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Technology is Everywhere: How Can You Use it In the Classroom?

technology-in-the-classroomTechnology has evolved dramatically over the last ten years. We can now drive electric-powered cars, work with lightweight computers containing amazing power, and manage our lives on “smart” phones. As technology evolves, it has a powerful impact on us and our children.  Learning to read on an iPad or even playing fundamental learning games on the computer, make children very susceptible to new technology.

With that said, how are you implementing new technology in your classroom? Are you engaging your students to the best of their abilities? Are you being flexible and thinking of new ways to reach your students on their level?

Finding new and exciting ways to present your material can have a direct impact on how well your students will learn, and how they are able to retain the information.

Cameras
Last June, an educational certification program for K-12 teachers called Teach Tech was held.  The program demonstrated how teachers can utilize YouTube and Flip Video cameras to help student engagement.

StatePres.com reported, “Eighty-nine percent of teachers who attended the program last year said in a survey that the “new technologies enhanced the classroom experience.”

Computers
Your computer can do so much, not only for you, but for your students. Simply hooking up your computer to a projector, you can make your classroom come alive. Teaching about tsunamis? Go to YouTube and get examples from real life.

Even a simple PowerPoint presentation can make the curriculum more entertaining (if you have the right PowerPoint skills).

Google Calendar
If you aren’t familiar with Google apps such as Google Calendar, it’s worth checking out. By giving access to your students to view the calendar, they will have an online source for all major projects going on in the classroom. You can even set up alerts for your class which would be sent straight to the students’ cell phones.

Skype
As of this past Tuesday (March 29, 2011) Skype launched Skype in the Classroom. “Using the platform, teachers can create profiles that describe their classes and teaching interests. They can also search a directory of teachers from all over the world by student age range, language and subject,” reports Mashable.

Other Technologies
School districts across the globe are getting creative with technology.  Percy Centennial Public Schools in Warkworth, ON, have purchased iPods and iPads for their students. “The students love it, they think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread,” said school Principal John Goheen to the Northumberland News. Goheen goes on to say, “One of our Grade 1 students basically summed it all up … ‘It’s really easy to use because if you have a finger and you can point, you can work it’… the whole experience has been great.”

Have you used new technology in your classroom recently? Let us know about it in the comments below.

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Why Quantum Learning?

QL-Stats

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Flexibility in Today’s Hectic World

Learning-FlexibilityHere at Quantum Learning, the 8 Keys of Excellence are at the core of everything we do.  Today, we are going to focus on Flexibility.  What does flexibility mean to you? How can being flexible help in the classroom, with co-workers, and in your personal life? We had our own discussion on Flexibility last week, and wanted to share some thoughts with you.

The Science
How do you feel when you get a right answer?  Do you feel excited? The answer is more than likely yes.  This is due to the fact that when we are right, our brain sends out dopamine.  This makes us feel happy, and a craving to feel that emotion again—so we want to be right as often as we can.  The more dopamine your brain sends out, the more you want to feel the emotion again.  In a sense, you get addicted. But can you get this “high” being flexible?

We define Flexibility as:
Be willing to do things differently. Recognize what’s not working and be willing to change what you’re doing to achieve your goal.

What Now?

  1. Take a Step Back
    Sometimes you just need to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation.  Does the situation mean more to the person you are arguing with than yourself? Take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I have to get my way?” If on a scale of 1-10 (10 being extremely important) if this situation is a 3 to you, and the person you are talking to feels it is a 10, then maybe they should get their way.
  2. Compromise
    We learn at a young age to play well with others. Are you doing this? We all know we can’t always get our own way, but this doesn’t mean you wouldn’t mind if you did. Compromising is a great way to practice flexibility, and help move everyone involved forward.
  3. Assessing the Situation
    The definition many use for insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  For example, if you set your alarm clock for the same time every morning but you still don’t get up—how can you be more flexible? How about moving your alarm clock to the other side of the room.  This will make you get up to turn the alarm off.

In the classroom, flexibility comes from both the teacher and students.  As the teacher, it’s important to be viewed as the authority figure, but building flexibility into your teaching strategy can lead to greater student engagement, better overall communication, and, ultimately, more flexibility on your students’ part as you model this very important Key each day.

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Federal Government Grants Historic No Child Left Behind Waiver

The U.S. Department of Education has granted the first broad-based school-district waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act. This act was signed into law almost a decade ago by President George W. Bush and requires all government-run schools receiving federal funding to administer statewide standardized tests.

 
Randy Watson, the McPherson Unified School District superintendent, was informed last week that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan approved the waiver request from his school district. In partnership with Quantum Learning and ACT, Inc., McPherson USD developed the C³ – Citizenship, College and Career Readiness plan that contains measures in the three areas of emphasis.

Dr. Watson said that the U.S. Department of Education called the C³ initiative “bold, challenging and one of a kind in the United States.” He also indicated that his district was told by DOE officials that similar future waiver requests from other school districts will need to follow the McPherson model.

“Quantum Learning is thrilled to be part of this breakthrough initiative in McPherson,” said Bobbi DePorter, president of Quantum Learning Network, which integrates Quantum Learning teacher and student programs in school districts nationwide and has worked with McPherson USD for nearly 10 years.

Ms. DePorter went on to say that the opportunity to develop students who are better equipped for success in college, careers and life is consistent with Quantum Learning’s mission to transform education and the lives of young people through more effective teaching strategies and student engagement.

Standardized testing mandated by No Child Left Behind has come under significant scrutiny in recent months from many who believe the state standardized tests have too narrow an academic focus, are not an authentic measurement of a student’s learning, and create undue stress for students, teachers, administrators and parents.

Dr. Watson chose to partner with Quantum Learning on development of the Citizenship-Ready component of the C³ model. Quantum Learning’s 8 Keys of Excellence is McPherson USD’s foundation for teaching and assessing students in their citizenship readiness. The model also includes a partnership with ACT, which will supply multiple assessments for 6th–12th grade students based on a College Ready/Career Ready curriculum.

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What Makes a Great Teacher — It’s about the HOW

“Student achievement flows from great teaching,” states Vicki Phillips, Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

We believe great teachers know how to create meaningful, engaging learning environments that challenge students to do their best. Unfortunately, the majority of time that’s spent on developing teachers is too focused on the “what” and the “why” but not the “how” of creating successful learning environments.

Teachers know what they want their classrooms to look like and how they want their students to be, yet often they don’t know how to make it happen. Over our 20 years of experience working with schools on professional staff development, we’ve seen many good teachers become great — once they learn how to change the dynamics of their classroom.

Specifically, great teachers know how to:

  • Connect with students
  • Make content meaningful and relevant
  • Orchestrate positive interactions
  • Build a classroom environment of respect and high expectations
  • Inspire students to do their best
  • Stimulate positive student behavior
  • Teach to all types of learners
  • Engage students in learning from bell to bell
  • Great teachers know how to create a community of learners who are engaged and excited to learn!

When teachers are empowered and know how to make this happen in the classroom — when they have practical, transferable skills and techniques to create a learning environment that works — the desired outcomes follow: improved behavior, attendance, grades, test scores and graduation rates.

Vicki Phillips continues to say, “Great teaching is advanced by great professional development.” Effective teacher training takes time and commitment. Success in the classroom is not achieved with drive-by workshops that lecture teachers on the what without the how. Effective programs put the “how” first and ensure that teachers can successfully apply it in their classrooms.

When teachers acquire the necessary “how” skills and practice and personalize them in their classrooms, the result is a highly effective learning environment that produces positive outcomes for their students.

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Two For One

Thank you Teacher World for your flattering post!

I have shared with you that I spend time in the mornings reading positive, uplifting, and motivational materials that help jumpstart my day, and I am going to pick the best of these that can be applied to education in some way and share them with you on a regular basis. I hope that these bring some laughter, some deep thought, some happiness, and some positive reaction from all of you. These aren’t very deep, but they are fun. So, without further ado, here is another great saying.

* “It is okay to try and fail and try and fail again, but it isn’t okay to try and fail, and fail to try again!”

Oh, I love that, don’t you? Isn’t this a perfect message for students about not giving up until they get it right? For that matter, isn’t it a great message for teachers, too? I loved this quote from the moment I heard it, and I proudly display it in my classroom and talk about it at the beginning of every year.

I can’t take credit for this wonderful quote, so where did I get it? About six years ago my school system sent several teachers to the best training program I have ever had the opportunity to attend. It is called Quantum Learning, and I would highly recommend this program to all teachers. What is the premise behind this training? According to its website, “Quantum Learning for Teachers programs empower educators to create joyous, engaging and successful learning – turning their classrooms into optimal learning environments”. We learned countless teaching strategies and moves that are based on brain research. One of the best techniques I learned, circuit learning, is a technique that incorporates repeated exposure to facts in a manner that moves information from your short term to your long term memory without memorization. It works, and I use it every year!

So, today you got a two-for-one; a great saying and a little commercial for a great teacher’s program you and your school system might want to consider taking. Enjoy!

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Congratulations to Principal Bob Callahan

DHS Principal Honored

Congratulations to Bob Callahan for being chosen as Region 16 Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP).  Mr. Callahan is in his 20th year as principal of Dumas High School and his 33rd year with Dumas ISD.  His prior positions with the district include five years as a biology teacher and assistant coach and eight years as the assistant principal all at DHS.  He had six years of teaching experience before coming to Dumas.  Mr. Callahan will be recognized at the upcoming TASSP State Conference.

Bob will present with Quantum Learning at a session entitled “Light the Fire of Loving Learning in EVERY Student!” at the Texas School Improvement Conference in October in Austin.

“Quantum Learning is the most powerful program for improving teacher effectiveness, enthusiasm and excitement for teaching that we’ve ever had in this district.  It has become contagious! I remember hearing one of the QL instructors who is also a teacher talk about a new teacher who would come by his class every day because every student in the grade level he taught in wanted to be in his class, and the new teacher wanted to know why.  The same thing has happened at my school.  Students want to be in classes where teachers are using Quantum Learning methods to teach. They want to come to school and can’t wait to get there.  You know, new teachers who step into a classroom and suddenly have to get everything done are just overwhelmed at first.  There is so much more that they are responsible for than they ever imagined. And then they have a diverse classroom and all kinds of situations to deal with. That is where Quantum Learning comes in. It equips teachers to be the best they could ever want to be. If they are a parent, it equips them to be the kind of teacher they’d want their own children to have.  I can see it in how my teachers carry themselves. They’re confident and their excited to be at school every morning. It’s been a real transformation in our school since we began Quantum Learning.”

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The Quantum Learning Tenets

The Tenets are important concepts or guiding principles that are basic to the Quantum Learning system. These ideas are woven throughout the fabric of the system, and as a result will be rediscovered in many applications and strategies. The Tenets are specifically designed to improve our practice in the classroom by directing our focus. We recommend that you post them in a place where you will see them on a regular basis.

The first Tenet is “Everything Speaks.” This concept reminds us that everything we do in the classroom sends a message to students. The way we greet students first thing in the morning or at the beginning of a class sends a message. The way we handle an incorrect response from a student given in front of peers sends a message. Our Environment, the Atmosphere we create, the Design of our lesson delivery or educational tasks, how we dress, the way we listen, or the character traits we model all send messages to our students. By being constantly aware of this important principle we tend to be more deliberate and proactive in orchestrating the messages students receive. This helps us better manage the variables that contribute to an optimal classroom atmosphere and learning environment.

“Everything is on Purpose” is the second Tenet and it follows logically from the one before it, “Everything Speaks.” If everything speaks, then it follows that we want to be purposeful with everything we do in the classroom to get the desired outcome. A focus on the Tenet, “Everything is on Purpose”, encourages a greater awareness of all the variables that influence learning. It is this Tenet that helps us to begin to see our role in the classroom differently. We are not in the classroom to dispense knowledge – we are there to orchestrate learning. We are striving to get masterful in this orchestration, and even small variables and details become important to us.

“Experience Before Label” is an important principle that influences our lesson design and delivery. It means that we involve students in an experience or elicit an experience that they can relate to before we attempt to attach it to any symbolic language or label. From a scientific perspective we are creating schema or a new neural network in the brain before attaching the label. It can also mean that we move the students to inquiry where they are seeking the label or concept before we give it to them. For example, a math teacher may involve students in a real-life situation in which they are trying to solve a problem but having difficulty based on what they already know. They may begin to look for a new formula or principle to help them accomplish the solution. This state of inquiry or searching would be an ideal time for the teacher to introduce the new concept, and this process would be called “Experience Before Label.” In a literature class a teacher may have students experience writing from a talented author before introducing the literary concept of mood. A science teacher may have students experience or observe the laws of motion before actually labeling them.

Experience Before Label is about creating a teachable moment. It is about getting students emotionally involved and questioning with questions such as Why? When? Where? What? How? The word label in this principle refers to the information we want students to learn – the facts, the formulas, the new terms, the sequence, the reasons, etc. When we design our instruction using “Experience Before Label,” we are using a brain-considerate strategy that attaches the learning to previously established schema, evokes proper emotional learning states, maximizes the use of inquiry, and bridges the content to the students’ world.

The “Acknowledge Every Effort” Tenet places a strong emphasis on reinforcing effort in the classroom. By acknowledging effort the professional educator places a strong focus on effort. This focus on effort has many benefits in the educational arena. By acknowledging effort and creating a focus on effort we help our students to know that we consider good consistent effort the hallmark of a good student.

One very significant benefit with a focus on effort relates to our students’ self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is our students’ concept of what they are capable of accomplishing and relates to their views of their own abilities.When we define a student as one who gives good consistent effort we are asking the student to do something he or she can do. This is because effort is a choice. Even though some students may not be able to compete with the student sitting next to them in achievement scores, they can choose to give effort, and if effort is the sign of a good student then they can consider themselves good students. By asking students to give good consistent effort we are asking them to do something they know they can choose to do. How satisfied would you be as a professional educator if all your students did was give 100% effort? Most of us could live with that!

The last Tenet is “If It’s Worth Learning It’s Worth Celebrating.” These celebrations occur inside the student and are orchestrated by the professional educator. It is the good feeling students have about their own progress and their contributions to the learning of others. It includes the joy, excitement, and passion for learning that permeates the classroom atmosphere. It includes the positive acknowledgments the students receive for their effort and participation. It may be enhanced by such things as small as a comment by the teacher expressing appreciation for accomplishment or by an entire group joining together in a cheer, a special event or a rewarding activity. It should be an ongoing and consistent principle operating in the classroom. It reinforces motivation and the message, “This is important.

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More Tips for a New School Year by Christian Rauch

A new school year is here! Below is a message sent out by Quantum Learning with helps for starting a new year with new students. There are some specific and easy ideas for each part of FADE, with links to terrific resources. Enjoy!

Dear Educator,

Wow! Another school year is already upon us. Where did the summer go? Well, school can be fun, too, because Quantum Learning has a ton of ideas for you on how to get things off to a great start and make it the best year ever for you and your students.

Remember, Quantum Learning is a SYSTEM for boosting student engagement and learning and it all begins with FADE:

FOUNDATION

The beginning of a new school year means “training” students in what’s expected in the classroom. With a strong Foundation, you can establish a shared vision and an understanding of expectations in your classroom. Download our document entitled How to Develop Rules and Consequences for a plan on how to establish ground rules that will support a successful year.

How would you like your students to enter/exit the classroom? Consider last year – what did you develop that worked? What would you change? What level of self-directed behavior do your students manifest? Each of these areas of consideration is defined and developed in the QL attachment on PAPR – Policies, Agreement, Procedures, and Rules. Download it here.

ATMOSPHERE

The start of the year is your opportunity to establish an empowering Atmosphere for learning. Here’s a link to a short video with tips on what you can say and do to create a climate in your classroom that promotes a sense of joy, safety, and support.

Also, get QL’s Top 5 Hot Tips for creating an empowering Atmosphere in your classroom this year and tips from QL teachers and facilitators on how to build rapport with your students from the first day of school.

DESIGN

Begin every lesson with a plan for how you will Enroll your students so that they are engaged; create Experiences and curiosity; Label what is learned AFTER the Experiences; allow students to Demonstrate what they have learned;Review and promote Reflection of new content learned; and Celebrate your students’ learning successes. The Quantum Learning Design Frame (E L L D R C) provides a proven process for promoting greater learning and long term memory. Click here for some great “Enrolling” ideas.

ENVIRONMENT

The start of the school year is your chance to establish a physical learning space that is inviting and supportive so that you can deliver your content in more engaging and interesting ways. As we say in QL, “Everything Speaks,” meaning everything in the environment sends a message that either enhances or detracts from learning. Download our document on How to Create a Supportive Environment in your classroom.

This is just the beginning of how you can begin to make it a GREAT YEAR for your students and boost learning! Also, be sure to check out our QL blog for valuable research and more great ideas.

Looking forward to hearing all about your successes the next time we see you!

Whooshhhhhh!

Your Quantum Learning Education Team

P.S. Ask about our additional programs to support you: Observation and Coaching Days, Tele-coaching sessions, Reinforcement and Renewal Workshops, and our new QL Topic Specific one day workshops! Visit our website at http://www.qln.com and find out what’s new at Quantum Learning! Or, contact your QL Education Senior Consultant at www.qln.com/learning_education_contact.html

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Washington students learn about citizenship excellence

McPherson USD 418 district staff took time out of their day to speak with Washington Elementary School students about the 8 Keys of Excellence Tuesday.
The 8 Keys are part of the district’s new Citizenship, College and Career Ready initiative. Elementary students across the district will learn a new key each month, with the keys incorporated into other classroom lesson.
Eight district employees took turns explaining the 8 Keys to students as Washington. Many of the key have a corresponding action to help the students better remember the key and what it means.
As part of the district’s new initiative, students will also be rewarded for demonstrating the use of one of the 8 Keys while at school.

http://www.mcphersonsentinel.com/features/x861572450/Washington-students-learn-about-citizenship-excellence

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