EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

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    Process vs. Product: A False Dichotomy?

    I love listening to to Rae Pica’s BAM Radio program, Studentcentricity, during my commute to Northern Virginia Community college to teach. Thank God for Bluetooth! Last night I listened to a program about enjoying process over product in education. I totally agree with Amanda Morgan. Teachers shouldn’t do toddlers’ art for them, or give cookie-cutter art projects to preschoolers. They should know, by now, that asking for the right answer shuts off the process of learning to think. But they sti ...

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    by Gail Multop @gailmult
    Thursday, 21 September 2017
  • ocean wave

    Do Not Make Lessons Relevant

    This article is actually from 2014, but it touched a nerve that has been raw since I was a student in the 1970s. The author is talking about the issue of students asking "Why do we need to learn this anyway" and after setting up the problem, he drops this: The best solution to this problem is to make every lesson relevant to each student. However, given the impossibility of achieving that goal, I offer a few teaching tips that can mostly make that dreaded question about relevance a thing of t ...

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    by Peter Greene @palan57
    Sunday, 17 September 2017
  • Happy Kids

    Don't Forget the Joy: A Call to Action for Our Students

    I got quite the shock recently – and, for a change, it wasn’t an unpleasant one. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Let me explain… In preparation for an interview with Tim Walker, an American teacher now working in Finland, I was reading his book, Teach Like Finland. There, in the last section of the last chapter, was the heading, “Don’t forget joy.” Turns out that in 2016, Finnish comprehensive schools implemented Finland’s newest core curriculum – in which joy is prior ...

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    by Rae Pica | @raepica1
    Tuesday, 12 September 2017
  • Superhero girl

    Why You Should Focus on Small Classroom Victories

    Are you focusing on small classroom victories? Teaching can be exhausting, and it can seem like a futile endeavor at times. The amount of work that goes into a single day or unit of instruction is tremendous, without a necessary guarantee of student success. So when a unit is finished, or a hard day is done, it's easy to look at your results or the big picture of student data and get discouraged if things didn't go well. I recently had a great conversation with a teacher at a school who is i ...

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    by Chad Ostrowski | @chadostrowski
    Tuesday, 12 September 2017
  • statue of liberty

    The Healing Power of Children

    I headed to the District office for the usual Tuesday morning Leadership meeting. I had just heard about the first Tower attack. Like most people across the country, I was in shock. A television newscast in the board room was replaying the first plane’s assault. A few minutes after my arrival, the Superintendent entered and asked us all to go back to our campuses immediately and bring some semblance of calmness and order to our school community. At my office, I summoned the counselor and tog ...

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    by Tim Ramsey | @PlutoTim
    Monday, 11 September 2017
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Posted by on in General

 

Let Freedom Ring in Your Classroom!

When the bell rings, is it the ring of freedom or that of condemnation for your students at the start of class? Freedom is something that we hold very dear to our hearts in this country. We wave flags to celebrate it, our soldiers sacrifice their lives to protect it, and we tout it as one of the most defining factors of the United States.

While I'll admit that intro was probably a bit much...I still want to ask you: Do your students have the freedom to learn in your classroom?  While visiting teachers in their classrooms, I still find instances of the traditional, outdated, and archaic model of instruction where a teacher is standing at the front of the room, delivering content (in their way) and expecting the students just to absorb it and grasp its meaning upon first listen.

This traditional model of direct instruction and ineffective lecture-based content delivery leaves almost no freedom for your students to actually learn. They just passively accept their fate as non-engaged, un-inspired learners. They have little say in what they are doing or when, and even less accountability for their progress toward mastery of the content. In order to change this, I'd like to share 5 ways to give your students more freedom in your classroom.

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Posted by on in Education Policy

kids and computers

I've been concerned that teachers are not paying enough attention to the health risks they are imposing on our children now that schools require students to use digital devices every day, and at ever younger ages. Ironically, teachers themselves seem to be avoiding this critical education.

What happens to children who use digital devices every day? Researchers and doctors agree that the risks for permanent retinal damage, physical pain, myopia, headaches, anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes, addiction, and suicide all increase. Add in homework on a device, and you can add sleeplessness, and the well known host of ills that accompany it: more weight gain, more depression, inability to focus, irritability, hyperactivity and poor school performance.

Since publishing "First, Do No Harm," my first article on EdWords, I have not had much feedback from teachers. The health issues posed by digital devices were recently discussed on BAM! Radio Network, in a Rae Pica interview. I hope you'll listen to it. You can determine how free of known hazards your own classroom is, and what steps you can take to help protect your students.

It's important to note that these health issues expand into our children's overall well being, and how our kids are going to grow up. Here is an article from Psychology Today you might find illuminating. I wrote it for Dr. Victoria Dunckley's blog. Dr. Dunckley is leading the national conversation about the impact of digital devices on children's mental health and brain development.

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Posted by on in General

 audience3.jpg

He wrote the bright orange book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, yet the mistake he shared on My Bad was not considering his audience. Right now, you’re probably thinking, what the heck? I mean, the guy wrote a New York Times Bestseller called Contagious. Am I really buying that he didn’t know what his readers wanted? “He knows more about what makes information ‘go viral’ than anyone in the world,” said Harvard professor, Daniel Gilbert.

So, what happened? He admitted, his first book Contagious did quite well. His second, Invisible Influence, not as well. Even though he believed his second book was better written. But there was a major difference between the two books. Contagious had a clear audience and Invisible Influence didn’t.

Jonah spoke about the curse of knowledge and how it is easy to fall victim to this. He often lectures about the curse of knowledge and yet when it came to writing his second book, he was guilty. During the interview, Jonah quickly explained the curse of knowledge.

 

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Posted by on in General

 

So go figure. I find everything else but the missing socks. Where do those socks go, anyway? Now that I finally tossed the odd ones, will the mates turn up?

I’ve never been so organized as since I moved into this tiny (to me) house, used to bigger spaces and maybe grander places. But for two years I rented this vacation house, not by the beach but in glorious green South Eugene, to be honest, really for my big poodle, Gus.

Right near old growth trails and ferns, dog parks, lots of places to explore. Deer and turkeys abundant. This area reminded me of my old California property. I thought this might be home. Check it out awhile, give it a test, then maybe buy it.

Even has an old chicken coop on the side, but I was asked not to use it. Made no sense to me, since barking dogs all around far noisier than chickens. Little house on terraced property. Inside 70’s architecture, interesting features, woody. I really fit in here and mixed it up, a combo of Eugenian hip, with old Chinese antiques.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Recently, I had the chance to catch up with a colleague from a previous school district who I hadn’t seen for years.  While drinking coffee and catching up about our families and life, I asked him about his recent change in positions at a new school district last year.  Suddenly, his head lowered and his eyes scanned the inside of his empty coffee cup.  Barely opening his mouth, he quietly murmured, “My goal next year will be to stay under the radar”.

Although I could have asked him to disclose details on why he would have said that, I knew that wouldn’t have accomplished anything to help him.  Instead, I asked him what he thought that would accomplish.  This question allowed for a better, richer dialogue to see how I could help coach him up.

His eyes looked up, and placed his coffee cup on the table.  With a small smile peeking through his mouth, he admitted that he wasn’t truly sure.  He guessed that it would be better if he kept his head down low and stayed quiet around his peers due to some missteps from the year before and some negative feedback he received on his performance.  As he restated his initial plan to just “fly under the radar”, he began to doubt the merits to this idea.

“Flying under the radar” doesn’t work in leadership. 

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