Bring on the Learning Revolution!

http://www.ted.com

Thanks to our principal, Mr. Hinds, for showing “Bring on the Learning Revolution!” during our final staff meeting of the school year today.  I had seen Sir Ken Robinson’s other TED video, “Schools Kill Creativity”, but had somehow missed this later lecture from Sir Ken Robinson. I really loved everything about this inspirational speech, but one part sounded eerily like something that I have observed myself in our educational system.  Sir Ken Robinson says, “I think we are obsessed with getting people to college. Certain sorts of college. I don’t mean you shouldn’t go to college, but not everybody needs to go and not everybody needs to go now. Maybe they go later, not right away.”  He speaks of finding the passion of our students and of not trying to stick to such a linear progression in our school systems, where everyone is expected to travel the same route from Kindergarten to College.  I hope more people will view his video, and participate in bringing about this learning revolution.

77 Web Resources for Teachers to Try this Summer

77 Web Resources for Teachers to Try this Summer is a web booklet created by Richard Byrne of Free Tech 4 Teachers.  If you have not had time to check out his blog during the school year, this is a nice sampling of some of the great resources that he offers daily.  You may have heard of Google Earth already, but have you heard of Google Body Browser?  Or, how about Classics for Kids, which offers lesson plans for teaching about classical music?  The summer is a great time to explore these sites, and to think about their applications for the classroom.

Sick Science Videos

Here is another summer recommendation for parents: How about choosing one or two “Sick Science” videos each week to watch, and then supervise your child performing the experiment?  These videos, produced by Steve Spangler Science, are short how-to videos for all kinds of science projects that can be done at home.  One of my personal favorites is “The Shrinking Chip Bag”, but that requires an old microwave and definite parental supervision.  For a less “electrifying” example, check out the video below on moving toothpicks with sound.  You can also find it at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC02CFDE5690E4010

Bright Ideas for Summer

Read, Write, Think has a page of recommended summer activities that would be good to share with parents.  “Bright Ideas for Summer” includes links to four activities that could be used with students in 2nd-8th grades.  I’m already planning to use “Can You Convince Me?” with my 9 year old daughter!  All of the activities have recommended links, resources, and plans for implementing.  Bookmark this site for something different to do on a hot summer day!

Go on a Family Adventure!

National Geographic has an Education site that is in Beta right now.  Just in time for the summer, you can visit the site to play “Go on a Family Adventure!”  You can choose whether you would like to do a Land or Sea Adventure, which route you would like to take, and the difficulty level.  It’s a great way to practice your geography skills, see how long it typically takes to travel around the map, and to even see photographs of each of your destinations.

Student Engagement According to First Graders

A couple of posts ago, I linked to an interesting post by Heather Wolpert-Gawron in which her eighth graders give suggestions for engaging students in class.  Mrs. Cunningham, a first grade teacher at my school, decided to find out what her group felt about ways to stay engaged, and videotaped their responses.  The video is below, or you can go directly to her post here (please give the class a comment, as they love feedback!).  Mrs. Cunningham and I were both amazed about the similarities between the 1st grade and 8th grade responses.  (She did not share the 8th grade ones with her students.)  I am also quite impressed by the vocabulary and speaking skills of Mrs. Cunningham’s kids.  Great job, Mrs. Cunningham’s Class!

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Secret Mission

Kelly Tenkely from iLearn Technology just posted a link to her Pinterest board of classroom inspirations, and I think I just found my entire curriculum for next year on it!
One of the ideas on her board was this great end-of-the-year activity that was pinned from http://befickle.blogspot.com/2010/03/secret-service-activity-days-activity.html
This is a fabulous way to encourage students to perform some random acts of kindness over the summer.  Or, you could use the idea of a “mission” for other achievements you would like them to work towards:  reading certain books, solving “mysteries”, doing something active, etc…
You have got to head over to Kelly’s board to see the rest of her “inspirations”!  It’s very motivating.
On a side note, we were talking with our principal about using one of our Staff Development days to do a “Pinterest Make and Take”.  Time would be set aside for everyone to make things for their classroom based on Pinterest inspirations.  There could even be groups who might meet to make their products together.  At the end would be a share time.  Doesn’t that sound like a productive (and fun) way to spend a Staff Development day?