Start Off Your Summer With a Shift

If you’re reading this from your beach chair…do the rest of us a favor and have an extra cold one in our honor.

Play Grounded

Last week we brought you a TED talk on play and happiness as vital learning mechanisms. And because some of us haven’t had a recess since Michael Jordan was king of the courts and the Titanic was sinking on big screens everywhere, we couldn’t resist revisiting the concept of play for a second week in a row.

In a New York Times Opinion piece earlier this month, David Kohn entreated his readers: “Let the Kids Learn Through Play.” The idea, an innovation that (ironically) taps in to more traditional education sentiments, pushes back against movements like Common Core. New standards like these demand more advanced reading and writing skills be mastered earlier than ever before while pieces like this cite evidence of the harm this may cause a child’s long term learning and development. Read Kohn’s full piece here.

Game On

You have died from dysentery. If this line conjures up images of intestinal issues and not of the pixelated Apple II screens, we apologize for the unpleasant confusion. The Oregon Trail game, to which that morbid line refers, was released in 1971 and was the first in a long line of video games designed to guide and enhance learning.

But as MIT professors Eric Klopfer and Scot Osterweil note in this article, the trail – er –path that has led educators to gamify education in attempts to “make learning fun” may have been more like beating that dead horse on the Oregon Trail than truly taking students to the next level. Not sure the difference between games and gamifying? Read on here for clarification.

Have Your Career & Your College Prep, Too

Enough about play; let’s talk about work – in school and beyond. If 40+ states plan to successfully implement the Common Core standards they’ve adopted and have students leave high school “college and career ready,” they certainly have their work cut out for them. Note the operative conjunction: AND. Not the reductive “OR” that might track (GASP) certain students towards trades and others towards academic.

The state of California seems to have found the missing link (the magic AND) that may just let students have their cake and eat it too. Linked Learning. If talk of cake hasn’t made you too hungry, head over the Hechinger Report to see how California schools are putting the AND in “college and career.”

This week on the blog…

It’s an ode to summer break with some tips for teachers on how to de-stress AND stay sharp this summer. And even if you’re like us, still working for those weekends all summer, these tips won’t hurt you either. Go here to learn about sharpening that pencil without leaving any shavings.  shutterstock_84128584


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