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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 15, 2013

How I Turned My Classroom into a ‘Living Video Game’ – and Saw Achievement Soar

If you’ve ever watched kids play video games, you know how it goes.  They try something.  It doesn’t work.  They try again a different way.  It fails.  They try again and again and again.  So, why is it that kids typically hate struggle, challenge, and failure in the classroom, but are motivated by it in the world of gaming? 

In this interesting post, second grade teacher Joli Barker shares her journey to turn her classroom into a living video game.

“I spend approximately 30-45 minutes a day in direct whole-class instruction. The rest of the time I am facilitating thinking through monitoring their work, asking pointed guiding questions, or pulling aside small groups and helping students develop skills they will need to advance in the game. It takes more meticulous planning on my part to create the codes and activities that elicit independent thinking and collaborative work, but the payoff in student behavior, self-esteem, motivation, and determination is well worth it.”

She has some impressive results, and students are developing critical skills.

Inspirational Team Building

As we head down the home stretch for the 2012 - 2013 school year, we could all use a little motivation to carry us through.  I came across this short 3 minute video on my twitter feed earlier today and it was just what I needed.  I'll think you'll fine that many of the questions posed throughout the video align closely to our 7 Characteristics of Highly Effective Leaders, Teachers and Students.  I particularly found the last question posed most fitting with our theme of innovation and the opening of the ILC in the fall.

What if...

What teachers need and reformers ignore: time to collaborate

Linda Darling-Hammond, well-known author and Stanford University professor, shares new findings from educational practitioners about implementation of new Common Core State Standards.  Teachers weigh in on what they need to transform their instructional practice in order to meet the rigorous demands of CCSS.  

According to recent survey results by National Center for Literacy Education, teachers ..." most value time to co-plan with colleagues to create new lessons or instructional strategies and to analyze how their students are developing and what they can do together to advance progress."  The article may not contain new information to us in HCSD.  However, the message increases our awareness that teachers need time to collaborate, discuss and design updated teaching with other professionals.

What teachers need and reformers ignore: time to collaborate

The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired in 2013

“The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired in 2013” reminds us once again that technical skills and programming skills aren’t the only skills that make us marketable. As a matter of fact, skills proficiency is beginning to take a back seat to mindset, critical thinking, and problem-solving.  Casserly examines the top job of 2013 to demonstrate that it’s the less flashy skills that actually dominate when it comes to securing the best jobs.  She also reminds us that our students must be aware of the skills in highest demand in order to guide educational decisions and future opportunities.  The top ten skills, as defined by Casserly, are:

  1. 1.  Critical Thinking
  1. 2.  Complex Problem Solving
  1. 3.  Judgment and Decision-Making
  1. 4.  Active Listening
  1. 5.  Computers and Electronics
  1. 6.  Mathematics
  1. 7.  Operations and Systems Analysis
  1. 8.  Monitoring
  1. 9.  Programming
  1. 10.  Sales and Marketing

If we are directing our students toward greater innovation, we must help them secure the qualities that will help to thrust them forward in the job market.  Not only must they put these skills into action, but Casserly reminds us that we must also get them to think about how they put the skills into action and how those skills have contributed to their success.

Personalized - not individualized - learning

People have asked during the many ILC presentations why the personal success network will focus on "personalizing" education for students and not individualizing. Mr. Zhao makes it clear in his quote and live speech that personalized is a better goal than individualized. As things come to close for you this year and things ramp up for the opening of the ILC, I want to ask you and your staff to really start thinking how the ILC can become part of your identity and assist you in reaching more students, not just the number that have indicated they will come here during the day, but also how can your teachers utilize this space to help personalize their instruction?

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