Monday, March 20, 2017

David Justin Urbas - The First Step In Teaching Students To Think For Themselves

The first step in helping students think for themselves just might be to help them see who they are and where they are.

If we truly want students to adapt their thinking, design their thinking, and diverge their thinking, it (the thinking) has to start and stop somewhere.

Generally, this means beginning with the learning target a teacher establishes and ending with an evaluation of how the student “did.” But thinking has nothing to do with content. Thinking is a strategy to learn content, but they are otherwise distinct. This process, then, is about thought and learning rather than content and mastery.

Examining A Self-Directed Learning Framework

In 2013, we created a framework to guide students in self-directed learning. The idea was/is for each student to truly think for themselves. There are two theories that underpin this concept of students being able to create and navigate their own learning pathways:

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Sunday, March 12, 2017


Do you want to have interesting conversations and communicate openly with your teenager? Here’s a secret: Developing a strong communication connection with your child begins by learning the best ways to communicate with your preschool-age child.

Why communication interactions with kids are so important, even for their brain development

Apple Magazine and the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative website feature cutting edge brain research, which validates that back-and-forth, continuous communication interactions or turns are beneficial for children. If you want kids to progress faster with their speech, language and communication skills, give them lots of opportunities to take uninterrupted, back-and-forth communication turns with you.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017


There are many ways you can promote reading with your children other than through books. While books are of course a wonderful resource, your home also provides a variety of additional reading material.


If you have pre-readers and beginning readers, put magnetic letters on your refrigerator door. Put them at your child’s level and create sentences. Ask your child to write the shopping list with the letters.

Leave large cereal boxes on the table and watch your child engage with the words and colorful graphics. Ask them to ‘find’ certain elements, letters and words.

Ask your child to dictate or write down the steps to make, for example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then together, try and make the sandwich using those exact directions.

Show your children how recipes work, and have them help read the instructions and gather ingredients and utensils.

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Friday, March 3, 2017


Daycare and preschool present enormous benefits for your child. “Both offer kids experiences they might not get at home, such as exposure to a larger social environment that can help them learn how to get along well with others,” says Cathy Keller, the director of a preschool and infant care centre. Who knew that 18 month olds could have friends? When kids go to daycare and preschool, their schedule tends to fill up with play-dates and birthday parties. Developmentally, kids who’ve done at least a year of preschool are more ready to jump into the learning environment of Kindergarten too.

“Preschool is an environment in which kids have the opportunity to use language in many different ways with others who are at the same developmental age,” says Jennifer Kurumada Chuang, the owner of a multi-grade childcare centre and preschool. But, overall, preschool helps young, naturally-egocentric kids learn how to exist with others in a classroom. “Preschoolers learn how to take turns, follow directions, pick up after themselves, stand in line, sit in a circle, raise their hand, use their words to express themselves instead of physically acting out and talk when it’s appropriate,” says Kurumada Chuang. “If they master those social skills in preschool, they’re ready to learn in Kindergarten.”

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Sitting still and listening to a story is a developmental skill that can be nurtured over time. Sometimes young children are just too full of energy to sit still and pay attention to a book. They’re like a basket full of puppies needing to wiggle, run and play. How will you ever instill a love of reading into your wiggly toddler or preschooler? Never fear. There are ways to give your child the freedom to work out the wiggles and still leave time for some snuggly reading time.

Here are 10 strategies that just might work for your little wiggler:

1. Be sure your child gets adequate active playtime before choosing to read. Children will be much more likely to manage quiet reading time if they’ve ‘used up their wiggles’ in vigorous play.

2. Choose naptime or bedtime as primary reading times. Your child is already sleepy and ready for cuddly quiet time. Some parents find that reading during bath time works well.

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