How to Use Technology to Teach Critical Thinking

What are about the most important things kids need to learn from their teachers about technology? Answering that is another great article by educational guru Alan November. The focus is not on crafting widgets or mastering special effects of presentation slides…the 20th-century skill focus is still on CRITICAL THINKING! That’s right. Technology challenges our critical thinking…

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The $1000 Dollar Pencil: Let’s not Use Laptops This Way

Not all technology use is equal. There are two ways we teachers and administrators may view the one-to-one laptop initiative in our classrooms: as Allen November (2013) terms it in his article, “Why Schools Must Move Beyond One-to-One Computing,” laptops may be viewed either as the new “$1000 pencil” or as a “one-to-world” initiative. In…

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Writing across Content Areas: Fast and Effective Formats

Great blog post from my friend Jaami: writing as a metacognitive learning tool across content areas. Here is a preview of what you’ll find: “Before” Lesson Start (Preparation) – Journaling and Quickwrites – “Most Important Thing” to generate interest: Ask students to write the most important quite/concept/etc. from the previous night’s reading – “Big Questions”…

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Kids Need to Know How to “Grapple”: Teaching Kids to Read Texts that are Too Hard and Too Long

This is how reading feels to many of my students. Maybe rock climbing and teaching reading aren’t so different. When I first read the word “grapple” in the title of Elfrieda H. Hiebert’s (2013)article, “For the CCSS Assessments and Beyond: Develop Your Students’ Stamina for Grappling with Complex Texts,” my mind flashed to an image…

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Creating Community in the Classroom and Beyond: Laptops and Internet Transform Student Writing

Writing is all about communicating with other people. What better way is there to spread your message quickly and efficiently to many people than with the Internet? Audience is motivation. Computers can be used to enhance pedagogy in many ways, including virtual student collaboration through social networking, increased research opportunities, leveled reading practice (Raz-Kids), book…

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Computer Learning for ELLs

When students come to our classrooms with limited English because they are speaking another language at home, how can computers help? In the article, “Using Technology to Help English Language Students Develop Language Skills: a Home and School Connection,” Timothy Green (2005) explains that computer-aided instruction (CAI) can be a tool in helping English learners…

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Trident Gum, a Silk Thai Scarf, and a Mexican Love Triangle: a Story of Second Language Acquisition

“¿Estas bien, Yuri? ¿Que te paso?” I looked at my roommate in concern. The air was thick with stifled emotion and a mist of salty tears. Puffy pink skin lined the watery eyes of Yuri, a beautiful girl who was just finishing up college and starting her career in nursing at a local hospital in…

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Turn around Tough Students: “Restorying”

Teachers can help “problem students” become positive role models in the classroom. Have you ever wondered why some teachers never seem to have problems with students? Just as there are horse whisperers and dog whisperers, there seem to be “student whisperers,” too! What is it that these exemplary teachers do to turn around troublesome students? I’d…

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Type or Handwrite? What’s the Difference for Learning?

Picture twenty, squirmy ten-year old students all facing the screens of their school-provided laptops in my English Language Arts classroom. In front of them, is a Microsoft Word document—a table in which the students are laboriously typing out the week’s vocabulary words. Some students type fast and furiously; others are looking back and forth from…

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Metacognition Matters

“One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” Who is credited for saying this? Socrates. I thank Socrates for making me feel philosophical and smart as I read the article, “What Is Metacognition?” by Michael E. Martinez (2006), because as I began to read about metacognition in the classroom, I realized that I…

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