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Quarterly Journal - August 2022
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A Letter from the President
Quick Links Trending 8
21 Book Review: The
Belinda Veillon, President firstname.lastname@example.org
28 YES to the 4 P’s 40 The Power of Yes
Welcome to the Summer that seems to have just started and is almost gone at the same time! But, hopefully, the weeks that have passed have been a time of reflection, relaxation, and revitalization. The Triple P Funnel described in the book, The Minimalist Teacher, by Tamera MusiowskyBorneman and C.Y. Arnold, and reviewed here by Amie Reed, focuses on the teacher, the classroom, and the greater school environment. However, I believe that the three “P’s”, purpose, priorities, and pare down to essentials, have a broad context beyond the classroom, beyond the curriculum, beyond the school. I believe that the “P’s” are vital to achieving the three “R’s”: reflection, relaxation, and revitalization. I recently purchased the book, 8,789 Words of Wisdom by Barbara Ann Kipfer (2001). [Note that the purchase of
45 Say Yes to Smart, Happy Kids
56 Upcoming Events
A Letter from the President (cont.)
another book does not align with any attempt to declutter on my part.] I decided that each day I would open to a random page and based on the date count to make my selection. Throughout the day, the quote would become a reflection (the first of my R’s) point for me, a guide to a purpose (the first of the P’s).
Belinda Veillon, President email@example.com Akemi Sessler, Past President firstname.lastname@example.org Scott England, President-elect email@example.com Amy Warke, Treasurer firstname.lastname@example.org
As of this writing, my guidance quote for today is, “Better to make a mistake than to do nothing for fear of making a mistake”. What a perfect point of reflection for today. And, so aligned with decisionmaking and progressing toward a more purposeful and revitalized existence.
Debbie Poffinbarger, Media Director email@example.com Amy MacCrindle, Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org Ryan Nevius, Executive Director email@example.com Bill Dodds, Associate Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Best wishes for a restful and revitalized summer so that you are the best you you can be.
Task Force Leaders:
Belinda Veillon, President IL ASCD
Membership & Partnerships Denise Makowski, Andrew Lobdell Communications & Publications Joe Mullikin, Jeff Prickett Advocacy & Influence Richard Lange, Brenda Mendoza Program Development Bev Taylor, Terry Mootz, Sarah Cacciatore, Dee Ann Schnautz, Doug Wood
UNWRAPPING STANDARDS LEARNING PROGRESSIONS & ASSESSMENTS 5 ZOOM SESSIONS - 3:00PM-4:3OPM 1.5 PD HOURS PER SESSION ATTEND SINGLE SESSIONS OR THE ENTIRE SERIES! Join Larry Ainsworth to learn the what, why, and how of this Integrated Teaching and Learning system; a step-by-step process that builds upon the foundation of his 2022 series of virtual workshops. Prioritize the Illinois Learning Standards!
OCTOBER 4, 2022 Unwrapping” the Priority Standards for Greater Clarity
OCTOBER 11, 2022 Learning Targets and Success Criteria
OCTOBER 18, 2022 Assessment Literacy: Keys to Creating Quality Assessments
OCTOBER 25, 2022 Constructed-Response Assessments and Scoring Guides
NOVEMBER 1, 2022 Learning Progressions and Quick Progress Checks
Ryan Nevius IL ASCD Executive Director
The theme for this summer’s Journal is minimalist teaching. At first glance, it is hard to see these two words in the same sentence. I believe anyone that spends more than a few years in this profession is altruistically wired and, by nature, has a difficult time pulling back from anything! For some of us, it’s hard to imagine a classroom without our meticulously organized bins of materials or coded systems of thematic lessons to use throughout the year. In the following articles, we attempt to provide ways to make your professional lives easier and less stressful. Keeping it simple does not have to be boring, bland, or even negatively affect your teaching. Who couldn’t use a quick reminder to lessen your stress at work as we rebound from one of the most challenging years on record? While we are all sick and tired of hearing about burnout, it remains a problem for retention until we establish a culture of self-care. Self-care is uniquely individualized and means many different things to many folks. I encourage you to find healthy ways to relieve stress as we enter this “normal” school year in a few short weeks. Since 2020, I have been relying more and more on reconnecting with nature as my form of maintaining mindfulness after a difficult day. In 2020 we simply called this exercise, hiking or walking in the woods. In 2022, exercise has been rebranded by a more clinical and official term: “Forest Bathing.” No, we are not suggesting you head down to your local creek and hop in for your morning shower. The term emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the 6
forest atmosphere”). The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests (Fitzgerald, 2021). A recent report from the National Library of Medicine finds forest bathing programs reduced pulse rate, significantly increasing the score for vigor, and decreased the scores for depression, fatigue, anxiety, and confusion. Urinary adrenaline after forest bathing showed a tendency to decrease and urinary dopamine was significantly lower after urban area walking, suggesting the relaxing effect of forest bathing. Serum adiponectin after forest bathing was considerably greater than that after a metropolitan area walk (Qing et al., 2014). There is no standardized solution or approach to this form of recreation. Finding a particular spot that unlocks your happiness is the fun part of the journey! Thankfully for those in Illinois, many options are close to home, even the most urban centers. I suggest checking out a few of the resources below, finding a spot you would like to learn more about, and engaging in outdoor best practices. Be safe, wear bug spray, and happy hiking. discovertheforest.org illinois.gov/dnr/Pages/default.aspx cyndigilbert.ca/forest-bathing-101 www.dupageforest.org
References Fitzgerald, S. (2021, May 3). Forest bathing: What it is and where to do it. Travel. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/ article/forest-bathing-nature-walk-health Li Q;Kobayashi M;Kumeda S;Ochiai T;Miura T;Kagawa T;Imai M;Wang Z;Otsuka T;Kawada T; (2014, July 16). Effects of forest bathing on cardiovascular and metabolic parameters in middle-aged males. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/27493670/ 7
Trending Reflecting on Minimalism in Our Work: Key Ways a Minimalist Approach Can Support Our Well-Being Tammy MusiowskyBorneman
Forty combined years. Seven countries. Hundreds of students. This is the perspective we have gained through our experiences in education. Across this span of time, we have taught, coached, and mentored new and experienced teachers. We have learned and experienced initiatives and their associated educational jargon, seen terms resurface, and trends get new names. We have witnessed new educational research about teaching and learning become what drives the new practices we try and implement. Yet, two dangerous things have remained the same in the educational landscape: overburdened teachers and unrealistic expectations. In order for us to move forward with success and sanity in our profession, those that set the expectations in our educational landscape must consider shifting away from overburdening and overtaxing teachers with tasks and responsibilities that take them away from their purpose in education. Those that chose the teaching profession did not do so to write compliance reports or to fill in redundant checklists. They were drawn to the field to fulfill a need and a passion to make a difference in the lives of learners. 8
Figure 1. Urgent/Important Matrix
1. They are seeking a structure to help them prioritize.
In searching for ways to support ourselves and our colleagues in sustainably engaging in our important profession, we have encountered and built upon the ideals of minimalism. Popular culture has taken ideas from Eastern and Scandinavian cultures and filtered them into simplified versions of what minimalism is. We have translated some of these ideals into our lives as educators. In our work that centers on the ideas of minimalism in education, we have created a number of tools designed to help educators refocus on their purpose and identify their priorities. The good news is that starting with some version of minimalism can get us on a path to clearing unnecessary tasks and items.
2. They are feeling the stress from a disorderly physical environment. 3. Their responsibilities exceed the time they have. A Structure for Prioritizing Teachers have seemingly unending to-do lists and it is difficult to feel like they have ever been sufficiently tackled. Making decisions about how to approach these lists can be challenging and leave us feeling overwhelmed. Having a structure in which to start thinking about which priorities should be tackled and when, is something that teachers have responded favorably to. One tool we have found helpful is an urgent/important matrix. In using this tool, teachers are supported in reflecting on the different tasks they
From our conversations with educators to whom we have introduced minimalism in education, we have discovered three key ideas that educators gravitate toward: 9
Trending (cont.) • Sustaining habits that minimize time, economic, and mental clutter and waste
have in front of them and whether they can be classed as urgent or important in the current moment. You can participate in this process by either using the suggested categories listed below or the items on your own to-do list. After your reflection, the items that land in the urgent/important quadrant are the ones that need to be your top priority. These are the items that you should take action on immediately. The items that fall within the not-so-urgent and not-so-important quadrant, can be put aside for the moment. The remaining sections are not your immediate priority, but a planned schedule for action could be made for the future. The great thing about this matrix is that it can be revisited whenever you are again feeling overwhelmed with where to begin.
Note: It is important to keep in mind that your perception of what is urgent and important may not match that of your colleagues or supervisors. If you are working on prioritization individually, this matrix is for you to identify the priorities for YOU to meet within your role. If you are prioritizing as a team, you will need to communicate and clarify the team’s priorities. Mental Stress From the Physical Environment Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne (2017) writes about the research of Catherine Roster and colleagues at the University of New Mexico. Roster (2016) explains how physical clutter may be correlated to negative lifestyle habits such as overeating, as well as low self-esteem. Clutter impedes one’s well-being, ability to navigate life, and ability to respond effectively to cognitive tasks.
Priority list: • Maintenance or restoration of your well-being • Avoiding burnout
When translated into their lives in schools, educators feel consistent mental fatigue over the course of an academic year. One of those reasons may be correlated to the excessive amounts of items on boards, books on shelves, papers, consumables, furniture items in every corner of a space, and anchor charts hanging from the rafters.
• Minimizing time waste • Minimizing physical clutter and waste • Minimizing economic waste (unnecessary expenditures) • Minimizing mental waste (overthinking, trying to attend to unnecessary tasks or ideas) 10
Too many visual stimuli in a space can result in cognitive overload and impede working memory function. The teaching and learning environment is constantly cluttered with not only non-essential items, but also essential items. Essential items are ones that teachers and learners would use on a near-daily basis. Nonessential items are ones such as an overabundance of consumables, books, and anchor charts that can distract both students and teachers from intended
and how? If no, what is it that I can do with these items so they do not become someone’s problem? Teacher Responsibilities Exceed Available Time Teachers lacking the time they need is not a new concern. But it does appear to be something that is becoming more and more of a tipping point for many of us in the profession. Not only are teachers given little time to do the job’s
...the added responsibilities are so frequently concerned with tasks that do not directly relate to our students.
• Take inventory of all items in each area of your space.
minimum requirements, but they are also continually given more and more responsibilities to complete within the same limited time. And that’s not to mention the planning times and lunch breaks that are taken away from us at the last moment! To complicate matters more, the added responsibilities are so frequently concerned with tasks that do not directly relate to our students. This leaves teachers spending their personal time, beyond contracted hours, working on these tasks because they don’t want to let their students down.
• When taking inventory, ask yourself: What is the purpose of these items? Are they essential for student learning? If yes, when do we use them
In our research with teachers, we found that while teachers could identify how important time away from work was for their well-being, they also responded
learning. Environments that have been decluttered, or have designated spots for essentials to create an ordered visual aesthetic, can be more conducive to the brain’s effective functioning. To preserve our well-being and create an environment that prioritizes the value of learning over things, there are steps that can be taken. • Reflect upon the necessity to declutter the space.
Trending (cont.) that working overtime contributed to their feeling more effective, organized, and prepared for their work with students. Teachers reported that they almost unanimously worked more than 5 hours beyond their contracts over the course of each week. So how do we combat this simultaneous need to have balance in our work life, and wanting to feel effective and prepared at school? While we wait for the anticipated overhaul of the modern education system, we propose in The Minimalist Teacher that teachers consider their purpose and their priorities. Once this has been thought through, paring down any tasks that are not serving those purposes and priorities results in eliminating some of this time waste.
https://www.psychologytoday. com/us/blog/fulfillment-anyage/201705/5-reasons-why-clutterdisrupts-mental-health Musiowsky-Borneman, Tamera, & Arnold, C.Y. (2021). The Minimalist Teacher. ASCD. Tammy Musiowsky-Borneman is the founder of and professional learning facilitator at Plan Z Professional Learning Services and is the Head of Teaching and Learning at Kokua Academy in Kona, Hawai’i. She is the interim Executive Director of the ASCD Emerging Leader Alumni Affiliate and has co-authored the ASCD book, The Minimalist Teacher, with C.Y. Arnold. Her experience teaching and leading in Hawai’i, Singapore, New York City, and Edmonton, Canada has expanded her perspective on and knowledge of education on a global scale.
When teachers can spend more of their time on the tasks that are the most purposeful to their work, they are able to draw that line in the sand, creating healthy boundaries. Similarly, identifying our most urgent/important priorities and clearing physical clutter can allow educators the mental space they need to feel rested and more effective in their roles.
C. Y. Arnold is an Australian educator who has worked in Australia, Japan, Singapore, Belgium, and The Netherlands as a teacher, coach, mentor, co-teacher, coordinator, tutor, and supervisor from early childhood education to adult education. Her dedication to teaching has led her to serve on the board of the Singapore chapter of SENIA, publish educational articles, and present at various international and Australian conferences.
References Krauss Whitbourne, Susan, Ph.D. 5 Reasons Why Clutter Disrupts Mental Health (2017). Retrieved from: 12
Whole Child Say Yes to Less (and Get More): Reflections on Minimalism in Education
Dr. Nicole D. Ortegón In their book, The Minimalist Teacher (2021), Tamera Musiowsky-Borneman and C. Y. Arnold argue that a “systemic culture of waste” has pervaded (and adversely affected) the personal and professional lives of many educators (p. 2). By contrast, they examine how a minimalist approach to teaching and learning effectuates “a simplicity that allows education to become richer and more meaningful by paring down distractions and all the waste we are faced with daily” (p. 2). Crucially, they remind their readers that more does not equate to better. (Re)conceptualizing Waste and Clutter Before you continue reading, pause for a moment, and reflect on how you conceptualize waste and clutter. Musiowsky-Borneman and Arnold argue that “in order to reset our mindset toward a culture of minimalism, we need to expand our thinking around what actually constitutes waste [and clutter]” (p. 25). They encourage their readers to reflect on the many facets of waste, including, but not limited to, time waste; emotional/ intellectual/psychological waste; economic waste; physical waste; and resource waste. Education clutter 13
Whole Child (cont.) Framework is composed of the following elements: “the overarching Triple P questions [what is our purpose, what are our priorities, and how can we pare down resources], the Triple P funnel and decision-making questions to focus priorities, and the Triple P cycle” (p. 12).
also has many facets, four of which Musiowsky-Borneman and Arnold examine in depth: cluttered classroom spaces, initiative clutter, overloaded content and planning resources, and too many ways to teach so much content. What facets of waste and clutter do you encounter in your daily life?
Other resources we might use in endeavoring to provide our students with a teaching and learning that is purposeful, intentional, meaningful, impactful, engaging, relevant, authentic,
Reconceptualizing waste and clutter enables us to identify their many facets (of which we may have not otherwise been cognizant— they nevertheless affect us). However, becoming aware of their existence enables us to moderate their deleterious effects on our health and wellbeing, a subject to which I later return. Waste Management and Decluttering Having identified various facets of waste and clutter, we turn our attention to waste management and decluttering. To support others in finding their purpose, focusing their priorities, and pairing down, MusiowskyBorneman and Arnold developed the Triple P Framework. The Triple P 14
contextualized, research/evidencebased, well-prioritized, well-aligned, and, most critically, meets the needs of the students with whom we are working might include, for example, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s (2005) Understanding by Design (Backward Design), Leigh Chiarelott’s (2006) Curriculum in Context, and Jim Knight’s (2013) High-impact Instruction. Alternatively, we might strategically draw upon our collective knowledge to develop a filtering process uniquely designed to meet the diverse needs of the students with whom we are working.
returns depends on the time and effort we allocate to making our initial choice, as well as the time and effort we expend ruminating on whether we made the “correct” or “best” choice (MusiowskyBorneman & Arnold, 2021). In discussing “paralysis from decision-making,” Bruce D. Perry (2020b) describes a similar phenomenon, decision fatigue, which occurs when we have to make successive decisions without adequate relief time or when under “duress or stress.” I “Cannot” Choose (What to Do First) Because Everything is “Equally Important” Imagine you are presenting at a conference. Of the three presenters, you have been assigned the last time slot. Each presenter has 15 minutes to speak. The first two presentations run long. Of the 15 minutes you thought you had to present, you now only have 5 minutes. What do you do? If you are like me, you begin reviewing your slides, quickly determining which you will skip. In essence, you are engaging in a filtering process. In preparing for the presentation, you were also engaged in a process of filtering; the slides you created represented what you perceived to be essential to your presentation. Of the slides you had initially deemed essential, you now find yourself in a situation that forces you to determine which of them are more essential. Is this
Choice and Decision Fatigue The sheer volume of options available to (or thrust upon) many educators may induce a “choice-initiated paralysis” (Musiowsky-Borneman & Arnold, 2021, p. 3). As Musiowsky-Borneman and Arnold write, “Likely no assumptions are made in stating that every educator has been a deer in the headlights, paralyzed with the amount of choice in initiatives, programs, strategies, or tools” (p. 2). Choice is favorable in that it provides us (and our students) with opportunities to exercise self-agency and achieve self-efficacy. However, an excess of choice may bring diminishing returns or what MusiowskyBorneman and Arnold would characterize as (intellectual and time) waste. Whether our choices result in diminishing 15
Whole Child (cont.) question is, when do we engage in this process of filtering, before or after we are under duress? A minimalist mindset encourages us to accept the inevitably of having to make choices among the “equally important.” We can make these
an example of minimalism? No, because a minimalist mindset is proactive rather than reactive. What the above scenario does teach us is that when necessary we engage
The question is, when do we engage in this process of filtering, before or after we are under duress? in a process of further refinement. Musiowsky-Borneman and Arnold pose the following two questions: “How do you decide which stakeholder receives your time and effort before the others? How do you find the time to do all of these to-do’s justice” (p. 4)? In our minds, we may perceive competing demands as equally important (or perhaps they are equally important). Our actions, however, reveal that among the “equally important” we nevertheless make decisions about the order in which we attend to competing demands, as well as the time and effort we allocate to each.
tough choices under the best or worst possible circumstances. A minimalist mindset encourages us to be proactive rather than reactive. Perry states that poor decision-making is “almost always a hallmark of people making decisions when they’re under duress or stress” (2020b). Therefore, we owe it to ourselves and our students (and other stakeholders) to make the difficult decisions before we are forced to do so, so that we make better rather than poorer decisions. While sometimes necessary, continuing to make decisions under a state of duress is not only unhealthy but also unsustainable and a prelude to burnout. In this regard, a minimalist approach to education may afford us “the emotional and intellectual energy” necessary to continue in our vocation (Musiowsky-Borneman & Arnold, 2021, p. 25).
In other words, our actions reveal that we prioritize our priorities. This is necessary; regardless of our desire to attend to competing demands simultaneously, the reality is that doing so is impossible. When necessary, we do in fact make decisions among the “equally important.” We engage in a process of filtering. The 16
The Perils of Excess (or Why We Should Continue to Examine the Strengths and Limitations of a Minimalist Approach to Education)
in developing a culture of minimalism (within one’s classroom) is to promote positive wellbeing, reduce stress, and discourage burnout (MusiowskyBorneman & Arnold, 2021). Discouraging burnout is particularly important at this point in time, as teacher burnout and attrition have become more intense and pervasive within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (Rebora, 2022a; Rebora, 2022b).
The Deleterious Effects of Clutter In their chapter on decluttering the physical environment, MusiowskyBorneman and Arnold caution their readers against adopting a scarcity mindset. They argue that for many schools, a lack of critical resources is an all-too-common reality, which “can lead to a scarcity mindset, the psychological effect of not having enough to meet a need, which then becomes an overwhelming and focused concern that scarcity may continue indefinitely” (p. 38). Within the context of a school, a scarcity mindset may manifest in a compulsion not to discard any resources for which we envision opportunities for future use, however remote, resulting in cluttered classrooms. A cluttered environment may induce distress and contribute to decreased productivity. Conversely, a decluttered environment may enhance our calm and encourage increased productivity (Musiowsky-Borneman & Arnold, 2021). Although this particular example illustrates the deleterious effects physical clutter may have on our health and wellbeing, all facets of waste and clutter have the potential to adversely affect our health and wellbeing. Indeed, one of the priorities
Whole Child Tenant #1: Healthy While our health and wellbeing are priorities in their own rights, they may also, directly or indirectly, affect the health and wellbeing of our students (Ortegón, 2017). Students observe how we respond to distress. Consciously or unconsciously, we model emotional regulation for our students who learn from our examples. Moreover, emotional (or relational) contagion is a function of our neurobiology (Goleman et al., 2002; Fowler & Christakis, 2011; Perry & Albon, 2019; Perry, 2020a). As Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee (2002) explain, through “interpersonal limbic regulation,” “our physiologies intermingle, our emotions automatically shifting into the register of the person we’re with. The open-loop design of the limbic system means that other people can change our very physiology—and so our emotions” (p. 7). 17
Whole Child (cont.) With regard to emotional contagion, children and adults share a common neurological response; in other words, we are all susceptible to its effects (Perry, 2020a). Dysregulated adults are unable “to effectively intervene with a child” (Perry & Albon, 2019, p. 29). However, as Perry states, “If we regulate ourselves, if we take care of ourselves, we’re going to be able to help the people around us stay calmer, and everybody’s going to be physically, emotionally, and socially healthier” (Perry, 2020a). A minimalist mindset assists us in reducing the waste and clutter in our lives. Reducing the waste and clutter in our lives positively influences our health and wellbeing (Musiowsky-Borneman & Arnold, 2021). Our health and wellbeing in turn influence the health and wellbeing of those around us, of the children and adults with whom we interact.
lifestyle that teaches us to “maximize existing resources in the community and create a lifelong practice and lifestyle of appreciation, efficiency, and sustainability” (MusiowskyBorneman & Arnold, 2021, p. 23). Key Takeaways All educators engage in a filtering process. We need to ask ourselves, what filters we are using and why, and whether they are meeting the needs of the students with whom we are working. If not, what changes do we need to make, why, and how can we achieve them? In addition to the first set of questions, we need to ask ourselves when, why, and under what circumstances we are engaging in a process of filtering. Engaging in a filtering process while under duress is at times necessary, but it is not ideal (and may contribute to burnout). How can we incorporate a minimalist mindset and mindful approach to filtering into our regular practice?
A whole-child approach to teaching and learning charges us with providing for the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff (ASCD Library, 2022). Cultivating a culture of minimalism in our schools may positively affect not only our health and wellbeing but also that of those around us, including the students with whom we work. Moreover, adopting a minimalist mindset, affords educators and students with opportunities to learn about and practice a healthy
A minimalist approach to teaching and learning is proactive, not reactive. In the beginning, the “simplicity” described by Musiowsky-Borneman and Arnold requires front-loaded heavy lifting, if you will, before the benefits of a minimalist approach to teaching and learning can be realized (p. 2). 18
Fowler, J. H., & Christakis, N. A. (2011). Connected: The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives—How your friends’ friends’ friends affect everything you feel, think, and do. Little, Brown Spark.
A minimalist approach to teaching and learning is dynamic and cyclical. Purposes, priorities, and resources change. Most importantly, our students’ needs change, and we have a responsibility to adapt our teaching and learning to meet their needs.
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2002). The new leaders: Transforming the art of leadership into the science of results. Little, Brown.
A minimalist mindset may positively influence educators’ health and wellbeing, reducing stress, while enhancing calm and mitigating the potential for teacher burnout. Not only is our health and wellbeing important in and of itself, but it may also influence that of those around us, both children and adults. Developing a culture of minimalism in our schools may positively affect not only our health and wellbeing but also that of those around us, including the students with whom we work.
Knight, J. (2013). High-impact instruction: A framework for great teaching. Corwin Press. Musiowsky-Borneman, T., & Arnold, C. Y. (2021). The minimalist teacher. ASCD. Ortegon, N. D. (2017). Toward the “better than well” cultural ideal: Understanding changing conceptualizations of illness and wellness and North American parenting, pedagogy, and education policy (19th-21st C.) (Doctoral dissertation, Loyola University Chicago).
Perry, B. D., & Ablon, J. S. (2019). CPS as a neurodevelopmentally sensitive and trauma-informed approach. In A. R. Pollastri, J. S. Ablon, & M. J. G. Hone (Eds.) Collaborative problem solving: An evidence-based approach to implementation and practice (current clinical psychology) (1st ed., pp. 15-31). Springer.
ASCD Library. (n.d.). Whole child tenet #1: Healthy. https://library.ascd. org/m/5a9a355ad6e7bf6a/original/ WC_Tenets_Healthy.pdf Chiarelott, L. (2006). Curriculum in context: Designing curriculum and instruction for teaching and learning in context. Thomson Wadsworth. 19
Whole Child (cont.) Dr. Ortegón is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Concordia University Chicago. She is Program Leader of the masters and doctoral programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Trauma and Resilience, and Differentiated Instruction. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural and educational policy studies from Loyola University Chicago and an Ed.M. in technology in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Ortegón has taught courses in Education at the college and university level for over ten years. She formerly taught fifth through eighth grade Reading, English, Social Studies, Science, and Religion at St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. She also has experience in instructional coaching, study abroad, and education outreach.
Perry, B. (2020a, March 30). 3. Emotional Contagion: Neurosequential Network Stress & Trauma Series [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=96evhMPcY2Y Perry, B. (2020b, April 22). 8. Decision Fatigue: Neurosequential Network Stress & Trauma Series 2020 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=Yc-Nv8eqfgM Rebora, A. (Host). (2022a, May 7). Tamera Musiowsky—Borneman and Christine Arnold on minimalist teaching. In ASCD Connect: Powered by BAM Radio. ASCD. https://www.ascd. org/podcasts/tamera-musiowskyborneman-and-christine-arnold-onminimalist-teaching Rebora, A. (Host). (2022b, June 16). Chase Mielke on addressing the underlying causes of teacher burnout. In ASCD Connect: Powered by BAM Radio. ASCD. https://www.ascd. org/podcasts/chase-mielke-onaddressing-the-underlying-causesof-teacher-burnout Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed). Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Book Review The Minimalist Teacher by Tamera MusiowskyBorneman and C. Y. Arnold
Review by Amie Reed
Click the cover to view on ASCD.
Teachers’ plates are full, and it can feel like items continue to pile on. Whether it’s new curriculum materials, different district initiatives, or increasingly complex student needs, teachers experience frequent additions to their loads. Without thoughtful revision of existing materials, systems, curriculum, and initiatives a teacher’s “plate” fills up and overflows.
The book is written with the classroom teacher in mind, but any educator can benefit from the numerous reflective prompts throughout.
Enter The Minimalist Teacher by Tamera Musiowsky-Boreman and C.Y. Arnold. This book thoughtfully helps teachers examine what they need and what they do not. Eliminating what is no longer serving us leaves space for growth and creativity.
Triple P Questions - What is our purpose? What are our priorities? How can we pare down resources? Using these questions can help educators get to the heart of a situation and find manageable solutions.
The book’s core is the Triple P Framework introduced on pages 12-16. The Framework includes the Triple P questions, the Triple P funnel, and the Triple P cycle.
Book Review (cont.) Triple P Funnel - This applies the Triple P questions to a funnel graphic to help readers visualize minimizing to the essential elements. Throughout the book, the funnel includes reflective prompts to help teachers think critically about each component.
take a critical look at the what and how of your teaching practice? Chapter 4 - “Decluttering the Curriculum” and Chapter 5 - “Decluttering Instructional and Assessment Strategies” are here for you. The final chapter, “Advocating for Minimalism in Your Teaching Environment,” will help you think about how to reach out to others.
Triple P Cycle - Moving through the Triple P framework will take educators through a process in which they will ideate, inquire, investigate, act, and advocate. Each chapter helps readers
I found the step-by-step process in the “Decluttering the Physical Environment” chapter very helpful. It breaks your
At a time when teachers are increasingly expressing being overloaded and overwhelmed, the steps outlined in this book create a clear pathway forward. see where they may be in the cycle with specific points for reflection.
classroom into individual spaces and prompts teachers through the Triple P questions for each area. Going through the questions about each section of the room helped me see what is important and essential to my work and what is not.
The first chapter serves as an introduction to orient the reader to a culture of minimalism, and the remaining chapters can be read in any order based on the reader’s needs and interests. For example, are you feeling overwhelmed by your physical items? Perhaps you want to start with Chapter 2 - “Decluttering the Physical Environment.” Does it seem like every year brings a new initiative, but nothing stops? Check out Chapter 3 - “Decluttering Initiatives.” Want to
There are many helpful checklists and reflection questions throughout the book, but I thought the Middle Funnel Priorities list on page 75 from the “Decluttering the Curriculum” chapter was quite beneficial. It helped me think about specific areas I may need to prioritize in our curriculum, such as 22
This is not just a book about less. It is about seeing what is important and aligning our materials and time accordingly. At a time that seems to be about doing more, using these strategies over those, or picking one curriculum over the other, the strategies in this book can help us stay focused on what matters.
student needs or student interests. For each of the suggested areas, the authors include next steps to consider. I would highly recommend this book not only to classroom teachers, but also to all educators. At a time when teachers are increasingly expressing being overloaded and overwhelmed, the steps outlined in this book create a clear pathway forward. As the authors state on page 115, “Teaching will always be an overly busy job. But we encourage you to strive to ensure all those elements of ‘busyness’ are ones in which there is meaning to you, that in fact do meet with your purpose and priorities. Let us take control in order to pare down what makes you busy without adding meaning or depth.”
Amie Reed has worked in O’Fallon District 90 since 2005, starting as an English Language Arts Teacher and later serving as a middle school academic interventionist and science teacher. Currently, she is the district’s literacy coach. Amie is an ASCD Emerging Leader, a Google for Education Certified Trainer and Coach, a Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow Alum, and an NCTE Conference on English Leadership Emerging Leaders Fellow.
An individual educator could get a lot out of this book, but I think there would be a lot of power in reading this book with a group. In the book’s introduction, the authors include suggested processes and actions for reading on your own, reading with a PLC, or reading with a book club. In Appendix C, the authors also include study guide discussion questions for each chapter in the book, making it easy to use. Working together, we can help each other to clearly see our purpose, what priorities support this purpose, and what is most essential. Collaborating to eliminate what is not aligned creates more time and space to think, learn, and grow. 23
Resource Corner ASCD CONNECT PODCAST SERIES
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4 PROACTIVE STEPS TO AVOID MISBEHAVIOR FROM THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS ON Carefully working on relationship building right from the start of the school year can help teachers avoid discipline issues. READ MORE...
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING FROM DAY 1 Strategies for fostering relationships with middle and high school students starting on the first day of the school year and then growing them all year long. READ MORE...
SETTING PRIORITIES AS A NEW TEACHER Conveying passion and authority while also seeking feedback from peers and students is no small task. READ MORE...
THE POWER OF “YES” IN THE CLASSROOM I have found that many teachers are constantly seeking ways to improve their community, classroom management, engagement strategies, and relationships with kids. One strategy I have found to be remarkably powerful is using the word “yes” in my classroom. Now I know some of you might be thinking I have gone crazy, but the truth is, you can say “yes” to just about anything and still get the results you want. READ MORE... 25
Resource Corner (cont.)
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
Safeguarding Students’ Civil Rights, Promoting Educational Excellence
Back to School: Supporting Educational Environments Free from Discrimination
Report to THE PRESIDENT and SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
A Resource Collection for Elementary and Secondary Schools
Under Section 203(b)(1) of the Department of Education Organization Act
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
READ U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DOCUMENTS Safeguarding Students’ Civil Rights and Supporting Educational Environments Free from Discrimination. Click the covers to READ MORE...
7 WAYS TO PRIORITIZE TEACHING TASKS WHEN EVERYTHING SEEMS URGENT Prioritizing tasks is the foundation of using your time effectively and working more efficiently. Here are 7 strategies to help you do that. READ MORE...
NM NETWORK STRESS & TRAUMA SERIES 2020 BROWSE THE PLAYLIST...
Article YES to the 4 P’s! Research on Preschool Play, Perceptions, and the Pandemic: Recommendations for Trends in the Decline of Play Melissa Smith Imagine if young children did not learn the following skills: compromise, turn-taking, rule formation, imagination, curiosity, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, cognitive processing, emotional self-regulation, socialization, empathy, interpersonal skills, self-efficacy, physical competency, oral language, literacy, science inquiry, and mathematical thinking. All of these skills and many more are being developed when a child engages in play-based learning. The purpose of this article is to bring awareness to the increasing problem of the decline in play among preschoolers, provide insight into parent and teacher perceptions of play, and explore the effects of the pandemic on preschool play. To conclude the article, recommendations are provided for pedagogical practice in an effort to reestablish expectations and design a new normal surrounding the topic of play in the classroom. Preschool Play Play in preschool classrooms has significantly decreased and continues to decline at a rapid rate. Young children today spend a large amount of their time sedentary. There has been an increasingly greater 28
confidence. Various studies have been published on the topic of play (Berk & Meyers, 2013; Brėdikytė & SujetaitėVolungevičienė, 2015; Lillard, 2017). Research studies have taken place
focus on academics as early as children entering preschool with a focus on utilizing worksheets and achieving academic goals and less time devoted to play opportunities. Preschool is
As play decreases, children are becoming more disruptive and beginning to show signs of behavioral and social-emotional issues. focusing on the negative developmental effects when play is not included in the curriculum (Brown, 2014; Roberts, Rodkey, Ray, Knight, & Saelens, 2017). Other researchers have attributed the decline in play to a rise in sensory issues among young children (Roberts, Stagnitti, Brown, & Bhopti, 2018). Furthermore, there has been an increase in research related to how technology is adversely impacting the amount of play a young child is engaging in throughout the day. Children’s screen time is increasing and those conversational and social skills that occur during play are much less practiced (Christakis, 2016).
becoming the new kindergarten and kindergarten the new first grade. Young children are now obligated to learn through worksheets, workbooks, teacher-based instruction, and practices that are not developmentally appropriate (Christakis, 2016). Specifically, there has been a decrease in unstructured, self-initiated free-play and an increase in structured, teacherdirected play activities with a greater focus on academics (Lynch, 2015). When young children participate in free choice selection, they acquire developmental knowledge supporting cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and language growth. As play decreases, children are becoming more disruptive and beginning to show signs of behavioral and social-emotional issues. Play provides an outlet for children to explore their emotions and develop self-
Psychologist Peter Gray has spent decades studying children’s natural way of learning and the value of play. Gray observed the decline in play over the last 50-60 years through evidence provided by historical analyses that studied how 29
YES to the 4 P’s! (cont.) stress are closely connected in that when children experience play they exhibit low levels of cortisol and activate synapses thus improving brain development (Yogman et al., 2018).
children are spending their time and through surveys completed by parents based on what their child is doing. Through his research, Gray (2017) found that children are playing less due to parental fears instigated by society on the risks of free play; children spend more time in school, doing homework, and enrolled in adult activities. In the past
Another factor influencing the decline in play is that of increased technology. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (Rosen et al., 2014) children
Immersion in electronic devices and screen time takes away from a child’s opportunity for real play and drains them of creativity (Yogman et al., 2018). under the age of two should not be exposed to screen time and limited amounts of time are proposed for those older than two years of age as well. A fiveyear longitudinal study was conducted with 667 pregnant women determining that mothers play a significant role in their children’s early years of life and that early exposure to screen time could be connected to their screen time use when older (Xu et al., 2016). The researcher found that pregnant mothers should focus on their own physical activity, use of screen time, and increased playtime with their child in order to intervene early and support their child’s development. Immersion in electronic devices and screen time takes away from a child’s opportunity for real play and drains them of creativity (Yogman et al., 2018).
children used to play with other children in the neighborhood and Gray found that there is a decline in neighborhood play as well as in family size resulting in few opportunities for children to engage in free play experiences. Gray (2016) also observed that with the decline in play, negative impacts in mental health and physical wellbeing increase. Through his studies, Gray revealed that young people have increased anxiety and depression with an intense decline in their ability to feel in control of their lives. With these repercussions, there is an increase in self-centeredness. Creative thinking skills fall very low on the list; another type of skills that children learn through play opportunities (Gray, 2016). Play and 30
Another study, related to technology and its impact on young children, had researchers focused on the following four areas: behavioral issues, focused attention problems, psychological concerns, and physical health in early childhood-age children (Rosen et al., 2014). Findings from the study resulted in the researcher’s prediction that an increase in technology would bring about negative health effects.
study that screen time including movies and television had adverse effects while outdoor play favorably supported a preschool child’s social skills (Hinkley et al., 2018). Perceptions While minimal, there have been studies conducted with preschool programs that explore parent and teacher perceptions regarding play (Kane, 2016). Parent and teacher attitudes and perceptions about outdoor time and play have been explored (Tandon et al., 2016). In another study, researchers discussed parental barriers associated with increasing outdoor playtime (Jayasuriya et al., 2016). Babuc (2015) found that little research has been conducted that gathers information on parenting approaches related to expectations when parents are playing with their children. Using a socioecological viewpoint, Watchman and Spencer-Cavliere (2017) studied parents’ perceptions of free play. Lynch (2015) provided a different aspect of play in the classroom as she focused on teacher perspectives in a kindergarten classroom. Lynch discussed the benefits of play for kindergarteners and used an online research method to analyze a discussion that took place between teachers on seven online public message boards. The findings included a variety of negative and positive perceptions related to play in the kindergarten classroom (Lynch, 2015).
Parental concerns related to screen time have also been studied. Researchers studied perceptions of 615 parents over three age levels including early childhood, middle, and adolescence (Sanders et al., 2016). Parents in the young childhood age level that participated in the research study reported that they use technologyrelated parenting approaches and their attitudes toward technology were not related to their use of parenting strategies, but rather they needed to set higher levels of enforcing lessened screen time (Sanders et al., 2016). An increase in screen time also impacts a young child’s social skills as observed in a study conducted by Hinkley, Brown, Caron, and Teychennel (2018). The mothers in this study reported the amount of their child’s screen time, social skills, and outdoor play. The researchers determined through this 31
YES to the 4 P’s! (cont.) study conducted by Grindal et al. (2016) while early childhood programs educate the child, one approach to increase the success of the program is to also include additional programming for parent education. Parents and teachers are typically a young child’s first play partner and this early involvement helps to scaffold a child’s ability to engage in play opportunities (Babuc, 2015). Dialogue and guidance are modeled by the adult which then allows the child to master skills that may take them longer to achieve on their own (Yogman et al., 2018). As children get older and more mature they are interested in
Exploring parental and teacher views on play can provide valuable insight. Parents have the responsibility to make informed decisions about their child’s education however, teachers have the training and knowledge about best practices. Researchers have recently conducted studies exploring parental perceptions of play and propose that parents believe academics are more important than play, especially when it comes to preparing children for school readiness (Jiang & Han, 2016; Warash, Root, & Devito, 2017). Since parents and teachers are possibly the most influential people in a young child’s life, investigating their perceptions
...while early childhood programs educate the child, one approach to increase the success of the program is to also include additional programming for parent education. initiating their own play activities and independence increases.
about play is one way to deepen knowledge about the decline of play. Parents are stakeholders in their child’s education; therefore, examining parental perspectives related to play provides insightful and valuable opportunities to the early childhood education field.
Pandemic The pandemic has brought challenges related to play in early childhood classrooms. According to a recent research study (Kourti, Stavridou, Panagouli, Psaltopoulou, Tsolia, Sergentanis, and Tsitsika, 2021), outdoor play decreased as a result of restrictive measures and screen time for both
Parent education is crucial in order to help parents feel empowered to support their developing children (Grindal et al., 2016). According to a 32
Due to the elimination of outdoor play, primary children also experienced a change in eating habits and a decline in exercise (Moyer, 2022). However, even though children could not play with others during the pandemic, it may have provided more opportunities for children to play and possibly increased play interactions and closeness with family members (Gray, 2020).
educational and leisure purposes increased. The study investigated how children’s playtime was affected by COVID-19 by reviewing 17 studies in Europe and North America. Researchers further discovered that children were more engaged in video games and television watching.
With the reopening of schools, parks filled with screaming children, and mask mandates lifted, it would seem that the world is returning to a sense of normalcy. However, the lockdowns, virtual learning, and extensive restrictions will have a long-lasting effect on our youngest children. Some of these effects include a surge in special education services, an increase in children with Individualized Education Plans, and a rise in socialemotional behavioral problems (Jung & Barnett, 2021). Neurodevelopmental scores have dropped significantly among pandemic-born babies, with some of the most significant decreases in scores in infants from low-income families (Moyer, 2022). A lack of outdoor play during the pandemic resulted in an increase in gross motor development issues and a higher body mass index in primary children (Sum et al., 2022). Due to the elimination of outdoor play, primary children also
Repercussions of the pandemic also took a toll on children’s social and emotional well-being as children missed their friends and being able to play in general (Kourti et al., 2021). While children continued to be imaginative in their play experiences, pretend play as nurses and doctors increased. There is nothing wrong with children exploring these occupations, but teachers and parents should be aware of the imaginary play activities children engage in that may reflect their COVID-19 experiences. For example, children at one nursery school were playing the “death game” which involved a child coughing, falling down, then dying while another child took on the caretaker role (Pascal & Bertram, 2021). Gray (2020) associates the decline in play before the pandemic with a significant decline in children’s mental health. 33
YES to the 4 P’s! (cont.) Recommendations Now, let’s say YES to the 4 R’s! The goal in moving forward is to consider how expectations and opportunities for play in early childhood classrooms can be Reestablished, Reeducated, Recreated, and Reflected. The following are a few recommendations for pedagogical practice:
experienced a change in eating habits and a decline in exercise (Moyer, 2022). In a literature review article by Rogers (2022) on play during the pandemic, findings include the suggestion of planning for a child-centered approach in the event of a future pandemic. One way to support this idea would be to give children a voice in expressing their needs and concerns over restrictions set on play (Rogers, 2022). This type of child-centered approach comes with criticism in the field of education due to its perceived notions that children do not have the ability to be reflective thinkers. Rogers (2022) states, “A theme running through studies of the impact of the pandemic so far is the need to take children’s perspectives, needs, and ideas much more fully into account…”.
1. More transparency. Teachers may want to be more transparent with parents about the amount of time play is included in the preschool environment. Posting and sharing the daily schedule is an easy way to inform parents how much time play is included during the day. Share videos and pictures of their child engaging in play activities and briefly describe what they are learning. Make it your mission to reestablish the definition of play and promote the importance of play.
Another suggestion is for parents and caregivers to engage young children in more gross motor activities. Children need to be supported as they learn to cope with the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic. While children may have academically and socially fallen behind at the start of COVID-19, researchers are hopeful that they will be able to catch up (Moyer, 2022). Research studies continue to be conducted and published on how the pandemic has affected young children.
2. Provide handouts. Recreate the way that you present information to parents about the topic of play. Provide a handout or newsletter with information on how the program defines play, the types of play opportunities the preschool children will engage in, and the benefits of play activities. Make connections with the state standards and address how the play-based experiences meet developmentally appropriate learning 34
goals. Consider taking pictures of the centers in your classroom and inserting the images in a handout explaining the types of toys and manipulatives found in each center.
learn more about implementing play activities into the curriculum, the benefits of play, and incorporating social-emotional learning experiences in the early childhood classroom. Explore social-emotional curricula that best fit the needs of the early childhood program. Lastly, investigate and visit play-based learning programs in an effort to learn more about how to effectively integrate the play-based approach.
3. Parent education classes. Teachers can support parents by offering parent education classes or events. The following are a few topic ideas. • At Home Play Options: Provide parents with ideas for incorporating play activities at home. • Social-Emotional Development: Present strategies for parents to support their child’s socialemotional development. Emphasize the social-emotional development that occurs when children are engaged in play activities.
References Christakis, E. (2016). How the new preschool is crushing kids. Atlantic, 317(1), 17-20. Babuc, Z. T. (2015). Exploring parental perceptions and preferences about play: A case study in Erzurum. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 197, 2417–2424. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.07.304
• Screen Time: Share current research with parents on how screen time affects young children. Discuss possible solutions for limiting technology and ways to ensure quality screen time experiences. Explain how technology is appropriately utilized in the classroom and within the curriculum.
Berk, L.E., & Meyers, A. B. (2013). The role of make-believe play in the development of executive function: Status of research and future directions. American Journal of Play, 6(1), 17-20.
4. Professional Development. Seek opportunities for both teachers and administrators to reflect on and
Brėdikytė, M., Brandišauskienė, A., & Sujetaitė-Volungevičienė, G. 35
YES to the 4 P’s! (cont.) associations of screen time and outdoor play with social skills in preschool children. Plos One, 13(4).
(2015). The dynamics of pretend play development in early childhood. Pedagogy Studies, 118(2), 174-187. https://doi. org/10.15823/p.2015.013
Jayasuriya, A., Williams, M., Edwards, T., & Tandon, P. (2016). Parents’ perceptions of preschool activities: Exploring outdoor play. Early Education & Development, 27(7), 1004–1017.
Brown, S. L. (2014). Consequences of play deprivation. Scholarpedia, 9(5): 30449. https://doi.org/10.4249/ scholarpedia.30449
Jiang, S., & Han, M. (2016). Parental beliefs on children’s play: Comparison among mainland Chinese, Chinese immigrants in the USA, and EuropeanAmericans. Early Child Development and Care, 186(3), 341–352.
Gray, P. (2016). Children need play. Can they get it at camp? Camping Magazine, 89(6), 30–35. Gray, P. (2017). What exactly is play, and why is it such a powerful vehicle for learning? Topics in Language Disorders, 37(3), 217–228.
Jung, K. & Barnett, W.S. (2021). Impacts of the pandemic on young children and their parents: Initial findings from NIEER’s May-June 2021 preschool learning activities survey. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research.
Gray, P. (2020). How children coped in the first months of the pandemic lockdown: Free time, play, family togetherness, helping out at home.” American Journal of Play, 13(1), 33–52. Grindal, T., Bowne, J. B., Yoshikawa, H., Schindler, H. S., Duncan, G. J., Magnuson, K., & Shonkoff, J. P. (2016). The added impact of parenting education in early childhood education programs: A metaanalysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 70, 238–249.
Kane, N. (2016). The play-learning binary: U.S. parents’ perceptions on preschool play in a neoliberal age. Children & Society, 30(4), 290-301. doi: 10.1111/chso.12140 Kourti, A., Stavridou, A., Panagouli, E., Psaltopoulou, T., Tsolia, M., Sergentanis, T. N., & Tsitsika, A. (2021). Play behaviors in children during the COVID-19 pandemic: A
Hinkley, T., Brown, H., Carson, V., & Teychenne, M. (2018). Cross sectional 36
review of the literature. Children, 8(8), 706. https://doi.org/10.3390/ children8080706
Roberts, T., Stagnitti, K., Brown, T., & Bhopti, A. (2018). Relationships between sensory processing and pretend play in typically developing children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(1), 1-8. https://doi. org/10.5014/1jot.2018.027623
Lillard, A. S. (2017). Opinion: Why do the children (pretend) play? Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 21(11), 826834. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. tics.2017.08.001
Rogers, S. (2022). Play in the time of pandemic: Children’s agency and lost learning. Education, 50(4), 494-505, https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2 022.2052235
Lynch, M. (2015). More play, please: The perspective of kindergarten teachers on play in the classroom. American Journal of Play, 7(3), 347-370. Moyer, M. (2022). The COVID generation: How is the pandemic affecting kids’ brains? Nature, 601(7892), 180-183. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586022-00027-4
Rosen, L. D., Lim, A. F., Felt, J., Carrier, L. M., Cheever, N. A., Lara-Ruiz, J. M., & Rokkum, J. (2014). Media and technology use predicts illbeing among children, preteens and teenagers independent of the negative health impacts of exercise and eating habits. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 364–375. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. chb.2014.01.036
Pascal, C., & Bertram, T. (2021). What do young children have to say? Recognising their voices, wisdom, agency and need for companionship during the COVID pandemic. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 29 (1), 21–34. https://doi.org /10.1080/1350293X.2021.1872676
Sanders, W., Parent, J., Forehand, R., Sullivan, A. D. W., & Jones, D. J. (2016). Parental perceptions of technology and technologyfocused parenting: Associations with youth screen time. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 44, 28–38.
Roberts, J.D., Rodkey, L., Ray, R., Knight, B., & Saelens, B.E. (2017). Electronic media time and sedentary behaviors in children: Findings from the built environment and active play study in the Washington DC area. Preventive Medicine Reports, 6,149-156. 37
YES to the 4 P’s! (cont.) Rissel, C. (2016) A 5-year longitudinal analysis of modifiable predictors for outdoor play and screen-time of 2to 5-year-olds. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 13, 1–9.
Sum, K. K., Cai, S., Law, E., Cheon, B., Tan, G., Loo, E., Lee, Y. S., Yap, F., Chan, J., Daniel, M., Chong, Y. S., Meaney, M., Eriksson, J., & Huang, J. (2022). COVID-19-related life experiences, outdoor play, and long-term adiposity changes among preschool- and school-aged children in Singapore 1 year after lockdown. JAMA pediatrics, 176(3), 280–289. https://doi.org/10.1001/ jamapediatrics.2021.5585
Yogman, M., Garner, A., Hutchinson, J., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., Comm Psychosocial Aspects, & Council Comm Media. (2018.). The power of play: A pediatric role in enhancing development in young children. Pediatrics, 142(3).
Tandon, P. S., Saelens, B. E., & Copeland, K. A. (2017). A comparison of parent and childcare provider’s attitudes and perceptions about preschoolers’ physical activity and outdoor time. Child: Care, Health & Development, 43(5), 679–686.
Dr. Melissa Smith is the Program Leader and Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Concordia University Chicago. She has served as a teacher, administrator, consultant, and professor in early childhood education for over 15 years. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education with endorsements in Spanish and Lutheran Teacher Education, an M.S. in Early Childhood Education, and an Ed.D. in Early Childhood Education.
Warash, B. G., Root, A. E., & Devito D. M. (2017). Parents’ perceptions of play: A comparative study of spousal perspectives. Early Child Development and Care, 187(5-6), 958-966. https:// doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.12 37511 Watchman, T., & Spencer-Cavaliere, N. (2017). Times have changed: Parent perspectives on children’s free play and sport. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 32, 102–112. Xu, H., Ming Wen, L., Hardy, L. L., &
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Article The Power of Yes: How Saying Yes Increased My Happiness, Boundaries, Work-Life Balance, and Relationships Christina Ordonez I wear many hats: technology and media department chair, auditorium manager, director, new educator coordinator, professional development co-chair. In those roles, I oversee many of the school’s resources. I also love taking on new adventures, be they opportunities in the school or initiatives from the district. However, when roles collide and the requests for resources become overwhelming, my first line of defense had been to say no. “No, I can’t create this spreadsheet for you. I don’t have time.” “No, I’m not able to chaperone this event for you. It’s my dad’s birthday.” “No, there is no way you can use that space on that day. It’s the week of the play.” I tended to say no when I was having a tough day, and the negativity I felt from it was defeating. I felt like I was ruining my relationships with colleagues like I was unhelpful, and I resented being asked yet again for my time when I was always doing so much. 40
Then, four years ago, I changed one word and changed my professional life. Instead of saying no, I now say Yes.
difference? To start, it helps both you and the person you are communicating with have greater feelings of control, making educator burnout less likely (Mielke, 2019). When you practice saying yes, the opportunity to have control and to grow and change increases exponentially. Believing in opportunities for growth is one of the main elements of professional
In a journal with a theme focused on minimalist teaching, this may seem like the antithesis. But saying Yes freed me and allowed me to set more boundaries than ever before.
Saying Yes forced me to decide under what circumstances the Yes was possible. happiness (Blaschka, 2019). In a profession where most people feel they are called to a life-long service, being open to new possibilities is important to keep growing, learning, and innovating as the years go by.
“Yes, I can create this spreadsheet, but not for three weeks. How does that timeline work for you?” “Yes, I can chaperone this event, but I would need to leave at 6 pm.” “Yes, you can use that space, but there will be a set onstage, so you will only be able to use the seating area.”
When educators are left on their own in an office or classroom, they can, over time, tie themselves into paths that have worked for them in the past. But this doesn’t allow growth from wonderfully new opportunities that may occur. It can be a challenge for students to feel safe about trying something new if we as their educators are not willing to take the same risk. The fear of failure often leads to the negativity of no, as does stress. Continually feeling stressed can take a toll on our professional lives. When our amygdala is hijacked,
Saying Yes forced me to decide under what circumstances the Yes was possible. It allowed me to see situations from another point of view. It created partnerships as others worked with me to make the Yes happen. I was minimizing my negativity, my recursive work, and my conflicts with others. Saying Yes is Important So why does saying Yes make such a 41
The Power of Yes (cont.) your priorities. By having priorities set, you can be reflective and responsive, thoughtful and reasonable in creating your Yes. For example, if a group of students who want to film for a class ask to use the auditorium stage, but the musical was practicing in the auditorium, I might say it’s not available that day, as a group who is already in there needs to have access to theater resources, but how about an alternative day? Or what is the reason you want to use that space? Can we find an alternative space that accomplishes the project’s goals, such as the library or cafeteria?
we cannot think creatively or critically (Anchor, 2010). Instead, we react with strong emotional responses. In my case, this occurs when I am overwhelmed—I become more likely to say no to requests that I would say yes to other times of the year. To combat that amygdala hijacking, if I say no, I write the request down and then come back to the question later and reconsider my answer. This has led me to contacting colleagues after an initial no to change my answer to Yes. Colleagues have mentioned this is one of the best parts about working with me. They know that when I say no, I mean it because I will use all my creativity to try to find a way to make something happen. This increases the trust and collegiality between myself and my colleagues. I have the credibility that goes beyond what I do and into the core of who I am. Practicing this every day turned my goal of saying Yes into a habit (Clear, 2018).
If you really understand the purpose of the request, it is also much easier to say yes. By understanding what people really need, you are better able to say yes and fulfill those needs. This idea partners with the minimalist view of “Do Less, Better” (Musiowsky-Borneman and Arnold, 2021). By going through the Tripe-P decisionmaking process of “Prioritize, Purpose, and Pare Down” highlighted in The Minimalist Teacher, you will be able to meet more people’s needs. Asking more questions in this manner will help to inform yourself to create acceptable, positive, creative solutions.
The Journey to Yes To say Yes, you must stay reflective, including reflecting on your prioritizations. In her TedTalk about time management, Laura Vanderkam explains that people have enough time to do anything they want. When they say they don’t have time for something, they really mean that it is not a priority to them (Vanderkam, 2016). When deciding how to say Yes, you must first think of
A friend of mine once asked how saying Yes with caveats is any different from saying no. The difference is in the spirit of finding a solution. A common rule in 42
People now come to me with more specific questions and requests, and with reasoning for those requests, all ready to think of creative solutions. My consistency with this habit helps others to be an active participant in our conversation. improvisational theatre is to never say no, choosing instead to say “yes, and...”. This rule opens possibilities versus closing the discussion. When you say no, you are cutting off the conversation and the opportunities. When you say Yes with ideas to make the request happen, you are forming connections and finding ways to continue the conversation.
Are there any alternative ways this need can be fulfilled? When I began trying to say yes, I placed a post-it note on my monitor that just says, “How can you say yes?” It helped remind me that I needed to consciously work towards positivity, problem-solving, and creativity. Sometimes no is a much easier answer. And so, I created my own norms. Whenever possible, I will produce a solution for what I’m being asked for. Now I include this question in meetings and on agendas. I’ve talked about it with new educators and with my students. People now come to me with more specific questions and requests, and with reasoning for those requests, all ready to think of creative solutions. My consistency with this habit helps others to be an active participant in our conversation.
Don’t be unreasonable with your Yeses. For example, I have said “Yes, if I’m able to be cloned.” I’ve made this joke when I’m asked to be in two meetings at once. But I quickly add to that, “Or, if we can change the meeting time to 30 minutes later.” I am offering a solution. I try to think of the following questions to decide reasonable solutions: How can I say yes? What is keeping me from saying yes in the first place?
There are many times when I see colleagues saying no. My biggest question when people say no is why not? This isn’t to say that I never say no. Of course, I do. But I will try to go through this process first. The same works in
How does this request fit in with my priorities? What is the specific purpose of the request? 43
The Power of Yes (cont.) reverse. If you get a no as a response to your request, ask “What would it take to get a Yes?” Much of the time, people have not even thought about that or considered it. But once they do, a no can turn to a creative Yes.
break bad ones. Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Mielke, C. (2019). The burnout cure. ASCD Musiowsky-Borneman, T. and Arnold, C.Y. (2021). The minimalist teacher. ASCD.
Finally, you must continue to reflect on this habit. Are you really saying Yes? Are you purposefully prioritizing? Are you collaborating with others, taking risks, and finding creative solutions? Are you still being true to yourself and encouraging the same in others? Are you accomplishing what you set out to do?
Vanderkam, L. (2016). How to gain control of your free time [video]. Ted. com. https://www.ted.com/talks/ laura_vanderkam_how_to_gain_ control_of_your_free_time Christina Ordonez has worked at Hoffman
Estates High School since 2002, starting as an English Teacher and Reading Specialist and moving in 2011 to the role of
Technology and Media Department Chair. In addition to her primary positions, she
Achor, S. (2010) The happiness advantage. Crown Business.
is also a theatre director and auditorium manager. As a New Educator Coordinator
Blaschka, A. (2019, December 6). Five reasons why saying ‘yes’ is the best decision for your career. Forbes. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/ sites/amyblaschka/2019/11/21/ five-reasons-why-saying-yesis-the-best-decision-for-yourcareer/?sh=47b68c342184
and one of the leads of the Teaching and
Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: tiny changes, remarkable results: an easy & proven way to build good habits &
for all educators and removing barriers to
Learning Team, Christina enjoys mentoring and supporting her colleagues in their continued learning and development. She holds Masters Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading Specialization, and Educational Leadership. She finds her passion in facilitating professional growth educational opportunities for both students and staff. 44
Article Say Yes to Smart, Happy Kids
Graduating from the University of Illinois at the turn of the new century, I would have never predicted the types of tools I would be teaching with and to the degree we would be using them. As my teaching career has unfolded, I continued to educate myself with graduate coursework, conversations with colleagues, and a high level of personal reading and experimentation to grow my practices as an educator. My academic education has been no doubt foundational to all that I have experienced as a teacher thus far, but it is quite apparent that much of the daily instructional design and decision-making needs to be done “on the spot” with the students currently right in front of me in the classroom. The technology tools I use today may or may not be the same ones I use five years from now (or even next year). They are definitely an important part of the direction taken for students; yet not something that forms the foundation of teaching and learning in and of itself. It is helpful to think about the work of MusiowskyBorneman and Arnold (2021) when they describe the Triple P framework in The Minimalist Teacher. They call on educators to define their purpose, priorities, and think about how to pare down resources (MusiowskyBorneman, Arnold 2021). As Musiowsky-Borneman and Arnold suggest, it is important to be intentional and 45
Say Yes to Happy Kids (cont.) simplify teaching and learning around a framework. Similarly, this framework I outline next will support educators’ efficacy of infusing technology tools
robust learning environment have always been paramount to cultivating smart, happy kids. It has never been more timely to create learning environments
We need to bring our classrooms back to the students we have in front of us. with the curriculum, standards, and most importantly the assessment in conjunction with the interests of students currently in their classrooms. The world is changing rapidly and the tools are not predictable. Therefore, every day I embark on this objective of creating smart, happy kids.
using current tools robust with digital media and content that our students are so accustomed to in their lives. Postpandemic, as educators, we never had more tools and apps to think about. Coupled with a plethora of standardsbased curricula, so many tools can get lost in the shuffle of our daily teaching lives. Therefore, as educators, we need to keep it simple. We need to bring our classrooms back to the students we have in front of us.
Student Engagement in a Changing World One thing that has not changed since my university graduation is my belief that students need to be engaged to learn. They need to be curious about the topics at hand, wanting to engage with them, and instruction has to be at their level. As I set out to articulate for this article what it is I do every day to create this journey of smart, happy kids year after year, I realize it goes back to two respected educational psychologists, Jerome Bruner and Lev Vygotsky.
Keeping in mind some very basic principles rooted in educational psychology, our classrooms will all have opportunities for smart, happy kids to thrive. Classical educational psychology theories are highly relevant to 21stcentury student engagement. Here are some strategies to foster student engagement, high levels of student success, and a 21st-century learning environment. Here is how to balance the classical with the modern world using digital tools.
While the device students are using has changed, as have the applications and websites, student engagement and a 46
Bruner and Vygotsky: Four Principles to Simplify Instructional Design Using Digital Tools Here are four principles that will help unravel the heaps of curriculum, piles of paperwork, and initiative after initiative simplifying classrooms in aspiring smart, happy kids everywhere. Each of the following four principles is rooted in classical educational psychology from Bruner and Vygotsky. I have chosen to simplify these for educators as assessment, collaboration, construction (a blend of creative and critical thinking), and lastly self-directedness or what also can be called intrinsic curiosity. I have created the chart on the following pages that can serve as the groundwork to clarify instructional goals with technology applications embedded in psychology.
collaboration can also occur with the digital tools students are using or even a hybrid across both approaches. Bruner and Vygotsky were also concerned with the role of the educator in facilitating new learning at the level of the learner. Vygotsky developed the theory of Zone of Proximal Development which is essentially finding out what a student knows, and what they do not know, and providing them with support and education in between. Bruner’s research surrounding scaffolding is very similar. “The concept of scaffolding is very similar to Vygotsky’s notion of the Zone of Proximal Development, and it’s not uncommon for the terms to be used interchangeably.” (McLeod, 2019) Consequently, due to the advancements in technology and focus on digital tools, educators can maximize formative assessment opportunities more quickly and with relatively more ease to meet the many varied needs in a classroom.
Bruner and Vygotsky were both social constructivists. “Both Bruner and Vygotsky emphasize a child’s environment, especially the social environment. Both agree that adults should play an active role in assisting the child’s learning.” (Saul McLeod, 2019). In other words, we need to create learning environments that are brimming with student interaction. In environments that flourish, the teacher offers a high degree of conversation and opportunities for collaborative work. In today’s classroom, educators balance these conversations with in-person meetings but a lot of
Kathy Koushanpour, a colleague of mine, puts a great deal of consideration into her daily assessment practices and tailoring instruction thoughtfully for her third-grade students. Koushanpour uses Flipgrid’s quick videos to create small groups for telling time on an analog clock and finding the elapsed time on an analog clock. She supports that the “use of Flipgrid as a formative 47
Teachers can create libraries and easily view student work for formative assessment in a few clicks.
Students can create their own work teams, write books together, and view each other's work for reflection and suggestions.
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Teachers have so many options in BrainPop for assessment to grow their learners. They can use Pause Points, BrainPop quizzes, or create their quizzes based on a topic. They can also use Make-A-Movie, or Creative Coding for performance-based assessments on a particular topic.
Students can work in partners or teams to discover topics they are curious about and converse on. While some of the BrainPop features like Make-A-Movie or Creative Coding do not allow for real-time collaboration, students can certainly work together to create some amazing and innovative projects.
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Teachers have easy access to many activity templates and different quiz formats including quizzes in real-time that allow teachers to get the formative feedback they need to tailor conversations and discussion based on response.
Discovery Education curates Virtual Field Trips, video from trusted partners, podcasts, and relevant channels to excite, engage, and connect students to the real world. Real world, curated digital media helps inspire critical and collaborative work. Authentic video throughout the Discovery Education platform supports engaging discourse on controversial topics.
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Teachers can ask students questions to gather formative assessment information. The ability to ask students for video responses helps teachers design instructional outcomes to match student needs and interests.
Students can work together to create videos. Students can also comment on each other's ideas with written or video thoughts.
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Google Classroom and Workspace
Teachers can view GoogleDocs, Slides, and Jamboards and check in on student understanding when an assignment is given. Teachers can assign questions and check for understanding before, during, or after class in a snap. Commenting and grading features allow for more in- depth analysis.
Students can share and collaborate throughout Google Workspace together. Students can thoughtfully comment on each others’ work, as well as share ideas in Workspace. In Google Classroom, students can post and comment to construct knowledge together.
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Padlet is a digital bulletin board that helps support a teacher’s facilitation of their classroom community. By creating digital bulletin boards, students can communicate in highly interactive ways. Teachers can organize bulletin boards in ways to support information gathering for their instructional planning.
Students can use Padlet in many ways to collaborate with peers. They can utilize screen recordings, video, and the other tools offered in this digital learning environment. They can express their viewpoints as well as think critically and creatively about those of others.
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WeVideo is an excellent option for performance-based assessment. It allows for students to show strengths, passions, and engage in school in ways that were not traditionally possible before digital tools.
WeVideo allows students to collaborate on projects together much like Google applications. Students find WeVideo to be engaging and allows students to develop important decision-making and confidence-building skills as they plan and create together.
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can create theiropportunities own work teams, writeall Students have so many to embed booksof together, other's for types content and into view their each planning andwork creations. reflection There are and app suggestions. integrations such as Canva, Bitmoji, Google Maps, and YouTube. Working to plan their own timelines, students have so many options to bring their voices to their audiences.
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Teachers have so many options BrainPop for While many teachers know aboutinBrainPop’s assessment tothey groware their learners. can use video content, unaware of They the features Pause Points,have BrainPop or create that students accessquizzes, to to grapple withtheir quizzes based on can a topic. They can content. Students construct theiralso ownuse Make-A-Movie, orlearning Creativemaps, Coding foreven code BrainPop videos, and performance-based onBrainPop’s a particular their own games andassessments stories right in topic. platform. digital
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Teachers can haveconstruct easy access many activity Students their to own presentations templatesslideshows and different quiz formats including including and boards in the Discovery quizzes in platform. real-time that allow teachers to get the Education formative feedback they need to tailor conversations and discussion based on response.
Discovery Education curates Virtual Field Trips, While students can view topics and assignments video from their trusted partners, podcasts, and given teacher, Discovery Education relevant channels to excite, engage, and connect offers students so many options to explore content students real world. Real world, curated that they to arethe curious on their own. digital media helps inspire critical and collaborative work. Authentic video throughout the Discovery Education platform supports engaging discourse on controversial topics.
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Teachers have can ask students questions gather Students so many options to usetotheir voice formative assessment information. ability and to and connect with classmates, their The audience, ask world. students for video responses helps the There are very clever tools forteachers students design match student to makeinstructional their videosoutcomes engaging,tosupport needs and interests. communication skills, and also help learners become digital citizens on a safe, educational platform.
can motivated work together to create Students are to create theirvideos. own StudentsThey can also on each other's ideas content. also comment are motivated by the social with written or video thoughts. learning aspects of the tool. There are lots of options for them to choose their own direction, make their own decisions, and stay curious to define some of their own content pathways.
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ollaborate throughout Google her. Classroom comment on each and hare ideas in Workspace. dents can post and Workspace wledge together.
Teachers can view GoogleDocs, Google Workspace is fueled by itsSlides, and Jamboards and check in on student open-endedness and limitless possibilities. understanding when an assignment is given. Students can embed their own videos, create Teachers can assign questions and check for diagrams, collect research and data through understanding before,websites, during, orand after class in a Google Forms,make innovate snap. Commenting features allow for content thoughtfully.and Thisgrading goes well beyond word more in- depth analysis. processing in and of itself.
can share collaborate throughout Students have manyand choices for formatting their Google Workspace together. own work and embedding content in thoughtful Students thoughtfully comment on each can ways. Forcan older students, Google Calendars others’ work, as well as share ideas in Workspace. replace traditional assignment notebooks. In Googlecan Classroom, students can their post classwork and Students effectively color code comment construct knowledge and createtonotifications and alertstogether. on their own.
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can use Padlet inthemselves many waysand to their Students have to manage collaborate with Theyand cantheir utilize screen interactions with peers. their peers audience. recordings, the other tools offered in Students willvideo, need and to think thoughtfully about how thispresent digital their learning environment. can to ideas thoughtfully,They respectfully, express their viewpoints as well as think critically and responsibly as a digital citizen. and creatively about those of others.
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WeVideo allows students to to collaborate on When given the opportunity create videos, projects together likeofGoogle applications. students are put inmuch control their learning and Students find WeVideo engagingstudents and allows planning. There are a lottoofbedecisions students to develop important decision-making must navigate and process when creating such a and confidence-building skills as they plan and complex product. create together.
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Say Yes to Happy Kids (cont.) assessment tool helps her reach learners quickly by just glancing through their mini videos of mathematical concepts on the March Calendar Grid.” Koushanpour also describes how students created performance assessments using WeVideo stemming from some work on mystery fiction.“ The video they created was so engaging because it contained photos and text, with background music that enhanced the understanding of the video. After others had viewed the videos. Mary Downing Hahn became a popular author for the readers in the classroom.” As Kathy
Koushanpour describes the use of classroom technology contributing to her assessment practices, the learner is at the forefront in this blend of the classical and modern worlds. Students are the heart of her classroom and she thoughtfully shares ways that engage students, inspire their curiosity, and meet students at their instructional levels. Steve Wheeler from the University of Plymouth illustrated the schematic diagram below quite effectively in 2013 (Wheeler, 2013). Students today have the ability to utilize Internet searches at their fingertips. We need to teach
learning theory, “students are more likely to try out their ideas with other students in discussion groups or teamwork activities than independently, they are able to discuss concepts and knowledge,
students to be curious and reflective to draw conclusions, think critically, and further their knowledge and advancement independently through a combination of technology and tools,
In essence, when coupled with thinking around education psychology, technology tools amplify students’ ability to construct knowledge on their own, think critically, and construct their ideas and thought processes in creative and innovative contexts. collaborative work, and scaffolding with those in the learning environment.
improving their critical thinking skills than when they work independently (2020). Likewise, in discussing Bruner, Zhou postulates “the learner is an active learner rather than passive, as the learner constructs new ideas and concepts or knowledge from their representation of information given to them” (2020). In essence, when coupled with thinking around education psychology, technology tools amplify students’ ability to construct knowledge on their own, think critically, and construct their ideas and thought processes in creative and innovative contexts. Furthermore, they afford students better opportunities to collaborate with classmates effectively. They also simplify formative assessment opportunities for teachers by creating effective and time-efficient platforms that
Wheeler states, “It is important for teachers to provide opportunities for children to constantly learn new things. Some of those may be highly complex and will require support of a very focused kind. Teachers need to be aware of the developmental state of each of the children in their care and should provide scaffolding that is appropriate” (TeachThought, 2014). Students will be more engaged when they are actively working at their level surrounding personal goals. Furthermore, self-directedness and students’ openness to curiosity and discovery are highly important to a learner’s engagement. Zhou advocates while thinking about Vygotsky’s social 51
Say Yes to Happy Kids (cont.) can be utilized relevantly and flexibly in the instructional design of their classes.
writers, and filmmakers.” In other words, Hadden is very purposeful in the way she is using scaffolding, where she is creating a lot of flexibility for choice, and how she thoughtfully engages students to work together. This chemistry of the classical blended with the modern opens the doors for independent, critical thinkers.
Amanda Hadden, another colleague of mine, creates a learning environment that allows for a lot of flexibility with her students in the driver’s seat. Amanda describes her use of Book Creator in the classroom and the opportunities it opens for students to execute a high degree of creation and innovation while also meeting her instructional goals for them. Amanda Hadden tells about how students took it upon themselves to create their own Book Creator graphic novel similar to Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series. They used the collaboration features to share the book with one another.
Infusing Classical Psychology and Modern Tools When we think about smart, happy kids we are thinking about kids who are actively engaged in their education and learning environments. Beyond internet searches and word processing, utilize these four categories in your daily instructional design. When using these four principles to design your daily educational outcomes, you will be designing an environment that is highly focused on the learner. Thinking about where each learner is and how to support their growth (assessment), allowing for opportunities to work together (collaboration), and providing for choice-filled authentic learning experiences and discussions (construction and self-directedness) will open the doors for student opportunity. When you infuse technology using this framework, it begins to help you structure student days around the learner using today’s digital tools.
Hadden says “she watched in awe as they made plans and assigned roles and responsibilities for the creation of their very own graphic novel series” and it “reminded her that students learn best when they are driving the learning.” Furthermore, Hadden discusses how frequently she uses WeVideo in her second-grade classroom. As she describes her use of this digital tool, it is clear how assessment, collaboration, construction, and self-directedness are at the center of her decision-making. Hadden says “she works with students to coach them on skills and strategies using model videos as mentors. Students work with one another to learn and grow as readers, 52
Apple’s iPhone was released in 2007 with the iPad following in 2010. It will be another 7 to 10 years before students born during this time will enter the teaching force as our colleagues. Vygotsky proposed the Zone of Proximal Development in the 1920s and much of Bruner’s work in educational psychology was focused around the 1960s. Blending modern tools with classical psychology will continue to support our learners and help us simplify the need for student engagement in our classrooms everywhere. Put your students first and thoughtfully utilize this framework to define your purpose, priorities, and how to pare down your resources thoughtfully and intentionally (Musiowsky-Borneman, Arnold 2021).
Building an Elementary Education Flipgrid Community: How can Flipgrid enhance your elementary classes? (n.d.).Flipgrid integration guide. https://static.flipgrid.com/docs/ Flipgrid_k12_community.pdf Community, D. E. N. (2022, May 9). Navigating controversial topics in middle school classrooms. Discovery Education Blog. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://blog. discoveryeducation.com/ navigating-controversial-topics-inmiddle-school-cla ssrooms/ Google for Education. Education Plus. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://edu.google.com/intl/ ALL_us/workspace-for-education/ editions/education-plus/
Say yes to smart, happy kids.
Book Creator App. Features. (n.d.). https://bookcreator.com/features/ Hadden, Amanda. Responding to Smart, Happy Kids. 18 June 2022. Video projects & teacher inspiration. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.wevideo.com/ education-resources Two students collaborate at a stand-up desk in Frances Zale’s classroom. They are using Book Creator to write a collaborative nonfiction text with a small group.
Kadar, A. (1999). BrainPOP. Brainpop. com. https://www.brainpop.com/ 53
Say Yes to Happy Kids (cont.) teachers-new-ways-to-engagestudents-with-digital-cont enteveryday/
Koushanpour, Kathy. Responding to Smart, Happy Kids. 16 June 2022. Learning theories for the digital age. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from http://steve-wheeler.blogspot. com/2013/05/learning-theoriesfor-digital-age.html
School Self-Evaluation and suggestions for use. (n.d.)Padlet Instruction Manual Incorporating Junior Cycle Key Skills. https://www.pdst.ie/sites/default/ files/Padlet%20Instructions.pdf
Learning Theories: Jerome Bruner On The Scaffolding Of Learning. (2014, December 2). TeachThought. https:// www.teachthought.com/learning/ jerome-bruner/#:~:text=Bruner
Zhou, J. (2020). A Critical Discussion of Vygotsky and Bruner’s Theory and Their Contribution to Understanding of the Way Students Learn. Review of Educational Theory, 3(4), 82. https:// doi.org/10.30564/ret.v3i4.2444e
Mcleod, S. (2019, July 11). Bruner - Learning Theory in Education. Simply Psychology. https://www. simplypsychology.org/bruner.html
Frances Zale has been an educator in Lake Bluff School District 65 for 20 years. Currently, she wears the hat of a third-grade teacher but has also taught kindergarten, first, and second grade, as well as worked as an enrichment specialist leader. She is passionate about using assessment to drive instruction, infusing technology into the school day, interdisciplinary curriculum, and creating strong classroom communities and learning environments grounded in the social-emotional wellness of students. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University, as well as a CAS degree in Educational Organization and Leadership also from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Mcleod, S. (2020). Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development. Simply Psychology. https://www. simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html Musiowsky-Borneman, T., & Arnold, C. Y. (2021). The minimalist teacher. ASCD. New Features Added to Discovery Education’s K-12 Learning Platform Gives Teachers New Ways to Engage Students with Digital Content Everyday. (n.d.)Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.discoveryeducation. com/details/new-featuresadded-to-discovery-education s-k-12-learning-platform-gives54
IL ASCD Area Representatives In 2014 when IL ASCD reorganized our leadership team, the role of Area Representative was created. Our “Area Reps” as we call them are a link to and from the various regions of our state. IL ASCD follows the same areas established by the Regional Offices of Education.
Chicago 773.535.7252 firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Area Reps are led by two members of our IL ASCD Board of Directors, Denise Makowski and Andrew Lobdell. Denise and Andrew are the Co-Leaders of our Membership and Partnerships Focus Area.
Principal of the Junior High School in the Lena - Winslow School District # 202 815.369.3116 email@example.com
Current Area Reps AREA 1: (Green) AREA 2: (Dark Blue) AREA 3: (Yellow) AREA 4: (Pink) AREA 5: (Light Blue) AREA 6: (Gold)
April Jordan Jennifer Winters Chad Dougherty Heather Bowman Kelly Glennon Annette Hartlieb Vacant
Contact information for them can be found HERE.
The roles of the IL ASCD Area Representatives are: •
Encouraging IL ASCD membership to educators in their local areas;
Assisting with professional development;
Attend board meetings and the annual leadership retreat, when possible;
Disseminating information from IL ASCD board meetings or other sanctioned IL ASCD activities to local school districts or other regional members
Being a two-way communication vehicle between the local IL ASCD members regarding IL ASCD or any educational issues.
Keeping IL ASCD Board of Directors apprised of pertinent information regarding personnel issues (e.g., job vacancies, job promotions) and district program awards/recognition within the local area.
Communicating regularly with IL ASCD Executive Director and the Co-Leaders of the Membership and Partnerships Focus Area.
Manage Your Time or Your Time Will Manage You with PJ Caposey September 21 | 9:00am - Noon Live Online Time management is not the issue. Truly, it is not. Time management is simply a symptom of one of eight larger issues. This journey can be infused with humor and will allow you to identify why you may struggle with optimizing your efficiency and effectiveness.
student learning and understand how motivation relates to engagement.
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K - 2 Math Games and Strategies For Teaching Place with Jane Felling October 3, 5, 17, 19 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm Zoom Place value needs to remain front and center in your teaching as you work through the rest of the year. Play games that incorporate the use of cards, dice, and number lines, and get ideas for easily differentiating the activities so that all learners can be engaged and successful.
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Shift from surviving to thriving. Strong mental fitness helps educators navigate the complexity of today’s world. Exploring values, mindful moments, emotional literacy, and how negative thoughts impact our decisions will help build resilience and self-acceptance, improving performance and relationships. MORE INFORMATION
Shifting the Balance: Six Ways to Bring Reading Science Alive for Beginning or Struggling Readers October 26 | 9:00am - 3:30pm Bobak’s Signature Events In-Person and Virtual In this workshop led by Jan Burkins & Kari Yates, based on the groundbreaking book Shifting the Balance, you’ll be invited to take an honest second look at current literacy practices, bravely considering the question, “What needs to shift?”
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FOCUS AREA LEADERS Membership and Partnerships Denise Makowski (Chicago) Andrew Lobdell (Lena-Winslow SD 202) Communications and Publications
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Joe Mullikin (Meridian CUSD 223) Jeff Prickett (McHenry High School District 156) Advocacy and Influence Richard Lange (National Louis University) Brenda Mendoza (West Aurora SD 129) Program Development Bev Taylor (Oak Brook) Terry Mootz (Crystal Lake) Sarah Cacciatore (Mundelein School District #75) Dee Ann Schnautz (SIU Carbondale) Doug Wood (Springfield) 58
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