Sunday, March 30, 2014

NEW - Math Personalized Learning from Kahn Academy

Salman Khan states, "And while the standards may be common, we know that students are not - every student has their own learning journey."   The new materials include interactive exercises and drills that focus on conceptual understanding, procedural fluency and real-world application. Students follow "missions" organized by grade level.  The system uses adaptive software that pinpoints areas of struggle, suggests new skills and tracks student progress.  In addition there are resources for teachers.  The site includes a Common Core Map - to help find math drills by standard and real-time reports that measure student performance against Common Core standards.  All of this is free of charge!  What a gift from Salman Khan!

Khan Academy Unveils New Math Resources for Common Core.  Kanoe Namahow. 3.24.14. The Journal - Transforming Education Through Technology

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Violent Video Games

You might wonder why this topic is in an educational blog.  Most violent video games are made for entertainment but some agressive themes are toned down and found in educational games.  This is a topic, however, where there is no concensus.  The study in this article was based on data from Singapore and discovered that children who play video games at a young age show more aggression when they are older.  Teachers should be aware of conflicting research but a good habit to have to preview games you use in your classes.

Violent video games may be tied to aggressive thoughts.  Kathryn Doyle. 3.24.14.  Reuters.

Are You Familiar With Google's Education Resources?

If you're like me, there's always something new to discover and learn.  Here in this article you'll discover many useful education resources.  Where?  On Google, of course.  You probably will be most interested in using Google Apps.  Others are for specific populations but it's good to learn about them even though you won't be using them.

Which Google for Education resource is right for you?  Laura Devaney, managing editor. 3.27.14.  eSchool News

Gestures, a Strategy to Learn Math

Here is a study from the UK about the effectiveness of using gestures in learning math.  Previous studies have shown that gestures do help learning.  This study shows that an abstract gesture is a more effective tool than manipulating and touching objects.  The article describes the study and also includes an audio explaining why it works.  Very interesting!

New insight into how children learn maths.  Helen Briggs. 3.26.14. BBC News
[Note: The spelling of 'maths' in the article title is the way it is written.]

Modeling Attention for Your Students

Kevin Washburn, author of this article, states that attention is part of resilency.  Resilience requires the ability to imagine what the future can be.  Teachers can equip students to focus on the present, the way forward to a future.  This article has great modeling dialog - teacher and student - interacting one step at a time so that task becomes manageable.

Teaching resilience:  Attention.  Kevin D. Washburn. 3.27.14. SmartBlog on Education.

How to Foster Learning Mindsets for Your Students

This article is a "must read" for all our teachers, in fact all teachers everywhere.  We all want our students  to take responsibility for their own learning.  The trick is "how?"  I cannot begin to describe the wealth of information here. There are suggestions too for you as the teacher. You'll read it yourself and think WOW!

What's Your Learning Disposition?  How to Foster Students' Mindsets. Katrina Schwartz. 3.25.14 Mind/Shift

Friday, March 21, 2014

Data,data, data...How Can It Personalize Learning?

This article is a summary of a study, "Impacts of the Digital Ocean on Education." John Hattle, author of the study analyzed factors that infuenced student achievement and the most important factor was when teachers use information about their students' learning.  We have an abundance of data but finding what is relevant is not an easy task because of the sheer volume of data available. 
The author states that work done on the computer provide instant feedback to the student, whereas work not done on the computer requires teacher time to evaluate and provide feedback.  At the end of the article you can download the study.

A tidal wave of data could personalize learning. Kristen DiCerbo & John Behrens.  3.18.14 Ideas, Research Worth Sharing

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Strategies to Foster Creativity in School

Here is another article about the difficulty of encouraging creativity in school.  However, this article unlike the other, presents 5 strategies that you can use to  encourage divergent, generative thinking.  Each strategy is explained in detail...
  1. Reversing the Question/Answer Paradigm
  2. Let the Music Play
  3. Inquiry-based Feedback
  4. Encourage Play & Manage Failure
  5. Using Art Strategies
What activities have you used to inspire out-ot-the-box thinking in your classes?

Fuel Creativity in the Classroom with Divergent Thinking.  Stacy Goodman's Blog. 3.18.14. Edutopia

Is Creativity Impossible in School?

We all know that creativity can lead to innovation and that we as teachers should encourage original, novel thinking in school.  However, the very nature of our schools' bureaucratic structure and its insistence on order, discipline, and obedience limits creativity. In some cases creativity in children can be considered pathological behavior as opposed to the compliant traits of being reliable, sincere, and tolerant.  Yet in spite of all the constraints, teachers can learn to recognize and respect the child who can't conform to the school environment.  Many creative children pursue their interests outside of school.  This article explains the difficulty of the school environment for creative children.

Can Any School Foster Pure Creativity? Cevin Soling. 3.18.14. Mind/Shift

Monday, March 10, 2014

Vocabulary Teaching for ELLs

Learn when and how to teach different levels of vocabulary to ELLs in light of Common Core.   Using the principal of universal design teachers can address different kinds of learners in their classrooms. 
You might want to check co-author, Daniel Jhin Yoo's web-based Goalbook, (embedded link) an online resource helping educators design differentiated instruction for special populations, including ELLs.  [There are different levels of subscriber rates.]

The opportunity is now for English language learners.  Daniel Jhin Yoo and Chelsea Miller. 2.19.14. SmartBlog on Education

Breaking News!! Free ACT Partnership Coming

Granted, the new SAT college exam is not coming until 2016 but there is wonderful news coming.  A new partnership with the College Board and the Khan Academy will privide free test preparation materials starting in 2015.  Afterwards some income-eligible studentsw will receive fee waivers to apply to four colleges for free.
The SAT itself is changing:  three sections - evidence-based reading and writing, math - and an optional essay each redesigned to prevent the students just filling in a bubble sheet.  Read this article and comment on what you think of the new changes in the SAT test.  The chance for a free test prep, to me is amazing and will level the playing field for different economic groups.

Major changes coming to 2016 SAT test: Here's what, how and why. Jamie Gumbrecht. 3.6.14. CNN

Fundamental Best Practices - ELL Students

If you haven't already had an English Language Learner in your class, you certainly will soon.  The number of ELLs in schools is rapidly increasing across the county.  A few of our particpating schools in Title-IA have a large population of ELLs.  This article discusses the basic best practices in teaching ELL students.  As Learning Exchange discovered when we wrote and tested lesson templates, these practices are also excellent for all your other students.
Read and share a strategy that you'd like to offer to your colleagues.

Reach ELLs:  Nine Best Practices That Really Work.  Beth Morrow. 3.7.14. ASCD IN SERVICE

Financial Literacy - The Occasional Math Topic

We hear a lot about the importance of financial literacy, but is the topic part of the average high school curriculum?  The answer is sometimes, somewhere but is not consistent in schools, districts and states.   The importance of financial literacy is critical because as students graduate from high school, they are stepping into adult roles with adult responsibilities.  Those going to college are finding financial aid a daunting responsibility.  The value in this article are the embedded links to help teachers and students.  I liked the smartphone app which I feel would appeal to students.

3 Ways to Engage High Schoolers in Personal Finance. Alexandra Pannoni. 3.3.14.  U.S, News and World Report.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Teaching Math the Holistic Way

Luba Vangelova, a pioneering math educator and curriculum designer,  promotes a new way to teach math that would alarm many teachers because they are totally unused to "natural math." However, Vangelova has many advocators who agree with her and also want to revolutionize the way math is taught.  Read this article and see what you think.  Have you tried some of these ideas yourself as we switich our focus to Common Core principles?  Please comment below.

5-Year Olds Can Learn Calculus.  Luba Vangelova. 3.3.14. The Atlantic