5 creative ways to share your passions (with classroom ideas, too!) — from classtechtips.com by Dr. Monica Burns

Excerpt:

If we’re anything alike, there are topics you just can’t stop talking about. I am definitely guilty of being “that” person who talks about the latest piece of advice they heard on a podcast or a recipe from TikTok that they can’t wait to try out. You might also find me going on and on about how fun it was to visit a new school, a new lesson idea I want to try out, or an EdTech tool that totally changed the way I think about [fill in the blank]. In today’s blog post, I put together a list of five creative ways to share your passions. You’ll also find creative classroom ideas to go along with each one.

Some of these are part of my regular practice of sharing things I’m passionate about. Others I’ve tried a few times and loved, even if they’re not my daily, weekly, or monthly way of sharing.

Best of all… all of these ideas are ones your students can try, too.


Also relevant/see:

Liven up your lesson with a comic strip twist — from classtechtips.com by Dr. Monica Burns

 

Blurring the lines between education and workforce — from hechingerreport.org by Javeria Salman
A proposition to ‘blur’ the boundaries between K-12, higher ed, and the workforce industry

Excerpts:

One idea that’s been gaining steam since last year is to break down barriers between high school, college and career to create a system that bridges all three.

The concept is called the “Big Blur.”

“What would it look like to change the typical, or what we think of as the conventional high school experience and instead design something that was built for the modern economy?” said Vargas.

Vargas said that JFF is arguing for new programs or institutions that serve students in grades 11 through 14 (grades 13 and 14 being the first two years of college, under our current configuration). The institutions would be co-designed with regional employers so that all students get work-based learning experiences and graduate — without tuition costs — with a post-secondary credential that has labor market value.

 

New Pathways: Experiencing Success In What’s Next — from Getting Smart

Excerpt:

Some of you were able to attend our official kick-off event yesterday (on 6/21/22), but for those who weren’t able to make it we wanted to let you know that our new campaign, New Pathways, has officially begun!. Over the next few years, and in partnership with ASA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stand Together and the Walton Foundation, we will be dedicated to tracking innovations in the following six pillars:

  1. Unbundled Learning
  2. Credentialed Learning
  3. Accelerated Pathways
  4. New Learning Models
  5. Support & Guidance
  6. Policies & Systems
We believe that when combined, these pillars enable learners to find success in what’s next in their professional lives, their personal lives and in their communities.

 

 


 

Teacher Moves That Cultivate Learner Agency — from edutopia.org by Paul Emerich France
Helping students become independent, questioning thinkers begins with stepping back and guiding them to take the lead in their learning.

Excerpt:

Cultivating learner agency is an endless journey. It not only entails knowing our students as human beings but also requires identifying and unlearning patterns in our teaching that unknowingly engender dependence in learners.

The term agency comes from the Latin agere, meaning “to set in motion.” It is precisely what agency should do in our classrooms: empower learners so that their minds and hearts become the engines that drive learning in our classrooms. This isn’t as simple as some might believe. Providing too much voice and choice without proper scaffolds can be counterproductive, resulting in chaos in the classroom.

Consider the following moves that cultivate learner agency—and choose one to try in your classroom.

 

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

K-12 education in America is like quickly moving trains that stop for no one.

From DSC:
A family member struggles with spelling — big time. This causes her major amounts of anxiety in school.

Another family member had some learning disabilities and reflects back on school with some bad memories.

Another family member struggles with social graces and learns at a much different pace than her peers — the move to her education being (predominantly) done via homeschooling has helped significantly.

A friend of mine has Dyslexia. He recently said that school was hell for him.

Another person I know doesn’t understand his daughter’s learning disabilities — at all. He’s asking a fish to climb the tree and yells at his daughter when she doesn’t produce like the other kids do. Her school is for college-bound learners, and there’s always pressure to maintain the school’s “blue-ribbon” status (i.e., sorry if you don’t fit in…but please board the train anyway, as it’s about to depart).

These people and stories about their educations got me to reflect on all the people who went through the school systems in the United States (over the last few decades) that didn’t work well for them. In fact, not only did the systems not work well for them, they were the sources of a great deal of pain, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and embarrassment.  Instead of being a place of wonder or joy, school was a painful, constant struggle to get through.

For those who can keep up or even excel at the pace that the trains travel at, school isn’t that much of a problem. There are likely different levels of engagement involved here, but school is manageable and it doesn’t cause nearly the stress for someone who struggles with it.

For those with learning disabilities, I’d like to apologize to you on behalf of all the people who legislated or created rigid, one-size-fits-all school systems that didn’t understand and/or meet your needs. (Why we allow legislators — who aren’t the ones on the front lines — to control so much of what happens in our school systems is beyond me.) I’d like to apologize on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who just accept the systems as they are.

Please help us reinvent our school systems. Help us develop the future of education. Help us develop a more personalized, customized approach. For those who are working to provide that, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

To everyone working within Pre-K through 12th grade, help us offer: More voice. More choice. More control. The status quo has to go. School should not be a constant source of pain and anxiety.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian

 

 

A Conversation with Ken Robinson’s Daughter about Their New Book on Transforming Education — from betterhumans.pub by Eva Keiffenheim
Kate Robinson and Co-Author of Imagine if — Creating a Future for us All

Excerpt:

In writing the book, we highlighted ten “Manifesto Statements” that really summarize the key points the book is making.

The main themes of them are:

  • we are all born with immense creative capacities
  • our incredible powers of imagination are what separates us from the rest of life on Earth
  • Education systems are based on conformity
  • real life thrives on diversity
  • we are in the midst of two climate crises: the crisis of the Earth’s natural resources, and the crisis of our human resources
  • and no matter who you are, you are the system — if you change your behavior, you have changed the system, and when enough people commit to changing the system, we have a revolution that will change the world

According to Imagine if…, the future will be grim unless we take action to change the course where we’re heading. What actions need to be taken and what needs to be done and how? Where do we start?

The first and most important step is to embrace a richer conception of human intelligence. Like any ecosystem, our cultural ecosystems depend on a wide variety of talents, interests, and capabilities to thrive. Therefore, we must actively encourage each person to connect with and make the most of their own abilities and passions.

 

Guiding Young People Not to Colleges or Careers — But to Good Lives — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

“We should not be designing programs and interventions without the direct input of young people,” says Allison Gerber, director of employment, education and training at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropy based in Baltimore that makes grants to expand education and skills-training for youth and adults. “The more engagement and ownership young people have in the entire thing, the more likely it will meet their needs, they’ll want to stay, feel a sense of belonging, and it will be attractive to them and their peers.”

Along the way, you’ll meet teenagers:
dealing with STRESS, seeking INDEPENDENCE, searching for job SATISFACTION, engaging in EXPLORATION, honing their LEADERSHIP skills, dreaming of HELPING OTHERS, worrying about MAKING MISTAKES, craving STABILITY, and AIMING HIGHER to make their families proud.

 
 

Want Students Who Think for Themselves? Let’s Eliminate Our Standardized School System — from edsurge.com by Zachary Morita

Excerpt:

It is a wake-up call when a student feels defeated by an educational system that focuses on standardizing students who feel like they are “the problem.” We can’t expect students to understand the purpose of education on their own. They need educators, leaders and supporters to guide them to create the education system they deserve to succeed in life. I stand by what I share with all of my students: that we must reimagine and redesign our education system so that students are NOT the problem.

Instead, we must ensure that learners are intrinsically motivated through learning activities that are challenging, purposeful, relevant and empowering.

 

What Colleges and Job-Training Programs Can Learn From Teenagers’ Hopes and Fears — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

American teenagers don’t all have money, connections or other advantages. But they all have dreams.

Some adolescents are encouraged to follow their dreams. Others grow up hearing that their aspirations are a luxury—nice to have, but hard to afford.
..
The adolescent brain is wired for passion, purpose and experimentation. This drives young people to seek pathways to vocation, not shortcuts to work.

But young people want more than good livelihoods. They want good lives.

 

A group of workers are shown paving a new highway in this image.

From DSC:
What are the cognitive “highways” within our minds?

I’ve been thinking a lot about highways recently. Not because it’s construction season (quite yet) here in Michigan (USA), but because I’ve been reflecting upon how many of us build cognitive highways within our minds. The highways that I’m referring to are our well-trodden routes of thinking that we quickly default/resort to. Such well-trodden pathways in our minds get built over time…as we build our habits and/or our ways of thinking about things. Sometimes these routes get built without our even recognizing that new construction zones are already in place.

Those involved with cognitive psychology will connect instantly with what I’m saying here. Those who have studied memory, retrieval practice, how people learn, etc. will know what I’m referring to. 

But instead of a teaching and learning related origin, I got to thinking about this topic due to some recent faith-based conversations instead. These conversations revolved around such questions as:

  • What makes our old selves different from our new selves? (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • What does it mean to be transformed by the “renewing of our minds?” (Romans 12:2)
  • When a Christian says, “Keep your eyes on Christ” — what does that really mean and look like (practically speaking)?

For me, at least a part of the answers to those questions has to do with what’s occupying my thought life. I don’t know what it means to keep my eyes on Christ, as I can’t see Him. But I do understand what it means to keep my thoughts on what Christ said and/or did…or on the kinds of things that Philippians 4:8 suggests that we think about. No wonder that we often hear the encouragement to be in the Word…as I think that new cognitive highways get created in our minds as we read the Bible. That is, we begin to look at things differently. We take on different perspectives.

The ramifications of this idea are huge:

  • We can’t replace an old highway by ourselves. It takes others to help us out…to teach us new ways of thinking.
  • We sometimes have to unlearn some things. It took time to learn our original perspective on those things, and it will likely be a process for new learning to occur and replace the former way of thinking about those topics.
  • This idea relates to addictions as well. It takes time for addicts to build up their habits/cravings…and it takes time to replace those habits/cravings with more positive ones. One — or one’s family, partner/significant other, and friends — should not expect instant change. Change takes time, and therefore patience and grace are required. This goes for the teachers/faculty members, coaches, principals, pastors, policemen/women, judges, etc. that a person may interact with as well over time. (Hmmm…come to think of it, it sounds like some other relationships may be involved here at times also. Certainly, God knows that He needs to be patient with us — often, He has no choice. Our spouses know this as well and we know that about them too.)
  • Christians, who also struggle with addictions and go to the hospital er…the church rather, take time to change their thoughts, habits, and perspectives. Just as the rebuilding of a physical highway takes time, so it takes time to build new highways (patterns of thinking and responses) in our minds. So the former/old highways may still be around for a while yet, but the new ones are being built and getting stronger every day.
  • Sometimes we need to re-route certain thoughts. Or I suppose another way to think about this is to use the metaphor of “changing the tapes” being played in our minds. Like old cassette tapes, we need to reject some tapes/messages and insert some new ones.

What are the cognitive highways within your own mind? How can you be patient with others (that you want to see change occur within) inside of your own life?

Anyway, thanks for reading this posting. May you and yours be blessed on this day. Have a great week and weekend!


Addendum on 3/31/22…also relevant, see:

I Analyzed 13 TED Talks on Improving Your Memory— Here’s the Quintessence — from learntrepreneurs.com by Eva Keiffenheim
How you can make the most out of your brain.

Excerpt:

In her talk, brain researcher and professor Lara Boyds explains what science currently knows about neuroplasticity. In essence, your brain can change in three ways.

Change 1 — Increase chemical signalling
Your brain works by sending chemicals signals from cell to cell, so-called neurons. This transfer triggers actions and reactions. To support learning your brain can increase the concentration of these signals between your neurons. Chemical signalling is related to your short-term memory.

Change 2 — Alter the physical structure
During learning, the connections between neurons change. In the first change, your brain’s structure stays the same. Here, your brain’s physical structure changes?—?which takes more time. That’s why altering the physical structure influences your long-term memory.

For example, research shows that London taxi cab drivers who actually have to memorize a map of London to get their taxicab license have larger brain regions devoted to spatial or mapping memories.

Change 3 — Alter brain function
This one is crucial (and will also be mentioned in the following talks). When you use a brain region, it becomes more and more accessible. Whenever you access a specific memory, it becomes easier and easier to use again.

But Boyd’s talk doesn’t stop here. She further explores what limits or facilitates neuroplasticity. She researches how people can recover from brain damages such as a stroke and developed therapies that prime or prepare the brain to learn?—?including simulation, exercise and robotics.

Her research is also helpful for healthy brains?—?here are the two most important lessons:

The primary driver of change in your brain is your behaviour.

There is no one size fits all approach to learning.

 


 

Power Lesson: Poetry Gallery Walk — from cultofpedagogy.com by Marcus Luther

Excerpt:

So three months into the school year, it was time to “pay the piper” in our AP Literature classroom in a major way. This meant veering away from normal processes of literary analysis and having students not only write their own reflective narrative poems, but spend time in an incredible, silent space moving around the library and writing notes of affirmation on each other’s writing.

Here is “how” we made it happen, then, as well as “why.”

 

How I use Minecraft to help kids with autism — from ted.com by Stuart Duncan; with thanks to Dr. Kate Christian for this resource

Description:

The internet can be an ugly place, but you won’t find bullies or trolls on Stuart Duncan’s Minecraft server, AutCraft. Designed for children with autism and their families, AutCraft creates a safe online environment for play and self-expression for kids who sometimes behave a bit differently than their peers (and who might be singled out elsewhere). Learn more about one of the best places on the internet with this heartwarming talk.

 

Below are two excerpted snapshots from Stuart’s presentation:

Stuart Duncan speaking at TEDX York U

These are the words autistic students used to describe their experience with Stuart's Minecraft server

 

6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2022 — from cultofpedagogy.com by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpts:

This year, for the very first time, I hired a team of ed tech experts to help me with the update. The task was becoming overwhelming and I knew if I was going to keep it up, I had to have some help. Here they are below: Marnie Diem, Brandie Wright, Lucia Hassell, and Kim Darche.

5. EVERFI
everfi.com/k-12

Originally a site that offered free financial literacy courses to students, EVERFI has expanded its course offerings to include career exploration (including one specific to STEM careers), social and emotional learning, diversity and inclusion, and health and wellness. Their newest additions are courses in healthcare literacy, data science and banking fraud, and compassion and empathy.

 

NCDA | Career Convergence - The NCDA's monthly web magazine for career practitioners

NCDA | Career Convergence – The NCDA’s monthly web magazine for career practitioners

From DSC:
I like the continuum that I see here:

  • K-12
  • Postsecondary
  • Workplaces
  • Counselors, Researchers, etc.

We ask students in college, for example, to pay an enormous amount of money at a time when they don’t know what’s all out there. Many don’t know themselves yet (I surely didn’t) and they also don’t know what discipline/area/jobs might be a good fit (again, I surely didn’t). We need more seamless transitions from one chapter/phase to another (and sometimes back again). We need more resources for students to find out what’s out there.

This is why I like services like LinkedIn Learning (which was Lynda.com), MasterClass, MOOCs and the like. A person can spend an hour or two (or even less) to see if that class, topic, etc. is of interest to them.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian