Todays Readings

 

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Webinar -I am Five, Am I Ready for Kindergarten? Understanding School Readiness – Jim Grant

Register to listen – here 

An increased number of 5 year olds entering school are unready due to family situations, birth related factors, developmental issues, etc. These conditions undermine childrens’ growth and development in the social, emotional, physical and cognitive domains. With this in mind, should a student be brought into a school setting simply because of their age?

Jim offers straight talk about one of the toughest challenges facing teachers’ today- children in the classroom who are not ready for Kindergarten placement. Drawing on decades of experience, he will help you understand school readiness and how to best prepare children for school success. Discussion will center on the whole child concept addressing the four areas of development; social, emotional, physical, and intellectual.

In this complimentary webinar, Jim will discussed:

  • the negative impact of placing young children under too much stress and pressure.
  • giving children an extra year of learning and growth time understanding the gender and birth date effect
  • solutions to help children who are too “young” for their program or grade placement
  • helping parents separate maturity from intellect.

A Baby is born when it’s ready

A baby crawls when it’s ready

A baby teethes when it’s ready

A baby walks when it’s ready

A baby talks when it’s ready

and goes to school when it’s five!

Not one child can speak, count, read, or write at birth, but by the time they go to Kindergarten – They are NOT equal!

Jim Trelease – A Read-a-loud Handbook

 

About the Presenter

Jim Grant
Differentiated Instruction Expert and Author

Jim has emerged as the nation’s Spokesperson for School Success with a dedicated mission to stop school failure. An internationally renowned educator and popular speaker, he offers practical instructional strategies to help all students learn. Jim is the author of many popular professional books, including the best-selling, Differentiated Instruction: Different Strategies for Different Learners and Differentiating Textbooks, and If You’re Riding a Horse and It Dies, Get Off!

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Report debunks ‘earlier is better’ academic instruction for young children

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Read this article here

How to Move Toward

Student-Centered Learning

From -Globaldigitalcitizen.org

How do you own your own learning? What motivates you to take it upon yourself to seek out new knowledge and skills? Is someone holding your feet to the fire? What makes you want to practice your musical instrument or your favourite sport? When you can answer these questions, you can then apply them to your students.

Teachers are always looking for ways to tap into student’s impulse to learn what interests them on their own. Student-centered learning puts the emphasis on experience and hands-on learning. It comes in the form of things you’re already very familiar with:

  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Case-based instruction
  • Problem-based learning
  • Project-based learning
  • Discovery learning
  • Just-in-time teaching

Whatever you call it, the emphasis is on students becoming empowered to own their learning. Let’s embark on a journey exploring student-centered learning.

What Student-Centered Learning Means

Here’s a catchy video from Australia on the history of education from teacher-centered classrooms and the evolution toward student-centered learning.

The following points straight from TEAL Center compare the differences between learners and instructors in student-centered learning.

Learners:

  • Are active participants in their own learning.
  • Make decisions about what and how they will learn.
  • Construct new knowledge and skills by building on current knowledge and skills.
  • Understand expectations and are encouraged to use self-assessment measures.
  • Monitor their own learning to develop strategies for learning.
  • Work in collaboration with other learners.
  • Produce work that demonstrates authentic learning.

Instructors:

  • Recognize and accommodate different learning modalities.
  • Provide structure without being overly directive.
  • Listen to and respect each learner’s point of view.
  • Encourage and facilitate learners’ shared decision-making.
  • Help learners work through difficulties by asking open-ended questions to help them arrive at conclusions or solutions that are satisfactory to them.

Learning is:

  • An active search for meaning by the learner.
  • Constructing knowledge rather than passively receiving it—shaping as well as being shaped by experiences.

Instructional strategies and methods are used to:

  • Manage time in flexible ways to match learner needs.
  • Include learning activities that are personally relevant to learners.
  • Give learners increasing responsibility for the learning process.
  • Provide questions and tasks that stimulate learners’ thinking beyond rote memorization.
  • Help learners refine their understanding by using critical thinking skills.
  • Support learners in developing and using effective learning strategies for each task.
  • Include peer learning and peer teaching as part of the instructional method.

We go now to Edweek for 5 Ways to Make Your Classroom Student-Centered By Marcia Powell.

  1. Giving up absolute control. Students own their learning and pace themselves. Teachers participate as mentors—not by giving answers, but by guiding and asking open-ended critical thinking questions. Seating arrangement is no longer teacher in front and desks in neat rows. Creative seating maximizes collaboration and self-directed work.
  2. Valuing student engagement over convenience. Assessments are critical thinking based, and open-ended. Rather than multiple choice questions, actually have them do a hands-on assessment. This may be time-consuming and it takes a little more work on your part, but it is worth it.
  3. Honoring student passion and interest. Be flexible if your students seem to want to take a different route. Key in to their interests and your project might take an unexpected turn. Go with the flow, but keep your goals in mind.
  4. Admitting you do not have the market cornered on knowledge. Teach creativity and critical thinking. Teach empowerment rather than compliance. You are not the sole source of information.
  5. Developing healthy relationships with learners. Channel joy, flexibility, humour, and risk failure. Be honest and encouraging. Mentor with challenging and appropriate dialogue. Will students continue to come to your class, even if they don’t have to?

A Key Ingredient 

In student-centered learning, the teacher becomes facilitator and is able to circle the room. They are guiding and relishing in the important discussions spurred by the students themselves. Great student-centered learning takes risks and allows the student to do most of the work. After all, students learn by doing.

The above lists are simply a start. They’re for providing opportunities for students to own their learning through meaningful and relevant reflection and collaboration. 

Student-centered learning is one of the key ingredients in 21st Century Learning. 

What are your thoughts and experiences with student-centered learning?

 

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