MS Health QR code Idea

Find websites and/or some form of data.  Create QR codes and place them all over the school.  Have students bring in their devices, then along with a partner and a graphic organizer have them go find the qr codes, scan, and record the required data on the organizers.  Afterwards, process the information with the students in class.  This is a great way to get students moving, and get them finding information, besides lecturing…

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volleyball stations with record keeping

Vball stations record cards

Promote individual and partner practice, reinforce proper technique, help students learn and improve for themselves. Around 2-4 minutes per station students record highest number consecutive hits. Students work around the stations 3 different days, hopefully seeing improvement, and upon completion the 3rd day reflect on why they did or did not improve in any of the activities. See attachment.

Quality Teacher Talk

Teaching with props?

Full On Learning

In this typically engaging short video piece from Hans Rosling, the world-renowned data visualisation and data-entertainment guru (see his brilliant TED Talks for more), identifies the power of explaining using props. He emphasises that although video can be used to explain some concepts, (see Ted-ED for examples to use if you’re looking to implement some flipped learning in your lessons), nothing replaces the teacher and their ability   to make learning fun through the explanations they can offer. For teachers and presenters alike,  being able to draw upon a vast repertoire of explaining is fundamental to being able to meet the needs of all learners/ listeners. As a result, there’s a great opportunity to keep refreshing ‘explaining techniques’ and consider the many ways we can employ quality teacher talk to differentiate, challenge and encourage learners to understand new concepts and think in new ways.

I’ve included a screen shot of an observation format I use very…

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Drive. We Need Motivation.

Drive, what motivates us?

Teaching. Learning. Thinking.

Note: This is the first post in a series on professional books I’ve committed myself to read over the course of the year. Twelve books–one for each month of the year–that’s my goal. This post is a short account of my impressions of the book, from an educator’s perspective.

Book # 1:  Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

DriveI can’t recommend this book enough. Does increased motivation sound good to you? I read this book this past January, but the topic is even more relevant now that we’re at the end of another academic year, a time educators are searching for any motivation that’s still left in them. My first exposure to the book was by means of RSA’s entertaining animation of Pink’s work. This short video addresses the main ideas covered in the book. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should…

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The Question, Waiting to be Answered

Creativity and asking questions

Actualization

The crux of the pivotal paradigm shift to which we constantly refer comes down to this: questions, not answers. Once you make the shift to this new pedagogy, everything else will shift with you. And once you start asking questions, those around you will feel the ripple effect and begin asking too. We may not see where those ripples end, but we will have helped make the shift simply in how we look at and discuss education. If your reference point is still within four walls, break them down by asking what you can find beyond. There is no more “outside the box.” Standardization, identifying acceptable answers, is dead. Innovation, seeking new answers, is the new norm.

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What great schools do.

Why do you do what you do?

@mrocallaghan_edu

A few weeks ago I read an article on the BBC website written by Mike Henson entitled – ‘Inside the cult of Saracens.’ The article explores how the English rugby team Saracens has built a culture of togetherness that has enabled the team to perform better on the pitch. If you haven’t read the article please spend five minutes reading now!

After reading the article one section struck me as an excellent vision statement for what successful schools do. If you replaced ‘Saracens’ with the name of your school you have an extremely powerful statement of intent…

What successful schools do - taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/27536258 What successful schools do – taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/27536258

From reading the above statement you would never be in any doubt of the WHY behind Saracens. They know WHAT they do and HOW to go about doing it. What gives them an edge over their opponents is an extremely clear sense of WHY they do what…

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Motivation and instruction

Motivation why we do or don’t have it!

Pragmatic Education

lazysquirrel

Why do some kids arrive at secondary school already motivated to work hard, while some arrive demotivated to exert much effort at all in lessons?

Picture two students you’ve taught: one who works incredibly hard, and one who seems incredibly lacklustre and avoids making effort. What explains this difference? How does motivation work?

In a series of five blogposts, I plan to explore what we as teachers can do about motivation, self-control and willpower in school. There’ll be stories of elephants, chimps and bees; mindsets, biases and self-fulfilling prophecies. The heroes of the story will be Carol Dwek, Daniel Kahnemann, Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein, Jonathan Haidt, Kelly McGonigal and the Heath brothers. Going beyond the cognitive psychology I’ve been exploring, this is a journey into our social, intuitive minds.

In the first post of the series, I want to see how two approaches from the field of economics might apply…

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Standards May Achieve Equality, But Not Equity

Equality vs Equity…

radical eyes for equity

Michelle Morrissey makes a case for Common Core in By ‘Common,’ We Mean Equity:

When the Common Core State Standards emerged, it was both a shock and a revelation — for the first time, the dominant model said that my students, who live in low-income neighborhoods and are predominately Hispanic or African American, would have some guarantee of the same kinds of educational experiences that students at high-performing schools across the country have. All students would be asked to do the hard stuff—and reap the benefits of those high expectations.

Setting aside the inaccurate hyperbole (“for the first time”) and that every single round of standards embraced in the U.S. since the 1890s has come with the exact same set of claims (and then has always failed, thus a new round of “better” standards), the fundamental problem with chasing better standards is that standards may achieve equality, but not…

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Gratitude

Reflections

give-thanks1 This time of year I tend to think a lot about gratitude. I’m grateful for Alethea’s help this year. I’m thankful to all of the individuals and teams that allow us to do our good work. I’m grateful for Christine and her cafeteria team for keeping us well fed and happy with cookies during long meetings. I’m thankful for Barbara’s hard work. I’m thankful for Elizabeth who cleans my office each evening. I’m grateful for all of the acts of kindness.

Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, has studied the effect of positive feelings, including gratitude. Research tells us that cultivating gratitude can actually undo the effects of negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety. Her team has also found that feeling grateful can broaden our thinking, which in turn builds optimism. They have found that gratitude can broaden people’s mindsets and inspire future…

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