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Tag: LATIC (page 1 of 2)

Cultivating a Learning Culture that Empowers Students

As a middle school social studies teacher, one of the very first things I teach my students each year is a unit on culture. Sure, the concept of culture is first up on my curriculum guide, but the overarching concept of culture is something that is essential to setting the tone for a productive year.

We begin the unit as most would expect: we define culture, we identify our own cultural markers, and we examine the cultural makeup of key civilizations throughout history.

But then we take a turn. I shift the conversation from cultural identification to cultural activism; we look at how the problem of cultural extinction is rapidly changing the face of our world. The students engage with stories from the past and from the present about how real people are faced with the challenge of carrying on and preserving cultures that are fading away forever.

For my students, the culture unit is no longer about defining cultural elements, it becomes about cultivating and preserving cultures in the face of increased globalization.

This may seem like a heady ask for a room full of 12-year-olds (…and it is), but by infusing a sense of agency into the learning, students buy in. They aren’t learning because they have to, they engage because they have a felt need to learn. By learning about culture in this type of classroom environment, I am setting the table for a classroom culture that will empower my students to be active learners.

Empowered learning is engaged learning

This trend of trying to motivate students to learn from an intrinsic place can be truly challenging. I have spent time as a part of a Learner Active Technology Infused Classroom (LATIC) cohort over the past three years that has worked to try to bring about this fundamental shift in our respective classroom pedagogies. It’s a lot of work, but it’s important work.

The studies are out there, but any educator who has had the experience of watching a student or even an entire classroom of students chasing knowledge knows the impact of a learner-driven environment.

In order to do so, whether it is in a classroom or a small group tutoring environment, there are a litany of considerations that need to be made:

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5 Practical Ways to Use Music to Promote Learning

 

Music is an amazing force.

It can rev you up and it can calm you down.

It can make you feel and it can make you think.

Bringing music into the classroom isn’t a new concept, but there is much more to unleashing its power than just hitting “Play”. Here are 5 practical ways educators can bring music into the learning experience in creative, productive, and engaging ways:

 

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Using Innovation Competitions to Motivate Students

Over the past 20 years, advancements in science, technology, and communication have transformed our world. If you trace any one of these advancements back to their roots, you are likely to uncover the story of a person or team who dared to break from traditional thinking and approach a common problem in a new way.

Whether it’s a billionaire visionary like Bill Gates who transformed the way the world uses computers, a team of innovative mathematicians like the women featured in the hit film Hidden Figures who revolutionized space travel, or a student inventor like Alexis Lewis who transformed how first-responders save lives, this is what innovation is all about.

In today’s world, the demand for innovation continues to grow. As a result, the focus of traditional learning paradigms needs to shift.

In the 21st century, simply finding creative ways to expose students to curricular content isn’t enough. Educators, whether teachers or tutors, have a responsibility to include opportunities for students to apply knowledge in innovative ways. One great way to bring this type of opportunity to your students is through participation in innovation competitions…

 

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Using Activity Lists to Differentiate Instruction

One of the key components in effective differentiated instruction is providing students with the opportunity to make the decisions that guide their learning.

When teachers differentiate based upon their students’ various skill levels or interests, the impact on student learning can be remarkable. However, when teachers empower their students to make those learning decisions for themselves, the results can be transformative.

One practical way to give students this type of learning experience is through the use of activity lists.

 

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Building Time Management Skills in a Differentiated Classroom

Differentiating instruction for students based on readiness, interest, and learning style is a powerful way to make learning personal and effective. Research shows that giving students options in how they engage with content and skill practice often results in an overall increase in engagement and growth.

When I made it a point to shift my middle school classroom to a fully differentiated model, I put in the hard work to create student-driven activities and experiences for my diverse population of learners.

There were exploratory projects, fascinating articles, student-created podcasts, curated video clips, gamified practice, and even virtual field trips. My classroom literally had something for everyone. But there was a problem: students were struggling with the time management skills associated with a choice-driven learning environment.

 

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