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My 1st Week in Edutopia

So, I made a resoultion so here it goes. 
This will just be a place for me to list the articles that clicked with me and some quick takeawyas from each.  By no means is this any sort of annotated list.  Just reflections from my week in Edutopia.  Be sure to visit the links to read the actual articles that sound interesting. I imagine I’ll develop a better format as time goes on. But this was a resolution I need to be able to keep.  So, I’m keeping it without overextending myself.

Encouraging Neurodiversity in Your Makerspace or Classroom

  • Students with neurodiversity needs can find great outlets in a makerspace and can shine.
  • Students with Tourette Syndrome can find a flow to lessen tics in certain physical activities.
  • Hands-on and station activities are a good way to channel energy of students with ADHD
  • A great article providing ALL the cognitive benefits of makerspaces.

New Year's Resolutions: Don't Do It!

As someone who just made a resolution to engage with Edutopia, here are some things I need to follow if I plan to make this a resolution I stick with:
  1. My resolution should state what I want to do, not what I don’t want to do.
  2. I should focus on the small steps towards the big goal
  3. I should make “if then” plans so I don’t fall off track
  4. I need to create steps and embed them into my routines.
  5. If I fail, I need to reflect on why it happened.

Edtech Resolutions for the New (School) Year

This article provides more recommendations for resolutions in the EdTech, or should I just say Education, field.
  1. Make practices routines
  2. Have a mantra that you can go back to time after time
  3. Use tech to reimagine your teaching space.  When we all have screens, where is the front of the classroom? Does there have to be a front?
  4. Trying new strategies and tools is good for our brain and keeps exercising it.
  5. If something's not working, dump it.  Don’t waste the time.
  6. Give more control to students.  Give them choice and ask for feedback.

Harnessing the Power of the Productive Struggle
Creating productive struggle with students is powerful.
  1. It is student centered
  2. It creates authentic engagement
  3. It forces students to make sense of information
  4. It instills perseverance.

But, it’s important to find the edge between productive struggle and frustration and not cross it.  When the struggle is unproductive, teachers should provide alternative ways to approach the problem instead of hints.

Learning Centers in the Secondary Classroom
Learning centers allow for student independence but there need to be student accountability to keep them on track. This article provides a great model for a student roadmap.  Roadmap has the learning target, deliverable, and place for teacher to sign off.
Learning centers are a great way for students to pace themselves, be innovative, and teachers are able to have true 1:1 interactions with their students because they are not have a 30:1 “conversation”

6 Strategies for Differentiated Instruction in Project-Based Learning

PBL provides great opportunities to differentiate at different times and levels.
  1. At the level of student groups, they can be formed by academic ability, success skills, or passions.
  2. By having students set personal goals, students create their own differentiated paths.
  3. Choice in products is huge.
  4. During the project process, there are many opportunities to create mini-lessons on content or skills that individuals may not have met or are struggling with.  These mini-lessons can be focused on teams or groups of individuals struggling with a concept.  This is something that I love seeing and hope to someday be able to do effectively.

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