Learn. Teach. Write. Share.

from the desk of @SoperWritings

This blog contains helpful resources and insights pertaining to:

Some are pieces are selections of my work that have been published elsewhere, while others are original pieces you can only find here.

Check back often for ways to foster student, personal, and professional growth!

If you enjoy the content, please take the time to comment and share it with others! I would love to hear your feedback and find ways to connect and collaborate!

Sheldon Soper, M. Ed.

SoperWritings LLC

@SoperWritings

How to Become “Ear Buds” with Your Teen

Music is and has always been a launching point for human understanding. Harnessing that big idea with the power of digital music is a way you can create positive and fun inroads with the adolescent in your life.

Try becoming “ear buds” with your teen as a way to create both passive and active pathways to potential connections.

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3 Marketing Skills Students Are Not Being Taught in School

I was really good at “doing school” when I was a kid. I knew all the ins and outs of the academic world and was able to breeze through most of my coursework. I enjoyed the process of learning new things and pushed myself to understand concepts as deeply as possible. Looking back, there is little surprise that I became a teacher.

Fast-forward to my early thirties when I found myself entering into the world of entrepreneurship as a writer. For all my successes in the academic sphere, nothing in that experience had prepared me for the world of business. In particular, when it came to a critical business skill like marketing, I quickly realized I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.

In the 21st century, entrepreneurial skills are crucial to a successful future. Unfortunately these skills are not explicitly taught in schools or addressed by stakeholders in ways comparable to core content mainstays like math, reading, and science. Instead, these skills are often relegated to elective classes or one-off lessons designed to simply address standards without allowing students to wholly unpack them.

Thankfully  there are ways for students to acquire this type of knowledge; but, as I have learned on my own entrepreneurial journey, sometimes you just don’t know what it is you don’t know.

So where do you start? To help, here are three marketing skills that most kids are not being taught in school that parents, teachers, and other mentors can start addressing today.

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The Implications of Grading Without Zeros

From the Teach.com blog –January 16, 2018 by Sheldon Soper

For most of us, grades were always a part of school. Work was assigned, it was completed, and we were given a score reflective of our efforts and understandings. At regular intervals, these scores were compiled and sent home on report cards to inform our parents or guardians of our progress.

Over time, grades have become a ritual of the educational process that most students, parents, teachers, and administrators have come to expect as a measuring stick of progress and achievement.

Recently, there has been growing support for removing grades from the educational landscape altogether. Instead of A’s and F’s or 100s and 0s, there have been pushes for more authentic evaluative criteria like standards-based proficiency or relying exclusively on descriptive feedback. It makes sense; successfully facilitating a growth mindset in students involves assessment styles tied to more intrinsically relevant experiences than arbitrary numerical scales.

For all the merits of the no-grade argument, the reality for most districts is that simply abandoning grades altogether is a difficult proposition. For better or worse, parents know from their own experiences what grades are; there are entrenched expectations about their importance and the messages they imply.

On a logistical level, schools have policies about extra-curricular participation tied to specific grade qualifications. Colleges and employers still ask about things like GPA and class rank when evaluating candidates.

In response, some schools have adjusted the traditional grading model with a modified numerical scale that starts at 50% rather than 0%. In doing so, stakeholders still receive the quantifiable progress indicators of grades, but it changes the entire conversation about student agency in earning them.

Read more at the Teach.com blog: The Implications of Grading Without Zeros

The Power of Paper

From the outset of my teaching career, integrating technology into my lessons has remained a constant priority. Whether it was piloting SmartBoards in a district elementary school, using iPads to digitize workflows, or making the switch to Chromebooks, technology has been at the forefront of how I prepare and deliver content to students.

In the first half of my decade in the classroom, being “the technology guy” meant that students engaged with content in a totally unique way in my room compared to the classrooms of my more analog-focused peers. The bells and whistles of screens, interactivity, and digital customization opened doors to a creative and unique pedagogical world that I was able to capitalize on to promote student interest and growth.

Fast-forward to today. The ubiquity of technology has transcended the novelty. For one thing, many of my students now carry phones in their pockets that are more powerful than the computer on my desk. In many schools, Chromebooks and iPads are now looked at as common educational tools – similarly to how we used to look at textbooks and binders.

Ever in search of ways to recapture the magic once created by technology in the classroom, I have turned to an unlikely medium for drawing students in: good, old-fashioned paper. What’s more, it has worked!

It turns out, there are several, research-backed reasons why working in the physical space needs to remain a part of today’s pedagogy.

Read more…

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