User Generated Education

Among Us Classroom Style: Another Case for Game-Based Learning

User Generated Education

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my gaming club in Video Games for Relationship- and Team Building. It is still going very strong. Students from the three schools where I teach gifted students look forward to it all week long.

Video Games for Relationship- and Team Building

User Generated Education

I had the privilege of taking a workshop on Fortnite Creative facilitated by Steven Isaacs. I decided to take this workshop because I knew that many of my students (3rd-7th grade gifted students) were playing Fortnite.

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Virtual Team Building Activities

User Generated Education

I, like many others, was forced to move a face-to-face college class to virtual synchronous meetings in Zoom. This term I am teaching a group dynamics course. One of my goals is to have my students experience similar dynamics and processes as they would face-to-face. Typically, I do this through experiential group activities. My task has become converting these experiences to a virtual environment.

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The Importance of Civics Education

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Truth be told, I always disliked history and government classes as a Kindergarten through undergraduate student. I found it dry, boring, irrelevant, and unimportant. I believe this was due to it all being about memorization.

SplashLearn Makes Learning Fun and Creates Fearless Learners

Loved by more than 30 million kids, SplashLearn is a game-based learning program that creates engaging learning experiences to nurture a generation of fearless learners. SplashLearn is the fastest growing elementary school math program in the US, used by more than 440,000 teachers in about 77,000 schools across the United States.

Anti-Racist Activities for Upper Elementary and Middle School Students

User Generated Education

I am planning to do anti-racist activities with my elementary students (5th and 6th graders) this coming fall. When you’re essentially [teaching] a kid to be anti-racist, you’re deliberately encouraging them to talk about race and Racism. You’re deliberately teaching them that all the racial groups are equals. You’re deliberately showing them, yes, there are different colors and there are different cultures. And we should value them all equally.

Increasing Student Participation During Zoom Synchronous Teaching Meetings

User Generated Education

Due to Coronavirus, many schools are moving online, and teaching through Zoom meetings. If it is only being used to present content to students, then why not just record videos and have students watch them on their own? The value of Zoom meetings is that the educator can create synchronous interactive conversations and activities. My goal is to have all my students actively engaged throughout the meeting. Below are some the activities I have used during my.

Universal Skills for Learners: Increasing School Relevancy

User Generated Education

Kids are learning – but for way too many it occurs outside of the school environment rather than during school. Given today’s technologies, it makes sense and is exciting that learning occurs after schools hours, but for exciting, engaging, and profound learning not to occur during school hours is, simply put, a travesty.

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Reimagining Education: A Call for Action

User Generated Education

Many of us have been discussing educational reform for decades. Given the unprecedented time of COVID19 and its effect on education, it is a perfect time to revisit and reimagine the purpose, operations, and skills related to a powerful education.

Civic Engagement for Young People During Social Distancing

User Generated Education

Many of us feel a bit helpless to help others out during these coronavirus social distancing and isolation times. This also true for kids and young people. There are actions they can take as part of their home schooling. They can participate in civic engagement and activism activities. Civic engagement is defined as “working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference ( [link] ).”.

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5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

The Benefits of the Copy Stage of Making

User Generated Education

In Learning in the Making: How to Plan, Execute, and Assess Powerful Makerspace Lessons , I propose a model for the stages of making. I believe that the heart of making is creating new and unique things. I also realize that in order for this type of making to occur, there needs to be some scaffolding so that maker learners can develop a foundation of knowledge and skills. This post focuses on the Copy Stage of this model. Copy – make something almost exactly as someone else has done.

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Sometimes Kids Just Need to Play During School

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Teachers get so much pressure to meet standards and prepare students for state mandated tests, that I believe they forget their students are just kids. Because of this pressure, too many teacher education and professional development strategies stress the concept of time on task. For example, see Identifying (and Engaging Students in) Time-on-Task Activities , Increasing Time on Task , and Time on Task.

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Authentic Learning Experiences

User Generated Education

Providing authentic learning experiences to all learners should be the highest prior for all administrators, curriculum developers, and teachers. Authentic learning is learning designed to connect what students are taught in school to real-world issues, problems, and applications; learning experiences should mirror the complexities and ambiguities of real life.

Helping Learners Move Beyond “I Can’t Do This”

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I work part-time with elementary learners – with gifted learners during the school year and teaching maker education camps during the summer. The one thing almost all of them have in common is yelling out, “I can’t do this” when the tasks aren’t completed upon first attempts or get a little too difficult for them. I partially blame this on the way most school curriculum is structured.

7 Benefits of Lesson Plans in the Cloud

What if teachers didn’t have to lug tons of paperwork with them to and from work? Having lesson plans available anywhere is just one of the advantages.

Scratch and Makey Makey Across the Curriculum

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I love bringing physical computing into my classrooms: Physical computing means building interactive physical systems by the use of software and hardware that can sense and respond to the analog world. Physical computing is a creative framework for understanding human beings’ relationship to the digital world.

My Educational Learning Plan for the Coronavirus-Induced Hiatus

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I, like many of you, have gone into a somewhat involuntary social distancing and isolation (mostly) due to my school and health club closures and recommendation to stay away from crowds. It’s just my cats and I (gives new meaning to home alone). Having a plan to engage my mind and body is of utmost importance. I am sharing my plan of activities, which are almost all free, as it may give other educators some ideas. If you have additional ideas, please share them in the comments.

All Lessons Should Be Interdisciplinary

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I am not a fan of worksheets. In fact, I hate most of them. They don’t teach real world skills. How often does someone do worksheets outside of school? How often when they become adults? They also tend to focus on a single content area concept like specific math problems or questions about a particular text. I used to teach face-to-face elementary education classes to pre-service teachers. There is evidence that teachers teach the way they were taught.

Learning in the Making: The Role of the Educator as a Maker Educator

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I have been working with ASCD for the past few years to publish my book, Learning in the Making: How to Plan, Execute, and Assess Powerful Makerspace Lessons. It has finally been released for sale! Below is an except – Chapter 5: The Role of the Educator as a Maker Educator. The process of bringing maker education into formal and informal educational settings involves different approaches and strategies than in a more traditional educational setting.

Why Families Leave Schools

Do you know three of the biggest reasons families leave schools? Here they are – and what you can do about it.

A Beautiful Boy

User Generated Education

During Fall 2020, I taught gifted education at the high school on our south-side. The south-side is known for its low income housing and its primarily Hispanic population. As an itinerant gifted education teacher, I work at several schools. Our district has extremes of schools – high income communities at one extreme, that have the characteristics of private schools, to the other extreme of Title 1 schools with 100% free and reduced lunch programs. I choose to work at these schools.

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Maker-Enhanced Writing Workshop: Character Development

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Readers of my blog know my thoughts and feelings about effective student learning. I have written blogs on: All Lesson Should Be Interdisciplinary Learning – [link]. The Imperative of Experiential and Hands-On Learning – [link]. Authentic Learning Experiences – [link]. Intentional Creativity – [link]. The Magic of Making: The Human Need to Create – [link]. This month I started a maker-enhanced writing workshop with a group of gifted 3rd through 6th grade students.

Language Arts Lesson Using a micro:book

User Generated Education

In Learning in the Making I discuss the importance of and strategies for integrating technology into the curriculum. Maker education needs to be intentional. It follows, then, that if we want to bring maker education into more formal and traditional classrooms—as well as more informal environments such as afterschool and community programs—it needs to be integrated into the curriculum using lesson plans.

Letting Your Learners Experience Productive Struggle

User Generated Education

I came into teaching through a non-traditional, backdoor route – through a graduate degree in counselor education and through being an adventure therapist, whereby I took at-risk youth on extended wilderness trips. There have been a plethora of lessons I learned through these experiences that have served me well as a teacher.

How Online Admissions Affect Enrollment Rates

Discover the top five reasons your school’s admissions should be online.

Choice + Imagination = Fantastic Results

User Generated Education

The use of Destination Imagination (DI) has been recommended by my supervisor for use with gifted students. I teach gifted students at two Title 1 elementary schools. DI MISSION. To engage participants in project-based challenges that are designed to build confidence and develop extraordinary creativity, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills. DI PRINCIPLES. Fun learning: Explore STEM/STEAM concepts in a hands-on environment.

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A mis niños y niñas especiales: To my special students

User Generated Education

This is a love letter to you, my special, smart, and beautiful students. You have touched my heart so deeply and profoundly that words cannot adequately convey how much you mean to me. I write this note, so you know the hopes and dreams I have for you. You come to a school that is known as a Title 1 school meaning that a lot of students at our school come from economically disadvantaged families.

Expert Mentors: A Professional Development Model for STEM and Maker Education Implementation

User Generated Education

Implementing Maker, STEM, STEAM Education. In order to prevent STEM and maker education from becoming a flavor of the month, there needs to be specific strategies provided to educators on how to embed STEM and maker activities into their curriculum. A good number of educators have not received training on how to integrate activities into their classroom practices which entail resource heavy, hands-on learning.

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Starting Off the School Year: It’s About the Learners

User Generated Education

I always start off the school year focusing on connections – my connections to the students, their connections to me and the other in the class. Too many classes, all grade levels, begin the school year with getting down to academic business – starting to cover content, discussing expectations regarding academic requirements, giving tests, and other academic information provided by the teacher to the students in a mostly one-way communication.

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K-12 Private School Student Information System Buying Guide

Too many private schools are still using clunky, outdated systems, causing unnecessary stress and wasted time. That’s why it’s vital for them to invest in modern products and services purposefully designed for private K-12 education.

Shoe Design Project

User Generated Education

As the final project of the school year, I asked a group of my gifted 4th through 6th graders to design and prototype a new type of shoe. In a recent post from Idea U, Why Everyone Should Prototype (Not Just Designers) , Chris Nyffeler, IDEO Executive Design Director, discussed the purpose and value of prototyping: When we say prototype, that’s anything that gets the idea in your head into an artifact people can experience and offer feedback on.

Pi Day: An Example of an Interdisciplinary, Engaging Lesson

User Generated Education

I have the privilege of teaching my gifted elementary students for multiple years. At my one school, I have them in class for a full day each week, and each year I have special thematic days for which the students get very excited, e.g., Halloween and Day of the Dead “Wars,” Valentines Day, Book Celebrations, and Pi Day. I love planning a variety of interdisciplinary activities for these days and I love watching how 100% are fully engaged for the entire time.

I Have a Dream: Authentic Learning

User Generated Education

I wrote a post earlier this year entitled, Authentic Learning Experiences. Some of the characteristics of authentic learning I identified are summarized in this graphic: The Task. Learners, 4th through 6th graders in my gifted education language arts class, were given the task of composing and then recording their own I Have a Dream speeches. Writing Their Speeches. This authentic learning experience began by watching Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.

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2020: A Clear Vision for Our Learners

User Generated Education

20/20 vision is a term for visual acuity in which the numerator refers to distance and the denominator refers to size. Visual acuity (VA) commonly refers to the clarity of vision. Vision is all about clarity. 20/20 vision is perfect, high-definition clarity. The question is: How clear is your vision? Specifically, how clear is your vision [for your learners’] futures? ( How to Have 20/20 Vision in 2020 ).

Inspiring K12 : Creating the Joy of Reading and Self-Directed Learning in the Digital Era

Personalized teaching of reading at the K-12 level can help imbue pleasure and interest in reading and the development of a reading habit, even among digital natives. A personalized approach works better than the systematic teaching of the entire class.