Summer break – my time to catch up around the house with gardening, cleaning, visiting, vacationing and maybe even sleep in (just a little). It is also a time for me to recharge and reflect. You won’t see me blogging until the end of August. My twitter and instagram accounts are much more active so feel free to follow those!
Category Archives: Thinks Big Picture
In a 24/7 world, thanks to technology, we need to remind ourselves that we all have a lot in common. We just do not notice it. In the classroom or on a school staff, take time to develop relationships. Add it to scheduled meetings, events, activities, lessons, etc. There are a number of protocols and frameworks available and I will list some of my favorites below. Check out TV Danemark and how they created meaningful connections (bring a tissue).
- Student Perspective from LearnAlberta Inclusive Ed Library is filled with Interest Inventories and Surveys for the classroom but could be easily adapted for adults. From this information, appeal to their interests and use it throughout lessons, morning greetings, etc. These items can be templated online in a Google Doc or via a Google Form. A class shared Google Slide with one slide per student can also share interests and thoughts for the whole class to check out.
- Say HELLO and GOODBYE to every student every day – this is the simplest yet most important personal connection teachers can make. Watch how a Kansas teacher does secret handshakes:
- Let students inside your world – tell stories about your own family sprinkled throughout lessons and conversations. This makes teachers more relatable and accessible. Create a bulletin board, share photos add to the class blog or newsletter, whatever you are comfortable with.
- Use critical thinking frameworks like Inquiry-pacs, Tools for Thought, Critical Challenges, Picture Setys, History Docs, etc. from The Critical Thinking Consortium to have students involved in the thinking, learning, discussion, not just the teacher.
- Guide students with TRUST. Discuss what it means to be trustworthy, how we earn trust and how we can break it. Chart this out, review it, create posters. It is a powerful word. For instance, if a student has acted inappropriately on the playground, a teacher can say “I trusted you to act kindly on the playground and you broke that trust” and then work with the student in regaining that trust from their classmates.
- Kagan Structures also provide great protocols. Take a read about using them for Emotional Intelligence and another regarding Silly Sports and Goofy Games.
- Check out Huddle’s blog about the four main types of building activities – Communication, Problem Solving, Adaptability and Trust – and the activity write-ups. You will surely find one or two for you.
Robert J. Marzano has written widely that “the most powerful message from the research is that relationships are a matter of student perception” and really that “it’s what teachers DO that dictates how students perceive those relationships”.
And, don’t forget your colleagues! Create relationship building moments throughout the year, take a brain break and visit, share family or class stories. Join the #ObserveMe movement where you invite people into your classroom.
Goals. Challenges. The New Year. A new semester. A new month. The start of the week. Each of these begs our senses to think about a re-start or a fresh start. One way to get into a habit of doing something, is to establish a 30 day challenge.
Check out what Matt Cutts says about this in his TED Ed talk:
Here are a few 30 day challenges that you or your colleagues may want to take on sometime throughout the year:
- Blogging Challenge via A.J. Juliani
- January Blogger Challenge via Edublogs – can be used for teachers and adapted for students
- Happiness Challenge from Apostrophe S Greetings
- De-Clutter Challenge from Liz
- Teach Like a Pirate Challenge adapted from Dave Burgess’ book
- Re-Connection Challenge by Dr. Jody Carrington
And there are even more to improve your health, fitness level, relationships, etc. (My goal was to share educationally/professionally based challenges.) If you are looking for other ideas, check out these books:
- The 30 Day Challenge: 500 Ideas to Inspire Your Life
- The Big Book of 30-Day Challenges: 60 Habit-Forming Programs to Live an Infinitely Better Life
- Atomic Habits
What kind of challenges have you taken on? Which were successful? Which would you like a do-over?
I had the extreme pleasure to attend both the Public Evening Lecture and the Research Colloquium on this highly important topic. Please view the STORIFY of the tweets and materials for the 2018 event.
Important points from both the evening and day events:
- we all need SLEEP, 8-10 hours depending on age
- step away from the turned on screens one hour before bedtime
- middle years and high school students are going out less, doing less with friends
- society needs to reconnect with nature – go for walks, hiking, playing ball/frisbee, sit around a campfire
- all media is educational! It’s just as important to feed the brain as it is the body. It’s the quality of the media that matters.
- try a weekly digital sabbath with everyone in your family
Photo: Flickr by woodleywonderworks
As a fan of Carol Dweck, especially her research and books on Growth Mindset, I really enjoyed getting know who C.J. Luckey was via an e-newsletter. (Love his last name!) What a great experience to have a hip-hop artist and teacher (C.J.’s wife) combine their perspectives on growth mindsets and develop a down to earth musical extravaganza as way to reach students (and even teachers).
The growth mindset has been a blessing to me. In many ways it has inspired me to change my perspective in life. The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice. Learning is a choice I want to be intentional about making every day.
~ C.J. Luckey
Using his gift of music, C.J. is teaching students some powerful growth mindset concepts in the learning environment. I especially like the simplicity of the message in the first song – The Power of Yet.
What do you think of C.J.’s message? How do you think students would react to this video? Do you think that they could come up with a multimedia message themselves (audio, video, poster, GSlide presentation, dance, meme, etc.) to share what they know about a growth mindset?
“Children with disabilities are often excluded from, or restrained in, play activities because of the physical barriers of play structures and the surrounding environment” (Ripat & Becker, 2012). According to the United Nations, 10% of the world’s population has a disability. Canada and the United States report the rate of disability closer to 20%. It was reported that only 17 parks and playgrounds in British Columbia were identified as being fully accessible (Accessible Playgrounds, 2014).
Canada is often described as being a civil society. We pride ourselves in our inclusion of others and our respect of diversity. However, 1 in 7 Canadians are excluded from enjoying our playgrounds and municipal parks. We need to revisit the notion of accessibility and ensure our play areas are inclusive for all users, including the disabled and the elderly.
Your team has been selected to develop a prototype of a structural element or component of a playground that is inclusive, safe, fun, and engaging. It needs to foster fitness, flexibility, and a joy of play. Your team needs to consider issues of mobility, access, sensory challenges, etc.
Your playground structure must be a small-scaled prototype of a structural element or component that could be found in a playground or theme park. It must satisfy two of the following identified concerns:
- Be accessible for someone with mobility issues
- Be accessible for users of variable heights / sizes
- Be accessible for someone with sensory issues
- Be accessible for someone with cognitive challenges
- Enjoyable for users of all ages
Success will be determined by
- Alignment of the prototype with the design sketch
- Ability of your item to help the user enjoy play
- Ergonomic design
- Colorfulness to match environment and attract users
- Intriguing enough to hold users’ attention
- Degree to which it Is intuitive to all users
- Ease of long term maintenance
- Alignment to design motto: “Make it smaller, stronger, do more, be easier to use, be cheaper, be clean, be greener”
- You must use some of all the items in tool kit in some way
- You must consider how to make your prototype colourful, intriguing and ergonomic.
- You must prepare a group display which includes your design notes, your design thinking sketches and your prototype.
For teacher’s please read through the Facilitator Guide.
BELOW is an ingenious theme park, this video may be shown before the challenge or after. Is this theme park inclusive?