Posts Tagged quantum learning
Foundation is what holds everything together—metaphorically and physically. How solid your foundation is can set you up for success or failure. Here at Quantum Learning we understand this, and we constantly educate our clients on how important foundation is in the classroom.
A strong Foundation of aligned principles, beliefs, agreements, policies and rules (community) will make the teacher/student relationship run much more smoothly. While easier said than done, there are many ways you can build a strong foundation each and every school year.
First Day of School
The first day of school is exciting, potentially nerve racking for the students, but most importantly, it’s where you can start to establish that strong foundation. Letting your students know the rules and beliefs you have set in your classroom will set a strong foundation from day one.
As soon as your students set foot in your classroom they are already getting a sense of who you are as a teacher. Is your classroom inviting? Does your room have posters and colorful pictures as opposed to stark white walls? A good Atmosphere helps to create a strong foundation.
When you have a strong foundation, classroom management is much easier. Incorporating an atmosphere of engaging traditions and other strategies will help create a sense of belonging and safety, focus attention and motivate students to increase participation in learning.
How are you designing your curriculum? Are you putting in enough student engagement? How many times have you sat in a class and the teacher/professor was lecturing—not engaging you? Coming up with creative ways to Design a lesson can make the difference in your students’ engagement.
Verbal and Non-verbal Communication
As you probably know, there are two types of communication—verbal and non-verbal. You could be teaching the most important information of the year, but if you aren’t energetic in your voice, or if you’re yawning the entire lesson, you could lose your students’ attention. Your Delivery is everything.
The way you set up the physical space that supports the classroom culture can enhance learning. The ideal classroom Environment is inviting, comfortable, and stimulating. Because everything in the classroom sends a message about what is important, the environment is purposefully constructed with the use of plants, lighting, décor, furniture arrangement, content-related and inspirational posters, and student-generated work.
- a strong Foundation of aligned principles, beliefs, agreements, policies and rules (community)
- an empowering Atmosphere of trust, safety and a sense of belonging
- a dynamic and engaging curriculum Design and a great way to Deliver the material
- a supportive Environment that enhances the learning
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Below you can see a video of Kelli Myers’ Quantum Learning 5th grade class doing a “power whoosh.” A “Power Whoosh” is when on cue, everyone claps their hands three times in unison, then sends all of their positive energy to a designated person. It is a part of Quantum Learning’s “If It’s Worth Learning, It’s Worth Celebrating.” Celebration builds the desire for success. So celebrate often!
Teachers need techniques. There is no shame in a new teacher adopting a great lesson plan from a generous master teacher. The sharing of “best practices” is a common activity at staff meetings. As so many veteran teachers will admit, some of their best ideas were “borrowed” from colleagues. It’s what teachers do – brag about a great unit they just taught, helpfully hint at a classroom management strategy that a colleague might need, and refresh their dwindling enthusiasm at the pool of shared experience and creativity.
In San Diego County, educators, schools, and students have the good fortune to be located near the home office of a dynamic education company that offers its own well of energetic, inspired ideas: Quantum Learning. This is not an advertisement; this is a testimony. Quantum Learning uses brain research to inform its instructional methodology. They also offer brain-based methods for learners via summer camps. But that sounds so dry. Really, the impact of what Quantum Learning delivers in its teacher workshops and camps can best be conveyed by a description of a Quantum Learning-infused classroom.
Imagine a classroom filled with color and light – a cozy lamp, a bright tablecloth – and posters displaying positive messages such as “Today became great when YOU arrived.” Listen – there is music playing, upbeat as you enter the room and soothing as you work. There’s a teacher who gets the class up and moving at frequent intervals, using body motions, choral response, and visual cues to engage kids and help them remember concepts. Notes are taken in color with picture drawing encouraged, and students whose brains don’t work in a linear mode are taught mind-mapping instead of traditional notes. Life skills are imparted along with academics – keys such as “Failure leads to success” encourage kids to see their efforts as building blocks towards success when they struggle. Kids start class charged up and ready for learning and leave class with concrete knowledge about what they know and don’t know and how to move forward.
It is difficult to share the techniques with a colleague who has never “been to the well” – to outsiders, it seems gimmicky, perhaps even cultish. But teachers who have attended a Quantum Learning workshop and tried the strategies in their own classroom know how powerful they can be. These days, with tight budgets limiting the acquisition of expensive toys like smart boards and individual student laptops, our schools are more in need than ever of good strategies that help kids learn, make school a positive, energetic, attractive place, and infuse joy back into the teachers’ efforts.
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.
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.
The best part of our job is to see results. Below, we bring you an article reinforcing our techniques by a teacher, Kecia Burcham.
Thanks for the support Kecia!
I recently published an article on one of the concepts of Quantum Learning; living above or below the line. As I was preparing to teach this concept in my Franklin classroom, it occurred to me that although the model originated in the business world and moved to educators, the principles lend themselves beautifully to goal setting and achievement for all ages.
For example, many if not most of us are bound in some way by limiting beliefs about just what we can and can’t do. We often feel trapped by a lack of confidence, lack of resources, education or, perhaps most commonly – fear. We wear some labels that often define our lives and leave us stuck on the fence of familiarity. As many will agree, change is hard – way hard.
It can be said that whatever we are doing, saying, even wearing is sending a message of some kind about who we are. That being the case, the way we approach our life mission sends a message as well, to ourselves as well as others.
Revisiting the “below the line” ideas of laying blame, justifying, denying and quitting; let’s explore how those responses translate into roadblocks to our personal destinations.
- Laying blame – it’s someone or something else’s fault. “My family doesn’t have money or prestige.” “Society is prejudiced against my gender, race religion, etc.” In other words, “I don’t control my goals; others do.”
- Justifying – it’s okay because….”No one else is…”, “I’ve been too busy doing something else.” (raising families, working, going to school – which are all worthy in themselves, but can easily justify ignoring your own personal goals) In other words, “Outside circumstances dictate whether or not I pursue my goals.”
- Denial – lying to yourself; “I couldn’t have pulled that off anyway” “I didn’t really want that degree, that job, etc.” This sends the message “I can’t trust myself – I must believe what others say about my future.”
- Quitting – simply giving up. “I’m stuck with these labels and it’s too hard to change.” “I’m too tired, too old, too short, too fat, etc.” This is so common and so sad. We give up when things seem too difficult. We let go because the obstacles seem so great. This sends the message to ourselves and others that we simply don’t have what it takes. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Most of us have far more than we realize. This is where we need motivation and to remember that good things are almost always difficult. Change is rarely if ever easy. Getting off the fence takes a whole lot of effort. Rome wasn’t built in a day, etc. etc.
Take a second look at “where you’re living” when it comes to what you want to get out of this life and what you want to leave behind. Watch where your kids are in the same context. Are you; Are they making the hard choices that result in the power to free yourselves and move forward? Are you finding it hard to rip off those old labels and get off the fence? I challenge you to identify where you really are and start rising above. As the saying goes, “Life ain’t no dress rehearsal!”