I’m one of many parents who, during this “new normal,” has children (ages 9 and 6) who currently interact with their screens more than with each other or their parents. My husband and I have full time jobs, so distraction doesn’t bode well while we are working at home. We’re also former educators, so we know enough of the science and recommendations around “screen time” to understand what is happening with our kids.
And we don’t like it one bit.
If you are reading this, you might be in our frustrating position, and like us, you may have just needed to bite the bullet and free the children to go into the abyss of screen time and the Internet. To soften the blow, allow me to share a few insights I’ve learned over the years about the idea of “screen time.”Read More
Your calendar has been cleared for the foreseeable future. You can’t come within 6 ft of any human. It has taken every bit of effort you have to get out of your jammies today. Your state has cancelled summer as you know it. I joked with my Learners Edge colleagues, who are also parents, that we would need to watch Little House on the Prairie reruns to find ways for our kids to have fun in the face of no organized group activities. You find yourself staring at your children as they utter the unconscionable words…”we’re bored.” (sigh)Read More
Help Your Students Gain Positive Skills
At its widest point, the Grand Canyon stretches 18 miles (29 kilometers) across. It is 6000 feet deep. That’s more than a mile! Many people consider it to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The Grand Canyon is an example of amazing geology where it seems impossible to get from one side (where you are) to the other side (where you want to be).
A similar canyon exists in classroom management: Challenges with student behavior (where you are)…great student behavior (where you want to be).
So how do we do it? How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? The answer is simple. We build a bridge.Read More
Let Your Students' Creativity Shine!Did you know that children are born with a higher capacity for creativity and imagination than adults? According to a study conducted by NASA, out of the 1,600 school children (4-5-year-olds) tested on their ability to develop new and innovative solutions to problems, a full 98% of them fell into the genius category!
It’s a fact that kids are creative geniuses when they arrive at our school doors, however, this creativity greatly diminishes over time. Perhaps this downward trend occurs because we encourage the safe, secure route in our educational system. Maybe it’s because we teach children to follow directions and to excel on standardized tests that only measure limited knowledge and skills.
So how can teachers help students find their inner creative genius? How can we create a learning environment that honors divergent rather than just convergent thinking? Below we outline 4 great action steps for tapping into your students’ innate ability to create, innovate and solve problems.Read More
Designing Brain-Friendly Lessons for Students
Have you ever been in the middle of teaching a lesson, and refer to something students learned days, weeks or months prior, and get this response-- “I’ve never learned that!” or “You never taught us how to do that!” I can’t tell you how many times in my 16-year career I’ve heard my students say this to me. With frustration, I always put it back on the students explaining that I taught them the information last month or that last year's teacher surely covered the skill.
What I realize now, after learning more about the psychology of learning, is that more often than not those kids were right! The students hadn’t ever really learned the skill I taught them. Most likely they had just memorized information for the test and promptly forgotten. The learning wasn’t relevant, emotionally engaging or connected to prior knowledge, so it didn’t stick! It turns out that while I may have gone through the motions of teaching, the facts and skills just didn’t stay with them.Read More
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