Posts Tagged volunteer
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
Here is a great article!Talking with Your Children about School
Eisenhower Elementary School students saw their negative thoughts, comments and actions go up in flames Friday. Eisenhower third through fifth-graders wrote put downs on paper to be burned during the ceremony. The school’s head custodian, Al Ortego, then burned, and extinguished the put downs in a brief but powerful ceremony.
Put downs are negatives comments students say to one another or about one another. Burning the put downs is part of the school’s bullying philosophy that if a student does not have anything nice to day, they don’t need to say anything at all said Eisenhower third grade teacher Kari Moddelmog.
The lesson also goes along with the district’s new 8 Keys of Excellence, which is part of the Citizenship, College and Career Ready initiative. The second key, speak with good purpose, teaches students to make positive comments to one another. By burning the put downs, the negative thoughts and comments student have heard or said “will be gone forever, never to be said or thought about again,” Moddelmog said.
Parent involvement. What is it like at your school? Are there lots of parents participating and helping at your school? Do you see parent volunteers come in and out of classrooms all day? Are there community members pitching in to read to students or fix up the playground? Are there parents hosting class parties, fundraisers, and other functions?
Or do you have few, if any, parent participants? Maybe it isn’t a high priority at your school. Maybe the parents are too busy with their jobs or other responsibilities. Maybe parents do not know they can volunteer at your school.
Perhaps you have heard of charter schools. Basically, these are public schools that operate with slightly different rules than your neighborhood school. These rules allow them to try different things than a “regular” public school. Many charter schools require, or strongly encourage, a minimum amount of parent volunteer hours at the school. I believe everyone agrees parents can do a lot of good for a school by sharing their time and talents there.
At an elementary school I worked at, we strongly believed in the value of having parents in our building as much as possible. Whether that was volunteering, working, meeting with a teacher, or attending an event, if they were part of our learning community, it was a good thing. We sent home regular newsletters advertising opportunities to volunteer at the school in every classroom. We hosted all kinds of events for parents, from music programs to lunch dates with your child. We tried to fill all part-time positions (and even some full-time positions) with local community members. Finally, we communicated with parents as often as possible, through phone calls, email messages, newsletters, and our website.
One of the key facets of President Obama’s vision for a 21st century education is “asking parents to take responsibility for their children’s success.” One important way parents can do this is to be a visible part of the school their children attend. At Quantum Learning, we believe everything speaks. Everything that we do as parents at a school sends a message to our children about learning. When we are present at the school, it sends the message “I care about you at school. This place is so important that I want to be part of it, too.” I am working on this myself with my daughter (a 1st grader) – a few weeks ago, I shared lunch with her at the designated “parent-child table.” What a great idea!