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11 Ways Finland’s Education System Shows Us that “Less is More”.

When I left my 7th grade math classroom for my Fulbright research assignment in Finland I thought I would come back from this experience with more inspiring, engaging, innovative lessons. I expected to have great new ideas on how to teach my mathematics curriculum and I would revamp my lessons so that I could include more curriculum, more math and get students to think more, talk more and do more math. This drive to do more and More and MORE is a state of existence for most teachers in the US….it is engrained in us from day one. There is a constant pressure to push our students to the next level to have them do bigger and better things. When I arrived in Finland I did not find big flashy innovative thought provoking math lessons. So, what is the difference? Less IS more. They believe it. Conversely in the US we truly believe “more is more” and we constantly desire and pursue more in all areas of our lives. Finland on the other hand believes less is more. Less = More 1. (But wait! 2. 3. Related:  motivational inspirational

edutopia When looking at how engaged students are in playing games, it makes sense to capture some of the ideas that game designers use to engage the player. This idea of applying gaming mechanics to non-game situations is known as gamification. What defines a game is having a goal or objective. Providing a Playful Context In addition to adding to the fun of the activity, having a story can provide context for student learning. To get started, try including a paragraph with each assignment that tells a little story. Expand this idea to creating a theme or story for an entire unit. In a PE class, adapt the story from popular video games to give your students tasks that they must complete. Reimagining the Objective Get students involved in the story. Many math games are really just playsheets where the content is the same as what would be found on a worksheet, but fun graphics and a story take place around the math problem. The Role-Playing Student

Homeschoolers can learn from Swedish preschools There's a big push in the United States to introduce formal academics earlier and earlier for young children, and that has been spilling into the homeschooling community. While many homeschoolers of the 90's chose to homeschool because of issues like schools transitioning to full-day kindergarten and the "too much, too soon" academic pressures that were being pushed on children, many of today's new homeschoolers are mimicking modern public schools even in the preschool years and before. However, much of the world is catching on to the idea that early academics do not do children any favors, and in fact, they lead to lower academic scores and educational burnout just a few years later. Teachers TV, a group that produces educational programs to benefit teachers, highlighted Swedish preschools in their video series "How Do They Do It?" for their Early Years series. They say: Sweden's attitude to teaching one to six year olds appears incredibly relaxed. As the narrator says, NBC says:

edutopia As a teacher, you put a lot of thought into how to make your class and the material as accessible and engaging as possible. You think about what you know, and how you first learned it. You think about what your students already know, and how to use that knowledge as the foundation for what you're about to teach. And, as if that's not enough, you think about how to make your content so engaging that no matter what else is happening (lunch next period, upcoming prom, or the latest social media scandal among the sophomores), your lesson will hold your students' attention. All that thought goes into a lesson, and still there are students spacing out during class or seeming to fall behind. Working so hard and still not reaching every student can be frustrating. Thinking About Learning In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed everything we know about learning in a paper called How Students Learn. That's exactly what Eric Mazur decided to do. Shifting the Responsibility

New Zealand Weather Maps & Rain Radar | ONE News Now Weather Analysis Sat Oct 03 08:15:00 NZDT 2015 The 'Isobar' or 'Synoptic' map is updated at 6am, midday and 6pm, everyday. It illustrates the weather systems currently in play around New Zealand and the East Coast of Australia at sea level. Weather Satellite edutopia For decades, my grandmother boycotted Mother's Day. "Mothers should be appreciated every day!" she'd argue. I'm all for teachers being appreciated, don't get me wrong, but Teacher Appreciation Day (May 5) ruffles my feathers. As a teacher, I never felt particularly appreciated by my principal, colleagues, students, or parents. Of course, those administrators, colleagues, students, and parents are not an exception in our society, and they themselves rarely feel appreciated. In the Classroom When I taught, I worked diligently to build a classroom community where kids appreciated each other. Imagine, please, what this was like for our class -- the way kids anticipated receiving positive feedback at the end of the day, how this motivated them to be kind members of our community, how they started focusing their attention on what their classmates were doing well, and what it felt like for all of us to hear 24 declarations of appreciation to close the day. Colleagues Appreciating Each Other

Suzie's Home Education Ideas: 10 Ways to Support an Interest in Engineering When our son was just sixteen months old, we brought him a little train set. With some help, our son would design and build the train route as he showed a natural curiosity in all things engineering. From the early days of playing with trains and blocks, to now building bridges (from paddle pop sticks) and wiring electrical circuits, our son's love of engineering science is evident. Now that our daughters are starting to show an interest in engineering too, I have been reflecting on how my husband and I have supported our son's learning and how we can do the same for daughters. A Designated Work Area Every learner needs to have a work space where they can make their ideas come alive. Quality Equipment When our son was four years old, we got him a tool kit with real tools. A Journal One of the best ways to encourage engineering is to have loads of paper available to draw on. A Range of Resources There are plenty of manufactured resources that can support the budding engineer. Literature

edutopia Problem solving is at the heart of engineering. No wonder, then, that engineering teacher Alexander Pancic leverages his own problem-solving skills to improve his students' learning experiences at Brighton High School in Boston, Massachusetts. "I've been trying to get my students to make the step, when they encounter a problem, of asking, 'What do I need to know to try to solve it?'" Students who are accustomed to doing worksheets, Pancic says, "get used to having everything they need to know included in the problems. Life isn't like that. You encounter real-life problems and have to figure out, what do I need to know? Teachers interested in creating more student-driven learning experiences, especially in the STEM fields, are likely to benefit from Pancic's strategies and the resources he finds useful. Learning from Authentic Challenges Pancic's teaching approach has evolved since he discovered a resource called PBL Projects. Finding the Right Fit Doubling Up on Learning

Turning the tables: questions for school parents - Racheous - Respectful Learning & Parenting Imagine if when you told people you had chosen to send your kids to school, you were met with the kind of assumptions, judgement and questioning that is typical of families who have chosen to homeschool. Imagine that after all your research and thought, you were met with: The assumption that you homeschool and shock when they find out you’re not. Them quizzing your child to check what school is teaching them. Outdated assumptions that don’t apply to modern schooling. “I could never do that! “I knew someone who was schooled and they were freaks” “Oh I don’t know if she would suit school, she’s a bit too spirited for school” And questions.. “Is that legal?” “Are you concerned about negative socialisation? “Aren’t you worried they will end up ‘weird’?” “How much does it cost and how are you going to pay for it?” “Are you going to miss them? “Do you worry about rules being enforced and your child’s lack of autonomy?” “Are you worried about what school will teach them?” Frustrating huh?!

Meet the School That Hates Rules — Bright “Hi Lucy. How are you today?” The young girl looked up at me as I gave her a friendly wave. “Hello,” she replied. “Awesome! “Five.” It wasn’t exactly an extraordinary conversation, but it was big for Lucy. Lucy was timid around me when I started my internship, so I was surprised that she was more talkative now. Lucy’s ease at interacting with adults may seem remarkable in a child of her age, but that’s the norm at democratic schools like this one. But a Sudbury school day isn’t a free-for-all. During School Meeting sessions, students and staff jointly vote on new rules, hiring decisions, and how to spend tuition. All students eventually serve as members of the Judiciary Committee (JC for short), hearing arguments from alleged rule-breakers and deciding the appropriate consequences, if any. Having witnessed the dynamics of the JC as an intern, I believe it’s a far more effective deterrent to disruptive behavior than detention or parent-teacher conferences. Illustrations by Marina Muun

I used to be the prettiest girl in the world. – Heather Sanders Today I’m cross-posting with Kate Fridkis of Un-Schooled. Now in her mid 20s, Kate was “unschooled” at home and writes on a variety of homeschooling issues from her own personal experience and perspective. Enjoy her guest blog contribution below, and then click on over to read my guest post about Homeschooling: Freeing my girls to BE, not Become. ——————————- Guest Post by: Kate Fridkis I used to be the prettiest girl in the world. It didn’t matter what I was doing or wearing or even, really, how I looked. It’s a really good thing that my prettiness didn’t have very much to do with what I was wearing, because I was wearing floral print tights with pink shorts and a plaid shirt with a smiley face decal ironed onto it. I was confident, even when I was shy around most people. That’s homeschooling. So don’t you get spoiled, then? I can’t tell. Maybe I wasn’t very pretty. As a homeshooled girl, I was beautiful because I was smart. Yup. And I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

edutopia "Like a pane of glass framing and subtly distorting our vision, mental models determine what we see." -- Peter Senge Early in my career as an instructional coach, I worked with an enthusiastic new high school teacher who inspired most of her students to demonstrate their learning in all kinds of creative ways. Her ninth-grade English class performed skits, recorded radio plays, and published magazines that were of exceptional quality and showed mastery of learning. However, a handful of students were never in prominent roles, produced mediocre work, and weren't mastering the content. In my observations, I had noticed a trend in the teacher's interactions with them -- she didn't push them as she did the others, she let them off the hook easily, and she gave them simple tasks. I felt a mix of fear (would I know how to coach her through this?) What Is A Mental Model? Mental models are our values, beliefs, and a series of assumptions about how the world works. A Path Toward Equity

First Principles: Elon Musk on Thinking for Yourself Bill Thurston was a pioneer in the field of mathematics. He was particularly known for his contributions to low-dimensional topology, 3-manifolds, and foliation theory—concepts that sound foreign to number-challenged mortals like you and me. In 1982, Thurston was awarded the Fields Medal, which is often considered the highest honor a mathematician can receive. One reason Thurston was able to contribute valuable insights to his field of mathematics was that he utilized a different set of mental models than his peers. In a paper he wrote for the American Mathematical Society—which, no joke, I found to be a fascinating read—Thurston explains his approach to solving difficult problems. “My mathematical education was rather independent and idiosyncratic, where for a number of years I learned things on my own, developing personal mental models for how to think about mathematics. —Bill Thurston How can you go about developing a unique view of the world? First Principles Thinking —Elon Musk

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