The Myth of Average

allkindsofmindsAffinities, Differentiated Instruction, Differentiated Learning, Learning, Learning about Learning, Learning Challenges, Research, School Culture, Strategies for teachers, Teacher Effectiveness, Whole Child

Todd Rose’s brilliant talk at TEDxSonoma expands on a startlingly simple point: When you design for the average, you design for no-one. He suggests instead we to need design for the extremes. For anyone who has worked with students, it is an intuitive enough concept, in theory. Yet in application, it has proven challenging, especially in a climate fixated on norm reference test … Read More

The Toll of High Stakes Tests on Non-Traditional Learners

allkindsofmindsAttention, Exams, Learning, Learning Challenges, School Culture, Student Weaknesses, Testing

This guest post by Bobbi Snow, co-founder of The Community Public Charter School in Charlottesville, VA, exposes the impact high stakes testing has her school’s neuro-diverse students and the teachers who work with them. It was originally published on Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.  He was already exhausted and had 58 questions to go. On the second problem of the 8th grade … Read More

The Mind Matters Show: Study Tip — The Format Shift

Kim CarterAffinities, Classroom Culture, Language, Learning Challenges, Learning Specialists, Student Strengths, Student Weaknesses

Here is the latest video from Dr. Craig Pohlman’s “The Mind Matters Show.” Ben Berg describes the video on this blog post as such, When it comes to studying for a test, some methods give you a better chance for success. On this episode of the Mind Matters Show, Dr. Craig Pohlman explains the difference between active and passive studying … Read More

Paradox of Students’ “Deficits” As Society’s Strengths

allkindsofmindsAffinities, Classroom Culture, Differentiated Learning, Learning Challenges, Research, Social Cognition, Social Emotional Learning, Student Strengths, Student Weaknesses, Whole Child

The Economist article, “In praise of misfits,” lays out the business-related benefits of what the author  calls “creatives,” “anti-social geeks,” “oddball quants,” and “rule-breaking entrepreneurs.” While the entire article is well worth the read, we have pulled out a few quotes to help frame the idea that we should work tirelessly to help our school system to support these “misfits.” … Read More

Brief Review of L. Todd Rose’s “Square Peg”

allkindsofmindsAttention, Brain Facts, Learning, Learning about Learning, Learning Challenges, Social Emotional Learning, Student Strengths, Teachers, Whole Child

“Behavior isn’t something someone ‘has.’ Rather, it emerges from the interaction of a person’s biology, past experiences, and immediate context.” L. Todd Rose, from his book, Square Peg For students with learning differences schools can be (and often are) incredibly trying places. Imagine being a kid who wants to do well — motivated, eager to please, and enjoys interacting with … Read More

John Cleese Explains the Brain

allkindsofmindsBrain Facts, Classroom Culture, Language, Learning Challenges

Below is a video from John Cleese’s very “informative” brain podcast (actual content begins around 35 seconds). You’ll notice, of course, that nearly every sentence is almost entirely gibberish. It is humorous to us in large part because . . . John Cleese is a masterful humorist who can make gobbledygook sound sensical, and . . . It is a low stakes … Read More

One Story About Embracing Diversity and Empowering Students

allkindsofmindsAffinities, Classroom Culture, Learning Challenges, School Culture, Teacher Effectiveness, Whole Child

In this powerful and inspiring TEDxManhattan talk, teacher Stephen Ritz shares a program he started with his students called Green Bronx Machine. More important than the program itself, though, is how the experiences have transformed and empowered his students — their present and their future. Jackie Gerstein describes his work in her post “Learners as Entrepreneurs,” Stephen Ritz’s Bronx classroom features … Read More

Addressing Sensory Needs in the Classroom

allkindsofmindsAttention, Graphomotor Function, Learning, Learning Challenges, Learning Specialists, Nonverbal thinking, Whole Child

The following guest post is by Dr. Penny Cuninggim, Founder and Associate Director at New England Adolescent Research Institute (NEARI) and Director of the Brain-based Learning and Resource Center. You can sign up for NEARI’s “Smoothies for the Brain” Newsletter here.  Imagine your child in a world where something as basic and reliable as the sound of the school bell or … Read More

Anxiety and the Mind

allkindsofmindsBrain Facts, Classroom Culture, Learning Challenges, Whole Child

Below is an image from a Time Magazine article on the “Anatomy of Anxiety” from a few years ago. While the article is a bit dated, the relevance remains, especially for educators. Students need to feel relaxed, safe, and welcome in order to learn effectively. If we focus only on content and raise the stakes of assessments, we increase some … Read More

What’s Up with Kate? (Part 2)

Kim CarterAffinities, Differentiated Instruction, Differentiated Learning, Higher Order Thinking, Language, Learning, Learning about Learning, Learning Challenges, Memory, Reading, Strategies for teachers, Student Strengths, Student Weaknesses, Teachers

Last week we told you about Kate, a 6th grade student with some learning challenges.  Kate is earning good grades, but she really has to work hard for everything – seemingly much harder than her peers.  She struggles to retain new vocabulary words, recall information from reading passages, follow multi-step directions, and master math facts. So what’s really going on … Read More