Category Archives: Student Engagement

Kent Innovation High Students Enter ArtPrize

This spring, Kent Innovation High’s Economics/English classes (grade 11) engaged in a project connecting art to real-world economic issues. Students began by studying supply and demand shifts and the role these play in the national marketplace.

Four short stories by powerhouse authors including Kurt Vonnegut and Chinua Achebe created a lens by which students could understand the personal impact of economic shifts including poverty, government intervention, immigration, and more. Continue reading Kent Innovation High Students Enter ArtPrize

Swivl is Changing Teaching and Learning

Think back to your days of student teaching. You were young, nervous, and had no idea what to do. To make matters worse, you were asked to record video of yourself teaching. These experiences were helpful, however, the embarrassment and time involved with these videos prevented you from ever recording yourself again.

Recording video has become easier than ever. Anyone with a cell phone can capture video and post it online for anyone else to see. In fact, you can even livestream video using apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope. However, even with the invention of the selfie, recording teaching and learning in the classroom is still a difficult task that requires someone or something else to hold the camera. Continue reading Swivl is Changing Teaching and Learning

Don’t Miss Kenowa Hills Personalized Learning In Action!

See personalized learning in action at the Kenowa Hills Public School District

You may have read about personalized learning in previous blog posts (5 Misconceptions of Personalized Learning) or maybe you even attended PLCON 2016, but have you seen what it actually looks like in a classroom, school, and district?
On Tuesday, May 2, Kenowa Hills is welcoming up to 50 educators to visit their elementary, middle, and high schools for guided classroom tours, mini-presentations, and Q & A sessions with teachers, students, and school leaders. This is a FREE opportunity open to all educators

Continue reading Don’t Miss Kenowa Hills Personalized Learning In Action!

Increase Student Engagement Using littleBits

According a Kaiser Foundation study conducted in 2010, children between the ages of eight and 18 spend an average of 7 hours 38 minutes a day with digital media.

Bill Gates started hacking computers at age 13. At just 10 years old, Mark Zuckerburg created a home network. And, Steve Jobs started tinkering with electronics before he even started grade  school. What do all of these men have in common? They all created products of technology (Windows, Facebook, Apple) that our students spend 7 hours a day using.

Our students love these technologies…but how many of them know how they really work? Continue reading Increase Student Engagement Using littleBits

Tackling Text Structures: A Nontraditional Approach

Few could argue the importance of understanding text structure. When it comes to reading, having a grasp of structure will help a reader’s brain focus in on the important aspects of a text, helping to connect points and enhancing comprehension. For writing, being able to effectively choose and apply the appropriate text structure for the purpose of an individual piece is key for expressing a big idea or opinion.

While text structure is important, teaching text structure can sometimes be…well…dry as toast. Simply serving up pre-planned graphic organizers and lists of transitional words for individual structures, while important, may not capture students’ attention, at least not to the degree intended to have young readers and writers truly internalize text structures in order to make the best use of them in their reading and writing work. We need to find a way to have students experience text structures where they will actually be able to remember them and distinguish one structure from another. Continue reading Tackling Text Structures: A Nontraditional Approach

The Xtreme Librarian Spreads the Love of Reading!

“School libraries are where it all begins. They are the opportunity to know yourself and to develop the great habit of reading. No matter what you are interested in there’s a book waiting for you and it starts in that place.” John Schumacher (http://mrschureads.blogspot.com/)

We all know reading is important.  In fact, students who don’t read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school. For this reason, as well as many others, school districts place a lot of emphasis on literacy. Continue reading The Xtreme Librarian Spreads the Love of Reading!

Creating Digital Learning Experiences

Several years ago, Kent ISD developed the “IT Tool” and worked with a group of local educators to develop 16 courses that focused on core curriculum. These 16 courses were largely designed to be used  as “in-class” resources and assessments that lived within this new tool.

Fast forward to today, the IT Tool is now Kickstand System’s Edify, a learning management system with over 53 pre-built K-12 courses to be used by a teacher and their students.  The most recent initiative is to take the existing courses and adapt them so that they can be delivered as an  online learning experience. Continue reading Creating Digital Learning Experiences

Don’t Miss: West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium

On Thursday October 6, 2016, Gov. Snyder signed the Third Grade Reading Bill which is aimed at improving early literacy.  This new legislation renews an energy and sense of urgency around literacy in Michigan.  

The Reading Now Network (RNN), a collaborative partnership formed by ISD’s in West Michigan counties, has a mission to improve early literacy and student achievement.  Continue reading Don’t Miss: West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium

5 Misconceptions of Personalized Learning

In 2015, the Michigan State Board of Education identified as a priority, “Increasing the use of personalized teaching methods, including the integration of technology for K-14 students to improve learning and outcomes.” In 2016, The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) released their plan to become a top 10 state in 10 years, which incorporated personalized learning as 1 of its 7 strategies. While  the state has a strong focus on personalized learning, many local districts in Michigan are just beginning to develop their understanding around this educational concept. Continue reading 5 Misconceptions of Personalized Learning

Using Arts to Improve Student Learning in Reading, Math, and Science

Imagine 2nd grade students marching, swinging, and twirling to show how movement adds fun and effect to theatre performance!

Imagine 5th graders creating stories that emerge from symbols discovered on images of ancient urns – showing understanding of visual arts!

Imagine high school students getting attention for their vocal talent when performances are recorded and assessed by both teachers and students as evidence for quality!

“When early elementary teachers integrate music and theater, student learning improves in reading, math, and science as they become better critical thinkers and problem solvers.” Edutopia, “Rainstorms and Symphonies: Performing Arts Bring Abstract Concepts to Life.” Mary Grescok, Lisette Steinwald, 10/5/2016.

The New Mexico School for Arts teaches its high school students to take risks, make mistakes and learn from critical feedback to learn and grow.  This school has outperformed the state in reading, math, and science every year since 2013. Continue reading Using Arts to Improve Student Learning in Reading, Math, and Science