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Molding Creativity: Learning With The Kid and His Clay

In Braeden, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

When you walk around my sister’s home, you may just miss the added decorative pieces sitting in random places throughout. There are little clay figures, moldings, drawings and small trinkets in specially chosen places. For years, as my nephew created his art pieces, he didn’t lose them or throw them out. Instead, he found places for them to sit in his home. Some of them, especially the shelf sitters, are so specifically placed that I wonder if he made them with their eventual location in mind. I’ll have to ask him that question. What I love about watching Braeden make …

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The Error of Compliance: Are We Empowering Kids to Think and Question?

In Professional Growth, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis10 Comments

I cringe every time that I see small children sitting in their straight “school approved” rows sitting silently. When they speak, they are told “shhh” or some even get accustomed to placing their finger over their mouth which serves to remind them to remain silent. At the slightest of noise, the parent is informed… “Your child is great but they are being far too social.” Kids raise their hands for approval to ask questions. Sometimes, when the question isn’t warranted, they’re even reprimanded for asking. My favorite one…”When will we ever use this?” (Truthfully, they SHOULD ask this question) Born …

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5 Be’s of Supporting Learners in Any Classroom

In Professional Growth, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Small changes can definitely make the difference in terms of supporting learners in any classroom. If you’re looking for a way to spice up that traditional classroom setting, here are some tidbits from my classroom to yours! These are my “5 Be’s”… 1. Be Creative Just because the district provides a guide doesn’t mean that the “recipe” can’t be modified or changed. Being creative is about seeing beyond the black and white of your content and making it adaptable for diverse learners. What can you do differently to get class started? How can you take a worksheet of problems and …

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Being an EDU-Parent: When the Teacher with Terrible Practices Called

In Professional Growth, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis20 Comments

Last week I received a call from one of my son’s teachers about his inability to sit and copy verbatim power point notes for 45 minutes straight. To add insult to injury, this teacher went on to describe how he gives his students a “notes quiz” to prove that they wrote down every word which also gives kids a free 100 as a grade. I listened to him, a friend of mine no less, with these thoughts racing in my head… Who on earth gives kids, especially HS freshman, 45 minutes of verbatim notes via ppt? My son has to …

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Supporting Teachers in Tech Integration During Planning

In Ipad, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

Today I had the opportunity to support a group of 1st grade teachers in integrating technology during the planning process. I’ve never taught 1st grade so this experience was definitely a welcomed one. Each teacher had classroom access to two ipads at all times. In addition, their campus had an ipad cart that could be checked out weekly. As for ipad use, teachers had only used practice apps and games during centers. Creativity had not been heard of. Even after being told “I’m not a tech person”, this group excited me because I knew that all of these issues were …

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Diving into Google with a College Freshman

In Google, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis3 Comments

Prior to leaving for college in August, I made a purchase that I thought would help my daughter fulfill her technological needs as a college freshman. I bought a chromebook. I wanted to spend the time walking her through the ins and outs of her new device. She wouldn’t let me and insisted that she could figure it out. She did, for the most part. She found youtube, twitter and her college textbooks. As I pressed her for finding where she would type her college essays, she responded… “This thing doesn’t have Microsoft mom.” To which I replied… “No, it …

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Speaking with No Voice

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

I woke up this morning with no voice. ” I’m sick and the soreness of my throat has left me void of the ability to speak. My initial thought was… “How am I supposed to communicate when I can’t talk?” I thought about the students that I’ve taught over the years who were absent of a physical voice yet spoke candidly through other means….their actions. We talk a great deal in the educational circuit about “student voice” and “teacher voice”. Those conversations are usually centered around the idea of choice…giving students and teachers a “say” into how they tackle their …

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The Critical Importance of Digital Information Literacy

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

I get calls often from people in and outside of education inquiring about subject matter that can easily be accessed through the most basic tech function of all…searching. At times, I’ve even gotten a bit witty and sent them a link via “Let Me Google That For You” because in my mind, it’s not that hard to search. The difference is that I’ve been educated on the process of searching and validating so the idea of not knowing something that I need to know is a foreign concept. In my non-edu life, information gathering is often limited to “googling it”. …

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When the Planned Technology Does NOT Work

In Professional Development, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

Yesterday I taught a session after school that failed to go off without a hitch. Luckily I was prepared to tap into my classroom experiences when similar situations occurred. As I poetically worked through issues and then tweeted about it, it became obvious that many other classroom teachers are faced with the same dilemmas. Are we preparing them to know what to do if the tech tool stops working? There are multiple reasons why the planned tech fails. In my classroom, with every tech component networked, if the network failed…the tech didn’t work. The network failed often. In the world …

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Here’s to the Creative Problem Solvers

In Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis0 Comments

The moments that I remember from my years as a  student were the ones in which I was able to be creative. During my freshman year, we designed book covers for our novel of choice in our school library. I chose Auntie Mame and I remember going back to the library often just to see my cover on the book on the shelf. In art class, after being given a blank canvas, I painted a full pit orchestra of a ballet with dancers on stage. My painting was a tribute to pointillism and it was truly one of a kind …