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Archive for the ‘Online Learning’ Category

The Changing Face of Teaching and Learning

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Among the impacts of radical change is fundamental uncertainty, a knot-in-the-stomach feeling that what we normally do might not work this time. Fundamental uncertainty makes it easy to visualize a youngster, standing at the chalkboard with his hands in his pockets, completely stumped by the problem before him.

To complicate matters further, fundamental uncertainty has a companion malady …… uncertainty of role. In addition to not knowing what to do, many are beginning to question whether we should be doing (or not doing) what we’re doing (or not doing).  Online learning and the role of teachers exacerbates uncertainty.

America’s schools are not immune to the forces of radical change and the uncertainty it’s causing. In fact, some school people appear numbed by the magnitude of the events driving radical change. Like the young student, they’re stuck at the chalkboard, uncertain of what to do next.  Online learning is a force that educators need to reckon with.  Coming from the outside in, it will radically change the way schooling has traditionally taken place.  Yet, coming from the inside, the promises online learning offer will not be recognized.


Young Adolescents and Learning

Friday, April 5th, 2013

What are the specialized needs of young adolescents ages 10-15?  Why do we need to develop curricula and educational programs tailored to those unique needs? Researchers have found that young adolescents have the following developmental needs

  • positive social interaction with adults and peers
  • creative expression
  • structure and clear limits to physical activity
  • meaningful participation in families and school
  • opportunities for self definition
  • competence and achievement

Programs which meet the developmental needs of young adolescents use a variety of activities and strategies. As young adolescents have an orientation toward peers and a concern about social acceptance, work in small groups and advisory programs promote opportunities for interaction with peers and adults. Interdisciplinary team organization fosters feelings of belonging while advisory groups allow time and a small group for discussion of issues.

Achievement and competence is achieved through authentic assessment based on personal goals, challenging intellectual material focused on relevant problems and issues, and with recognition by peers and adults. The increase in the desire for autonomy can be addressed through learning strategies involving choice, a curriculum based on social and individual interests. Service projects and project based learning capitalize upon young adolescent’s creative expression and need for meaningful participation.

Your Child and Reading

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The best way to prepare children for reading instruction is to read interesting books to them. Nearly any book that youngsters can understand and relate to will do. Nursery rhymes and books with repetitive patterns lend themselves to preparation for reading.

Children begin acquiring literacy (reading and writing) long before they enter school. Most school-age children have acquired a fairly extensive vocabulary and sophisticated language system. They have seen traffic signs and billboard advertising, printed messages on television, and printing on cereal boxes. They can tell a McDonald’s logo from that of Burger King and distinguish a box of Fruit Loops from a box of Captain Crunch.

They have seen their parents read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, or bills, and observed them writing notes or letters, filling out forms, and making lists. The children may also have imitated some of these activities. Their parents may have read books to them and provided them with crayons, pencils, and other tools of literacy. All youngsters, no matter how impoverished their environment, have begun the journey along the path that begins with language acquisition and ends in formal literacy.

Excerpts from Creating Reading Instruction For All Children by Thomas G. Gunning, Allyn and Bacon, 1992.

Numbers Don’t Lie?

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Numbers don’t lie….or so we are told. It can pay to be skeptical when you are given statistics and data. Ones to watch include:

  • The everything’s-going-up statistic. It is typically found in reports showing more people than ever are employed, are on welfare, etc. That’s right because there are more people than ever. More useful: The actual employment rate or the portion of the population receiving welfare.
  • The everything-is average statistic. Example: Someone argues that women can’t be combat soldiers because the average woman can’t lift as much weight as the average man. But many women can lift more weight than many men.
  • The best-fit statistic. Here the best numbers to support a case are used. Example: This year’s sales are compared with those of three years ago to show a 25 percent increase. They aren’t compared to higher sales two years ago, which would show a 10 percent drop.

How to get it right: Ask to see all of the numbers and make your own calculations.

Victor Cohn, Iowa State University Press, Ames, IA

Motivating Your Child

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Sometimes a child doesn’t seem motivated to start a project because it appears overwhelming. You can help by teaching your child to break a large job down into smaller parts. Say, “First, we will plan a trip to the library to get the materials you will need. Then you will need to schedule some time each day for your research.”

As your child completes each step, he will gain confidence and motivation. That will keep him working until the job is finished.

The Trick of Nines

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Is your child having trouble learning the “9″ times table? Here is a trick to help. Multiply any number by 9, and the answer will always add up to 9. Try it. 2 time 9 equals 18, and 1 plus 8 equals 9. 8 time 9 equals 72, and 7 plus 2 equals 9.

The trick works for very large numbers, as well, like this 8142 times 9 equals 73,278. 7 plus 3 plus 2 plus 7 plus 8 equals 27…and 2 plus 7 equals 9.

Give your child a calculator and let her try it for herself.

Almost?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

RISKS

Saturday, March 9th, 2013
  • To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
  • To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
  • To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
  • To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
  • To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
  • To love is to risk not being loved in return.
  • To live is to risk dying.
  • To hope is to risk despair.
  • To try is to risk failure.
  • But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
  • The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
  • They avoid suffering and sorrow, but they can not learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
  • Chained by their attitudes, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom.
  • Only the person who risks is free.

Anonymous

Eight Ways to Help Your Child Assume Responsibility for Learning

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

How can you help your child build a “take-charge” attitude and assume more responsibility for learning? Read and discuss these self-management strategies together:

1. Set Goals

Help your child learn to set goals and work to achieve them. Let your child know that successful people set goals. To succeed goals should be:

  • Short-term – do-able in a brief period of time
  • Specific – “75% on the weekly math test” or “completing a research report on schedule” are clearly defined goals. You will both know when a specific goal has been met.
  • Realistic – set only slightly above current level of achievement so that improvement can be recognized frequently.
  • Planned – to include the when, where, why, how, and how long of meeting the goal successfully.

2. Be an example

Give examples of goals you have set and met. Tell results and benefits of meeting goals. Let your child know that you feel good about what you achieved.

Discuss stories about people in the news who have set and met goals so that your child sees the value of taking responsibility for achievement

3. Introduce checklists

Checklists build responsibility and provide the sense of achievement that comes from checking completed items off a list.

4. Encourage a positive approach

A “can’t do” approach weakens a child’s will to “take-charge” of learning.

5. Understand instructions

Your child can’t gain a sense of responsibility, work independently, and “take-charge” in learning situations without understanding directions and instructions. Help your child know what to do with everyday instruction words by explaining, using, and reviewing the key words and phrases of instruction, such as:

circle P cross out P underline P delete P omit P graph
compare/contrast P explain P outline

6. Ask questions

When students sense that they need to know more about a topic, their motivation increases and they want to take responsibility for more learning.

7. Give praise

Praise used effectively can increase your child’s motivation and build a sense of responsibility for learning.

Praise for successful or improved performance, not just working on a task. Wait until you see that enough effort has been put forth, or enough work accomplished, so that praise is truly deserved.

8. Build on success

Once your child’s skills are beginning to expand and you see a “take-charge” attitude toward learning, you can help build on this success.

  • Give opportunities to practice skills informally
  • Encourage interests, activities, and hobbies that provide practice in learning
  • Give increased responsibility

Innovation in Learning

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

On-Line Learning

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