Wednesday, May 15, 2019

TED Talk on Vaping


Today during our Parent Advisory Council meeting, we discussed our school's vaping policy and its consequences for students. This is a topic that my administrative colleagues across Morris County schools have been especially focused on this year, as we have all seen an increase in student abuse and addiction.

As we continue to engage in conversations around this epidemic, I thought it made sense to share this TEDtalk from earlier this year by biobehavioral scientist Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin. By clicking on the link you will access her talk and additional footnotes and resources. You can also just click on the image below to access the talk directly via YouTube.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Great K-12 Resource ABC Education


In speaking with our own Mr. Butler, I just learned of an insightful resource that he feels is of great value, especially when embedding a video analysis/discussion into Canvas (or Google Classroom) along with the suggested essential questions. 

This K-12 video, gaming, and curriculum platform, ABC Education, allows teachers to "create captivating lessons with videos, games and other classroom resources; explore current affairs and world events; or watch some excellent educational programs. You can find teaching guides, resources on specific topics, competitions for students, and articles on the latest education news and research."

Although it is an Australian outfit, it still fits an American K-12 curriculum!

Monday, May 6, 2019

What's New on Note-Taking

One of my colleagues sent me an interesting NPR piece on note-taking research, especially when it comes to students using laptops. I know from teaching AP European History last year, in which I lectured more than I would want to, I had to change my approach because so many students were using their own laptops. 

Also, here is a former blog post on note-taking research from earlier in the year. After the image below, click on "READ MORE" to find the NPR piece.  Thanks, Pj for the article!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Struggling in Math is GOOD & More from MIND/Shift

I love the MIND/Shift blog so I am posting some of my favorites from this past month.


Why Normalizing Struggle Can Create a Better Math Experience for Kids
Math educator Dan Finkel grew up doing math with ease and completed calculus as a freshman in high school. But it wasn't until he went to math summer camp and learned how to think like a mathematician that he truly fell in love with math. It helps to have a positive relationship with math because when people are uncomfortable with it they are susceptible to manipulation. (Think of predatory lending interest rates, convenient statistics to support a thin argument, graphs that misrepresent the truth.)
“When we’re not comfortable with math, we don't question the authority of numbers,” said Finkel in his TEDx Talk, “Five ways to share math with kids.”

He is also a founder of Math for Love which provides professional development, curriculum and math games. He says math can be alienating for kids, but if they had more opportunities for mathematical thinking, they could have a deeper, more connected understanding of their world.
A more typical math class is about finding the answers, but Finkel says to consider starting with a question and opening up a line of inquiry. For example, he might show a display of numbered circles and ask students, "What's going on with the colors?"

Math for love
He says it’s important to give people time to work through their thinking and to struggle. Not only do people learn through struggle, but puzzling through a tricky math problem resets expectations about how much time a math problem takes.

“It’s not uncommon for students to graduate from high school believing that every math problem can be solved in 30 seconds or less. And if they don’t know the answer, they're just not a math person. This is a failure of education," Finkel said.

He also said parents or educators can support a child when she is struggling through a problem by framing it as an adventure to be worked through together.

"Teach them that not knowing is not failure. It’s the first step to understanding."
See Video

Apple to Promote Media Literacy

Apple recently announced that it’s launching a media literacy initiative. As part of that plan, the company is providing support to three education nonprofits that are helping young people develop critical thinking skills, distinguish facts from fiction and become smarter consumers of the news. Thank you EDsurge for the information!

5 Research-Backed Studying Techniques & More from Edutopia

Edutopia had some great reads on their blog this past month. Here are some of my favorites:


Remind students: There's no such thing as successful multitasking.

5 Research-Backed Studying Techniques

Teachers can guide students to avoid ineffective studying habits in favor of ones that will increase their learning outcomes.


Easy ways to get kids moving

Activities That Prime the Brain for Learning

Brain breaks and focused attention practices help students feel relaxed and alert and ready to learn.


Your students can improve on this.

Building a Better Word Wall

Transferring ownership of the class word wall to the students can increase their engagement and learning.


An approach that emphasizes student agency and self-directed learning

A Public School Transitions to Montessori

In rural South Carolina, a Title I school makes the leap to become a Montessori school.


A good organizational system is key.

Designing Flexible Seating With Students

A veteran elementary teacher shares what he's learned from eight years of building a student-centered environment.


Ensure that your policy benefits students.

Allowing Test Retakes—Without Getting Gamed

Hundreds of teachers discussed the best ways to guide students toward mastery—without being taken advantage of.


Going paperless means less stuff for students to keep track of.

Helping Students With ADHD Stay Organized

Digital portals like Google Classroom and Moodle can benefit students who struggle with organization and executive function.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

CSM Looks at Cyberbullying, TikTok & AirDrop

CommonSenseMedia is an excellent resource for parents, educators, and students themselves. We use their curriculum resources throughout the district and I thought I would share their Educator Guide to Cyberbullying and the ParentGuide to AirDrop, both great resources that illustrate the excellence of CSM materials.


Common Sense Education
Inspiration for your digital classroom
Teachers' Essential Guide to Cyberbullying Prevention
In our first of many Teachers' Essential Guides, get all the resources you need to address cyberbullying in your classroom. Go to the guide
Featured Video: Rings of Responsibility
Show your students how their online behavior affects others. Watch the video
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT RESOURCES
What's AirDrop? Why Are Kids Using It?
How kids are using this Bluetooth-sharing feature to send pics and more. Share with families
Teaching #Digcit in the Age of Instagram
How one middle school teacher helps her students learn about online identity. Read more
21 Tools for College and Career Prep
Help your students prepare for their futures. See the list
Teen Voices: Friendships and Social Media
Students reflect on social media pressures. Watch video
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT RESOURCES
Parents' Ultimate Guide to TikTok
What families need to know about the rapidly growing video app. Share with families
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT RESOURCES
Where Kids Find Hate Online
Where it's found, who's involved, and how to curb it. Share with families
Featured Lesson: Finding Credible News
Download the lesson and get the rest of the (free!) #digcit curriculum. Go to lesson
COMMON SENSE RESEARCH
Smart Speakers and Voice Assistants
Learn the latest about parents' privacy concerns and how kids interact with Siri and Alexa. Check out our research

Thursday, April 4, 2019

NJ Teens Make Literary Connections


I was extremely impressed when I read some of the student works published in the NYT Learning Blog post "Making Connections: 53 Teenagers Suggest Creative Ways to Link School Curriculum to the World of 2019." For this contest, students connected books from their English classes with a NYT article.

It was even cooler to see that several of the students who were recognized in this national contest included a handful of Jersey students! Hopefully we can get some Lakers to compete next year.

Here are some of my favorites from the Graden State:

  1. Alexa Bolnick, Indian Hills High School, Franklin Lakes, N.J.: “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “A Lack of Respect for the Working Class in America Today
  2. Megan Lee, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, N.J.: “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and “The Curse of Affirmative Action
  3. Jeffrey Liao, Livingston High School, Livingston, N.J.: “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck and “The Impossible Choice My Father Had to Make
  4. Robert McCoy, Whippany Park High School, Whippany, N.J.: Gilded Age Mugwumps and “Republicans for Democrats
  5. Simon Levien, Sparta High School, Sparta, N.J.: “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka and “Some Good News, and a Hard Truth, About Science
  6. Jenna Park, Blair Academy, Blairstown, N.J.: “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury and “Technology Has Destroyed Reality
  7. Akshitha Bhashetty and Arthi Venkatakrishnan, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, N.J.: Geometric proofs and “She Was Exonerated of the Murder of Her Son. Her Life Is Still Shattered.
  8. Mishal KhanSaanvi Molugu and Noor Abdelhamid, West-Windsor Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, N.J.: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and “The Price of Saying ‘Me Too’ in China
  9. Melanie Mercereau, Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver, N.J.: “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and “Sisters in Arms Join the Fighting in Syria
  10. Jessica Muney, Glen Ridge High School, Glen Ridge, N.J.: Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “Ever Wanted to Get Revenge? Try This Instead