How Project-Based Learning Educates the Whole Child « The Whole Child Blog « Whole Child Education

I love this quote from Thom Markham, a psychologist, educator, and president of GlobalRedesigns


Allow the wow. The whole child is a creativity machine that can be turned on—and effective PBL teachers know how to reward innovative thinking, as well as honor divergent solutions that adults haven’t yet discovered. The best PBL employs creativity rubrics, “breakthrough” columns on rubrics, brainstorming, peer protocols, and formal reflection as core tools. It is quite possible to activate the inner resources of children by simply following two guidelines—1) that today’s young people want to reinvent, not reenact, the world; and 2) that “genius” is derived from the same root word as “joy.”

Read the whole post here…

via How Project-Based Learning Educates the Whole Child « The Whole Child Blog « Whole Child Education.

Helping Your Child Finish Their Homework (or what to do when they don’t have your homework gene)

Here are three strategies that can help a parent and child get a better handle on completing homework.

1) The Sandwich.  Always use at least a two to one ratio of positive to negative comments on the child’s homework.  Looking at their math?  If they got 6 out of 10 right, then notice the hard ones they completed.

“Your long division is really great and your hand writing is so neat on this one.  You only have a few that aren’t right.  All your fractions are correct!, Way to go!” Focus as much as possible on developing a Growth Mind-Set — that is, reinforce effort and hard work over natural intelligence.  Of course your little darling is a genius, you know it, just don’t tell her.  Convince her instead, to always give 100% effort.

2) The Rough Check  Dr. Phelan (Author of 1,2,3, Magic, makes a compelling case for 8:00 pm being no time to try to find perfection.  His protocol for the rough check is to see if the work is 80% correct, neat, and complete.  If so, call it good.  We want kids to complete their assignments, not perfect them. You can find Dr. Phelan’s materials here.

3) Contingency Rewards  — Lastly, set up a contingency system where you reward the child for a week of completed homework.  The trick here is to not make it all or nothing.  Think in terms of a sliding scale.  Each day, if there is homework, your child can earn up to ten points:

1 for neatness if they exceed the 80% neatness criteria of the Rough Check

1 – for completeness — f they exceed the 80% completeness criteria of the Rough Check

1- for correctness — f they exceed the 80% correct criteria of the Rough Check

1 – for not complaining about doing the homework, or your evaluation

6 – for starting on their own with out you having to remind them

If at the end of the week your student has averaged an 8 — they get the special reward or privilege, if not, well, there is always next week. If they score a 10 each day, throw a party!

The idea here is you are valuing self starting and removing the arguing from the equation.  As a warning you do have to be prepared to let your child miss a few assignments, for the contingency plan to work.  Just be sure the privilege or reward is something they won’t want to pass up on (skiing with dad).

Combined these strategies can be a very powerful tool to get a homework adverse child “retrained” and prevent a perfectionist child from becoming bogged down in the habit of procrastination because the work isn’t good enough.

Great Article on Keeping your Kids Motivated to Learn



Real Mom Q: Why do children love early learning but burnout by 4th grade?.

My Kindergartener is like a sponge, always wanting to find out new information.  Your’s probably were too.  So, what happens to our kids that as they get older they become reluctant learners?  Dr. Lynne Kenney has some thoughts on why this happens, and what we can do to prevent/reverse this process.


What If You Don’t Know What Your Passion Is? Where to Look | Liz Strauss at Successful Blog

What If You Don’t Know What Your Passion Is? Where to Look | Liz Strauss at Successful Blog. Last week I spoke with a number of young adults who had difficulty telling me what they wanted to do when they finished high school.  They had difficulty putting a finger on what they were “passionate about”.  When you don’t know the answer (or think you don’t) it is pretty hard to really care about school, grades, taking the SAT & ACT tests… But, once you discover what it is that you were meant to do, the other pieces start to fall into place.  Check out this perspective on knowing what your passion is.  Maybe it will help some of you get excited about your future in a way you never have before.

12 Reasons Parents Might Not Be Involved in School

I hope none of the parents I work with will hear me say any of these things… As a parent, I know how much I want to be involved in my child’s education.  Work, other children at home, our busy lives make it hard to do.   I hope the parents I work with have not stayed away because of the messages that I’ve inadvertently sent out.

Parents, we need your help as much as you want to help.  Lets get together and do this!  Don’t Say It! –

Help Your Teenager Become a Confident Writer –

Help Your Teenager Become a Confident Writer –  I spent last week working with a wonderful group of students preparing for the writing section of the Alaska High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE).  They spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday — 9:00 am to 4:00 pm with me, focusing only on improving their writing.  One common thread for all these students was they lacked confidence in their ability to write effectively.  Most of them had the basic skills, but they did not believe in themselves enough to get started.  Here are some tips to help your child have the confidence they need to effectively communicate their ideas.

Tips for parents working to create a successful school year | Star News

Tips for parents working to create a successful school year | Star News.  We’re already into the second month of school, but its not too late to be thinking about making a great start to the year.  Here are some tips from school principals around the country on what parents can do to make the best year for their children