Monday, March 21, 2016

Educational Resources & Tech Tools 03/22/2016

  • Practical ideas on how to launch a maker club and keep students engaged.

    tags: makerspace maker makered

    • I find that students really benefit from being given guidelines and then making something within those guidelines.
    • Find a way to have students reflect on what they’ve created and document it.
    • I recently created a design process worksheet that I’ve started using with my students.  They write a few brief sentences or draw some sketches for each step of the design process.
    • Designate a sharing day or time when everyone gets to talk with the group about their projects.  Set up a Skype or Google Hangout with another school and have your students share their projects with them (hello joint design challenges!).
    •  Plan a school-wide Maker Fair where students can showcase projects they’ve created.
    • Come up with a name for your club together.  Design t-shirts.
  • This principal details the approach her elementary school took to reducing homework and making it more meaningful.

    tags: homework learning differentiation elementary lower school

    • a famous meta-analysis of previous research on the subject, published in 2006 by researcher Harris Cooper and colleagues, which found that homework in elementary school does not contribute to academic achievement.
    • One parent pointed out that some of the content of the homework is beyond the child’s knowledge so parents are almost “required” to teach it at home.
    • I read a number of articles about how we have to get better at homework, the argument being  that homework is a problem for children and families because it is tedious and doesn’t ask children to think critically and creatively. 
    • As a former teacher, I had always felt that homework was a critical part of children learning organizational skills and responsibility and a way to practice newly developed skills.  Moreover, the idea of getting rid of homework seemed a bit too unconventional. But when I finally did pick up “The Homework Myth,” I couldn’t put it down. One by one, my reasons for considering homework an essential part of the elementary school experience were dismantled.
    • Time management and organizational skills: Kohn points out that rather than teaching time management to students, homework actually requires parents to do more to organize children’s time.
    • Newly learned skills: Kohn argues that it is rare that all students need the same practice at the end of a lesson.  For some, additional practice may  be confusing, while for others, it may  be unnecessary.

      What the research says: Kohn scoured the research to find that there is no evidence that homework in elementary school leads to an increase in student achievement.

      • In kindergarten, students dictate stories to their families on a regular basis, but with no official due dates.  Parents were encouraged to read to their children, but there were no set expectations for how much or how often.
      • Starting in first grade, students were expected to read nightly and this included families reading to children.
      • Most grade-level teams opted out of reading logs or other accountability structures, noting that these often devolved into a meaningless checklists lacking accountability altogether.
      • Third graders were asked to write nightly. Students determine the content and form of their writing, which is not graded.  Third graders are also expected to practice their math facts based on both grade level expectations and personal levels of mastery.
    • Teachers give parents information about other elements also taught in class so they can be supportive of the related homework.  When a teacher asks students to read for 30 minutes, some students may read 10 pages, and others may read 30.  Parents can help children find a regular time to do that homework because the time needed is consistent. 
    • Our school may be giving less homework but we have more students engaged in more meaningful learning activities at home than ever before.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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