At the cutting edge of educational technology are two exciting new technologies, AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). Both have a place in the future of education and the world. For day to day use, AR is the one to keep your eye on. But, let’s start with a brief look at what these new technology acronyms really mean.
When we think of the word “failure” it can often bring up thoughts of inadequacy, not being good enough, or being unsuccessful in a particular aspect of life. Many times children feel if they don’t get the answer right the first time or make a mistake when learning a new skill, that somehow they have failed.
What if, instead of viewing mistakes or failure as something negative that indicates a deficit we possess, we begin to view it as an opportunity? Imagine that - failure is an opportunity! An opportunity for growth, an opportunity to learn and thoroughly understand, an opportunity to achieve something great!
One of the most wonderful things about art is the amount of freedom it provides. We can make art out of almost any material and about any subject matter. It is an excellent means of self-expression as well as self-exploration. One of my favorite moments in the artroom is when a student has an a-ha moment and is surprised by how well their piece has turned out or thrilled at the mastery of a new technique. They do not always know how talented they are and art teaches them what they are capable of.
Personally, I started to identify myself as “an artist” very early in life. I loved to make things and working with my hands. In elementary school, I used to go into my backyard and dig clay out of the ground. I sculpted it into small bird’s heads and used pebbles for the eyes. I would bake them on the driveway until they hardened in the sun. This was perfectly normal to me, because I was “an artist”. I looked for any excuse to make things and loved sharing what I had made with others. My parents were the recipients of countless creations over the years as I explored various artistic avenues.
Parents want the best for their children, and so do teachers. The first parent/teacher conference is a great time to ask about ways you can support your child. There are so many great resources on the internet these days, which can seem overwhelming. Having a conversation with your child’s teacher may give you the targeted answers you need. There are, however, several concerns that all parents share.The start of a new year is a great time to look at your child's plan for homework, organization, and other routines to help make the year run smoothly.
Talk to me about your Middle School experience. What do you remember? In what significant ways did you grow as a Middle Schooler?
The general narrative proliferated by adults and popular media in the U.S. is that the Middle School years represent the worst and most challenging stage of human development. Some hyperbolically reference the lingering post-traumatic stress they experience to this day when they call to mind their personal journeys through “the middle years.” Others recall uncomfortable feelings of insecurity, compounded further by the cruelty of peers wrestling through their own struggles with confidence and self-image.
Have you read Harry Potter? This is one of the first questions I ask my students each year. This summer, the world is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Harry Potter Series. Is Harry Potter the single greatest children’s book series of all time? Well, author J.K. Rowling is the first author to become a billionaire based on writing books. Though notable for this milestone, I believe the series’ greatest achievement is the countless reluctant readers who have become avid readers thanks to the trip through platform nine and three-quarters.
Managing homework and extra-curricular activities become more daunting as our children get older. The 15 minutes of homework turns into 30, then turns into 45, and then into 60+ minutes a night. The once-a-week, two-hour long travel soccer practice turns into three nights a week, plus whole weekend team tournaments. Some children may be a member of more than one team. And, on top of that, many children often need to squeeze in other activities along with athletic commitments.
So how does homework fit into this equation? For many, not very easily. I often hear, “I couldn’t do my homework last night because I didn’t get home until 9:30.” This is one habit you don’t want your child to get into. Not only does this mean homework doesn’t get done consistently, the child often feels guilty, doesn’t perform well in school, and loses self-esteem with his/her academics. One of the tools I introduce to my students at the beginning of each school year, and have used with my own children, is a weekly planner. It certainly doesn’t solve time issues, but it gives the student an overview of the week in an organized manner. It also helps each student to be accountable for his/her own homework planning.
It's time to get outside. Spring has sprung, the flowers have bloomed, the trees have their leaves, and the sounds of little league can be heard in every town across America. Whether you like to take a hike, go fishing, or work in your garden, take your kids along. It can be a great family event. Go out and have a catch with a frisbee, or a baseball, or go for a bike ride.
We all know that art is a great way to express creativity. There is something very liberating about using colors, shapes and patterns to show how we are feeling or to depict our own personality. What people do not always realize is how important art can be in developing problem solving skills and abilities.
The beauty of art is that its possibilities are limitless; art can be anything and everything, and that is what can make art feel overwhelming at times. When you have a wonderful idea for something you would like to make, the next logical step is to figure out how to make it. Within each art form there are several decisions that need to be made as the artist progresses through the piece. There are multiple materials and techniques that the artist can explore to see which produces the results that are truest to his creative vision. The growth and confidence that comes from creative thinking and problem solving is incredibly important and translates easily into other parts of learning and everyday life. Having the ability to step back from a problem, examine it, explore options and find the best resolution serves us well throughout life.