Monday, February 18, 2008

Blogs About Best Practices

As I wandered the internet this evening, I found a few postings about what should be considered best practices. They are at the very least, good teaching. I thought I'd collect a few here:

An excerpt from Social Studies: Sharpening the Saw

The more I read about scientific studies on the brain and neurolearning, the more clear it becomes that the public schools need to bring more “right -brained” thinking skills into the classroom next to the traditional analysis, application and comprehension activities. We need to integrate synthesis, metaphors, analogies, alinear exercises and visual models with traditional methods in order to maximize student learning.

This social studies teacher uses what she calls "DBQ"'s or Daily Board Questions to prompt the thinking of her students. Imagine, a world where students are prompted to think and take time to discuss rather than plow through a pre-determined amount of content so that two or three objectives could be checked off at the end of the week.

an excerpt from Generation YES: The art of being an unreasonable educator

The problem is that by being reasonable, educators pre-compromise themselves out of strong, defendable positions. Project-based learning is a strong position to come from. There is research on how to do it, why to do it, and lots of examples of success. But by compromising even before you get to the negotiation, you lose out. You have lost your ability to create conditions of success, and you have lost your negotiating power.

Most likely when you get to the actual planning, the people you thought would be impressed by your reasonableness stun you by not appreciating it at all. They want MORE compromise. In your eyes, they are unreasonable. You’ve already compromised (in your head) and now there’s no more to give. How come they get to be unreasonable when you’ve worked so hard before the meeting even started? It’s not fair!

You must practice the art of being unreasonable.

Okay, so I feel that I can easily say that I practice the art of being unreasonable daily -just ask my husband (just kidding). Last week, my history class presented their Culture Exhibits (see last posting for examples), my English class worked to wrap up "filming" of a news conference for the characters in My Side of the Mountain, my Biology class updated their data for their independent experiments and our junior high math lab continued their planning for their Rocketry Challenge. And, even better, I got an A+ for my un-reasonableness!

excerpt from Eide Neurolearning Blog: Music, Your Brain and Attention

For many students (and non-students too), music is activating and seems to help with attention and as well as getting tasks done. We know many time-blind people who become more time-aware with music, but because our brains change with what we do with it, the work of listening might really help us with the ease of listening in the long rung, too. So maybe instead of saying, "Stop listening to your music, and do your homework!", it may be better for us to say, "Start listening to your music, so you can do your homework!"

We are just looking into Listening Therapy for our daughter for her auditory processing and sensory integration. We are also looking at the program at school for our students. This month has been a month of auditory processing and executive functions research for me and this is a topic that comes up consistently - how types of music can help "re-program" the brain. I know that when I was finishing ed school and when I was pregnant for my daughters there was a lot of articles about the Mozart effect and how it makes kids smarter. I don't know that it truly makes them smarter, but I do think that it can certainly help the brain work more efficiently. I tend to think of it as something that can't hurt anyone, but can help so many.

No comments: