Does Design/MakerED/STEM even need a curriculum?

I get the sense from some in the creative subjects that the simple practice of putting something down in the form of a written curriculum is too restrictive or too cold and methodical to be worth doing. While schools tend to provide math and reading teachers things like off-the-shelf resources, scope and sequences, and pacing … Continue reading Does Design/MakerED/STEM even need a curriculum?

What constitutes “Balanced Literacy” depends on who you’re talking to.

I recently finished reading Dan Willingham’s book, Raising Kids who Read: What Parents and Teachers can do. Of particular interest to me (Zach) was the chapter in which Willingham described the infamous “Reading Wars”. Having just facilitated design thinking around literacy at my school, during which we started a discourse (Described in this recent post) … Continue reading What constitutes “Balanced Literacy” depends on who you’re talking to.

Learning Lists Underwater: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Design

In 1975, a couple of phycologists confirmed an interesting hypothesis: If you send a learner underwater in a scuba suit to memorize a list of words, they will remember those words better when tested underwater than when tested on land. But if the learner learns the words on land, they will remember them better on … Continue reading Learning Lists Underwater: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Design

Learner-Centered Experiences Through the Lens of Technology

In this post, I would like to focus once again on learner-centered experiences. When I'm browsing Twitter, I often come across exciting visuals that end up having an impact on my practice. One such infographic that I came across recently was "10 Characteristics of Learner-Centered Experiences" by Katie Martin. Be sure to check it out … Continue reading Learner-Centered Experiences Through the Lens of Technology

Empowering Students to Take Creative Action

Action can come in many forms, and, depending on the group of kids you're given, students' attitude towards action ranges from the enthusiastic to the idealistic to the unsustainable to the irresponsible. While taking action is a major component of the IB PYP, it can be tricky for teachers to get it right. https://youtu.be/WN0yCYVBD5U In … Continue reading Empowering Students to Take Creative Action

5 Reflection Activities to Help Students Glow and Grow

After a recent mindfulness training by the amazing Robyn Harwood (@rsharwood1) at the AEC Conference 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya, I started beginning the day with structured and intentional mindful breathing exercises to help my students find some inner peace after their highly stimulating morning. The success of these breathing exercises to get students "in the … Continue reading 5 Reflection Activities to Help Students Glow and Grow

Student Inventions Face Evaluation in the Shark Tank

This week, my students will be presenting their inventions to an audience of parents and community members. Instead of doing a traditional exhibition, where students stand for an hour and answer questions next to their display, we are doing something different: A Year 5 Shark Tank. Many of us already know the reality show, "Shark … Continue reading Student Inventions Face Evaluation in the Shark Tank

Some Kids Pet Baby Birds, Some Kids Squash Them.

https://twitter.com/KICSyear5/status/897402590631251968 My first week of teaching this year is officially done. And, like every year, I am overwhelmed by the potential that this year has in store. What's always amazing is that each class that comes into my care has such a different character profile than the year before. My new students bring with them … Continue reading Some Kids Pet Baby Birds, Some Kids Squash Them.

Do Teachers Have to Be Readers?

Warning: This post is going to be about reading, and it is going to encourage you to read. You may need to go grab your spectacles.  While mindlessly scrolling through my Twitter feed, I recently saw this infographic by @grantdraws: https://twitter.com/ImpactWales/status/878519866214502400 It not only had a great Quentin Blake-like look and style (compare it to … Continue reading Do Teachers Have to Be Readers?

3 Old School Elementary Events That Still Have Value (but Need to Change)

In a never-ending quest to innovate in the classroom, it can be easy to shun the traditional elements of Western education in favor of those that feel more trendy. Try posting a photo of a Science Fair on Twitter and you'll get far fewer likes than if you post about students coding video games for a … Continue reading 3 Old School Elementary Events That Still Have Value (but Need to Change)