Tag: project-based learning

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A Day at the White House

20160504_095532This is Roberto Rodriguez, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Education. That title means he has President Obama’s ear on all things education. He is often called the most influential person in American education.

I was honored and humbled to share key ideas from Every Student STEM during our Innovation and STEM Education spark discussion at the White House last week.

Every P-12 student in our schools today is a digital native. From the first moment they interact with any digital device, children begin developing STEM skills. It is the inherent nature of a digital world. 

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Are We Willing to Change Our Lens?

Change IS Hard

The hardest part about change is that it’s hard. No matter if we are talking about personal or organizational change. Real and lasting change requires sustained dedication to a cause. Quite honestly, that in and of itself, goes against the flow of every fiber of being for those who live in the 21st century. Which is all of us. We are all about instant gratification these days. Sustained dedication is not the normal mode of operation.

Care Enough

A student left me this message on my whiteboard.

Anymore, we are socially/ emotionally/ developmentally and professionally conditioned to resist change. Which on the surface appears ironic, and even untrue, given the outrageous, incredible blur of speed that dictates our everyday pace these days. Looking from the outside in, any stranger might rightly assume we all embrace change in this modern-day whirlwind of a culture. So not the case.

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To Solve Real-World Problems

The Back-Story

My sister-in-law called in a panic the other day:

Come help me with math! Now!!!

Good thing we are a family of math nerds. Between my husband and myself, we got her covered all the way from long division to calculus and perhaps even differential equations if the need should arise.

No sweat, Mary! We’re on the way!

We immediately donned our superhero capes and raced across town in the Batmobile.

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Green Hands Brigade

#DesignThinking in Action

ICYMI.. this is how it all started: HMW start a recycling program at our school?

Green Hands 2A fiery group of 7th grade math students want to make a difference at their school, so they have decided it’s time to put the words into action. All it took was a bunch of empty copy paper boxes and some green paint.

We worked through the design-thinking process:

Empathy — Define — Ideate — Prototype — Test.

MindMaps led the way as each student took a turn writing ideas and questions on the whiteboard. After a lot of excited discussion and strategizing, they are ready to test the plan.

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The New Scarlet Letter

Something’s Gotta Give

Educators abound spend 90% of their time prepping students for state exams, and the other half of their time is spent complaining about them (my apologies to Yogi Berra).

The main complaint from teachers (and parents, and some legislators, and…) is that state exams zap too much valuable instructional time. The time spent in testing sessions is draining to students and ultimately results in a loss of class time.

The bigger argument against the way we mass assess our students (and the one that goes largely unvoiced) is that it does relatively little to prepare students for life and their future ahead.

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Towers of Power

One of the hardest things to figure out from social media is whether or not something is real. And even more important, if what you find is accurate.

Most definitely, there are trusted sources of news and other information that we can turn to for facts and a variety of data. But in the world of internet, everyone has a voice and sometimes that collective voice is loud and overwhelming.

20150917_150811For this blog post, my point is this:

As a teacher, I have no idea how anything I do in my classroom compares with what happens in other teachers’ classrooms.

Why? Because in the social-media-cybersphere, everyone else has brilliant students doing amazing work with unlimited physical resources and enthusiastic support from everyone involved in the educational process.