Water Balloons Make Math Fun: A Constructivist Algebra LessonIn the math class of veteran teacher Steve Norton, students cut pizza into precise triangles, calculate the volume of ice cream cones (filling them with real ice cream), and throw water balloons at their teacher. Norton wants to show his grade 8 students that algebra can be fun and engage them in ‘learning through doing’. It’s a constructionist approach that engages students in the learning experience, in part, by allowing them to actually construct or do something ‘real’.
Getting Kids Out of the ClassroomWith a constructivist viewpoint of learning and a commitment to experiential education and authentic outcomes, Sharon MacKenzie takes her middle school classes out of the school and into the world. From spending 2 months of the year in a seniors’ residence to raising thousands of dollars through developing and running a small business, the results are amazing – for the community as well as for the students. Read the article by Nick Smith in The Tyee online: [[http://thetyee.ca/News/2008/09/05/Constructivism|Get Kids Out of the Classroom|]]
Elementary Students Design Own ClassroomWhen a dozen or so educators from Indianapolis traveled to Reggio Emilia, Italy, several years ago to study the famous constructivist approach in that city’s preschools, they came back prepared for more than project-based teaching — they came ready to decorate. Last fall, the group offered elementary school teachers a classroom makeover in the Reggio Emilia style, and Sharon Olson, a teacher at Winding Ridge Elementary School, immediately volunteered. Their decor strategy was based on the idea that to take ownership of their learning, children must own their learning space.
Building Knowledge, Not Accumulating Facts: John Abbott SpeaksThu, 01/31/2008 - 12:25 -- admin John Abbott discusses the theory of constructivism in learning.Featured in this video: John Abbott is the President of the [[http://www.21learn.org/|21st Century Learning Initiative]], an initiative to facilitate the emergence of new approaches to learning in the United Kingdom.
The changelearning website project emerged from the collaboration of John Abbott and Heather MacTaggart, the Executive Director of [[http://classroomconnections.ca/|Classroom Connections]], a Canadian non-profit educational organization dedicated to optimizing student learning.
constructing meaningThis much we now know. The brain learns best when it is trying to ‘make sense’. When it is building on what it already knows. When it is working in complex, situated, circumstances. When it accepts the significance of what it is doing. When it is exercising in highly challenging but low threat environments, children learn spontaneously.
how humans learn bestWe now understand that evolution has provided humans with a powerful toolkit of [[http://changelearning.ca/get-informed/understanding-human-learning/born-learn/early-years/predisposed-development?|predispositions]] that go a long way in explaining our ability to learn language, cooperate in groups, solve problems, plan for the future and empathize with others. This evolutionary inheritance both empowers us and constrains us. We are born ready to learn, but our brains are wired to learn more effectively under certain conditions.
If we want kids to be thinkers, we have to encoura-Alfie KohnFri, 01/18/2008 - 11:47 -- adminIf we want kids to be thinkers, we have to encourage (and help) them think – and that means spending most of their time on questions that don’t lend themselves to single word answers that are either right or wrong.
Constructing Knowledge, Reconstructing SchoolingRather than thinking of the brain as a computer, cognitive scientists now utilize a far more flexible, biological analogy, where the brain is seen as a unique, ever-changing organism that grows and reshapes itself in response to use. In this article, John Abbott and Terence Ryan discuss how emerging brain research that supports constructivist learning collides head-on with many of our institutional arrangements for learning. The article first appeared in the November 1999 issue ofEducational Leadership.
Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessThu, 12/27/2007 - 14:45 -- adminA leading expert in motivation and personality psychology, Carol Dweck has discovered in more than twenty years of research that our mindset is not a minor personality quirk: it creates our whole mental world. It explains how we become optimistic or pessimistic. It shapes our goals, our attitude toward work and relationships, and how we raise our kids, ultimately predicting whether or not we will fulfill our potential. Dweck has found that everyone has one of two basic mindsets.
Related items [[http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/february7/dweck-020707.html| Read a brief report]] from the Stanford University news service on the implications of Carol Dweck’s research in this area.
View [[http://changelearning.trevortwining.com/books/mindset-new-psychology-success|Mindset: the New Psychology of Success]],Dweck’s book on the topic.
This video captures a conversation between Stanford Report writer Lisa Trei and psychologist Carol Dweck about the ways in which people’s self-theories about intelligence have a profound influence on their motivation to learn.
[[http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7406521| Listen to an interview]] with study author psychologist Carol Dweck on the National Public Radio website.
Ian’s work as a scientist began with a contradiction: “The scientists said that you can’t find any horny toads here. And I said, ‘My dad and I go out and catch them.’” The thirteen-year-old has now traveled to Idaho and California, where he and three classmates surprised working scientists by describing new discoveries about where the 3-inch-long lizards live and what they eat. “One man said that we presented better than most college students did,” says Ian.