Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WANTED--Trusted Reviews of Computer Games!

In the ever-changing world of online educational games, teachers are seeking trusted resources from which to choose games for their students.  Remember "The Oregon Trail?"  Obviously dated back to the 70's, that game still is remembered for students in that generation.  Never since has a game been so popular.  With a plethora of games available today, students want fast, flashy games, but teachers and parents want an educational value for them.  This article is interesting, but the meat of it is reference to Graphite that offers a review of digital games. 

Oregon Trail computer game lingers, amid a slew of new educational games.  Nichole Dobo.  11.26.2014.  The Hechinger Report

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Get Students to Discuss, Debate & Collaborate

As teachers, we know that our students need practice in the 21st Century Skill - Communication & Collaboration.  So often they remain silent, give one-word answers and prefer the much sought after digital method.  This wonderful article lists and explains a dozen ways you can get your students talking in the classroom - and this from a math teacher!
Excellent! - a must read especially for math teachers.  Share your methods to stimulate conversations in Comments below.

12 Steps to Get Students Talking.  Lorraine Jacques.  11.13.14.  ASCD Express - Talking and Listening in Class.  Vol. 10.

Understand What Text-Dependent-Questions ARE and Are NOT

Students misunderstand what text-dependent-questions are and answer in a variety of ways.  Teachers also misinterpret how text-dependent-questions are defined and answered also.  Read this article for a clear understanding of this important Common Core skill.  Don't miss the excellent list of "Follow-up Questions" that you, the teacher can ask of your students.

Tackling the Misconceptions of Text-Dependent-Questions.  Ryan McCarty.  11l13.14.  The Teaching Channel.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Power of a Checklist

We adults all know that checklists help us keep track of things that need to be done.  How great it is to be able to cross out those that we finish!  We should teach our students how to use checklists to manage their own workload.  This article explains many reasons to make and use checklists.  The responses from students are very interesting.

Common Core in Action:  The Power of a Checklist.  Heather Wolper-Gawron. 2.7.14. edutopia

Conversation - Essential 21st Century Skill

This article is appropriate for the "haves" and not for the "have-nots."  What I mean by this are those students who have digital gadgets, particularly cell phones.  This article presents this amazing statistic.  According to the Pew Research Center, one in three teens sends over 100 text messages a day!  Only 33% regularly talk face to face.  Given that knowledge, is it any wonder so many teens have such trouble with conversations?  Students need to know that there is no more important 21st Century skill than being able to sustain confident, coherent conversation.

My Students Don't Know How to Have a Conversation.  Paul Barnwell.  4.22.14. The Atlantic

What is "Close Reading"?

What is "close reading" all about?  It's is the CC standards but never mentioned elsewhere.  The objective, in case you haven't figure it out, is COMPREHENSION.  For details, read...

A Critical Look at the Close Reading Standard.  MiddleWeb. 9.28.14.  MeddleWeb.

Common Core Math Standards for ELLs

Common Core math requires explaining solutions and relationships, constructing arguments, and critiquing the reasoning of others. While challenging for many students, these expectations are much more difficult for ELLs.  It is very important to include math language development for ELL success. It is the teacher's job to look for the "mathematical sense" in the ELL student's expression and then build on that.  The author suggests the use of visuals - diagrams or illustrations - along with math vocabulary really helps.  ELLs make language visible and that helps all kinds of students.

Common-Core Math Standards Put New Focus on English-Learners.  Anthony Rebora. 11.12.14. Education Week.

Math in the Real World - Middle Grades

What an amazing website! Designed for the Middle Grades.   Everything a teacher needs to apply math in a variety of real world applications:  Each of the following "Worlds" has articles, lesson plans, Web links, and other supports. 
  • The Biological World
  • The Physical World
  • The Social World
  • The Political World
  • The Financial World
  • The Creative and Artistic World
  • The Constructed World
Tell us what you have found and how it helped your students in the Comments below.

Real World Math - Articles, lesson plans, and activities for the middle grades. NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)

When Parents Read With Their Children, Not all is Good!

We've always thought that when parents read with their children, this helps to promote literacy growth.  Well, guess again!  This article lists 6 ways parents inadvertently hinder their child's reading growth.  Read this article to find out why.

6 Ways Parents Stunt Child Literacy Growth.  Jennifer Davis Bowman.  11.14.14.  ASCD Edge

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Keeping Early Enthusiasm Alive All Through the Grades

We've all experienced the reluctance for students beginning in 4th grade for coming to school.  Yet how different that was for those kids starting school in Kindergarten!  This article outlines 10 things schools can to do make things exciting again.  Not all ideas may pertain in your situation, but I'll bet a few do.  Let's try!

10 Ways to Create Engaging Schools. 11.5.14.  Laura Devaney. eSchool News

Effect of Internet Filtering in Schools -

Teachers often complain that websites have been blocked in school so that students cannot access them.  Censorship varies according to school/district criteria.  Obviously we don't want our students exposed to pornography, but other overzealous filtering can have an effect that divides the 'haves' from the 'have-nots.' Such filtering takes away the opportunity to teach students the critical thinking skills they'll need to discern the good from the bad.  Excellent!  Worth your time to read.

What's the Impact of Overzealous Internet Filtering in Schools? Kathy Baron.  6.26.14. Mind/Shift

Where Do the Good Jobs Come From?

This article is a must read for high school teachers who help prepare their students for post high school education.  Will it be a 4 year college degree, and associate degree, or a worker certificate in a community college?  What do federal government loans and Pell grants cover?  Surprising changes in the real world haven't computed with the old time perception of post high school college transitioning to great jobs.

Study finds higher-education is a 'minefield'.  Eric Schulzke, 11.4.14. Deseret News National Edition

Some Skills Taught Better Through Gaming

Gaming offers the excitement of competition and a clear promise of rewards for accomplishments. It can also help prepare students to win in the real world.  What skills are we talking about?  Dian Schaffhauser explains 5 gaming skills in detail.  Each skill has at least one game example you can try to see if it would work in your situation.
  1. Connecting Physical Experiences with Learning
  2. Rising to the Competition
  3. Working as a Team
  4. Grasping Systems Thinking
  5. Compromise and Ileration
Perhaps other skills come to mind when your students play digital games.  Share them with us in Comments below.

5 Skills That Games Teach Better Than Textbooks. Dian Schaffhauser. 11.5.14. THE Journal - Transforming Education Through Technology