When I look back at my time in the classroom, memories that most often pop up are seeing and hearing my students work together to finish a project. Many times, they were in groups of three or four busily drawing, coloring, writing, talking. For the life of me, I can barely remember the projects themselves, but I can remember the chatter, laughing, arguing, and smiles when the project was finished. I used to feel like, this is learning! Many teachers have probably experienced and felt that same sense of excitement and accomplishment. When we see our students fully engaged and involved in a project, it reveals their interests and connection to the topic. You will likely see many ‘aha’ moments.
Digital learning offers students the tools to become lifelong learners. As per the national centre for education statistics, 80% of 8th-graders reported using a computer for schoolwork in the recent past.
You may have seen media stories of the air being clearer since stay-at-home directives have been implemented in different areas of the world (Los Angeles, India). NASA satellite data actually shows a 30-percent decrease in air pollution over the northeast United States (click on the link to view slider image: Drop in Air Pollution). What does this all mean for our climate? How are your children and/or students reacting to the changes? Do they realize there are changes at all? This may be an opportune time to include climate change into your instructional plan, especially with the focus of Earth Day 2020 being climate action. So how can you do it? Here are 7 ideas to try:
It seems like Day 227 of forever of home learning and you and your children are at a loss – of education-related things to do, learning anything new and exciting, and the motivation to look for fresh ideas. Unlike many families you know, you don’t have the means – or desire – to purchase the latest and greatest in gaming consoles (so no one is creating a virtual school in Minecraft). There are game apps you and your children play on their devices, but not too many support learning in your view. So now what? How about adding a twist to games you already play? Or better yet, creating an original game? Before we start sharing a few ideas, let’s review why games are valuable for learning.
Who doesn’t love the arts? We listen to music during our free time, go dancing, and watch live performances, among other things! This past week, I went to an arts symposium, where I learned a lot about integrating the arts into the classroom.
Here are several takeaways I wanted to share with my fellow educators:
Our country has changed a lot in the past year. I think most educators didn’t expect the 2017 we now have. We didn’t expect the current education secretary that we have, the president we have, or even some of the other federal changes that we now have. Some of the immigration and refugee policies of 2017 have impacted our schools, along with a shift in direction from the federal government about transgender bathroom policies.
If we could offer teachers something that would save them time, save the school money, communicate better with students and parents, help struggling learners, and impact the learning environment for students...would they consider using it? I’m guessing they would.
Our school district recently moved to the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) platform. Because I previously used GAFE, I knew the potential for improvement that this would bring to our school and our students.
GAFE Is Great
If you’ve been been using Google Classroom for the last few years, you’re probably already “sold” on why it’s a good thing to use. But if it’s new to you, you probably want to know the reasons why this change is a good thing for students. Here are some things to consider:
Consider the typical tools of motivation: honor roll, certificates of achievement, and recognition at school assemblies. These are the traditional tools used by teachers and schools to recognize and motivate students to achieve more, and students tend to love these awards. But for those who embrace the growth mindset (the core belief that abilities are malleable and not fixed), these awards don’t always make sense. Some students achieve good grades easily and make the honor roll all the time, while others feel challenged every step of the way and have to learn a great deal just to achieve a C. For the latter, these tools of recognition and motivation are out of reach.
The truth is that underachieving students aren’t motivated by things that seem unreachable. None of us really is. The honor roll may not even seem like an option to them. If I were to offer you one million dollars to make a hole in one, could you do it? If you didn’t make it, would it be an issue of motivation or a lack of skill and capacity? If I increase the motivation to 10 million dollars, would that change the result?
While it can often be frustrating to teach writing, it’s equally frustrating for students to learn how to write well. Students understand the importance of being a good, clear writer, but grasping the concepts and ideas teachers are trying to convey is often challenging.
Here are four practical ways that sharing student writing can lead them to become better writers:
As an educator, you’re in a position to empower your students to become better learners and better people. Most of the time we recognize the positive influence we have on our students, but there may be times when we feel we need new ways to motivate them and create a culture of involvement. Here are 10 tips you can use to help create a culture that makes learning a priority.