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Showing posts from September, 2016

Day 104 Neuroplasticity

Source:  Wilson, D. & Conyers, M. (2016, November 8). "The teenage brain is wired to learn - so make sure your students know it." Edutopiaspecial series. Retrieved at https://www.edutopia.org/article/teenage-brain-is-wired-to-learn-donna-wilson-marcus-conyers
What is Sacred:
I love the word neuroplasticity. It is future-focused, flexible, plastic, stretchy. I see synapses firing off rather than dead connections. It gives me hope in dark days because the concept of neuroplasticity means that our adolescent students have the capacity to change the structure and function of the brain through learning! That is POWERFUL and it is the impetus for us as teachers of middle-level and high school students to not sink into apathy, anger and quiet surrender. We must continue to teach with love and rage without which there is no hope (Friere). 

Here's the important messages that the authors want us to relay to our adolescent students: 
They have the capacity to become functionally sma…

Day 103: Protecting the Bottom Dogs

Source: Kamenetz, A. (2016, September 19). Sixth grade is tough; it helps to be 'top dog.' nprEd. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/09/19/494232646/sixth-grade-is-tough-it-helps-to-be-top-dog?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20160925&utm_campaign=NPREd&utm_term=NPR_Ed
What is Sacred: This is a review and commentary on a much larger study published in the American Educational Research journal by Schwartz, A., Steifel, L., and Rothbart, M. The study uses a very large data set (n=9,000 students in 500 schools) to study the effects of top dog/bottom dog status on bullying, safety in school, belonging and academic achievement. What they are looking at is the effect on 6th graders of being a top dog in a K-8 school versus a bottom dog in a 6-12 school.
The results are that 6th graders report less bullying, feel safer in school and achieve better in K-8 schools.
I had an issue with the Kamenetz article, feeling that there was not …

Day 102: The Art of the Personal Essay

Source: Ahmed, R. (2016, September 15). Typecast as a terrorist. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/15/riz-ahmed-typecast-as-a-terrorist
What is Sacred: Riz Ahmed is a British actor who gained some accolades in his documentary film Road to Guantanemo. He writes about his "otherness" and the common lessons he has learned from trying to get through the international airports as well as from trying to break into the American film industry not as another "Paki," but as a regular bloke. 
It turned out that there was no clear pathway for an actor of colour in the UK to go to stage three – to play “just a bloke”. Producers all said they wanted to work with me, but they had nothing I could feasibly act in. The stories that needed to be told in the multicultural mid-2000s were about the all-white mid-1700s, it seemed. I heard rumours that the Promised Land was not in Britain at all, but in Hollywood.
The reason for this is simple. America…