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Every lesson plan begins with a beginning.  Unfortunately, in all too many classrooms this beginning sounds something like this:  ”Now class, turn to page 428 of your textbook.” There’s nothing there to grab students (quite the reverse:  many kids will disengage from the class at that point). Every teacher needs to have a kit bag...
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Over the past decade there’s been a lot of debate about whether Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is valid as an approach to guide instruction.  I’m going to take up the points of this debate in a future post.  But right now, I want to argue for the most persuasive reason why every teacher...
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Activity centers have long been seen as an effective way to have children or teens engage with learning material in a hands-on and experiential way.  However, for many teachers, the construction of such activity centers in the classroom may seem time consuming, require non-existent funds, and/or be just another burden to one’s teaching load.  Here...
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Everybody is born with a love for learning.  Look at a baby. She wants to explore everything around her, tasting, touching, smelling, feeling, hearing – learning all about the environment (including her own body).  Nature set things up that way so that we’d always be learning, growing, and adapting to an ever-changing environment. Something, however,...
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Nothing has been more disconcerting to me in my forty-five years as an educator than to ask a parent or teacher:  ”What is your child’s (or teen’s) strengths?” and have them answer:  ”He hasn’t got any.”  I’ve actually heard this several times in my career.  It was such responses that motivated me to come up...
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Curiosity is built into the Human Genome.  It’s really a question of life or death. If we hadn’t been curious as a species, it’s likely that we would not have survived to pass along those curiosity genes.  Curiosity endowed our ancestors with the ability to pay close attention to the environment, especially when it underwent...
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About education:  here’s what I don’t understand.  On the one hand, you have the child – this incredibly wonderful organism that has had millions of years to evolve a beautifully complex brain designed to be naturally curious, playful, vital, creative, and joyful.  On the other hand, you have this amazing world:  exquisite life forms, unbelievable...
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Imagine that Leonardo da Vinci was a child growing up in contemporary times and school authorities had to determine whether or not he should receive an IEP (Individual Education Plan).  Here’s what it might look like. Principal:  ”Okay, I think we’re ready to start.  Who wants to get the ball rolling?”‘ School Psychologist:  ”Well, I ran...
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Tests have become de regueur in education over the past decade, with so many teachers being assessed on their ability to increase their students’ test scores.  I’ve developed this test (not yet standardized) specifically for teachers (parents can take it too). The objective of this test is to help educators get in touch with their...
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