Chalk Art

Sara LockieArt for Life, Family adventures, Mindfulness & Movement1 Comment

What do the Northern Lights, mountain landscapes, STEM, and chalk art all have in common? They all showed up at our activity at the Walnut Hills STEAM Festival in Waukee last week! Not just Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but we celebrated Art, too, at this festival. We took over the art room and had full tables of artists of all ages … Read

Bright Spots

Sara LockieMindfulness & MovementLeave a Comment

Confession – I really like to have a plan, and having extra time at the end of a class can send me into a tail spin. But luckily, things work out even when the plan needs some add-ons. I’m volunteering with a group of energetic third and fourth graders, and end up with about 7 minutes extra after we finish … Read

FUN!!! With Kids & Worms

Shelly JohnsonFamily adventures, Outdoor Education, Team BuildingLeave a Comment

Brody Middle School students

How do you get middle school kids to think about garbage and composting? Well, you simply bring some wiggly worms to school. Along with the live ones, it doesn’t hurt to provide some gummy ones as well. Last Wednesday I did just that–I took worms of both types, along with some other stuff to College, Career, and Community (C3) Day at … Read

Last Stop on Market Street

Sara LockieSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

Last Stop on Market Street

Last week when I had a conversations about race with white suburban kids 5 to 10 years old, the response surprised, challenged, and inspired me. The lesson was simple–read and discuss Matt de la Peña’s award winning picture book Last Stop on Market Street. I opened to the first page and asked how the neighborhood in the book looked different from the … Read

Teacher Perspectives|Settle Down

Sara LockieMindfulness & MovementLeave a Comment

Kids at Recess

Taylor Johnson noticed a challenging time for her fourth grade students was after lunch and recess.  Students were coming in from the playground still in conversations, and she struggled to help them focus on learning again. “Breathing exercises get them back on track,” she says. She decided to try teaching her students controlled breathing techniques and now uses a breathing … Read

Teacher Perspectives|Take a Break

Sara LockieMindfulness & MovementLeave a Comment

Mychele adores her job and especially the joy on her students’ faces when they learn something new. She is an experienced kindergarten and reading lab teacher. She’s seen it all. And even with years of experience behind her it’s still hard, “I have 25 kiddos. I just feel like, as a teacher, I have to help all of them – … Read

Want Better Discussions? Avoid the Pitfalls and Keep Moving Forward

Jesse WilcoxCoaching for GrowthLeave a Comment

Three earlier posts in this series provided some proactive ways to invigorate your classroom conversations. We addressed questioning techniques, wait time, verbal and non-verbal response and framing the conversation. This post addresses some common pitfalls as well as some ways to move forward with your engaging classroom discussions. We’re all human, and teachers can fall victim to some behaviors that … Read

Summer Days

Sara LockieFamily adventures, Outdoor EducationLeave a Comment

Last spring our mailbox was crammed with glossy brochures filled with summer opportunities. Day camps, overnight camps, weekly classes, weekend trips. They all sounded like fantastic new experiences that our kids would enjoy and remember for a lifetime. “I just want to be at home,” my 10-year-old son glanced at the brochures and said, “But Mom, the schedule is always … Read

Want Better Discussions? Frame the Conversation

Jesse WilcoxOutdoor Education, Philosophy & MusingsLeave a Comment

Just as important as the verbal interactions we use with students, we must also be aware of our non-verbal behaviors. Eye-contact, smiles, looking interested, and open body posture can make the environment feel much more open and welcoming. When we relax and employ these more positive nonverbal behaviors, students tend to engage in and contribute to classroom discussions (Herman, 2008). … Read

Want Better Discussions? Just Wait A Few Seconds.

Jesse WilcoxOutdoor Education, Philosophy & MusingsLeave a Comment

My last post introduced some questioning methods that can engage students in more authentic classroom conversations. Now that you’ve had a chance to try some open-ended questions or the HRASE Strategy, and incorporate them into your classroom repertoire, we have two more approaches to try Wait Time I and Wait Time II. This can be a powerful way to encourage … Read