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How Do We Teach Critical Thinking in a Connected World?

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. 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. Reflection always includes stopping and thinking before making rash judgments about the topic at hand. ‘How do you know what you know?’ About the author

Student “engagement” declining dramatically – and what schools can do | Hometown SourceHometown Source Joe Nathan Column – What can five- and six-year-olds learn from building a playground, or high school students learn by helping to produce a play, writing a history of their community, creating You-Tube videos about the value of Dual (High School/College) credit courses, conducting water quality testing, or planning and then building a community garden? The answer is clear: Students who participate in such hands-on, active learning generally will be more “engaged” in their learning. And, a 2012 Gallup poll of almost 500,000 American students, grades 5-12, helps explain why student engagement is so important. Joe Nathan The poll also shows a dramatic decline in student engagement as students move thorough our public schools. How do we “engage” students? Let’s be clear. But as the national Gallup organization points out, we should care about this because “Hope, engagement and well being of students accounts for one third of the variance of student success.

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. 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. Does direct teaching also make children less likely to draw new conclusions—or, put another way, does it make them less creative? Why might children behave this way?

In praise of failure: the key ingredient to children’s success | Canada Mike Faille/National Post Emily Martell was born to be Rizzo. So badly did the Grade 4 student want the role of the sassiest Pink Lady in her school’s production of Grease that she marched into the audition in a short brown wig and silky pink jacket and told the panel as much. “She was so good and I was so proud of her and thought ‘She’s going to get this part,’” her mother, Ali Martell, said. She didn’t get it, and saw the defeat as a crushing failure — one so traumatic she seriously considered abandoning her passion for school plays. Ms. “She stewed on it for a day and a half, then came back to us and said ‘I never want to quit, I love drama. In letting her daughter work it out alone, Ms. The most recent plea for the embrace of failure came this week from a New Hampshire middle school teacher, Jessica Lahey, who recalled talking with a student’s mother about her daughter’s blatant plagiarism. Ms. Courtesy of Ali MartellEmily Martell (L): “I never want to quit, I love drama. Ms.

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). 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. The act of listening to music has several noted benefits (Yoon):Stress relief and emotional releaseIncreased creativity and abstract thinkingPositive influences on the bodies overall energy levels and heart rhythm Some key points to remember: SOURCES: Legg, R. (2009). Schellenberg, E. (2005). Vitale, J.L. (2011). Bajaj, Manjul.

7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning Big Ideas Culture Teaching Strategies Flirck:WoodleyWonderworks Every educator wants to create an environment that will foster students’ love of learning. Because the criteria are intangible, it’s difficult to define or pinpoint exactly what they are. Researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched the Innovative Learning Environments project to turn an academic lens on the project of identifying concrete traits that mark innovative learning environments. Their book, The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice and the accompanying practitioner’s guide, lay out the key principles for designing learning environments that will help students build skills useful in a world where jobs are increasingly information and knowledge-based. “Adaptive expertise tries to push beyond the idea of mastery,” said Jennifer Groff, an educational engineer and co-founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign. Related

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. 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 Standardized test preparation does not need to go "out the window." PBL Projects Where They Fit Some of us have to deal with testing more frequently than others.

OESIS 2013 : Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools 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. 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 Third Grade—this is a four-week unit Fourth Grade—this is a five-week unit Fifth Grade—this is a seven-week unit Sixth Grade (and Teens) Self-directed online internet safety unit Follow me.

Finding Students' Hidden Strengths and Passions Rabbi Brad Hirschfield is the President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and he has spent a lot of time thinking about how to inspire both. He has some ideas about how we can inspire our students by helping them find their hidden strengths and passions. To use the word "hidden" may not be quite accurate because often, strengths are hidden by lack of opportunity to display them. Too often, when students are in school, they are not looked at in terms of their strengths; rather, there is a focus on remediating their deficits. This is rarely a source of inspiration for anyone. So what can educators do? Second, ask students to talk about times when they found out something surprising and good about someone else. Third, have students talk to their parents or guardians about "hidden talents"-- you may want to use this exact term. You may have your own ideas. Brad Hirschfield reminds us that miraculous discoveries must be discovered.

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

Partners in the Future of BC Education 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. Some classrooms were extremely detailed and organized, while others were cluttered and overly engaging. By experiencing both ends of the spectrum, I was able to take note on what works and what doesn't work, for me. 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...

The Most Powerful 3-Letter Word a Parent or Teacher Can Use Kids love to announce that they’re not good at something. They usually do it just after they try something new and challenging, and they say it with finality, as if issuing a verdict. I’m not good at math!” or, “I’m not good at volleyball.” At that moment, our normal parental/teacher/coach instinct is to fix the situation. So here’s another idea: ignore the instinct to fix things. You add the “yet” quietly, in a matter-of-fact tone, as if you were describing the weather or the law of gravity. “I’m not good at math” becomes “You’re not good at math yet.” “I’m not good at volleyball” becomes “You’re not good at volleyball yet.” The message: Of course you’re not good — because you haven’t worked at it. At first glance, it seems silly — how can just one word make a difference? The answer has to do with the way our brains are wired to respond to self-narratives. Her core insight is that the way we frame questions of talent matter hugely. Yes, it’s kinda corny, like these things tend to be.