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Tag: life skills (page 1 of 4)

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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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…

The Constantly Evolving Role of the School Librarian

From: The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Blog – Guest Post on behalf of Teach.com – July 5, 2017 – by Sheldon Soper

The educational landscape is awash with initiatives to make learning more authentic and problem-based. For these differentiated approaches to work, students and teachers need networks of support to ensure that students can follow their own felt needs for learning. Who better to support that journey than the modern school librarian?

Forget Dewey decimal quizzes and overdue notices; today’s school librarians are the linchpins for modernizing the educational system. In the era of belt-tightening and budget cuts, school librarians are crucial pieces in the educational infrastructure that need to be both protected and cherished if our students are to receive the best education possible.

Read more at The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) Blog The Constantly Evolving Role of the School Librarian

How to Increase Classroom Transparency

From: Teach.com – October 18, 2017 – by Sheldon Soper

More than ever, teachers are called to justify their practice and their decision-making inside the classroom. Whether it is from administrators, parents, or the public, today’s teachers feel the pressure that comes from an increased professional scrutiny. It doesn’t help that the public perception of the teaching profession is increasingly shaped by negative media coverage.

Failing to bear this weight can lead to frustration, decreased job satisfaction, and even full-blown burnout.

What this means is that it falls to teachers to take the reins to close the gap between the perceptions and realities of what is happening in our respective classrooms. Designing classroom structures and workflows that are more transparent helps demonstrate to stakeholders just how much great, innovative work is taking place in the service of student growth.

Read more at Teach.com: How to Increase Classroom Transparency

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