Dec 31

Book Review: Born to Learn without Schooling

borntolearnBecause of my passion and interest in creative education techniques, I was asked to read and post a book review on Born to Learn: How Children Learn Without Schooling by Kytka Hilmar-Jezak.

The author is very passionate about how children learn and showing creative teaching and learning methods. Her book gives a good description of how her own children were educated and encouraged to express their own interests and learning styles. They were not educated in traditional classrooms and schools and were encouraged to learn and grow at their own levels. The author expressed her teaching strategies that worked for her family. Although her writing tended to sound biased, she encouraged readers to put their own education preferences and styles aside while reading the book. Her writing style would be best incorporated with other educators who show similar teaching techniques and interests. There is a lack of references to support her creative teaching strategy; therefore, readers must invest time in the book by understanding the author is telling her story, not so much writing for persuasion.

Finally, I recommend reading this book for educators who are interested in creatively investing in the education of young children. The author gives a good description of her children’s educational journey from childhood to the independence of adulthood. Allowing children to explore their worlds and learn by doing enables them build an understanding of real-world experiences. They are free to learn in ways in which God ultimately created them.

 

Oct 28

Learning to be the Light

lightThis month in Kids Church we have been learning and discussing creativity. The latest lesson focused on shining a light on different items and creatively using them to share Jesus. How would you use a screwdriver to share Jesus? How would you use a broom to share Jesus? Students were given a bag with which to choose items and decide how they would use each item as a way to share Jesus and be the light of Jesus.

We can each be creative in sharing Jesus with our lives and everyday items. We can use tools to help someone repair or build something. We can use a broom to sweep a neighbor’s sidewalk. We can use a basket to collect a neighbor’s mail while he is on vacation or away for the weekend. No job is too small. Jesus’ light shines through all people, all ages, and in all ways when done for God’s glory.

 

How have your creatively been a light for someone?

Sep 27

Love Letters from God book review

lovelettersAre you looking for a short devotional book? This book presents Bible stories in easy-to-read formats with Scripture references. Each story is followed by a Love Letter from God to apply the Biblical story to modern daily living.

At the end of the book, there is a space to include a letter to God to share how we can continue the Bible study and personal God times upon completion of the book.

The images in the book are clear and well-illustrated to accompany the Scripture passages. Image-rich individuals are able to view the stories in pictures and imagine the stories as they read along and understand the Scripture passages.

Pick up a copy of this book from this link and live the Bible stories in word and images as you study the Scriptures further and apply to daily living experiences.

Love Letters from God author: Glenys Nellist

Illustrator: Sophie Allsopp

Sep 01

Drive with Headlights on

Transformative Assessment in higher education can be compared to hands-on active learning in lower grades. To evaluate higher education programs, schools and faculty were using student surveys to determine program effectiveness. However, these tools often failed to measure student learning and gave poor understandings of program effectiveness and faculty success. Those current assessment tools failed to tell the whole story (Lorenzetti, 2004, 3). Therefore, the Transformative Assessment Project (TAP) was developed and created an active learning tool for students and assessment methods for schools and faculty to more accurately determine student progress and learning.

For baseball players to learn to hit a ball, they must practice swinging the bat and perform active participation in batting practice and in games. Student learning abilities must be exercised in similar methods by allowing students to active participate in hands-on activities as well. When drivers operate a vehicle at night, they need headlights to see. Students need tools with which to work and successfully manage hands-on learning activities. These hands-on activities create assessment tools for teachers to evaluate active learning methods of students in the moment, not after they have learned the material from a book.

To start a TAP, teachers create a rubric that outlines areas of emphasis for students and what they should master in the plan. Teachers keep track of student learning and progress throughout the program and evaluate progress. The transformative plan will focus on different aspects of student progress and allow teachers to manage teaching techniques to meet student needs. This learning style is based on learning processes, not evaluating learning outcomes from only one teaching method.

References

Lorenzetti, J. (2004). Transformative Assessment in Higher Education. Distance Education Report, 8(6), 3-7.

Aug 30

Learning through Play

learnplay

The learning environment includes many elements of schools and classrooms, including facilities, room arrangement, students, resources, climate, and support (Wilmore, 2014, 607). Each of these elements plays critical roles in the learning environment and creating positive learning experiences for all learners. Students must feel ownership and comfort in their classroom environment. They must experience a safe relationship with their teachers and leaders. When students have a partnership in their learning curriculum, they will have a positive attitude and accomplishment in their learning careers. Through appropriate and positive relationships, students and teachers become co-learners together in the classroom as they experience and explore the learning environment (Goh, 2002). By learning with their students, teachers become familiar with student needs and abilities and can better plan and prepare appropriate learning material.

An appropriate learning environment must include elements of simulation, stimulation, and interests for all learners. An atmosphere of simulation creates a safe and controlled environment in which skills are developed (Mifsud, 2012, 25). A simulated environment for all learners creates an environment of play and discovery or exploration. In the pre-kindergarten environment, teachers create active learning centers with which students interact and explore on their own learning styles. Students learn through play; therefore, they experience active learning participation in the classroom. This active exploration element of the environment creates positive experiences with which students can develop all areas of growth and become fully developed individuals.

References

Goh, S. C., & Khine, M. S. (Eds.). (2002). Studies in Educational Learning Environments: An International Perspective. River Edge, NJ, USA: World Scientific. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Mifsud, L. (2012). Creating a learning environment. Synergy: Imaging & Therapy Practice, 25-29.

Wilmore, E. L. (2006). Learning Environments. In F. W. English (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration (Vol. 2, pp. 607-608). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3469600355&v=2.1&u=minn04804&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=313af9fff1c8bd280a672232a3a32720

Aug 24

Planning Activities with Student Interests

handson   Of the four futuring methods highlighted in this section, educators can combine two of them to work together for learners in classrooms. Polling and visioning have similar uses to be combined, and modeling and gaming have similarities to combine as well. Polling is used to collect data from others through interviews, questionnaires, and conversations to determine needs and interests. By polling individuals, educators can be aware of directions in which to follow for appropriate learning material and curriculum. Visioning is completed when educators review past events and experiences and evaluate effectiveness of programs and studies. To conduct visioning strategies, educators can use polling techniques of interviews and conversations to assist in decision-making choices. If programs are found to be ineffective or uninteresting to student groups, educators can redesign study programs. Modeling uses things to teach concepts. Educators can use real-world models to represent complex systems (Cornish, 2004, 79). Through the use of hands-on manipulatives, students can experience complex learning material and experience visual representation of curriculum included in textbooks. Gaming is associated with modeling as students use real-world situations by playing different roles. Similar to student use of hands-on manipulatives in modeling, students can use gaming techniques for hands-on experiences as well. By interacting with real-world experiences, students gain visual knowledge as well as book knowledge.

References

Cornish, E. (2004). Futuring: The Exploration of the Future. Bethesda, MD: World Future Society.

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