"Ignorance is dangerous and our greatest hope to prevent it is to take better care of our education system while working hard to promote thinking and learning worthy of our 21st century students." CTQ's teacherpreneur Jessica Keigan asks if we can...
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We’ve written a number of posts about sketchnotes, and this year we pushed to include them as part of the note-taking process on multiple grade levels. Most recently, our third graders practiced sketchnoting to visually map out their understanding of the rain forest.
One of biggest questions in utilizing technology is how much visual splash to incorporate into student projects. Judicious teachers want to maintain a PBL approach that is grounded in information and meaning. Students, however, often get giddy at the prospect of neon animations and swirling Prezis. The goal is to balance a love of color with an understanding of effective design.
We've been using motion infographics more and more in our classrooms. These animated visuals can help explain the complicated world of economics, the effects of adolescent stress, the inequality of wealth, and the fluidity of language. Mesmerizing, computer-generated videos can grab our students' attentions and, as a result, can illuminate relevant teaching points in colorful, appealing ways.
We took the opportunity to talk to our students and explain income tax withholdings and the reasons why United States citizens are required to pay them. Needless to say, they were quite surprised at how taxes are taken out of earnings, particularly as income graduates through the tax brackets. Of course, as the discussion progressed, the political opinions and remarks reflected the parental sensibilities of the students; but all in all, they were quite interested in the way the process works.
Claudine Delfin is the author of the Sketcho Frenzy website that she began as a creative project to help people learn through visual note-taking. In her straightforward video Sketcho Frenzy: The Basics of Visual Note-taking, Delfin explains the fundamentals of text hierarchy, words as images, and the structure of sketchnoting
Sketchnotes are a multi-sensory form of note-taking involving listening, synthesizing and visualizing and can make a difference in the way students learn. This year we decided to jump right into using this non-linear approach, and to our surprise the results were amazing on two fronts.
Are the old theories still adequate to describe the kinds of learning that we witness today in our hyper-connected world? Or can they work together with the new theories to provide us with a basis to understand what is happening.
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Project-based learning that brings together multiple disciplines allows students to work through ideas, encourages risk-taking, and engages kids on multiple levels. It integrates financial and media literacy into the process and challenges kids to think like designers. It’s more than just a project; it’s a life lesson. All of this is done with a network of dedicated teachers collaborating with one goal in mind, learning.
As school projects migrate to laptops and tablets, student choice becomes a blessed corollary to any multimedia creation. Even the most scripted lesson, when executed via a web tool, can find a way to incorporate a small amount of customization. A lot of Internet resources feature dynamic themes or color choices that permit student individualization. At the very least, however, most blogs and social networks allow users to upload unique avatars to distinguish their profiles.
In addition to fêting poetry and financial literacy, April also honors Stress Awareness Month. In our classrooms, we notice more and more that stress can be debilitating for students. In fact, we spent much of our transition night a few weeks ago trying to assuage families' apprehensions as their children get ready for middle school.
We are so excited about the sketchnotes in this post by our second grade students. Our innovative colleague and friend, Stefani Rosenthal, was thoroughly intrigued by the process of visual note-taking and wanted to try it to see how this would help reinforce her students' understanding of different types of communities. Her forward-thinking approach and willingness to collaborate in trying something new paid off in helping her students learn.
We are in the third year of our fifth grade entrepreneur program, and with each undertaking we get more inspired by our students’ interest, responsibility, and serious approach to the project. Their appetite for the challenge to think like an entrepreneur comes more easily each time.
"So, when someone asks me about our achievement levels, I'm not going to spout off a bunch of test scores. I'm going to talk about achievement. Real achievement. The kind that lasts beyond the sixth grade. And I'm going to recognize that even if I was a part of the process, my students worked incredibly hard to pull it off.