

    Last week I had the privilege of joining over 5000 of my Independent School colleagues at the FISA Conference in downtown Vancouver. I found it to be an uplifting two days, but there was also an underlying call to action to all of the teachers in attendance. (I will get to that later) On my way home I was on the Skytrain and couldn't help but overhear three younger teachers talking about how they enjoyed the conference, but that they all still had a sense of being overwhelmed with all of the ...

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    by Michael Schultz
    Tuesday, 09 February 2016
  • MakingitWorkLarge

    Common Core and Content Can Get Along

    Not a day can go by without someone criticizing the Common Core State Standards or blaming the Common Core for all that ails our public education system. And while assessments are usually the prime target for Common Core haters, the standards’ emphasis on non-fiction texts have drawn greater scrutiny in recent months. No, I'm not going to (AGAIN) rise the defense of Common Core and all that it stands for. Instead, I’d just like to provide a terrific example of how an exemplary educator can us ...

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    by Patrick Riccards @Eduflack
    Tuesday, 09 February 2016
  • Superhero

    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 ...

    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 ...

    by Cheryl Arnett @c_arnett
    Monday, 08 February 2016
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Posted by on in Leadership

b2ap3_thumbnail_BestPart2-modified.jpg

“When we change one part of the chemical formula, we change the nature of the results” - Stephen R. Covey

Sometimes the best part to change is YOU.

Last week, my students and all other chemistry students at my high school, took the stoichiometry test (the “stork llama tree” test according to my iPhone’s voice recognition :) and, as it happens every year, many did not complete all of the calculations, thus the test, in the time allotted for it.

In our PLC meeting the next day, we (a pentagon of chemistry teachers) discussed how to handle this and opinions were divided. Two of us were willing to give students more time to finish. The other three chose to be hard asses. What I have decided to do, is to let my students finish the test, and if it took another hour to complete I was going to be a-okay with that. What can I say: I’m cool right?

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Posted by on in ShiftParadigm

Moonshot

Last week I had the privilege of joining over 5000 of my Independent School colleagues at the FISA Conference in downtown Vancouver. I found it to be an uplifting two days, but there was also an underlying call to action to all of the teachers in attendance. (I will get to that later)

On my way home I was on the Skytrain and couldn't help but overhear three younger teachers talking about how they enjoyed the conference, but that they all still had a sense of being overwhelmed with all of the things that teaching entails and feelings of guilt that they just can't do enough to feel like they are being successful both as teachers and as people. What I really wanted to do at that point was to interrupt them and add my two cents to their conversation. I don't profess to be any sort of expert, but I have worked at four schools and have learned from many excellent teachers and principals over the seventeen years that I have been a teacher. I think I have picked up a few tidbits over the years that might be common sense, but that I think some people might need to hear.

So, in place of interrupting random strangers on the Skytrain, I thought I would offer my advice here. First, an affirmation:

  • Teachers, you are doing good things for kids. I have been in a lot of different teacher's classrooms and what I can say is that, without exception, the teachers I know are influencing kids in a positive way. What that means is that you can let go of the guilt that comes with not being able to get to everything on your to-do list. As teachers, we could work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and would still find things to do. It is okay to let some things go. You are doing good for kids.

With that said, my one big takeaway from the FISA Conference was this: The world is changing. We are preparing our kids for a world that is changing rapidly and we have a moral imperative to change. I think many teachers find this overwhelming, so I would like to offer just a little bit of advice that I hope someone might find helpful.

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Posted by on in Common Core Standards

MakingitWorkLarge

Not a day can go by without someone criticizing the Common Core State Standards or blaming the Common Core for all that ails our public education system. And while assessments are usually the prime target for Common Core haters, the standards’ emphasis on non-fiction texts have drawn greater scrutiny in recent months.

No, I'm not going to (AGAIN) rise the defense of Common Core and all that it stands for. Instead, I’d just like to provide a terrific example of how an exemplary educator can use the expectations under Common Core, mix it with a non-fiction topic, couple it with student collaboration and teamwork, and produce a final learning experience that is a winner for all those involved.

Full disclosure here, I am completely bias. The teacher in question is my daughter’s third grade teacher. Earlier this school year, she had students work in pairs to develop “marketing” brochures for each of the planets in our solar system. Students did research and identified key facts. They organized those facts to make a compelling argument. They were then asked to present their findings as if they were travel agents, trying to convince families to visit a particular planet. Bunches and bunches of Common Core standards and expectations, all wrapped up in a project-based science lesson that demanded teamwork and critical thinking.

Here’s the brochure my daughter and her partner came up with. They were tasked with marketing Uranus, and played up the terrific aspects that a cold, ice planet could offer a little kid.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Early Childhood

Superhero

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.

...
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!

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