How to Spark Curiosity in Children Through Embracing Uncertainty

This article is written by Linda Flanagan and comes via Mind/shift.  She does a great job highlighting strategies to spark curiosity.  I highlighted her thoughts below.  Read the article for more details and to see how this can happen at home as well as school!

Address the emotional impact of uncertainty. 

Assign projects that provoke uncertainty.

Adopt a non-authoritarian teaching style to encourage exploration, challenge and revision. 

Emphasize the current topics of debate in a field. 

Invite guest speakers to share the mysteries they’re exploring.

Show how the process of discovery is often messy and non-linear.

 

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3 Ways to Use Podcasts

Three ways to use Podcasts this summer” is written by Jeffrey Bradbury, and brought to us by ASCD Inservice.  It is a great resource that you need to read if you are into podcasts.

Here are his 3 ways: (Check out the article for more details!)

  1. Listen
  2. Create
  3. Teach With

I know fall is a few days away but these 3 ideas do not have to start in the fall!  They can start tomorrow, just need to think of useful ways to use them.

 

3 Lessons To Systematically Engage Families

This article comes to you from the Harvard Family Research Project or HFRP.  I have published their work before and they are now starting a blog series called New Directions in Family Engagement.

Lots of people publish information about ideas/opinions the discuss parent and community involvement, my self included, but the difference maker here is this: the HFRP backs their suggestions/thoughts with FACTS found by surveying the public.  This blog is powerful and I hope that it provides all of you with a great resource as you enter the start of a new school year.  This is a crucial topic and one that all districts need to work towards master because it is proven that getting parents involved leads to success.

**Photo is borrowed from the article cited for this blog post by the HFRP**

 

Professional Development Season! 5 Tips to Make it Successful

So it might not be as exciting as Wedding Season but Professional Development (PD) season is upon us.

Administrators have started, or will be soon, planning for the professional development that will occur prior to the start of school as well as throughout the year.  Some choose theme’s that will be discussed ad nauseum throughout the year, others develop PLC’s, while a few throw together events as they come up.  Hopefully you at least work in a district that falls into the first two!  I mean, how can administrators have high expectations for their staff if they themselves cannot perform at a high level?

As you approach this year and your PD let’s make a true effort to make it meaningful and fun for our staff.  How you might ask.  Well that depends on the culture and environment of your school and staff.  Before we get to my 5 Tips I want you to reflect back to one of the worst PD experiences that you have participated in during your stint in education.  What were some of the major flaws?  You might be thinking… I sat in my seat for an hour just listening, blah blah blah. OR I did not have a chance to talk with anyone or offer feedback but only to listen. OR We have been sitting here for 20 minutes and I still do not understand what I am learning from this session. OR you get the point.

There are a variety ways that people can fumble Professional Development.  Here are my 5 tips to make your PD Season successful:

  1. Develop a clear set of personal and campus goals for you and your staff.  This will help you to focus your PD to match these objectives, thus maximizing your time with your staff.  Here are some do’s and don’t to selecting objectives! Peter DeWitt does a nice job discussing several of these in this article, “Should These 10 Educational Words Be Banished?” and follows it up with “12 Words That Should Be in Our Educational Vocabulary”.  These are merely words but these words have certainly be the topic of some PD that you have received over the past few years!
  2. Research and look for best practices, success stories, or even stories of failure.  You want to make sure that when you sell this to your staff you are prepared and provide evidence to support your claims.  Your preparation will be recognized, appreciated, and noted.  If it is authentic and comes from the heart, this will resonate to your audience.
  3. Create a sales pitch and tell a story when you present your goals to your staff. Once you have outlined your objectives you need to sell these to your staff.  When you do it, consider telling a story to support your goals so that it resonates and connects with your staff.  This will create buy in as well as inspire them to follow your lead.  If this sounds different, read this and it may change your mind.
  4. Delivery:  Be Clear, Concise, and provide Context. So you developed your pitch, now you need to practice.  (Every time I say the word practice, I think of Allen Iverson, anyone else with me?)  But seriously, you want all of your hard work to pay off and you have 1 chance to sell this years goals and objectives.  Start the year off right and make a difference!
  5. Make PD fun!  So you have your objectives, practiced how you want to deliver it, now you need to develop the activity.  This can be a challenge.  A few things that I feel are crucial to making PD fun are to: allow for collaboration, create an environment for learning, and do not be afraid to try something new!  If not fun then it just needs to be engaging.  If you can get the audience to buy in an be engaged it will be a success! Here is an article to provide you ideas while also support you in the creation of these activities – Professional Development Should Be Fun.

For more information on how to potentially improve your PD, check out these resources that I have shared here before: Let’s Flip Professional Development and PD – It Should Be More Like ‘Masterchef’

 

PD – It Should Be More Like ‘MasterChef’

William Tolley does a GREAT job explaining how to step your game up with it comes to Professional Development (PD).  Check out his article here. 

Do you like cooking shows?  I am not a great cook but man do i love watching to see what is possible and attempting to be a master chef. ( I actually do pull it off sometimes!)  Either way – turn PD into a game and I am all in!  We need to continue to make Professional Development accessible, interesting, and fun.  If we cannot find it within our selves to be life long learners and fine tune our craft, how can we expect it from our students?

He breaks it down into 5 key points:

  1. Gamification
  2. Mastery Learning, Differentiation, and Personalization
  3. Peer and Expert Evaluation
  4. Microcredentials
  5. Redemption and Empowerment

Let’s Flip Professional Development

Great commentary posted by Mike Rocco about professional development and flipping the process like we do in the classroom.  Check it out for yourself!  .

Amazing Study on Socioeconomic Status

“Students in racially and socioeconomically integrated schools experience academic, cognitive, and social benefits that are not available to students in racially isolated, high-poverty environments. A large body of research going back five decades underscores the improved experiences that integrated schools provide. And yet, more than sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education,American public schools are still highly segregated by both race and class. In fact, by most measures of integration, our public schools are worse off, since they are now even more racially segregated than they were in the 1970s, and economic segregation in schools has risen dramatically over the past two decades.

In this report, we highlight the work that school districts and charter schools across the country are doing to promote socioeconomic and racial integration by considering socioeconomic factors in student assignment policies.”

This article highlights the findings and also how these decisions can impact student learning and their educational experience.  They found that 91 districts/charters use socioeconomic status as a factor in student assignment.  This covers over 4 million students today and spans over 32 states.  These are some of the highlights of their findings so please click to continue reading!

Image is borrowed from The Century Foundation.