The sameness they note is that these problems can be worked in either direction, from top to bottom or the reverse. Soon thereafter come subtraction problems, such as 24 - Students can still apply the sameness learned in addition, thinking of the difference between 4 and 3 or between 3 and 4 and always subtracting the smaller number from the larger. However, when students encounter a problem such as 74 - 15, applying the sameness noted earlier leads them to subtract the smaller from the larger number and come up with the answer Such a mistake is a sensible application of a mislearned sameness.
Della Neve and her colleagues at Drew Elementary School developed their own seven principles, which serve as focal points to guide teachers in designing and implementing brain-compatible instruction: Create a nonthreatening climate. Input lots of raw material from which students can extract patterns—a vast array of activities, aided by an ample supply of materials, equipment, and print and audiovisual resources. Emphasize genuine communication in talking, listening, writing, and reading as ways to interact with other people. Encourage lots of manipulation of materials.
Students need to be in command and able to push things around, encouraging them to work toward goals and explore a range of means. Emphasize reality. By using problems, examples, and contacts drawn from the "real world" rather than contrived exercises, texts, worksheets, and basal readers, students can see the real value of their own learning. Address learning activities to actual, productive uses. Respect natural thinking, including intuitive leaps, a grasp of patterns as in number tables or good writing , and aesthetic and nonverbal interests and activities.
Teaching should be multifaceted to allow all students to express visual, tactile, emotional, and auditory preferences. Providing choices that are variable enough to attract individual interests may require the reshaping of schools so that they exhibit the complexity found in life. Activating students' prior knowledge—through the use of schema theory, for example—helps youngsters integrate new knowledge and skills with their own experiences.
By doing so, teachers acknowledge that all students, regardless of their background, bring a wealth of knowledge to learning. The kind and amount "of knowledge one has before encountering a given topic in a discipline affects how one constructs meaning," writes Gaea Leinhardt Outcomes are determined jointly by what was known before and by the content of the instruction" pp. Consequently, it just makes sense for teachers to begin by learning what students already know about a topic, thus preventing youngsters from having to repeat what they already know or trying to build on knowledge they do not yet possess.
Connecting new knowledge to previous learning builds a strong foundation for future learning; it also gives teachers valuable opportunities to correct misperceptions. Modifying activities to suit learners' preferences helps them construct new understandings. When tapping into students' prior knowledge, teachers recognize that the most effective means of learning is discovery, and the most effective means of teaching is modeling.
Modeling by the teacher is one of many powerful tools for activating prior knowledge. Depending on the task, the teacher decides what prior knowledge needs to be activated and asks students to develop and answer questions that cause them to activate it. The teacher then proceeds to model appropriate questioning processes. Activating students' prior knowledge engages them more actively in learning, in generating their own questions, and in leading their own discussions. Another strategy that effectively activates students' prior knowledge, allowing them to explore what they already know about a topic, is the K-W-L activity, first developed by Donna Ogle.
This strategy asks students to identify what they already k now about a topic, w hat they would like to learn, and, at the conclusion of the unit, what they actually did l earn. Teachers can encourage students to develop a list of questions they would like to answer. Teacher modeling helps students form these questions. Teachers can then assist students in clustering similar questions and in deciding which questions to answer by further explaining the content to be learned. The teacher and students design a plan to find the answer for each question. Allowing students to work in cooperative and collaborative groups is effective because such groups encourage students to share their answers and the rationale behind the answers.
During the sharing, the teacher has an opportunity to correct student misunderstandings. In exploring new topics, students can experience a variety of active, experiential, or authentic assignments. Such assignments—for example, manipulating objects or concepts, engaging in product-oriented activities, and participating in real-life experiences that actively construct knowledge—allow youngsters to explore concepts in some depth and to make discoveries on their own.
The opportunity to apply new learnings to real-life contexts that reflect the students' world helps them retain and effectively use new concepts and skills. Many of the approaches to teaching and learning that appear in this book challenge the traditional model of schooling, which demands that students receive knowledge solely from the teacher. In explaining the nature of the "pedagogy of poverty," Martin Haberman notes that teachers and students are engaged in fundamentally different activities: teachers teach and students learn.
But what if teachers join students as fellow learners searching for answers to real-life problems or for ways to describe and generalize scientific phenomena? Another means of creating what might be called a pedagogy of plenty is to embrace a constructivist approach to teaching. Constructivism emphasizes an understanding of how and why students and adults learn; it provides a way to combine good teaching and learning practices.
These practices include activating students' prior knowledge; providing a variety of active learning resources; using a variety of hands-on, minds-on activities; engaging youngsters in a variety of cooperative learning experiences; allowing students to formulate questions and discover concepts that can guide future learnings; asking students to think aloud while approaching a task; modeling powerful thinking strategies; and providing students with opportunities to apply new learnings within the context of real-life activities. Such an instructional setting honors the importance of hands-on and "heads-on" experiences in learning.
For students to learn to reason about their world, they must be constantly encouraged to ask questions and to solve problems that have meaning to them. Teachers can provide a wide variety of activities to help students construct—and reconstruct—their new learning in their own terms, as they begin to realize that knowledge is created out of life experiences. Constructivist theory suggests that the goal of schooling is not simply acquiring specific knowledge and expertise, but rather building understanding. Learning how to learn becomes the goal. Considered from a constructivist viewpoint, the learning environment is a laboratory that provides the tools to support learners in their quest for understanding.
In this approach, teachers facilitate learning by providing appropriate activities such as modeling and questioning techniques in well-designed, well-organized, well-managed classroom environments that allow students to construct their own understandings of concepts. Constructivist teaching is best facilitated though the use of varied learning configurations. Providing students with opportunities to work in collaborative or small-group learning activities helps them to construct their own knowledge.
Students have the opportunity to listen to other points of view, debate, discuss, and form insights into new ideas while working collaboratively with their peers. Such activities must also activate students' prior knowledge to help them develop questioning skills. When the classroom environment encourages growth and development, students will respond.
Instructionally effective environments offer youngsters a wide variety of powerful experiences, which include ways of interacting with and learning from one another in instructional areas that support experiential, problem-based, active learning. Creating such environments calls for the teacher to construct and allow cooperative, collaborative strategies.
Classroom design simply means arranging the room to make the best use of space and to create a comfortable learning climate—both physically and psychologically. Classroom management reflects the ways in which the teacher orchestrates high-quality instructional activities that help children take charge of their learning and eliminate unwanted behavioral and discipline problems. Our school system was invented to provide a sit-and-learn process of education.
In , for instance, John Dewey reportedly described the difficulties he encountered during an exhaustive search for furniture "suitable from all points of view—artistic … and educational—to the needs of children. You want something at which children may work; these are for listening. Amazingly, little has changed in U.
Regardless of individual differences, many, many children are still expected to sit on a hard seat, not move, and not speak—just listen and answer questions.
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Research strongly supports the important role of environmental preferences in students' motivation and their ability to learn. The quality of the environment in which we live and work is vitally important. Individuals tend to respond to their physical environment first in terms of personal comfort. Harmony makes it easier to concentrate and remember information. The proper use of space within a classroom generates student activity and learning. Room arrangement, for example, allows students to work at computer stations, engage in small-group work, engage in project-based learning, and use multimedia equipment for individual or group activities.
Appropriate classroom design empowers teachers to create instructional areas, such as learning and interest centers and media centers, that offer students varied learning opportunities and accommodate individual learning needs and interests. Well-designed classrooms display high levels of student cooperation, academic success, and task involvement.
Teachers work to develop intrinsic motivation in students, which is essential to creating lifelong learners. Thus effective classroom environments create multiple learning situations capable of addressing students' diverse characteristics to enhance their satisfaction and academic performance. Such classes are child centered; they meet young people's instructional needs by exposing them to a variety of highly motivating, stimulating, multilevel instructional activities. Current research in the functioning of the brain confirms that we learn best in a rich, multi-sensory environment.
We learn more about people by interacting with them in real-life contexts. We learn more meaningfully when we are fully immersed in the learning experience. Therefore, we should provide students with active learning experiences that incorporate a wide variety of materials, including high-quality, well-written literature. Powerful learning activities are most likely to occur in a highly organized learning environment. When orchestrating such a setting, it is important to keep in mind how instruction will be reinforced, reviewed, and enriched to extend youngsters' learning potential; how procedures for completing assignments, working, locating instructional resources, and acquiring assistance will be facilitated; and how students will evaluate their own performance and that of others.
Making a classroom an effective educational tool depends on creating not only a physically comfortable environment that supports instructional goals but also one that is emotionally, socially, psychologically, and physically safe. Classrooms should be places where a child can think, discover, grow, and ultimately learn to work independently and cooperatively in a group setting, developing self-discipline and self-esteem. At the heart of an emotionally safe learning environment is cooperation—among staff, students, and other stakeholders.
Cooperation leads to ownership, involvement, and great opportunities for student self-discipline, says Jerome Freiberg —but first must come trust. Students learn to trust through opportunities to take ownership of and responsibility for their own actions and those of others. Strategies to promote cooperation include establishing rules and regulations with the assistance of students for codes of behavior and conduct; talking about consequences of behavior; offering youngsters training in peer mediation and conflict resolution; creating rotating classroom management positions, with clearly outlined responsibilities; and helping youngsters develop norms of collaboration and social skills to enable them to work effectively in groups.
When children are truly engaged in learning and the approach to discipline is an active one, teachers do not have to waste valuable time dealing with disciplinary issues. When learning becomes less meaningful to students' lives, less interactive, or less stimulating, teachers increasingly need to control their students; in the process, they unwittingly create opportunities for undesirable student behaviors.
Teachers who try to impose too many rules, too much rigidity, and too many uniform activities quickly lose control. Teachers who can bring themselves to share power and confidence with their students gain more control. That is exactly why teachers should concentrate on creating conditions in which students can and will manage themselves. Kline for their contributions to this chapter.
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Connecting Kids to Nature
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Project-Based Learning: Resources for Parents
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Critical issues that will determine the future of alternative assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 74 6 , — All rights reserved. No part of this publication—including the drawings, graphs, illustrations, or chapters, except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles—may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from ASCD.
Subscribe to ASCD Express , our free e-mail newsletter, to have practical, actionable strategies and information delivered to your e-mail inbox twice a month. ASCD respects intellectual property rights and adheres to the laws governing them. Some ideas to pass along: 1 watching TV with the sound off and closed captioning on, 2 reading directions for how to play a new game, or 3 helping with meals by writing up a grocery list, finding things in the grocery store, and reading the recipe aloud for mom or dad during cooking time. Summer trading cards. Kids can dive deeper into summer reading by exploring characters with the Trading Cards activity from ReadWriteThink, which provides students with the opportunity to expand their understanding of the reading by creating new storylines and characters.
A nifty Trading Card interactive tool provides additional support. Encourage writing. Give each of your students a stamped, addressed postcard so they can write to you about their summer adventures. Or recycle school notebooks and paper into summer journals or scrapbooks. Another way to engage young writers is to encourage your students to spend some time researching and writing community stories — not only does it build research and writing skills, but helps kids develop a deeper sense of place.
Find more good summer writing ideas from Start with a Book: keep a nature journal, create a poetree, share a recipe, or keep a scrapbook of reviews of summer adventures. Kids blog! Arrange for a safe, closed community so that your students can blog over the summer. Edublogs and Kidblog offer teachers and students free blog space and appropriate security. Free, disposable e-mail accounts are available at Mailinator. Students can create an account there, use the address long enough to establish the blog and password, and then abandon it. Be an active citizen. Kids who participate in community service activities gain not only new skills but self-confidence and self-esteem.
Help them zoom into action! This tool from Youth Service America can help you identify youth project ideas. Volunteer Match offers a searchable database of volunteer options for kids. CitizenKid is a collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens. The U. Read about your world. Newsela builds nonfiction literacy and awareness of world events by providing access to hundreds of fresh news articles you can filter by grade.
Other good sources of quality nonfiction include Time for Kids online and many children's magazines offered by Cricket Media, National Geographic, and other publishers. The bloggers on The Uncommon Corps are enthusiastic champions of nonfiction literature for kids and young adults, and offer many ideas for integrating nonfiction into your reading diet. For more book ideas to share with parents, check out the Orbis Pictus Award winners — outstanding nonfiction for children, presented by the National Council of Teachers of English.
And don't forget to check out our Nonfiction for Kids section. Active bodies. Active minds. From the American Library Association, ilovelibraries has suggestions for staying fit and having fun that start at your local library. Get into geocaching. Everyone loves a scavenger hunt! Get in on the latest outdoor craze with geocaching, where families search for hidden "caches" or containers using handheld GPS tools or a GPS app on your smart phone. Try a variation on geocaching called earthcaching where you seek out and learn about unique geologic features.
Find more details about geocaching plus links to geocaching websites in this article from the School Family website, Geocaching Family Fun for All, in Every Season. Watch a garden grow and build research, reading, and writing skills with this summer project from ReadWriteThink. Children are encouraged to write questions and observations in a summer garden journal. Or check out the Kids Gardening website for lots of great ideas and resources for family and school gardening. You can also browse the hands-on activities on our summer site, Start with a Book, in the section Nature: Our Green World.
Make cool things. Find loads of hands-on activities at Start with a Book. Just choose from one of 24 topics art, music, dinosaurs, bugs, detectives, flight, sports, stars, planets and the night sky Help parents plan ahead for fall. Work with the teachers a grade level above to develop a short list of what their new students have to look forward to when they return to school.
For example, if rising third graders will be studying ancient cultures, suggest that parents check out educational TV, movies, or local museums that can provide valuable background information on that topic. Make sure kids have something to read during the summer — put books into children's hands. Get your local public library to sign kids up for summer reading before school is out. Invite or ask your school librarian to coordinate a visit from the children's librarian at the public library near the end of the school year.
Ask them to talk about summer activities, educational videos, and audio books at the library and to distribute summer reading program materials. Get to know your community public library better.
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Find out if your public library is part of the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a grassroots effort to provide high-quality summer reading programs for kids. Or check out our top 9 reasons to rediscover your public library. Let parents and kids know about the free summer reading incentive programs. Check your local library for more free kids summer reading programs with activities and incentives for all ages. Most libraries also have story times and other reading-themed activities.
Help kids build math and science skills over the summer. Share our Literacy in the Sciences series with families. Each one-page tip sheet in English and Spanish suggests easy hands-on activities as well as fiction and nonfiction books to extend the learning. In this section you'll also find links to great science websites for kids, blogs about children's science books, and links to PBS KIDS science programs and activities. Encourage parents to start a neighborhood book club with other families this summer.
It's a great way to keep the summer learning social and low-key. Warmer weather can inspire some not-so-run-of-the-mill meeting places, too: a tent or picnic blanket in the backyard. If the book club catches on, it's something to continue throughout the school year. Special education blogger, June Behrmann, shares ideas and title selections for starting your own mother-daughter "accessible " book club using print alternatives.
Listening is learning, too! Suggest to parents that they set up a summer listening program. Listening is an engaging way to learn, and many children love listening to books, music, stage plays, comedy routines, and other works. Point out background sounds, such as the way the peppy tune on a sound track adds fun and humor to an adventure tale.
Learning to listen is particularly helpful to children with learning disabilities. Share examples of good interactive educational websites that parents and young kids can explore together. Here are some of our favorites:. Introduce your students and their families to stories from around the world. Let them know about the International Children's Digital Library , an amazing and growing!
Big Universe is another online library of fiction and nonfiction books for kids The site also offers adults and kids the chance to create and publish their own stories. Suggest audio books as an alternative to print, especially for kids with learning disabilities that make reading a struggle. You can now download stories to iPods and other mobile devices, perfect for car rides or a lazy hot afternoon. Tales2Go offers high-quality kids' books through a mobile streaming service. AudibleKids has an extensive collection of downloadable books, and some of them are free through a partnership with RIF.
For students with vision or learning disabilities, tell your parents about Learning Ally formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic , which provides free audio books for kids to listen over the summer. Find lots more ideas and resources for accessible print on the blog, Aiming for Access. Distribute a checklist for parents that provides tips on how to find a great summer program. This one, developed by the National Summer Learning Association, is a good basic resource.
Build background knowledge. Put an article about summer learning in your school or PTA newsletter. Use books as a springboard for conversation, creativity, and acquiring new background knowledge by sharing the Reading Rockets Reading Adventure Packs with your students' families. These themed packs combine fiction and nonfiction books with simple, hands-on activities that kids and parents can do together.
Give parents a tool to help them promote healthy and balanced media use at home during the summer months. Common Sense Media offers advice for creating a realistic schedule, age-appropriate guidelines on TV time, first websites for young kids to use, handling violent media, and managing kids' cell phone use.
Help parents create a literacy friendly house for the summer and all year round with our Growing Readers tip sheets in English and Spanish. And dive into our Summer Reading section for more — including booklists, activities, tips, and more to keep kids reading and learning throughout the summer and all year long. Offer reading reminders to parents with these tip sheets from Reading Rockets available in 11 languages. Recommend good summer reads that match your students' interests. You might start with our Summer Reading Booklists with suggestions for kids 0 to 9 years old.
Promote simple, fun items that support the reading habit.
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