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Yearly Archives: 2017

When yoga becomes a respected part of the school day

This multipurpose approach is at the heart of the Compassionate Schools Project. It seeks to integrate the development of a student’s mind and body, combining fitness with health education, social and emotional learning and support for academic achievement.

via When yoga becomes a respected part of the school day – The Hechinger Report

The most important journeys come without a map

via Seth’s Blog: Your soft skills inventory

The annual review is a waste. It’s not particularly useful for employee or boss, it’s stressful and it doesn’t happen often enough to make much of an impact.

If you choose to, though, you can do your own review. Weekly or monthly, you can sit down with yourself (or, more powerfully, with a small circle of peers) and review how you’re shifting your posture to make more of an impact.

Some of the things to ask:

What am I better at?

Have I asked a difficult question lately?

Do people trust me more than they did?

Am I hiding more (or less) than I did the last time I checked?

Is my list of insightful, useful and frightening stats about my work, my budgets and my challenges complete? And have I shared it with someone I trust?

If selling ideas is a skill, am I more skilled at it than I was?

Who have I developed?

Have I had any significant failures (learning opportunities) lately, and what have I learned?

What predictions have I made that have come to pass? Am I better at seeing what’s going to happen next?

Who have I helped? Especially when there was no upside for me…

Am I more likely to be leading or following?

How Teens Today Are Different from Past Generations A psychologist mines big data on teens and finds many ways this generation—the “iGens”—is different from Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials.

The implicit lesson for parents is that we need more nuanced parenting. We can be close to our children and still foster self-reliance. We can allow some screen time for our teens and make sure the priority is still on in-person relationships. We can teach empathy and respect but also how to engage in hard discussions with people who disagree with us. We should not shirk from teaching skills for adulthood, or we risk raising unprepared children. And we can—and must—teach teens that marketing of new media is always to the benefit of the seller, not necessarily the buyer.

via How Teens Today Are Different from Past Generations | Greater Good Magazine

‘Personalized Learning’ is For Everyone in the System

Personalized Learninvia ‘Personalized Learning’ is For Everyone in the System – Leadership 360 – Education Week

6 Reasons to Try a Single-Point Rubric

The single-point rubric offers a different approach to systematic grading in the classroom. Like holistic and analytic rubrics, it breaks the aspects of an assignment down into categories, clarifying to students what kinds of things you expect of them in their work. Unlike those rubrics, the single-point rubric includes only guidance on and descriptions of successful work—without listing a grade, it might look like the description of an A essay in the holistic rubric above. In the example below, you can see that the rubric describes what success looks like in four categories, with space for the teacher to explain how the student has met the criteria or how he or she can still improve.

via 6 Reasons to Try a Single-Point Rubric | Edutopia

How Making Art Helps Teens Better Understand Their Mental Health

Art Equity

According to the American Art Therapy Association, artistic expression may decrease anxiety, feelings of anger and depression. This creative process can also enhance cognitive abilities, foster greater self-awareness and help students regulate their emotions.

via How Making Art Helps Teens Better Understand Their Mental Health | MindShift | KQED News

Are We Over-Planning Students’ Learning Experiences?

Teachers go to great lengths to clearly define the problems our students will solve, how they should solve them, and what the outcomes should be. Although students can and do learn from highly planned tasks, there are serious drawbacks from relying too much on these kinds of learning experiences.

Students also need opportunities to productively engage with uncertainty.

via Are We Over-Planning Students’ Learning Experiences? | ASCD Inservice

Every Child a V.I.P!

How would it be if we change our language within our schools and stop talking about special needs children, and highly gifted students, as if the former are less smart than the latter? Every child is gifted. Every child is an expert. A new world opens when we become aware that, as soon as we shift our focus to “what is happening in between,” many new solutions can be found. Changing language to one of hope and possibilities suddenly activates everyone to make a difference, not only by talking but, most of all, by “doing.” Together. Through joint action.I am thrilled when we see the many possibilities.

We can treat every child as a V.I.P. – as a Very Important Persons – using their potential to open new worlds which will lead to better solutions for our complex educational world.

A teacher affects eternity, but s/he can never tell where her/his influence stops, AND I am convinced that our children will tell us how to do it….

via News and Ideas from The Taos Institute – November 2017

Six Myths About Choosing a College Major

via Six Myths About Choosing a College Major – The New York Times

Myth 1: For the big money, STEM always delivers.

Myth 2: Women want to have it all.

Myth 3: Choice of major matters more than choice of college.

Myth 4: Liberal arts majors are unemployable.

Myth 5: It’s important to choose a major early.

Myth 6: You need a major.

Personalized Learning: The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning

Overall, the personalized-learning field is still marked by significant unresolved pedagogical tensions, said Benjamin Riley, the executive director of the nonprofit Deans for Impact, which seeks to improve teacher preparation. Among the biggest: the appropriate role for software in the classroom, how much autonomy is best for student learning, and the challenge of maintaining high standards and social interaction when every student is pursuing his or her own path.

via The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning – Education Week

Making Student Feedback Work New advice on building a culture of feedback and making it meaningful for teachers

via Making Student Feedback Work | Harvard Graduate School of Education

Seven Teacher Moves to More Engaged, Higher Performing Classrooms

via Seven Teacher Moves to More Engaged, Higher Performing Classrooms | AdvancED


Empower the team and do not micromanage

  1. Teach mindsets. Develop the mindsets of agency, creativity, growth mindset and passion for learning. A mindset is a mental attitude or inclination that predetermines how a person will respond to a given situation. Where employers screen for them, teachers can embed activities into the student experience that nurture the mindsets that their students need to engage with in order to master academic content.
  2. Release control. Provide content and resources that students are free to access without your direct instruction. The traditional classroom model leads students through a single, unified curriculum at the pace of the whole group. Other models, such as online and blended learning are emerging, however, that empower students to drive their own learning and free up teachers’ time for those who need more help.
  3. Encourage teaming. Drawing on the research[1] of Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, today’s fast-paced world relies on the skill of people quickly coming together to solve problems, as opposed to teams selected for long-term balance and stability. To teach this, teachers can foster peer-to-peer learning and dynamic, team-based collaboration.

Be a good coach

  1. Give feedback. In schools, we associate the term “feedback” with either formal assessments and grading protocols for students or high-stakes performance reviews for teachers. In high-performing classrooms, feedback is focused on positive, constructive improvement, not evaluation. Create a culture of feedback so that students receive personal, frequent, and actionable feedback in the moment, in small groups, and in one-on-ones.
  2. Build relationships of trust. In a time of broad societal changes in the functioning of families and children, as New York Times columnist David Brooks noted, “many students come to school lacking a secure emotional base … Today we have to fortify the heart if we are going to educate the mind.”[2] Show interest and concern in students as individuals and trust in their ability to drive their own learning, given the right structures are in place.

Emphasize accountability

  1. Help students hold themselves accountable. Give them tools to set goals, track their progress, follow through, and take stock of where they are, pausing to reflect about how to improve before beginning the cycle anew..
  2. Hold yourself accountable. Use reflection time, peers, student surveys, and self-assessments to make sure that you are on track personally and requiring of yourself the same commitment to setting goals, learning, tracking progress, reporting, and reflection that you expect of their students.

Without Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness Doesn’t Work

But mindfulness isn’t magic; what was the mechanism at work in these executives’ transformations? One tipoff: several executives in the study reported getting feedback from colleagues that described improvements in areas like empathy, conflict management, and persuasive communication. These, it turns out, are what one of us (Dan) has described as core emotional intelligence competencies.

via Without Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness Doesn’t Work

Put Me In Coach! Growth Mindset in the World of Sports

Applying a growth mindset in sport does not mean removing competition, nor that we avoid selecting individuals. It doesn’t mean we start believing that everyone can be the best in the world. These are some common misconceptions around the growth mindset message in sport. Instead, a growth mindset provides a framework for how best to focus responses to competition, a rationale for how to communicate selection, and an understanding of how to help people always improve and to go beyond their current best performance. In a growth mindset we do not know what a person’s potential is, or how good they could become–there are no glass ceilings.

via Put Me In Coach! Growth Mindset in the World of Sports

Top 10 skills children learn from the arts

1. Creativity – Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks from different perspectives and think ‘outside of the box’ will distinguish your child from others. In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.

2. Confidence – The skills developed through theater, not only train you how to convincingly deliver a message, but also build the confidence you need to take command of the stage. Theater training gives children practice stepping out of their comfort zone and allows them to make mistakes and learn from them in rehearsal. This process gives children the confidence to perform in front of large audiences.

3. Problem Solving – Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.

4. Perseverance – When a child picks up a violin for the first time, she/he knows that playing Bach right away is not an option; however, when that child practices, learns the skills and techniques and doesn’t give up, that Bach concerto is that much closer. In an increasingly competitive world, where people are being asked to continually develop new skills, perseverance is essential to achieving success.

5. Focus – The ability to focus is a key skill developed through ensemble work. Keeping a balance between listening and contributing involves a great deal of concentration and focus. It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to the big picture of what is being created. Recent research has shown that participation in the arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives.

6. Non-Verbal Communication – Through experiences in theater and dance education, children learn to breakdown the mechanics of body language. They experience different ways of moving and how those movements communicate different emotions. They are then coached in performance skills to ensure they are portraying their character effectively to the audience.

7. Receiving Constructive Feedback – Receiving constructive feedback about a performance or visual art piece is a regular part of any arts instruction. Children learn that feedback is part of learning and it is not something to be offended by or to be taken personally. It is something helpful. The goal is the improvement of skills and evaluation is incorporated at every step of the process. Each arts discipline has built in parameters to ensure that critique is a valuable experience and greatly contributes to the success of the final piece.

8. Collaboration – Most arts disciplines are collaborative in nature. Through the arts, children practice working together, sharing responsibility, and compromising with others to accomplish a common goal. When a child has a part to play in a music ensemble, or a theater or dance production, they begin to understand that their contribution is necessary for the success of the group. Through these experiences children gain confidence and start to learn that their contributions have value even if they don’t have the biggest role.

9. Dedication – When kids get to practice following through with artistic endeavors that result in a finished product or performance, they learn to associate dedication with a feeling of accomplishment. They practice developing healthy work habits of being on time for rehearsals and performances, respecting the contributions of others, and putting effort into the success of the final piece. In the performing arts, the reward for dedication is the warm feeling of an audience’s applause that comes rushing over you, making all your efforts worthwhile.

10. Accountability – When children practice creating something collaboratively they get used to the idea that their actions affect other people. They learn that when they are not prepared or on-time, that other people suffer. Through the arts, children also learn that it is important to admit that you made a mistake and take responsibility for it. Because mistakes are a regular part of the process of learning in the arts, children begin to see that mistakes happen. We acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

via Top 10 skills children learn from the arts – The Washington Post