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Preschool lessons: New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire

Preschool lessons: New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire
Illustration by Alex Eben Meyer Ours is an age of pedagogy. Anxious parents instruct their children more and more, at younger and younger ages, until they're reading books to babies in the womb. They pressure teachers to make kindergartens and nurseries more like schools. So does the law—the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act explicitly urged more direct instruction in federally funded preschools. There are skeptics, of course, including some parents, many preschool teachers, and even a few policy-makers. What do we already know about how teaching affects learning? Developmental scientists like me explore the basic science of learning by designing controlled experiments. In the first study, MIT professor Laura Schulz, her graduate student Elizabeth Bonawitz, and their colleagues looked at how 4-year-olds learned about a new toy with four tubes. All of the children pulled the first tube to make it squeak. Why might children behave this way?

How Do We Teach Critical Thinking in a Connected World? As a child, I grew up in a world that was dominated by left-brained thinking. Both my parents were in professions that required in-depth analytical thinking. The “rule” in my house was: “If you break something, try to fix it. Only THEN come ask Dad for help.” Dad was an avionics engineer and had an incredible mechanical ability. He could fix anything, and he instilled within his children a desire to understand how things work and a hunger to ask questions that clarify thinking. Looking back now, I realize something I never understood then — what he had instilled was an ability to think critically. Several months ago, as I was visiting one of our diocese schools, I was fascinated that a first grade teacher was actually teaching critical thinking to her students within a math lesson. The addition sentences were easy for the six and seven-year olds. Shortly after my classroom visit, I came across a website dedicated to teaching critical thinking. ‘How do you know what you know?’

How Does Music Stimulate Left and Right Brain Function and Why is this Important in Music Teaching? | The Music Teachers Blog « Confused About Interactive Whiteboards? | Home | Music Teaching Quotes » Music research indicates that music education not only has the benefits of self-expression and enjoyment, but is linked to improved cognitive function (Schellenberg), increased language development from an early age (Legg), and positive social interaction (Netherwood). Music listening and performance impacts the brain as a whole, stimulating both halves – the analytical brain and the subjective-artistic brain, affecting a child’s overall cognitive development and possibly increasing a child’s overall intellectual capacity more than any other activity affecting the brain’s bilaterism (Yoon). How does music stimulate the right and left hemispheres? The right hemisphere engages in synthesizing several different parts to create a cohesive whole when processing new information (Williams). The right brain, often considered the more subjective and creative hemisphere, focuses on the melody in music. Music Listening vs.

PBL and Standardized Tests? It Can Work! It's never too late to address this subject. Yes, many of us are gearing down from (or gearing up for) the epic standardized testing season, enjoying the freedom, released from the many pressures that come with the tests. However, these tests will keep happening. Whether a yearly course assessment, a six-week benchmark exam or a state-level competency test, teachers and students are inundated with testing. PARCC and Smarter Balanced Although some states have opted out of the PARCC or Smarter Balanced Assessments, many of our students will be taking them -- or something similar to them. Don't Wait Until After Testing Season "I'll wait til after the testing season," is one I hear often. Power Standards and Learning Targets Whether individually or through facilitated professional development, teachers spend a lot of time unpacking the standardized tests and the targeted standards and learning on which they're based. Embed Test Stems and Questions in the PBL Project PBL Projects Where They Fit

How to Teach Internet Safety in K-6 The Internet is a wonderful resource for kids for researching school reports, communicating with teachers, staying in touch with friends, and entertaining themselves. They can literally hit a few keystrokes and Click poster to purchase find out about culture in China, the history of Europe, or take a tour of the American White House. But with that access comes risks, even if you’re careful. For example, in our class project on life cycles, we never allow the students to search “chicks”, rather they must type “baby chickens” to avoid the problems the former carries. The digital natives we are educating don’t want to hide from these sorts of problems, though. Kindergarten I mix internet safety lessons in with other teaching during my 45-minutes-per-week lesson. Have sufficient adult assistance that student activities can be corrected immediately so learning is seamless and students aren’t confused First Grade I mix these lessons in with other teaching throughout the year. Second Grade Follow me.

The Best Teaching Practice Ever! I've been watching twitter the past few days and I have noticed lots of talk about new and improved instructional methods. Some involve Games and others involve flipping the classroom. I love seeing new ideas shared across all content areas. I even love the pushback and questioning from others looking to learn more about these new ideas. However, I do not like is idea bashing because it's different. I knew nothing about the idea of Gamification in education.

Changing Assessment Presentation I am putting on a session called "Globablization of Assessment" Below is my presentation and talking points:My Talking points: Math teachers indicated that they rely on a textbook for more than 80% of their teaching and most math teachers (at least 60%) reported that their instruction is quite similar to textbook tests. – Center for the study of testing, evaluation, and education policy. Mayor of New Jersey strongly backed the pedagogical approach of using “constant drill and repetition” and even said “It is not that hard to give answers if someone just told you what to say. They memorize back and know and get used to a lot of A’s on quizzes” But when asked if he would send his own children to this type of school, he answered “no, those schools are best only for certain children”. Research has shown that an overemphasis on achievement: 1) Undermines students interest in learning 2) Makes failure overwhelming 3) Leads students to avoid challenging themselves 4) Reduces the quality of learning

My Classroom Design & Seating Chart Tips Another school year is coming to a close and before you know it, September will roll around with a new group of students eager to learn. Many of us will use the summer to reflect on the past year and plan changes we want to implement the following year. One of those areas for reflection is the design and arrangement of the classroom. Since this year was spent in long term substitution positions in various classrooms, I had the opportunity to experience various classroom designs. Ever feel buried under the stack of assignments, tests, and quizzes just... With last month’s conventions and next month’s debates, it’s a perfect time to... After over 25 years in the high-tech field, Dave, aka Mr. Teacher evaluation is at the top of the list of things to talk about in the... Do your traditional book report assignments seem old and tired? Classroom designs are as unique as fingerprints; no two classrooms are the same. To create a welcoming environment, I add a little personalization.

Flip this lesson! A new way to teach with video from TED-Ed Announcing a new way to use video to create customized lessons: the “Flip This Lesson” feature from TED-Ed, now in beta at With this feature, educators can use, tweak, or completely redo any video lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch based on a TEDTalk or any video from YouTube. How? Just plug the video in and start writing questions, comments, even quizzes — then save the lesson as a private link and share with your students. The site allows you to see who’s completed the lessons and track individual progress. Watch the short video to learn how it works: “Flip This Lesson” is an open platform — you can create a lesson from any video, whether from the TED-Ed library, from more than 1,000 TEDTalks, or from any video on YouTube. Then — go forth and write lessons of your own!

Criteria for Implementing Flipped Instruction This is from Ivan Hannel and can be found through Today's learners are in a unique and enviable position. Their universe of available knowledge is nearly unconstrained. The Internet gives them access to an immeasurable amount of information, instantly received at a very low cost or free. The "flipped classroom" is the moniker given to a construct for making better use of students' new and remarkable access to information. The basic idea is that the traditional stream of direct instruction-often a lecture--is reassigned to students as homework to be viewed via video or guided animation or podcast on the student's own time. Until recently, high quality online lectures covering the grounds of K-12 education were hard to find. As schools consider the flipped instruction model, what criteria might be used to determine what should be required of the direction instruction and the coaching component? Direct Instruction __ Describe and organize the learning