Learning from the best

ithink therefore...

Learning from students is always so inspiring and personally, I think they are the one under utilised resource in schools that can illuminate our understanding of the teaching and learning profession. Unfortunately too many teachers think they know best, but that is another story, so let’s keep it light, tight and bright!

Today I had the pleasure of visiting a grade 3 class sharing what they had learned through their unit “how we express ourselves.” Through the creative endeavours of the teachers in this grade, I was really pleased to see how this unit has morphed into a learning experience that captures and extends students passions. I was truly captivated by what the students shared with me; it was diverse, students driven, creative and deeply reflective.

Amongst the many anecdotal highlights, one really caught my attention and made me think about our desired learning outcomes and how we structure curriculum…

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Reflective Teaching & Learning: What Comes to Mind when You Think of Assessment?

Jack's Notes

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Reactions to the word “assessment.” Click the photo to enlarge.

Mention the word “assessment” and most people have a reaction. As I was writing down my thoughts, I found them falling mainly into two categories: things I like regarding assessment, and items that call for awareness and a balanced approach.

Two additional thoughts seemed to merit caution. First, for everyone involved, assessment can at times cause stress. And second, since the best scientific research has invalidated the theory of “learning styles,” I believe it’s time that educators respect that science and drop this term from their vocabulary. We have learning preferences, and as reflective educators and learners we should be aware of that. As to the theory of learning styles, people interested in this topic may want to Google the search phrase learning styles theory debunked and read some of the numerous articles that come up.

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My Review on an Educational App

From Crayons to Heels - And Everything In Between

I recently downloaded an app on my son’s galaxy tab 3. It was called “Kids ABC Letters”, an app created by Intellijoy. This app is compatible with android, iOS and blackberry devices. Recommended for children ages 3- 7 years old, my son is 3yrs old. It contains Four Categories in which a child can explore or play games; Naming Letters– learn the name and the appearance of each letter.  Kids can tap on the letters to verify that they’ve learned the names correctly. Forming Letters– children create letters by sliding colorful puzzle pieces into place. Recognizing letters– children help a cat catch fish with letters written on them, helping children learn appearance and pronunciation of the letters by heart. Identifying letters in context- teaches children how to recognize letters as they appear in words, reinforcing the concept that words are made up of letters.

I really like…

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Words Not To Say In Front Of My Kids

Dysfunctional Literacy

I tell my kids they can think anything they want, but there are some things they'd better not say. (image via wikimedia) I tell my kids they can think anything they want, but there are some things they’d better not say. (image via wikimedia)

I told my daughters this morning that they’d need to take a sack lunch to school tomorrow, and they laughed at me.  I wasn’t expecting them to laugh.

It took me a moment to realize why they thought sack lunch was funny.  When I was their age (around 35 years ago), sack lunch wasn’t funny.  I carried a sack lunch to school every day, and nobody laughed.  I think I even called it a sack lunch.  Everybody called it that.  But somewhere along the way, kids picked up on the word sack, and a new source of humor was created.

Now I can’t say sack in front of my daughters; I have to say “brown paper bag.”  If I had two sons, maybe it wouldn’t matter much.  But…

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