Diverse Learners

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26 Nov: The Importance of Giving Students Opportunities to Practice Skills

By Dr. Skip Greenwood I ended the last blog talking about the need to make a skill “familiar”. By doing so, we increase the chance that a student will be able to access a skill they have been taught when they really need it. Of course this brings up the question; “How do we make a skill familiar?” One key way to help make a skill more familiar is to put a focus on the student practicing or rehearsing the skill you teach them throughout the school day. It takes a small bit of planning but it is so powerful to embed opportunities for students to use newly learned skills during classroom time, recess and specials. When you want students…

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19 Sep: How do kids achieve success?

How do kids achieve success?  When I consult on cases for school districts, I often find that students who are failing have encountered one of two polarities: (a) People have given them too little support or (b) People have lowered their expectations of them. It’s hard to wrap our minds around the idea of doing two things at once; simultaneously giving a student more support while at the same time expecting more. In order to do these together let’s look at both: SUPPORT is helping a student grow. It’s not doing things for them, or letting them play on an ipad all day. Support is assistance that helps lead a student to action. It could be believing in them, encouraging,…

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26 Apr: Monthly Series- Post 3: Engaging ALL students

Most educators I come into contact with say they are committed to inclusive practices and I believe in their hearts they have that commitment. However, actually doing the things that help include or engage all students in the classroom and learning process is not that easy. There is such a natural pull to engage more with students whose ways of processing information are like our own (like being highly verbal or how fast one can “think on their feet) or with those who we share cultural identity or political beliefs with. Basically, we tend to be most comfortable when we are engaging with people who are more like us or those who make our jobs easier. If we look at…

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10 Apr: Monthly Series- Post 2: Embracing Diversity

In my last blog I focused on the word “differences” as a way to start understanding diversity. Another word I used a lot was “recognition”. We need to continually be aware that people and groups are unique and that an individual’s or group’s uniqueness extends way beyond what our eyes can see. But the concept of diversity is more than just recognizing or being aware of differences. We also need to embrace or accept those differences. Thus, diversity involves both recognition and acceptance. I actually like the word “embrace” because for me it implies getting on board with things that are different from my own ways and actually celebrating the differences between others and myself. Recognizing individual or group differences…

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28 Mar: Monthly Series – Post 1: Diversity and Inclusive Practices

By Dr. Skip Greenwood The concept of diversity is so complex that it’s a challenge to figure out where to even start talking about it. To better understand a concept I always look for key words or phrases in how that concept is defined or talked about. Webster defines diversity as “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements”: especially “the inclusion of different types of people (such as different races or cultures) in a group or organization”. A key word for me is “different”. What I have learned is the word “different” is more than seeing the obvious contrasts between individuals or groups such as sex, age, or color of skin. When it comes to diversity the…

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01 Feb: “I’m Not Gonna Do It!”

I know, if you had a nickel for every time a student told you they “weren’t gonna do it” you would be retired in Maui right now. What’s a good response to this time honored student declaration? I think by now you probably know that “Oh yes you are!” is not always the most successful. Here’s a few others: 1. “What seems to be the problem?” – This, said in a curious tone (as if you completely did not expect the refusal) along with a helpful stance does wonders. 2. “Okay.” – Said with a nod and an inquisitive look (as if there must be more to the student’s statement that he is about to reveal) creates a nice awkward…