EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • Digital Devices in the Early Childhood Classroom

    Digital devices in the hands of our youngest learners can either enhance and help them develop  or hinder, possibly even hurt their development. The fact of the matter is digital devices are a part of our modern world. Even if a family chooses not to own a single device, their child/ren will still, inevitably, come face-to-face with a screen sometime in their young years. The truth is, if/when a child attends a school, they will have access to some version of a digital device be it a tablet ...

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    by Heidi Veal @VealHeidi
    Saturday, 23 July 2016
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    EQ(Emotional Intelligence) Dropping Dramatically Worldwide and In Classrooms Too?

              Six Seconds, an organization that promotes the awareness and development of EQ, has established through its research that the state of the global EQ has fallen significantly over the last few years. Technology and its continuous invasion into our lives is affecting families, businesses and classrooms with less face to face social and relational interactions. The irony of this is that it has also created us to be a global community with the ...

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    by Karen Stone @eqforchildren.
    Friday, 22 July 2016
  • Child Development

    Are Cultural Changes Changing Child Development?

    Traditionally, we have seen characteristic differences in the developing motor skills of boys and girls- usually evident beginning in early childhood. Boys tend to be ahead of girls in skills that emphasize power and force. By the time boys are 5, they can jump a longer distance, throw a ball farther, and run faster. Girls, on the other hand, have better fine-motor skills as well as gross motor skills involving foot movement and good balance. So, they are better at hopping, skipping, buttoning ...

    by Debra Pierce | easycda
    Friday, 22 July 2016
  • Truck

    A Toy Truck...

    If you have not heard about the shooting of Charles Kinsey while he was working with a 23-year-old autistic patient who was playing with a toy truck, read and watch the video before you proceed with this. Caught up? Okay good, let's talk. My friend Jon Harper wrote a piece recently challenging us to discuss the uncomfortable and begin to have meaningful dialogue with one another about the issues that are plaguing our nation. We have had many conversatio ...

    by Sean A. Thom | @SeanAThom
    Friday, 22 July 2016
  • spinning plates

    Prioritize Those Plates!

    I have always liked the imagery of spinning plates to share with leaders about our need to keep an eye on all the moving parts to the job, to allow others to help us, and to ensure we keep each of them spinning instead of falling off.  I think about this image constantly, and I have been amazed to see it come up recently in Twitter chats, conversations in my district, and in blogs. Trust me, I love the imagery of the spinning plates! So much so that I am even learning how to actually ...

    by Neil Gupta | @drneilgupta
    Thursday, 21 July 2016
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Posted by on in General

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“What I hear, I forget; What I see, I remember; What I do, I understand.”  - Attributed to Confucius

I’ve seen this quote displayed prominently in classrooms, used in books, mentioned in videos, and repeated by educators at professional development meetings. What is it supposed to convey anyway? Was the ancient thinker’s intention to express that seeing is a better way of absorbing freshly received information, and that doing something with it is even more powerful when it comes to internalizing it? Whatever the intended meaning, I believe that all of these, and other, ways of learning are important. Moreover, educational research suggests that we learn best in a multitude of ways, rather than by any one dominant means; and that different subjects lend themselves to different methods of delivery for maximized learning effectiveness, regardless of how pupils taking the subject prefer to learn.

Life is multimodal and so is learning. No single learning modality can be used effectively on a consistent basis. The ever-popular learning styles inventories and assessments are continually being used in the K-12 and higher education communities, even as they are repeatedly being proven inaccurate. The idea that each person has a preferred learning modality is not supported by evidence and is poorly correlated with achievement.

So why does this myth persist in the educational circles?

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Posted by on in General

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My daughter and I took a "Photo Walk" today. With camera and iPhone in hand we did our best to capture the world around us. Sometimes I see more when I am moving. Sometimes I see more when I am not. We were successful in capturing many of Nature's majestic beauties. From butterflies to flowers to palm trees to the occasional lizard.

But one scene in particular grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go. The thing is, I had walked past it many times before this day. And while it was always worthy of a glance, it had never gotten me to stop and stare as it did on this particular day.

I sat down beside it to get just the right shot. My daughter was forced to wait. Contrary to what the photo depicts, she survived.

The photo of the chess board above was what stopped me in my tracks. It wasn't the size of the pieces that caught my attention. I had seen large boards before. It was the color of the pieces that provoked me (I am aware that they are almost always black and white. But this was different).

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Tagged in: listening Race stories
Posted by on in Education Leadership

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Finding the inspiration for leadership can found in the most random of places. Of course, there are many classic books and reputable experts available for resources on leadership. School Administrators have access to an infinite volume of books helping us to sharpen our leadership craft. I have read and studied many of them. There are many books which have traversed this marrow of leaders struggling to inspire a team or organization to change. I have read many of these books to find that answer to securing a joyful buy-in from the members of an organization. Many of these books provide solid insight and steps to framing change. None has provided that all-inconclusive magic answer in my very humble opinion.

Sometimes I hit a leadership malaise and I yearn to find inspiration for being a better leader within the random places. Who would think that an album celebrating its 50th Anniversary would serve as a catalyst for courageous action as a leader? 

When I first heard “Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys, I was expecting my life to change. It did not. There was much hype surrounding this album back in 1990 when it was first released on Compact Disc. Paul McCartney had stated that this album moved him to tears and served as a direct inspiration for The Beatles to create their magnum opus, “Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band.” I was captivated by the fact that an album by The Beach Boys could move The Beatles. Surf Music serves as the baptism for a bar band from Liverpool? I was ready to step into that world.

I knew the hits off the "Pet Sounds" album: “Caroline, No,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B” and “God Only Knows.” All of those songs had resonated with me in some way. Hearing the album upon first listen I was expecting similar musical baptism as I had with something like “Sgt. Pepper.” It took a few years for that album to marinade within my soul for me to finally understand and appreciate it.

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Posted by on in General

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When I started as a brand new teacher in the Chicago Public Schools some 13 years ago I came across a poster on the wall of the attendance office, that explained the “Grade x 10” formula for assigning homework. So, a first grader should have 10 minutes of homework each night (1st grade x 10), while a high school senior ought to spend 120 minutes on his studies every evening following the same formula.

But why do teachers give homework? They believe it can help students be more successful as it allows them to practice what was learned and to remember what was taught. In addition, homework is somewhat of a holy grail in teaching. Teacher preparatory programs push it, textbooks are designed for it, and it is a deep-rooted tradition that allegedly promotes student learning outside of the school walls.

Kids ought to have homework, right?

Wrong!

There is a growing body of research challenging the effectiveness of homework. Alfie Kohn, the author of the 2006 book, Homework Myth, concludes that there is no evidence that homework benefits young children and questions the advantages it brings to older students. Kohn also points out that a 2011 study “fails to find any meaningful benefit even when the study is set up to give homework every benefit of the doubt.” In The Case Against Homework, Bennett and Kalish (2006) explain the negative effects the homework overload has on children’s achievement and development. And there is a plethora of other academic studies that have comparable findings.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

canary

Dating back to 1911, coal miners in Britian began taking canaries in birdcages into the mine shafts with them.  Canaries had a sensitivity to dangerous gases, such as carbon monoxide. Miners worked in areas that had potential for gases to be exposed after a mine explosion or fire. If the canary became distressed or died, miners knew to evacuate the mine shaft as soon as possible.  For the miner, they served as an early warning detection. Hence, the quote, "A Canary in a Coal Mine".

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As leaders, what are your canaries?  Like the miner, educational leaders need to also develop early warning detection systems.  Also, like the miner, early warning detection systems are created to avoid negative consequences to stay healthy, move towards the intended goals, and stay alive.  Too often, leaders find themselves in trouble that could have been avoided if only they had identified and observed early warning signs.  

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