EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It!

    They say that necessity creates ingenuity.  There's truth in that.  I was terribly bored when the whole idea of teaching the curriculum through the narrative hit me.  As the drone of the “professional development” presenter faded into the background of my thoughts, I started to wish that I had chosen a different session. Suddenly, though, the thought struck me that I often do the same thing to my students.  I bore them.  If I wanted to learn from this session, then I nee ...

    by Sharon Skretting
    Saturday, 28 February 2015
  • flyonthewall3

    More Reflective, More Creative, More...

      ONE: This week I learned that another hallmark of a 21st-century education is “reflection time.”  Nancy Blair, Kelly Tenkely and Mark Weston, Ph.D. made me aware that taking time during class to reflect is now in vogue.  This came as quite a surprise, since “reflecting” during class was called  daydreaming when I was in school and riveted attention to the sage on the stage was the mandate. Sounds like a 21st-century education is much more fun. &n ...

    by Errol St.Clair Smith
    Friday, 27 February 2015
  • lyman

    Inspiring Innovation: The 2015 Palm Beach Technology Conference

    Registration ticket in hand, I excitedly entered the Auditorium for the 2015 Palm Beach Technology Conference.  The line-up of featured speakers was fantastic; Lodge McCammon PhD, Steve Dembo of Discovery Education and Cameron Evans from Microsoft just to name a few.  Breakout sessions included representatives from Apple, Google, Dell and many more.  It was amazing to directly engage in discussion with the leaders in technology.         ...

    by Andrea Lyman
    Thursday, 26 February 2015
  • "Wait Until YOU Get Alex Next Year!" How to Handle Unsolicited Gossip about Children and Families in your Program

    Regardless of whether it’s a family child care or a center-based program, human nature dictates the   tendency for breaking the code of confidentiality in order to share a juicy tidbit with co-workers. Maybe it’s something overheard in the hallway or a parent has confided an issue at home that may surely have repercussions on her child’s behavior. The next thing you know, this information is being broadcast among the employees. We’ve all been there… out on the playground or at a staf ...

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    by Debra Pierce
    Wednesday, 25 February 2015
  • "FLIPPED" Classroom Is All About The Relationships

    Most educators who consider flipping develop angst beginning with the fear of making videos. The concerns typically center on the time necessary to make the videos, the technological skills to produce the videos or the where with all to put voice and/or face on public display.  And of course there is the option to use the million or so videos that are already available through, YouTube, Vimeo, Teacher Tube, etc… But I shout from the highest blog post, IT IS NOT ABOUT THE VIDEO!!! While vid ...

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    by Brian S. Miller
    Wednesday, 25 February 2015
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Posted by on in General

They say that necessity creates ingenuity.  There's truth in that.  I was terribly bored when the whole idea of teaching the curriculum through the narrative hit me.  As the drone of the “professional development” presenter faded into the background of my thoughts, I started to wish that I had chosen a different session. Suddenly, though, the thought struck me that I often do the same thing to my students.  I bore them.  If I wanted to learn from this session, then I needed it to be relevant, engaging and connected to my teaching practice.  That got me thinking, what if this presenter were presenting me with the same information, but it was presented through “story”?  Then I would be interested. There it was; the entire concept for Quest Teaching.  What if… I could craft a story that would connect many curriculum concepts throughout the narrative?

Then the teacher in me came out and I started to think about the criteria for the story. This is what I came up with:

1. It would have to be good literature; not filled with contrived dialogue imparting knowledge to my students, but rather a fast paced exciting quest that would hook them into the learning before they knew what was happening.

2.  It would have to have all the elements of good literature: well developed characters with which the kids could connect, action woven throughout an intricate plot, interesting vocabulary to increase their love of words, use the variety of literary techniques that I teach them to use, and of course, be centered around a problem that was curriculum related, but kid relevant.

3.  I wanted the story to provide jumping off points for lessons in science, social studies and language arts at a minimum, and hopefully link to other subjects, too.  Could it provide a hook to learn about mapping while it also led into a lesson about rocks and minerals? (Can you tell I’m a theme teacher at heart?)

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Posted by on in General

flyonthewall3

 

ONE: This week I learned that another hallmark of a 21st-century education is “reflection time.”  Nancy BlairKelly Tenkely and Mark Weston, Ph.D. made me aware that taking time during class to reflect is now in vogue.  This came as quite a surprise, since “reflecting” during class was called  daydreaming when I was in school and riveted attention to the sage on the stage was the mandate. Sounds like a 21st-century education is much more fun.  

This is a very exciting development to those predisposed to reflection. I just want to know where Nancy, Kelly and Mark were when I really needed them back in high school. (Smile.)  

I enjoyed listening to How Do We Encourage Reflection Among Students and Teachers?, and it was the most popular segment on BAM Radio this week.  I take solace in knowing that if this notion catches on, the next generation may be free to daydream, er… ah..., I mean “reflect” in class without being scolded for failing to focus on where the real learning is happening. The show also attracted an interesting tweet from Tim Vagle who struck a chord with several people: 

...

Posted by on in General


lymanRegistration ticket in hand, I excitedly entered the Auditorium for the 2015 Palm Beach Technology Conference.  The line-up of featured speakers was fantastic; Lodge McCammon PhD, Steve Dembo of Discovery Education and Cameron Evans from Microsoft just to name a few.  Breakout sessions included representatives from Apple, Google, Dell and many more.  It was amazing to directly engage in discussion with the leaders in technology.        

The biggest takeaway for me was the opening Keynote Speaker’s presentation.  Dr. Lodge McCammon's Musical Kinesthetic approach to learning is engaging and meaningful.  Of course, I did my homework and read up on his work, prior to attending the conference.  I knew I could expect something great; he wasn’t great, he was PHENOMENAL!  The presentation was moving, literally.  Lodge very effectively modeled the way his method should be implemented in the classroom.  He began by speaking to us about his background and approach and provided the brain research to support all of this.  At different points during the presentation he played short pre-recorded video lectures, a method he refers to as “flipping the classroom”.  “Flipping the classroom” reduces the time allocated to lecture delivery and extends time devoted to challenging students to be practicing and engaged in their learning. This practice is centered on using 1-take video to flip the effectiveness of the classroom by establishing a self-paced learning experience.  Lodge noted that this could be very valuable even when devices are not tangible outside of school.  This is not a call to ask students to watch videos at home for homework. 

Lodge demonstrated that by “flipping the classroom” content is delivered more efficiently creating time in the class to get students up and moving.  He offers more than stretch breaks.  These kinesthetic activities and assignments are linked to content adding value and enriching the lesson. The “Walk and Talk” was a strategy I was able to try first hand.  It is easy to implement, and was very moving.  Pardon the pun.  First, we were offered questions about the topics addressed in the presentation, then we were asked to discuss in groups, answer and teach back to the class. In order to stimulate the brain and foster an optimal learning experience, we were directed to walk and talk while accomplishing this task.  Not only did Lodge provide us with the brain research to support this; he guided us through experiencing it first hand.     

Another movement-based lesson activity Lodge suggested was to ask groups of students to design and act out movements that represent key points of the assigned content, much like developing choreography for a performance.    

Along with the kinesthetic lessons, Lodge composes and plays original curriculum music.  The music itself is fantastic, however, when coupled with the movement it becomes a transformative way to teach and learn.  The lesson takes on a life of its own.  When music is added to a classroom environment it naturally calls students to move.  Students are now training to be thinkers on their feet, which is our goal as teachers.  Free range of motion inspires freethinking. All of this activity makes the learning experience engaging, meaningful, motivating and dare I say… FUN!

...

Posted by on in Early Childhood

Regardless of whether it’s a family child care or a center-based program, human nature dictates the   tendency for breaking the code of confidentiality in order to share a juicy tidbit with co-workers.

Maybe it’s something overheard in the hallway or a parent has confided an issue at home that may surely have repercussions on her child’s behavior. The next thing you know, this information is being broadcast among the employees.

We’ve all been there… out on the playground or at a staff meeting… someone just has to share the dirt on what they know or have heard.

Another form of gossip is for a co-worker to tell you all about a child in her room this year that has been nothing but trouble… so you can be prepared when you have him next.

How do YOU react? Do you stand by and listen, walk away, or say something? I guess the answer depends on the strength of your character. Perhaps you may feel that excusing yourself or confronting the issue may alienate you from the group. If you don’t plan to further share the information anyway, what’s the harm in just listening? What’s the big deal?

...

Posted by on in General

Most educators who consider flipping develop angst beginning with the fear of making videos. The concerns typically center on the time necessary to make the videos, the technological skills to produce the videos or the where with all to put voice and/or face on public display.  And of course there is the option to use the million or so videos that are already available through, YouTube, Vimeo, Teacher Tube, etc… But I shout from the highest blog post, IT IS NOT ABOUT THE VIDEO!!!

flippedWhile videos do play a roll in most “Flipped” classrooms, the videos are simply a tool that can be employed for delivery of content.  Articles, documentaries, textbooks, websites are also valuable tools to disseminate content.

The success of any classroom but specially a “Flipped” classroom is in the building of relationships.  There are three primary relationships that are central to the success of the flipped classroom.  These are, in no particular order: Student to Subject, Student to Student and Student to Teacher.

The Student to Subject Relationship

Just because I now flip my class, I still get the occasional, “When am I going to use this in real life?” response from a student. However, this has diminished significantly as a result of focusing my classroom on three key aspects, a more inquiry based hands on approach, more peer teaching and learning and more exposure to the subject matter in the real world.  Each of these aspects have immersed students in the material in a way that they see greater value in the subject. 

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