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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

fidget spinner

As educators, we have all encountered colleagues bemoaning the rise of fidget spinners, whether in-person, on blogs, or on social media.

For some perspective, consider how people outside education view fidget spinners. Watch The Young Turks enjoy playing with them. Forbes magazine calls them the "must-have office toy for 2017." The sheer delight of staffers playing with fidget spinners at AJ+ bears this out. Most poignantly, YouTuber Bunny Meyer says, "I find...I've been struggling with depression and anxiety...and these things [fidget spinners] calm me down." Quick aside: How awesome would it be if we cultivated creativity in our students that resulted in them having eight million YouTube subscribers like Bunny Meyer does?

These positive takes are not surprising when you consider Nerdist's piece about how physics explains why fidget spinners are so fun. Non-educators think of fidget spinners as fun and comforting, so...

What does our discomfort with Fidget Spinners say about education?

...
Last modified on
Posted by on in Flipped Classroom

I didn’t always hate school. In fact, I used to love it. I still recall exactly when I fell in love with school, and precisely when I started disliking everything about it.  

The image is dim, but I can vaguely see the front of the classroom. I see the teacher, and I see me. We’re decorating the walls for the new school year. Yup! Just me, Miss Jones, lots of construction paper, Elmer’s glue and Scotch tape. The process was creative and fun. She made me feel like the project we were doing really mattered, and I felt connected and valued. I was somewhere around six years old and utterly convinced that school was cool.

Fast Forward…

Don’t know why my sisters and I moved to a new school, but I remember everything about the culture shock. We went from being one of 10 kids in a class to be one of around 30. I can’t remember any of my teachers’ names and wonder, in retrospect, if they ever knew mine. I do recall feeling invisible and disconnected. I went from sitting in the front of the room to hiding out in the back. Eventually, my body was showing up for class, but my mind would leave the building.

Fast Forward Again…

Both of my sisters are now educators.They have advanced degrees and a three-decades-long history of walking through school doors. They apparently loved school enough to go back again and again. Not me… I bolted for freedom at the earliest possible opportunity. I was going to be a pilot or an entrepreneur -- whichever one didn’t involve algebra.

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Last modified on
Posted by on in Early Childhood

swing set

On my way to work, I pass no fewer than 6 child care centers. As my life revolves around Early Childhood and young children, I am always interested in seeing what’s happening in programs in the community. It had been puzzling to me, no matter the weather or time of day, how few children I ever saw playing outside. In the winter, when it was approaching 40 degrees, after a fresh snow- no children. In the fall, it was sunny and windy and leaves were everywhere- nobody. In the spring, it had just rained, the sun was out, but all I saw were abandoned play areas.

It first, it was a curiosity, but as the seasons changed and the pattern persisted, I was concerned why there was this lack of outdoor, physical activity in child care.

I decided to do some unofficial investigating and started asking child care staff if they had some answers. Boy, did I get an earful!

The staffers very often cited children’s clothing as the problem. They said parents send their children in clothes not meant to get dirty or in shoes not safe for playground surfaces or equipment. It was also reported that parents, in their hurry to get out the door in the morning, forget jackets or hats or boots. A couple care providers even expressed their belief that some parents did these things on purpose, so their children would have to stay indoors.

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Last modified on
Posted by on in Early Childhood

b2ap3_thumbnail_swing.jpg

When I get the chance to speak to groups about DAP I cover a lot of ground.

I talk about things like:

The importance of respecting childhood, the developmental process, and individual learners.

The critical nature of appropriate, foundational early learning experiences.

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Last modified on
Posted by on in Movement and Play

Champions in school, champions at life. Respect.

Thank you to our Sensei, master teacher for teaching us never-ending, continual improvement. “Kai Zen!”

Karate classes, taught by Sensei, extraordinary meshing of kids and Instructor.

Listen to the children with me, powering up their spirits with the sound of “Kiai”, sounds like kee-eye. Here we go! Outfits on, belts tied, spirits soaring.

...
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