Archive for category 21st Century Skills

Tips for the New School Year – 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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Great Things in ESU #11

There was a great post about our Quantum Learning efforts by Holdrege, NE teacher.  http://esu11.org/2010/07/27/quantum-learning/

Thanks for the support education patrons!

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It’s Iconic

Iconic Posters: Hang an iconic poster to reinforce learning.

Here is a classic memory tag. I once had a conversation with someone about the power of icons. I need to do more research into this. Companies and marketing groups understand the potential in a superb icon. Think the golden arches (McDonalds). Think the Nike swoosh. Think the Apple…apple. Just seeing one of these icons brings a rush of thoughts, associations, feelings, etc. We have a few icons in Quantum Learning: Home Court Advantage (circle in a triangle); the Line; and Prime Directive. Each of these can represent a wealth of information (and associations, feelings, etc.). It depends on what we put into it. I have a friend and fellow facilitator, Dan St. Romain, that only brings icon mini-posters to events (versus full-size flip charts) of all the Quantum Learning content.

Now What?: What are your big rock concepts? What’s the big stuff that holds it all together? What information bears repeating over and over again? How can you represent these concepts, ideas, formulas, or whatever in an ICON? I recommend icons that are simple, yet distinctive. After learning all about it and repeating it several times, students should be able to look at it and know immediately what it’s all about. Work to be as purposeful as possible with the icon. Put it on a chart and hang it as a content poster. Put the icon on relevant homefun assignments. Have students recreate the icon with additional details for a review activity.

Bonus: As you create multiple icons for your classroom, is it possible for icons to interact? If the knowledge builds on or interacts with other knowledge, can the icons do the same? Wouldn’t that be cool? As always, I would love to hear your examples (crauch@qln.com). Keep up the great work!

-Christian Rauch

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Quantum Learning For Parents

Janet Annett, a Project Director for Aprendiendo Por Vida GEAR UP in Arizona, has loved Quantum Learning for Teachers and Students in the past and wanted to bring the learning to parents.  Annett invited Olivia Duarte from Mexico City to come to Arizona and lead a Quantum Learning for Parents session.  The room was filled with native Spanish-speaking moms and Olivia related to each parent without losing anything in translation.  Forty-five minutes into the session, the first gentleman walked into the group.  He was the only dad there, and Olivia welcomed him and included him immediately.

Olivia ended her session on a topic of dependency and fear.  In Quantum Learning for Parents, facilitators explain, “Parents have fears, and we pass these fears down to our children.  These fears then create a barrier for our children.”

At the close of the session, everyone exited the room except for the one father, who stayed back to chat with Olivia.  He told Olivia that his youngest son has a plan of going into the Marines right after high school.  The father then further explained that he and his wife have been fighting with their son over that decision for months, trying to change his mind.  During Olivia’s closing session, the father realized that his fear of losing his son had created a barrier for his son.  He told Olivia, he should be supporting his son’s dream, not turning it down out of fear.

Helping parents recognize the positive and negative impact they have on their children is just one of the benefits of Quantum Learning for Teachers.  Janet truly believes that having this program in Spanish was the best way to reach the parents of her students, and made a dramatic difference.  “The moms were begging Olivia to stay for one more hour by the end of the four hour session!  I told them don’t worry, we have scheduled four more sessions with Olivia next year.”

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Intellectual Capital

Middle-level students have many distractions in their lives.  Getting their attention even for 10 straight minutes can be a challenge for any teacher.  The best middle level teachers are always planning ahead on how they will help students focus on the unit, topic, or activity.

The key to enrolling students into responsible participation is to tap into their motivation for learning.  Ask yourself:  What can they relate to?  What’s in it for them?  To enroll your students into a given subject, you need to build bridges into their lives.

Students gain understanding by connecting to prior knowledge and experiences.  Their intellectual capital consists of everything associated with the topic of the lesson – the information they have gathered, the vocabulary they know, the concepts they understand, the experiences they have had, and their symbolic language.

We all have worked with students who did not have the intellectual capital to understand what we were teaching.  They had an insufficient bank of intellectual capital.  Not connecting to, or even developing, students’ intellectual capital so they can make meaning of new content is a common mistake.  For example, success with fifth-grade concepts is dependent upon well established third- and fourth-grade intellectual capital.  Without it, students are academically handicapped.

The concept that meaning is made when new learning connects with existing intellectual capital sheds light on the importance of ensuring student mastery of the content we teach.  Every vocabulary word, math concept, cultural understanding or scientific fact enriches the student’s bank of knowledge and is essential for future learning.  The importance of building a rich supply of intellectual capital cannot be overstated.  This knowledge bank is fundamental to comprehension, problem solving, analysis and reasoning.

As teachers improve their abilities to tap into existing intellectual capital, it is useful to start with these guiding questions:

  • How do I discover and learn my students’ prior knowledge and experiences?
  • What is in my students’ intellectual capital?
  • How is my class content associated with my students’ prior knowledge and experiences?
  • In what ways can I build bridges to events, thoughts, or feelings extracted from their home, social, athletic, musical, artistic, recreational or academic lives?

After you have answered these questions, apply the following strategies for discovering – and building on- what you have learning about students’ intellectual capital.

Build Rapport Great teachers and principals make it a point to be in the hallway when students are filing out of class.  They remember students’ names and something important to them, for example a student’s favorite hobby or something exciting a student has seen or done.  When we communicate on a human level, we build trust and students feel valued.  In return, they are more likely to share who they are, what they know, and what they think.

Create Hot Sheets These can contain information about which singing groups, music, and video games are currently hot with kids.  When kids feel like we know their world, they are more likely to communicate with us.  Educators can share these lists with one another and collaborate about ways they can use these items to make their lessons more relevant to students’ lives.

Attend Events and Talk About Them Do your students attend local sports team events or is there a concert coming to town that they are excited about?  When students see us outside of school at events that they enjoy, they see us as more relatable.  Additionally, when we know their world and connect to it, students are more interested in what we have to say.  We don’t always have to attend these events so much as know about them and ask students what they thought about them.

Follow Pop Culture Focus on understanding what your students think about and are “in to,” including knowing their favorite heroes and stars, what they’re reading, who’s popular and why, and their biggest concerns.  Be mindful of displaying “judgment eyes” as they share with us.  We’re trying to gather information so that we better understand their world, not shut them down.

Applying What You Learned When introducing new content, connect to your students’ bank of knowledge and experiences.  The more often we can relate new information to past experiences, the more likely students are to picture what is being taught and remember it.  For example, introduce a math equation and relate it to a play or a move in a recent basketball game or compare a story in American history to a more recent national event that has impacted everyone.

Enrolling beings with relationships, which are strengthened each time we seek to understand our students’ world and connect out content with their prior learning and experiences.

Christian Rauch, a former assistant principal, is a senior education consultant and instructor with Quantum Learning Education.  For more information, please email cfetzer@qln.com

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Are you smart?

untitled2Are you smart? Are your students smart?

I believe every person on the planet is smart. I also believe there are different kinds of smart. I also believe it may be difficult to measure all kinds of smart with a pencil and paper test.

Over 25 years ago, Harvard University professor Howard Gardner began a book titled Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He hypothesized there were multiples types of intelligence. The eight most widely recognized intelligences are: spatial-visual, linguistic verbal, interpersonal, musical-rhythmic, naturalistic, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and logical-mathematical. Emerging brain research is supporting the idea of diverse intelligences. Neuroimaging is highlighting the facts that students learn and express themselves differently.

I have been aware of this theory for many years, though I have not done as much with it in the classroom as I believe I should. I am aware of some schools that have built their entire curricula on the theory of multiple intelligences. Many other educators are not familiar with the theory at all. As a teacher, what do I do with this information? First, I think it important for all teachers to internalize the notion of multiple intelligences. A recognition of this theory will surely affect all aspects of our teaching. Second, analyze your teaching methods to identify the intelligences you emphasize (and deemphasize). Third, make plans to incorporate more of the intelligences into your day: teach things in different ways; present activities in different ways; and allow students to express their learning in different ways. As you teach in new ways, you will likely learn many new things about your students.

Our quest is to help students discover HOW they are smart!

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Everything Speaks – I’m a learner, too!

What makes a great teacher? Can great teachers be created or molded? What things can I do to be a great teacher? One tenet understood and magnified by all great teachers is everything speaks. This is a focal point of the trainings we offer for educators, and one I continue to implement in my own profession. Simply put, everything speaks means that everything we do as educators sends a message to students about learning (and school). Great teachers understand the gravity of this tenet and pay careful attention to the messages they are sending to students. Some obvious examples of this tenet include teachers’ verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and dress/appearance. Many other examples exist, but one that struck me recently was how I am modeling to students that I am a learner.

A common goal for schools is for students to be “lifelong learners.” Am I modeling this for students? Do students see me regularly “learning,” instead of only “teaching?” When I was teaching at a large, suburban middle school, I made a point of participating in the Friday afternoon basketball games with students. After school, many teachers and students met in the gym to play basketball. I am NOT a basketball player. I did not do it growing up, and my lack of skills is painfully obvious. I gave it my all every afternoon, running back and forth and bravely defending my assigned opponent. The students saw me make a lot of mistakes (a sure sign that learning is happening), and I stayed with it. It was pretty embarrassing, and there were many Fridays I would have loved to stay in my classroom and grade papers, but I dutifully made my way to the gym. I think it meant a lot to students to see me learning.

What opportunities exist for you, a great teacher, to show students you are a learner? Participate in the faculty talent show. Sneak in to an art or music class and join the kids (with the teacher’s permission, of course). Help with after-school activities that are out of your comfort zone. Note: It’s not enough to do it without students knowing about it! If they can’t see you learning, tell them all about it. For example, if you’re doing a lot of learning in a graduate class, briefly tell your students about it (focus on how you overcome challenges and grow from your mistakes). Everything speaks! When we model learning for students, we send a powerful message that learning is important. Bring on the learning!

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