Today's guest blog is written by Jill Vialet, CEO and Founder of Playworks Schools all over the country are trying to figure out how to improve outcomes in the classroom. So, what does that have to do with the weather? When it is too cold or wet outside, many schools cancel outdoor recess. And when kids are cooped up in a classroom all day without the chance to let off some steam, that can affect their ability to learn. Most education experts don't spend a lot of time thinking about recess, but it is an invaluable tool that can help ...


In his 2012 State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he was a lobbyist for students (Hu. N.Y.Times). Speech after speech he uses data that shows that N.Y. State students are lagging behind the rest of the country. He often mentions that New York is number one in spending but 38th in results (Santos, N.Y. Times). He ignores all of the good news about New York's schools, such as their recent rating of number 3 in the nation for excellence, according to the Quality Counts report. He also ignores how New ...


The current economic and political climate could become the Achilles Heel for schools but they must not let it. Everyone has an Achilles Heel. It's the one thing that can take even the strongest of individuals to a dark place. Depending on the individual or the situation, an Achilles Heel can take us down or make us stronger. It all depends on who the adult is, and how they deal with the situation. Unfortunately, even children have an Achilles Heel. If taught resilience at a young age, children can grow up to do great things with their lives. How does ...


Responding to Peter DeWitt's "The Benefits of Failure." Today's guest blog is written by Debbie Silver (parent of 5 boys and teacher of 30 years) The Japanese have a proverb that says, "Fall down 7 times, get up 8." I think that is a wonderful metaphor for what most of us want for our children. We would like to think that when our child does a face plant in the dirt, she will rise, dust herself off, lift her chin in the air and proclaim, "Well, I learned what not to do, so I'll try again." However, fostering that kind ...


Conflict resolution is one of the most important life skills that students can learn when it comes to social and professional relationships. If you've ever spent time in an elementary school, you understand that students get mad at one another. As a former first grade teacher I heard my share of kids who said, "He's gave me a dirty look," or "He called me the S word," which was not the vulgar S word that came to mind. No name calling is ever kind but we do know that some are much worse than others. Students have disagreements all the ...


It no longer matters what kind of school system you belong to, it only matters that what is being done presently is more political than ever and it is not good for kids. Schools have always been able to provide opportunities, better or worse, based on zip code. The wealthiest schools around the country can provide resources that other urban and rural schools may not be able to provide. Regardless of the type of school it is usually a microcosm of their whole community. Students walk in shaped by their parents' ideas and school is a place where those ideas ...


In the past I have written that educators should be joining Twitter. It's not because I get some kickback from the social networking organization. Twitter was something I didn't know very much about until a few months ago. There was a time that I thought it was more fluff than substance. I'm far removed from the celebrities who Tweet where they are going to dinner or who they are with on any particular evening. However, the benefits that I have received from Twitter are far greater than just collecting friends and finding out who is more popular. Twitter has given ...


"We cannot have an impact on educational issues if teachers are the only ones who feel that the good ole days were in fact good at all." Over the past couple of decades students sat in classrooms feeling unengaged or disrespected. They may have had combative relationships with their teachers, struggled with academics, or may have been gifted and ultimately bored with their state of affairs. Perhaps their parents did not have a great deal of respect for school, so they grew up hearing how bad school was for their parents and were disengaged by the time they hit middle ...


Data can tell educators and students where they have been successful and where they need help, but too much data can make those same educators lose focus of what they are supposed to be doing, which is educating students and creating a safe and nurturing environment. Data is quickly creeping into the daily lives of teachers and administrators. Everywhere educators turn they are asked if they are making decisions based on data. As much as data is important to instruction, the more the word gets used, the more there is a chance that it will clumped into the junkyard of ...


Last week, a story about book banning in the Tucson Unified School District appeared in newspapers (NY Times) and blogs (Larry Ferlazzo). Tucson USD allegedly banned books on a variety of topics but mostly those related to the oppression of ethnic minorities, one of which was Rethinking Columbus edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. The banning was all part of a decision by some Arizona state politicians to shut down the district's popular ethnic studies program. As schools are trying to engage students through the use of 21st century skills there are others schools that are still practicing the ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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