Our PRO-D at Surrey Centre Elementary was on social-emotional learning, presented by Sheldon Franken, a school counselor in Delta and director of Inquiry Adventures.
According to CASEL, these are the five interrelated core competencies:
The workshop had a nice blend of theory and hands-on activities. We started with the Spot It! cards and ULead Cards, which allowed us to quickly find partners and then share based on a picture, question and quote. There were further uses with the cards, but even those three tasks were a great ice-breaker. Another really fun activity was forming a ring with mountain climbing rope/strap and then leaning backwards. That was probably the most interesting as you had to really trust others and work together to achieve a common goal. The Chaos game was also a little frustrating and fun as we had to pick two people and then stand equal distance between them. The juggling game was also interesting, especially when the rubber chicken was tossed into the mix. It shows that more focus is necessary when there are variables are in play. Finally, we also tossed around a variety of thumballs, which gives students both a physical and thinking task to do. Each ball has a variety of questions and topics to engage students to share with others.
I can see with students where these tools would assist and enhance their social and emotional capacities. Sometimes have something shared in their hands is less intimidating than simply staring at each other, face to face, to discuss a topic or question.
Another important aspect of these activities is the debriefing afterwards, to make sure students have an idea of what the purpose/function of the task was. The 3 important questions are the following: 1) What? 2) So what? 3) Now what? Our ultimate goal, of course, is transfer to real life, not simply being stuck in the classroom.
The essential difference between the two media formats lies in the "fixity" and the "fluidity" of the text and information.
Fixity of the page: the text is constant and remains the same; it will never be altered
Fixity of the edition: the text remains the same for all who purchase that edition; there is a shared and common understanding
Fixity of the object: a book lasts a long, long time!
Fixity of completion: when a book is published, it is considered a finished and completed work (until a new edition is published)
Fluidity of the page: the text will flow to fit any space, from a tiny screen to a TV screen
Fluidity of the edition: it can have extra features, such as a dictionary, highlighting or summaries
Fluidity of the container: it is kept in the cloud cheaply in an unlimited library, and can be delivered anywhere at anytime
Fluidity of growth: a book is never quite done, as it can be corrected, added on to, and improved on a constant basis (Wikipedia)
Source: The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly, 2016
PERSONAL VS. SITUATIONAL
Pessimist: "I'm dumb."
Optimist: "That was a challenging test."
Pessimist: "I always get stuck with a weak partner."
Optimist: "I need to help my partner improve."
PERMANENT VS. SHORT-LIVED
Pessimist: "That team always beats us."
Optimist: "We are learning what it will take to beat them."
Pessimist: "I'll never figure out how to do math."
Optimist: "I'll need to spend extra time practicing these problems at home."
PERVASIVE VS. SPECIFIC
Pessimist: "There's no way I can find the time to do all of this. I have soccer practice tonight. My teacher gives me too much homework."
Optimist: "I'll have to use my time more wisely in class. If I spend 45 minutes a night studying, I can get my assignments completed."
Source: adapted from The Champion's Comeback, Jim Afremow, (2016)
Fixed: I can't execute this skill.
Growth: I'm going to devote more practice time to honing this skill.
Fixed: I am so embarrassed by this mistake.
Growth: I will learn from this mistake.
Fixed: I should be able to make changes quickly.
Growth: It takes time and effort to build winning habits.
Fixed: The other player (or team) is too good.
Growth: Playing against good players (or teams) is one of the best ways to improve my own performance.
Source: The Champion's Comeback, Jim Afremow (2016)
Learning by thinking is thought to be the best of the common learning orientations (discovery and didactic). Personalized learning would come in the form of consultation and negotiation of packaged and personally developed courses. The required expectations would need to be met at a certain level, but it would be personally "tailored" to meet their strengths, needs and interests. Sense-making would be grounded in rigorous investigation, not just playful exploration. Students' primary responsibility is to reach their own conclusions based on careful and informed assessment of all the evidence and data. The teacher's role is that of a choreographer, orchestrating rich thinking activities and developing the environment that allows learners to thrive.
Source: Creating Thinking Classrooms, (Gini-Newman & Case, 2015)
Molecular biologist John Medina wrote a book called Brain Rules (2008). Here is a brief summary related to education:
1) EXERCISE: Exercise is good for the brain: more blood goes to the brain, bringing glucose and oxygen; moving stimulates the protein that keeps neurons connections
2) WIRING: Every brain is unique: each student's reception of teaching will varying in some degree based on their viewpoint, experiences, biases, so one size does not fit all
3) ATTENTION: Keep things interesting: the brain pays attention to things that captures its attention; vice versa, the boring is easily ignored or forgotten; make connections and focus on a key idea as an anchor
4) SHORT-TERM MEMORY: Repeat, repeat, repeat: the more ways we can encode and store information, the better chance of recall and retrieval; kids need to find patterns, as well as move and see things to reinforce memory
5) LONG-TERM MEMORY: Repeat again: break up the learning; instead of 30 minutes straight, do 10 minutes in the morning, lunch and afternoon
6) SLEEP: Our nighttime is critical for daytime performance: lack of sleeps affects attention, executive function, working memory, mood, logical reasoning, motor dexterity, quantitative skills. DPAs and non-cognitive movement help the brain take some "rewiring" breaks
7) STRESS: A brain under stress cannot learn: cortisol and adrenaline make us want to run away; laughter, movement, and food help reverse the effects and may even produce serotonin and dopamine, chemicals used for cognition; sometimes more cognitively challenging tasks will help gets their minds off other stresses
8) SENSORY INTEGRATION: Use as many senses as possible to learn: Using a video, reading, and speaking will activate senses of seeing and hearing. The most important, though, is vision, so use visuals whenever possible
9) GENDER: Male and female brains differ: emotional connections increase the likelihood of girls remembering details and boys get the big picture
10) EXPLORATION: Humans are natural explorers of their environment: we look for patterns, essentially using the scientific method to discover how the world works; let kids experiment, fail, try again
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.