Category: education

First Day of School – Good luck!

I wanted to take a break from my hiatus to wish all the teachers, students and parents out there the very best of luck as we enter a new school year! I am personally on maternity leave after the birth of my lovely daughter in June of this year. I’m attending a school of my

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Cultivating Awareness

A quick thought to share as I learn more about encouraging mindfulness in my students, especially those with anxiety issues.

Too much of the education system orients students toward becoming better thinkers, but there is almost no focus on our capacity to pay attention and cultivate awareness. We can learn to bring together the body’s various systems to fine tune the body and mind, so we can navigate life’s ups and downs in a way that minimizes stress and maximizes well-being.

– Jon Kabat-Zinn, in conversation with Stephan Rechtschaffen, cofounder of the Omega Institute via Mindful magazine

J.K. Rowling on the Fringe Benefits of Failure

Thanks all for your patience during my (continued) self-imposed hiatus during a supplying/track and field busy season! To tide you over, here’s a great talk by J.K. Rowling on failure, its hidden benefits, and the importance of human imagination and empathy.

Caine’s Arcade: Who Says Learning Can’t be Fun?

I love this video for many reasons. It’s an amazing example of the kindness of the human spirit, but also an amazing example of how play can translate into learning. Think of how many skills Caine must have picked up building his arcade! Critical thinking, problem solving, mathematical, literary and spatial to start. He also

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TED Talk: Diana Laufenberg — How to learn? From mistakes.

A bit of a late-night post, but after an inspiring #edchat, I went looking for more inspiration from my favourite source, TED Talks. This is a fantastic one. Diana Laufenberg, an American educator, talks about providing authentic learning opportunities for students by posing a problem and letting them own it, mistakes and all.

We deal right now in the educational landscape with an infatuation with the culture of one right answer that can be properly bubbled on the average multiple choice test. I am here to share with you, it is not learning… to tell kids to never be wrong. To ask them to always have the right answer doesn’t allow them to learn.”


One of my favourite takeaways (besides the quote above) was a belief that I share with Laufenberg, and one we could all be reminded of in our hustle-and-bustle world of education:

The things that kids will say when you ask them and take the time to listen is extraordinary.

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TED Talk: How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries

To close out the week, here’s a great video from Mythbusters’ Adam Savage and TED-Ed on how simple ideas can lead to game-changing discoveries. My favourite takeaways from this as an educator are these:

1. Never be afraid to ask questions. By exploring the simplest questions we can get incredibly rich results.
2. Learn through questioning and experimenting, not memorizing and accepting.
3. The best asset to learning is not technology, but curiosity.

Follow Friday: Twitter for Educators

Some of you may remember my Top 50 Twitter Accounts for Historians Follow Friday edition. There are a number of fantastic education-related Twitter accounts out there too, but the easiest way to find and collaborate with other educators and build a professional learning network, I find, is not searching them out one-by-one, but by participating

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Book Review: Carol Dweck’s Mindset

I recently had the good fortune to attend an informative professional development session on encouraging growth mindsets in our students. Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist who studies and teaches on motivation, personality and development, was a focus of this session. Her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006), explores the issues of growth mindsets

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TED Talk: Media Exposure and Early Childhood

My fellow-educator, sister, and mother to my adorable 9-month old niece is on the hunt for quality daycare as she returns to the classroom. She’s discovered, much to her chagrin, a large number of in-home daycare facilities that not only have televisions in their play rooms, but even have them running during her interview with them. If it’s not off while you’re trying to put your best food forward, is it ever going to be?

She introduced me to this fantastic TEDxTalk on media and children. Dimitri Christakis — a pediatrician, parent, and researcher — speaks to optimal media exposure for infants and primary-aged youth. It’s a good reflection not just for Early/Primary years educators, but for all of us who work with children! Now excuse me while I go order some Mr. Rogers DVDs…

Commemoration, Narratives and Critical Thinking in the History Classroom

As many of you will know, this past weekend I was at The Great War: From Memory to History. There are a number of fantastic subjects that we explored – I was live-tweeting the sessions so feel free to scroll back and explore @lsfraser. We had a great debate on the complicated relationship between commemoration,

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