Rigor in Early Education. “I do not think it means what you think it means.”: Read Along Section 8-What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

rigor in early ed

You know that famous scene in The Princess Bride, when the legendary Spanish swordsman, Inigo Montoya, says, “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

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Grandma’s Wisdom: Little Shoulders and Allowing Children to Bloom

little-shoulders

I’m re-sharing some of my grandma’s wisdom today.  Funny how a grandparent’s wisdom grows in value over the years, like the priceless investment that it is — you know, the wisdom you didn’t understand as a kid, but it means so much to you now.  Read more about what I learned from my grandma in the post, Allowing Children to Bloom in Season.

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Succeeding Through Failure: Read Along Section 7–What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

splash

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, my brother’s room was a shrine to Michael Jordan.  After I came home one day, devastated about missing out on a part for a children’s theater production, I was taken by my brother to his display.  He pointed at one of his favorite posters.

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An Assessment of the Testing Culture: Read Along Section 6 – What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

Assessing Our Testing Culture

The topic of “testing” gets a very passionate response from educators (and parents), and not usually a very good one.  But ask them about assessments, and you’re likely to get a very different response.  It may be a matter of semantics, but the underlying cause is not something to consider lightly.

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Wait! What Happened to Recess? : Read Along Section 5 – What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

recess

The mystery of the disappearing recess, is not an uncommon topic of discussion in elementary education.  The majority of adults remember a morning recess, a lunch recess, and an afternoon recess.  I think most Americans would hazard a guess and say that there is probably less time devoted to recess today than in years gone by.

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Are Parents Unable to Just Say “No” These Days?

Say no

Maybe you’ve noticed the latest trend in the running commentary on parenting.  “Parents today are too soft.  They’re raising spoiled kids who’ve never heard the word “NO”.  Parents need to show their kids who’s in control here.”

While I’m sure you could find plenty of examples to validate each perspective, I tend to wince a bit whenever I hear these tendencies to frame parenting in the extremes.  Take in enough of these stories and it would seem that as a parent, you have two choices.  You can either be a spineless push-over or a heavy-handed dictator.  But the truth of the matter is that we know from research that the majority of kids thrive in that sweet spot in between. Continue reading

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It’s OK to Go UP the Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids

child

“Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”– M. Scott Peck

Can you relate to that?  To coming up against a feeling that accepting the status quo just might not work any longer?  That some of the “should’s” and “have-to’s” are rooted in misconceptions and “that’s-just-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it”?

Peck’s words form one of the guiding quotes in Heather Shumaker’s newest book,It’s OK to Go Up the Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids (*affiliate link), and explain her drive to question everything in order to give kids what they really need, rather than what we’ve simply assumed they should accept. Continue reading

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Trouble Sitting Still: Read Along Section 4 — What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

move

It was years ago that I read the passage, but it is one of the first that comes back to me as I consider the importance of recognizing that the work of the mind and the work of the body are inextricably linked.

I was reading William Crain’s book, Theories of Development when the term seemed to jump right off of the page.  “The disembodied mind”.  It seemed so visceral.  Suddenly, I imagined a brain, isolated from the body like a spare part in a mad scientist’s workshop.  The term’s use was aimed at the danger of overusing technology to teach our youngest learners, but struck truly on the broader approach to teaching and learning.  Crain wrote this:

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