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Posted by on in What If?

happy teens

If so, you’ll definitely want to listen to my discussion with Denise Pope and Sandra Russ, in which they explain the role of play in the lives of tweens and teens! As Denise says, “Research shows that kids of all ages need daily play time, down time, and family time.” 

And, no, they’re not talking about organized sports or playing video or computer games.

Here are her suggestions:

- Parents should avoid overscheduling their teen with too many extracurricular activities and too many AP or honors courses. Use the Challenge Success time management tool to help plan a healthy schedule with adequate time for play and sleep. http://www.challengesuccess.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/ChallengeSuccess-TimeManagementWorksheet.pdf

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Posted by on in What If?


In the near future, technology will play an even more fundamental role in transforming not only how we teach, but also how students learn. The role of teacher will have completely morphed into that of a coach or mentor, and teachers will place much more emphasis on self-directed, competency-based learning. In that setting, students will be assessed not on how much they know, but on what they can do with what they know. In that regard, today, my students are already beginning to benefit.

I’m not the only one who predicts this future. About a year ago, I first spoke with Curtis J. Bonk, Professor of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. Bonk is the author of The World is Open: How Technology Is Revolutionizing Education, as well as a leading authority on online and distance learning.

“I think kids in 20 years are going to walk into school and pick their peers for the day,” he says. “And they’ll be coming from all over the world. They’ll just hit a little map and they might even pick their teachers for the day coming from Philippines and Singapore and other places.”

All of this isn’t that farfetched. Still in its infancy, educational technology continues to make learning more personal, meaningful, and intricate. Changes in instruction, and how instruction is delivered, will also coincide with an evolving understanding of what it means to be educated, and what it takes to be successful.

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At its most fundamental level, a classroom community will be defined by the commonalities that students share, the presence of courteous behavior, and appropriate ways to solve conflicts. These positive relationships all pave the way for a united classroom where students can thrive instead of simmer in various types of disruptive conflicts.

When students can focus on what they have in common, many of the barriers to acceptance and tolerance will disappear. With effort and persistence, you can assist students in learning to recognize their commonalities. Use the tips in the list below to guide you as you work to help students learn to see what they have in common rather focus on the things that divide them.

Make sure that each student’s strengths are well-known to the rest of the class.

If a student has an unpleasant history of failure or misbehavior, make it clear that it is time for a fresh start.

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The power of a teacher is truly known when we allow a child to be truly known



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Posted by on in What If?

students raising hands2

Do you find yourself teaching in the way you were taught as a kid – lecturing from the front of the classroom, occasionally pausing to ask a question and point to a child whose hand is raised? Would you like to move beyond that? Or have you already moved beyond that traditional teaching practice but are looking for ways to ask questions that promote deeper thinking and offer more authentic assessment.

Sarah Johnson and Ben Johnson (no relation!) have some advice for you, below, and in an episode of Studentcentricity, which you can listen to here.

From Sarah:

When thinking about questioning strategies in the classroom, I always come back to the reality that the power to evoke critical thinking lies more in the question than the answer. This is because we often stop processing the matter once we have settled on a "right" answer. Because of this, I find that divergent questions, or questions that can have more than one response, are better able to spark critical thinking in students and invite them to start asking their own questions, which is what ultimately trains them to be lifelong learners themselves. True learning takes place when students learn how to not only answer questions but create their own, as that sparks curiosity and a pursuit of knowledge.

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