Week 5,#F5F

  1.  @peacegirl24,  I loved reading your blog post last week about Play.  Although I don’t yet have children of my own, I often think about school and the current school system.  It worries me to think about sending my children to a school where all there seems to be is testing-testing-testing, especially at such young ages.  First of all, Holly, I was SHOCKED to read about the recess system of sitting in silence.  This maddens me.  Every year I sign up to be a recess captain.  It is, by far, my favorite part of the day.  I get to observe.  I get to watch children interact with each other.  During this 25 minutes I see my students act in ways that I wouldn’t even imagine!  My most outgoing in the classroom chooses to sit and read a book during recess.  My student who has a hard time staying on task all day long organizes the entire four square game, assigning each team a court to play on.  Recess is such a great time to observe as they learn through play. So very often when you ask a child, “what is your favorite subject?” they will respond with, “Recess!”  It is no wonder, though, that children would say this.  It seems that it’s the only time of their day to play!  This is a problem.  If we can add play into math, or into science then perhaps that can become their favorite subject too, just like recess!  Holly, I think you made an extremely wise choice Miquoin school.  I also love what you included from the principal about play being at the heart of learning.
    Thank you for sharing
  2. When I think about the word community, community service always comes to mind.  When I did my student teaching, the district I was assigned had an amazing community service project in their school.  Each year, each grade would be assigned a community job.  This taught the kids accountability.It also taught:
    1. Awareness. It’s natural — and understandable — for kids to exist entirely within their immediate framework. Learning about concerns and causes half a world away opens up the lens.

    2. Compassion. Sometimes issues like hunger or pollution can seem so remote to kids. But if the concepts can be given a face, say, by volunteering at a shelter or planting in a community garden, the empathy factor increases exponentially.

    3. Respect. For others and yourself. The principle that everyone — no matter where you’re from, what you look like, what religion you are — has the right to basic needs is such a simple and profound notion. Even grownups have been known to forget that one on occasion.

    4. Responsibility. It’s up to all of us. Don’t look away. If someone is in need — whether it’s a friend or a stranger — there are always opportunities to help and a little goes a long way.

    5. Gratitude. In our consumer culture where kids are perpetually on the hunt for new toys, new clothes, new everything, being thankful and grateful gets lost — fast. When kids get to see first hand how little others have, the perspective is eye opening.

    6. Empowerment. Realizing that they can affect change, and that they have the agency to make someone’s life better, is a magical message that builds self-worth.

    Just as important as it is to establish a community of learners, it is also important for the kids to be aware of the larger community that they are part of, and also be aware of how they can go about giving back to that group.  Embedded above are links to click that has ideas of community service projects.

  3.  This week’s Digital Is article, “Looking with Heart,” provided an insightful and alternative look into assessing student’s work. Christina says that teachers need to find ways to leverage digital spaces to see student’s strength in their work? Especially in this age of standardized testing and “the extraordinary medicalization of [our] schools” as Christina points out in this piece, taking a more formative and even forgiving approach to student assessment contradicts the norm in most schools. I agree that school tends to highlight the negatives in a student’s performance instead of applauding the positive.  I believe part of this is simply the tight timeline we are on.  As educators we have to get x amount of work in, and instead of stopping to celebrate success, we often rush to feed the students what they need to know before the next assessment.  When has school become a place for critique of one’s work more so than praise of one’s work?! Why don’t we as teachers try to grasp on to the positive? Maybe because a more industrialized, black-and-white approach to schooling and grading on the basis of a rubric or a scale is just easier when in terms of mass education, or maybe because the Common Core Standards take away the creativity of education!?  In the end, being more aware of this horrible reality really just makes me want to stop, and “look with heart”to celebrate the individual students and their success.
    human in the digital 2.jpg
  4.  A great read! https://nextthought.com/thoughts/great-connections/creating-powerful-learning-experiences-big-xii-tlc-keynote

    “Our job, as educators, is to convince students who don’t care to start caring, and to encourage those who currently care, to continue caring.” -Dave CormierThis article states that real learning doesn’t pull inward, but rather pushes us outward.  Real learning is comprised of networking, each representing a connection with a person or source of information.  This, in itself, is establishment of community.  Learning happens through community- through interactions with people whether similar or different.  Real learning is about students connecting, and reaching outward, and interacting with the people and the information they need.  Whether this is done though technology, or through human interaction, this is the definition of community.  If teachers can convince students how “simple” the learning process can be, than we certainly should be able to convince those who don’t care to start caring, and those who do care to go above an beyond and grow their passion for education.
  5. Helping students make the transition into the role of maker/creator is the shift we should be exploring in our classroom and learning environments.  Through this week’s reads, I felt as though building a community of enthusiastic learners is the first and most important part towards reaching each student and providing equitable learning experiences.  While reading “Digital Is,” I came across a writing space which was designed to bring urban and rural communities together, providing them a platform to connect.  The project gave teachers the opportunity to explore blogging with their children, and to help students better understand the world outside their community.  Closed spaces were used to share writing stories, cross-school mentor, collaborate on science projects and discuss books.   When I think about community in education, this is what I think about!  Community is about sharing common goals, and coming together to share common interests.  What an amazing way, too, to immerse students in poor communities to technology.

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