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Education

Learning Environments Are About Space(s) and Time

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Having a panel discussion with the topic of “learning spaces” being one of the topics (check out some awesome spaces on the #LearningSpaces hashtag on Twitter),  one of the ideas that jumped in my mind was the importance of both the “space” and “time.”  What I mean by that is you can develop the coolest “learning spaces” ever, but if the time is not there to really go deep with our learning, how useful is the space?

Here is what I mean…imagine you develop the best space ever, with flexible seating and it started to look more like a “Starbucks” than a traditional classroom, yet the bell rings every 40 minutes or hour for students to go on to the next class.  What does the space matter if you do not have the time to utilize it?  Imagine being in the state of “flow” in these rooms, and moving from one amazing learning space to another, five or six times in the day; does the space really matter if we are in the cattle herding mentality of school?

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Education

Keeping long-term English learners from getting stuck

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Q: What is LTEL and how do English-language learners fall into the category?

Schools countrywide are working to help long-term English learners who are struggling to learn the language. LTEL is a newer term pinpointing a problem that has become common among English learners. LTEL refers to a student who does not make adequate yearly progress in the acquisition of English.

Under normal circumstances, students typically transition from a beginning English learner to a reclassified English learner within 5 years. This means, if a kindergartner begins school as a beginning English learner, by the time they reach fifth-grade they should be reclassified as a fluent English speaker. Unfortunately, many English learners who were beginners in kindergarten leave elementary school unprepared for reclassification. This puts them at a disadvantage as they prepare for college readiness in middle school.

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Education

Leading with research in mind

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SmartBlog on Education this month is exploring the science of learning. Join us for original content in which experts explore trends in learning research and highlight teaching strategies that can help improve student performance.

Much and more has been written about student learning. And it well should be, as the learning of all students — whether young or old — is how we help our society, and the people who make it up, to be the best possible. Lately, happily, even more of that writing has been researched-based. Consider, for instance, the column written regularly by Sarah Sparks for Education Week that focuses on how we learn and what the research says about that. Or, an increasing reliance on research connected to the Next Generation Science Standards in all of the National Science Teachers Association’s peer-reviewed journals.

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Education

A ‘No-Nonsense’ Classroom Where Teachers Don’t Say ‘Please’

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Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Any classroom can get out of control from time to time. But one unique teaching method empowers teachers to stop behavior problems before they begin.

You can see No-Nonsense Nurturing, as it’s called, firsthand at Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, N.C.

“Your pencil is in your hand. Your voice is on zero. If you got the problem correct, you’re following along and checking off the answer. If you got the problem incorrect, you are erasing it and correcting it on your paper.”

Math teacher Jonnecia Alford has it down pat. She then describes to her sixth-graders what their peers are doing.

“Vonetia’s looking at me. Denario put her pencil down — good indicator. Monica put hers down and she’s looking at me.”

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Education

What research says about classroom technology

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SmartBlog on Education this month is exploring the science of learning. Join us for original content in which experts explore trends in learning research and highlight teaching strategies that can help improve student performance.

“But why do you want students to blog?” This question, posed by one of the professors for an action research course in our school district, gave everyone pause. We had been discussing questions to investigate in our classrooms. The teacher who proposed the blogging idea thought for a moment, then replied, “I don’t know.”

Technology is tempting to embed in the classroom en masse. It piques kids’ interests and it is fun to explore. But does it lead to achievement and help students grow as learners? We need to ask ourselves these types of questions if we want to realize the impact that connected education can have on students. I offer three declarations supported by research to help assess the necessity of technology in classrooms.

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Education

Shake things up with blended learning

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Stock Photo by Sean Locke www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Stock Photo by Sean Locke
www.digitalplanetdesign.com


This month, SmartBlog on Education shines a light on reader trends, content roundups and expert forecasts for 2016.

As we look ahead for what’s in store for 2016, sometimes we first need to look back. As a new teacher in the 90s, I was intrigued with simple technology advancements. I recall being both amazed and thrilled with the creation of the dry erase board, when I no longer had to sneeze my way through lessons. While it was simplistic in nature, I thought it was one of the greatest innovations ever. So much has transpired since then. The integration of technology into schools has opened an entire new world for learners — both for those sitting in the desks and those in front of the dry erase board.

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