textbooksWith increasing costs and shrinking resources most, particularly public, universities need to find alternatives to ever-increasing tuition and fees. Basing graduation requirements on total grade points earned is a novel model that could help reduce the time students’ spend obtaining a degree and help focus their studies.

Under this proposed model, an A student would graduate with fewer courses than a C student. While still requiring all courses in the major and general studies, the requirements would permit a students to graduate when they obtained a certain number of grade points.

Using the equivalent of 125 semester credit hours of C as the minimum requirement, a solid B student could graduate with about 100 credit hours, which is more than the total requirements for many majors, including general studies, and can be done in three years. A straight-A student, of which there are very few, might graduate with 85 credit hours. (read more…)

professional developmentHave you ever been inspired by a great conference keynote speech? A workshop presenter that your school or district hired? Do you want to share your ideas, be useful to others and make some extra money? Have you ever wondered how that could be you some day?

Well, it can, but it takes time to position yourself to take your show on the road. Below are some suggestions taken from what I’ve seen work for successful speakers and professional development providers.

  1. Know what you want to be known for. Pick your focus. There should be just be one or two things you are known for as the go-to person. This should guide your identity in all your profiles/bios and there should be keywords that you use that become tied to who you are and what you stand for.
  2. Engage on Twitter. Find other people doing your work and who are the audience that would invite you to speak.
  3. (read more…)

digital literacyOne of the most wonderful things about working with 5- and 6-year-olds is their ability to talk and communicate how they feel, their opinion, their ideas and what they understand. They have an amazing ability and willingness to communicate. The communication is spontaneous, contagious, fun and so important as we begin to learn together. Their language is encouraged, enriched and enhanced through authentic opportunities to engage.

When thinking about communication I am also thinking about the importance of having many opportunities for my students to have conversations inside and outside of the classroom. I am also thinking about the tools we have available to broaden and deepen our audience and getting exposure to the idea of perspective and the role it plays when sharing ideas and opinions.

Conversations are ongoing, interactive; they reflect what you understand and are thinking as well as what you might be curious about. In kindergarten, the conversations are always happening and are fluid. (read more…)

classroomOne may argue that classrooms shouldn’t have to be magical. They may argue that classrooms are a place for rigor. However, I would ask, “What is more magical than learning?” The feeling you get when you persevere after multiple failed attempts or find out something interesting that changes the way you see the world is magical. At the earliest stages of learning, when a baby learns to say his or her first word, magical expressions ignite the faces of those who are fortunate enough to hear those treasured sounds. So, what does it mean to have a magical classroom?

The word magical can be defined as delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life. Why can’t we cultivate learning experiences that seem so extraordinary that they capture the student’s interest and motivate them to be self-seekers to the answers we would have taught in daily lectures? If we take a closer look at our curriculum, wouldn’t it be possible to sit back and ask the “bigger questions?” What is it that we are trying to convey with this standard or objective? (read more…)

girl at computerOf Howard Gardner’s identified multiple intelligences, perhaps the one that we tap into least in the classroom is intrapersonal intelligence, also known as being “self-smart.” Examples of intrapersonal intelligence include quiet contemplation, reflection and analysis, where we ask our students to go deep within themselves to connect and make and offer meaning.

Intrapersonal intelligence can be seen as the opposite of interpersonal intelligence, or being “people smart.” In many ways, 21st-century learning has been a huge boon for interpersonal learning. The current emphasis on cooperative learning and collaboration has focused students more than ever on communication and idea sharing. We have moved away from the “isolated” approach to learning, where students would sit in their seats and refrain from talking, gesturing, sharing, etc., at the risk of begin labeled a miscreant and cheater. Through in-class dialogue and the use of e-communication and social media, our current crop of students communicate routinely about learning in ways that were previously neither possible nor desired. (read more…)