Engage Me!

I stumbled across an insightful video titled “Engage Me!” that was put together by students at Robin Hood primary school in Burmingham, Alabama. Here are four quotations that stuck out to me as an educator.

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Crowdsourcing Education

In 1987, professor Jack Treynor held up a jar filled with jelly beans to his finance class. All 56 students chimed in with their guesses on how many beans were in the jar. The group’s estimate averaged to 871, 2.5% off of the correct answer of 850 and closer than all but one of the participants’ guesses. The implications? That a group’s ability to perform a task is largely superior to an individual’s.

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Texting to Google Voice

I’m a big fan of using Google Apps to enhance the classroom experience, and so are my students. By setting up a Google Voice account and sharing the provided phone number with my students, they can now text me brief questions, exit tickets, or schedule times to meet—all of which are forwarded to my inbox (not my personal phone).

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Using Film in The Classroom

The New York Times Learning Network is an invaluable resource to teachers. While its content is slim compared to similar sites, its quality is unmatched. I want to draw attention now to its Film in the Classroom page, which provides fully vetted lesson plans on using film in language arts. The page, linked here, shows how you can turn film viewing from a lazy Friday activity to an engaging learning opportunity. The lessons provided here are (1) highly engaging; (2) show only brief video clips; (3) include targeted; higher-level thinking questions; and (4) align to standards.

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Using 4MAT to Differentiate Instruction

4MAT is a framework for teaching created by Bernice McCarthy that addresses the four learning styles of our students.

Who are Our Four Types of Learners?
1- Imaginative Learners: Need to be involved personally; learn by listening and sharing ideas
2- Analytic Learners: Seek facts; need to know what the experts think; (schools are designed for these listeners)
3- Common Sense Learners: Seek usability; need to know how things work; function through inferences drawn from sensory experience
4- Dynamic Learners: Seek hidden possibilities; need to know what can be done with things; learn by trial and error, self-discovery

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Seamus Heaney

At age 74, Irish poet Seamus Heaney died today. He was best known for his discussions of nature and morality, and for his vivid, yet straightforward use of imagery. He was perhaps the most widely read Irish poet since W.B. Yeats. His poem, “Digging” follows, illustrating the relation between writing and working with one’s hands.

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Applying Learning Outdoors

As part of her Wildlife Biology Class at Lyman Hall High School, one student has partnered with DEEP’s Wildlife Biologist Peter Picone to create a tree identification program along the Quinnipiac River Gorge Trail in Meriden, CT. As an upcoming teacher, I can’t help but see this as a learning opportunity. We should be doing more of this, i.e., having students apply their learning to make real-world differences. Students who form connections with their community are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to enjoy their coursework. Students who enjoy their coursework/the learning activities offered to them show an increase in learning.

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