7 Days of 7 Secrets: The Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We hope your students are showering you with the well-deserved praise and appreciation that you deserve. We would like to mark this occasion with a series of short blog posts that will help you show YOUR appreciation of your STUDENTS! We are going to post a mini-series of articles explaining the greatest gifts we can give our students (No, we are NOT talking about Fidget Spinners again). We are talking about the knowledge and skills that kids need to be successful in life. We believe that we need to teach kids the real skills they are going to need to be successful in the world, no matter what career, college, or community they end up in. So, enjoy the gifts you receive this week, and pay them back a hundredfold with these!

Gift #1: The Big Secret to Success

Continue reading “7 Days of 7 Secrets: The Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students”

Fidget Spinners: Putting a Positive Spin on The Latest Fad

If you have been within 100 yards of an elementary or middle school in the last week… in the United States, the United Kingdom, or pretty much any other developed country, you’ve surely seen a Fidget Spinner, the small gadget on ball bearings that spin crazy fast. They have invaded the field at t-ball practice, the mall, and… my latest sighting: The hostess who recently seated our family while eating out this past weekend. These “educational toys” are the latest fad to hit schools and to break our students’ piggy banks. If, however, you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what a Fidget Spinner is:

Every year it’s something new; from “dabbing” to rainbow loom weaving, slamming POGs to Silly Bandz, Pokémon cards to… whatever comes next! It’s been this way for as long as we can remember, and most likely will stay that way as long as children attend schools. Usually, these fads are a nightmare for teachers and they get banned within a week. We’ve seen on social media that a lot of teachers are currently being driven crazy by the newest craze, but we’re here to put a positive spin on them.

Continue reading “Fidget Spinners: Putting a Positive Spin on The Latest Fad”

Amplifying Student Voice

Before you read any further, watch this video. http://tinyurl.com/k4yorxj Seriously.

Now imagine you were a 4th grade student who just watched that video. You are one in a class of 28. The teacher asks the class for their thoughts: “What can we learn from that video?” Your neighbor raises her hand but doesn’t get called on. You sink lower in your chair, slipping under the radar as usual. The boy in the front row gets called on (as always). Someone blurts out without being called on. How rude, you think! The teacher reminds the class to raise their hands to speak and calls on two more people. With two minutes left until recess, the teacher shares their own opinion of the video, validating some students’ ideas, and adding the other take-aways that didn’t come up. How many people were able to share their thinking? Sadly, too often, the vast majority of students are not directly engaged with the learning because their voices are not asked for or heard.

Continue reading “Amplifying Student Voice”

Failing Forward: Flexible Seating

It is hard to believe we are nearing the end of our first year of co-teaching! I think we can both agree that this year has been one of major professional growth. We have re-imagined the way we teach and also re-imagined the layout of a traditional classroom. In one of our first blog posts, we talked about the beginning of our co-teaching journey and some of the challenges that came along with our new classroom environment. One of the challenges we mentioned was Flexible Seating… our struggle between maintaining control through structure and giving students the freedom to make their own choices. Continue reading “Failing Forward: Flexible Seating”

The Isolation of School versus the Sociality of Learning: #IMMOOCB1

This week, we are going to try a little something different for Innovator’s Mindset blog challenge. We’re going to write 3 blog posts in short order, but strive to keep them under 200 words each.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on one particular contrast between the idea of traditional schooling versus learning.

SCHOOL often isolates,

whereas LEARNING is social.

Continue reading “The Isolation of School versus the Sociality of Learning: #IMMOOCB1”