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Roots and Wings

A Letter to the Inquisitive Parent: Improving Communication at Home

Posted by Betsy Bennati on Sep 7, 2016 4:02:01 PM

Dear Inquisitive Parent,

I am writing this letter to assure you that your child does learn "something" in school each day; they may even learn more than one thing!  "Why is she writing this," you ask? Well, as a parent and an educator, I know I, and likely many of you, have made the mistake of asking a child what he did in school on a given day.  Yes, I called it a mistake. While teachers often employ the use of open-ended questions in the classroom in order to elicit varied and creative responses, asking a student what they learned in school leads some parents to receive the habitual, vague, substance-lacking response, "Nothing."  After all, a routine question likely receives a routine response, just as a thoughtful question likely receives a thoughtful response. You are interested in your child's education and school day, but how are you supposed to have a conversation when you're not even sure she can remember anything they studied?  You trick her into telling you, that's how!

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Topics: students, learning, School, communication

Reading Aloud to Children of Any Age

Posted by Ro Batson on Aug 26, 2016 8:29:19 AM

 

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Topics: Reading, reading aloud

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in School and at Home

Posted by Patty Baumeister on Aug 16, 2016 11:36:50 AM

On the first day of school, I tell my students that the hardest thing I am going to ask them to do during the year is to THINK. I don’t want them to repeat my words or recite from a textbook, but rather to give me mindful answers that they have thought about. I often start the day with a “Question of the Day.” Some examples are: Why are most barns painted red? Why do dalmatians have spots? What is your favorite day of the week? I am never disappointed with their answers. Actually, my students often think of things I didn’t, and I find great joy in sharing their responses with parents and my colleagues.

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Topics: Education, learning, questions, critical thinking, Thinking

Boxes Without Borders - Making Technology Accessible

Posted by Jared Hamilton on Jul 27, 2016 9:12:22 AM


In the IT field, an organization’s collection of computers, infrastructure equipment, and software is often referred to as an “environment”. However, in my own thinking process, it sometimes helps me to envision it as a box or collection of boxes, as this approach helps me to select the right equipment and software for our students.  Each box in your collection contains tools that can hold, process, and/or communicate some data.  That data, for example, could be pictures from the last field trip, grades, or GPS data on the wildlife roaming nearby campus.  Each box has its own limits of what you can and can’t do based on the nature of the box, in other words, what tools the box has built inside it and what can they be used to do.

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Topics: Technology, Creative Thinking, Problem Solving, 3D Printing

The Summer Reading Debate

Posted by Kami Mulzet on Jul 13, 2016 9:26:53 AM

Do you believe that summer reading helps or harms a child’s desire to read?

This is a debate going on at schools across the nation, and both sides make some strong points. Even though my school does assign reading, we discuss its purpose each year as the school year draws to a close.

There are many factors to consider, including how to choose a book that the majority of students will enjoy, whether to direct the students to a list of books or assign one for the entire group, whether to include a writing element, and finally, whether to assign reading over the summer at all.
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Topics: Reading, Summer reading, reading aloud

Is Your Child Spending Enough Time Outdoors?

Posted by Stacey Kley on Jun 20, 2016 11:59:52 AM

The benefits of being outdoors have been proven, both for children and adults. In September 2010 the National Wildlife Federation published an article by Kevin Coyle entitled Create High Performing Students. The research he cites reveals that outdoor education, greener school grounds and more outdoor play time in natural settings contributes to some of the following benefits:

  • Usefully employ all of a child’s native intelligences, ranging from math and science smarts to interpersonal communications
  • Quantitatively increase student motivation and enthusiasm to learn
  • Help students concentrate for longer periods and help mitigate attention deficit problems
  • Help students to learn across disciplines and make them better real-world problem solvers
  • Measurably improve classroom performance in math, science, reading and social studies.
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Topics: Education, learning, outdoor education, healthy kids

Creating Synergy: Math & Art

Posted by Betsy Bennati on Jun 3, 2016 10:03:34 AM


In my fifth grade math class, students learned about fractions as they created works of art. When I first introduced the unit on fractions, I noticed my students were struggling with the concept. In an effort to combat the initial nerves of learning something new and complex, I asked students to use a ruler. I discovered that the students first had to learn to properly use the ruler itself, to understand about increments of an inch. Then, they began drawing straight lines on an x/y axis. The final result was a beautiful piece of art made one straight line at a time! Here’s how it worked:

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Topics: Education, learning, math, art

Developing Curiosity Through Reading

Posted by Kami Mulzet on May 17, 2016 3:31:53 PM

Curiosity vs. Intelligence
Research has shown that a person’s Curiosity Quotient (CQ) is as important as their Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Most classroom teachers would agree that qualities like curiosity and work ethic tend to outweigh intelligence in student performance. But how can parents help their children to develop curiosity? It turns out there are several ways. One is through play. By allowing children the space and time to interact with one another, they will develop both curiosity and imagination. Another is through reading. Books can take students on a journey to foreign places, throw them into the middle of a mystery, or surround them with a dystopian world. Books can help students discover people who are like them, or who are very, very different. Reading can lead to a deeper interest in the world as it is, and help students imagine how it could be.

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Topics: Reading, curiosity, learning, reading aloud

PreK-8: A Design in Support of Childhood

Posted by Sally Keidel on Apr 27, 2016 1:35:21 PM

As the Head of a school that enrolls four year olds through fourteen year olds, I am often asked “Why do you end in middle school? How does this serve children differently from other school models?” These questions have opened the door to many valuable discussions about the benefits of a school that culminates in 8th Grade. I witness the value of a PreK-8th Grade program in our classrooms and in the interactions between our students, faculty and parents every day, but with all the different educational options available to families, why should you consider sending your child to a PreK (or Kindergarten) through 8th Grade school? 

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Topics: Education, elementary schools, middle school, PreK-8th grade

Student Recommended TED-Ed Videos

Posted by Kami Mulzet on Apr 13, 2016 11:24:40 AM

 

Kindergarten students learn to share, and as adults we try to remember those early lessons. Middle School students also love to share, but they enjoy sharing information. A group of sixth grade students was asked to review videos on the site TED-Ed and to recommend their favorites through a class blog. Students previewed videos here, and shared their favorites with their peers. Find some student recommendations below:

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Topics: Education, videos, Technology, Blogging