Monday, June 26, 2017

Avoid Over Parenting: Four Lessons Learned from Gist--The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids

Last week I had the opportunity to hear an interview at my church with Dr. Tim Johanson, a child pediatrician. Tim is the co-author of Gist, a book on parenting, which he wrote with a child psychologist. You can watch the full interview here. Dr. Johanson spoke about the stress and pressures that parents feel today to be perfect and identified four problem areas that can lead to over parenting kids: over involvement, over affirmation, over indulgence, and over protection. I found the information shared to be very valuable and think that any parent, grandparent or educator who works with kids (and therefore indirectly their parents) would find the interview and book helpful. Though not directly addressed, many of his tips tie directly to parenting issues around kids and technology.

Tim's first suggestion was to not be an over involved parent, micromanaging your kids' lives. This can lead to parental exhaustion and your kids feeling a lack of autonomy and oppression. He suggested only going to 3/4 of your kids' games, events, and concerts, etc. rather. Let them experience things on their own rather than always be there at each event. Allow them tell you how something went and relate it through their own lens versus you always being present. 

The second tip shared was to not over affirm your kids, which can lead to the creation of a false self. As a result, kids don't develop an accurate ability to self assess which could even lead to depression. Tim suggested being honest, in his words, "they will eventually find out... Don't tell your kids they are gifted are exceptional when they aren't." A phrase he used was that "when gifted becomes expected average becomes defective." 

Being cautious about over indulgence was the third tip shared. He said a parent's job is to prepare our kids for life. Don't give in to parental pressure to get everything for your kid and instead ask yourself, "Will this grow them in ways to make them life ready?" Don't create a sense of entitlement or give in to pressure from other parents to get everything for your children.

The fourth and final tip that Tim shared was to not over protect our kids. I was familiar with the term helicopter parent--a parent who swoops in and takes care of problems for their kids instead of letting them learn from their mistakes. A new term he shared was a snowplow parent--one who basically clears the path of all problems so their kid won't ever experience them. Parents are overprotective because they don't want life to be difficult for their kids, but Tim suggested that this should be a mindset change for parents. We need to see adversities as a way for our kids to grow.

As Tim mentioned in the beginning of his interview, our children don't come with instruction manuals. Often times we certainly wish they did! I find hearing advice and expertise from other parents who share their wisdom and knowledge from their experience raising children to be so beneficial. I think you will too, I would encourage you to watch the full interview.

Related Posts on Parenting and Technology:

Monday, June 19, 2017

40+ Elementary iPad Integration Examples

We just finished the second year of 1:1 iPads with our fifth grade students. We began our 
1:1 program six years ago at our high school and expanded it gradually to include all students in grades 5-12. We have instructional technology support teachers for elementary, middle, and high school who are key to providing our teachers with training and support and making our program a success. The staff in these positions sometimes return to full time teaching or move into different roles and we have new teacher-leaders begin working in this role.

Our elementary coach will be new next year, so as a way to help this new coach become familiar with what has been happening in fifth grade classrooms with iPads, our current tech coach, Andrea Hoffmann, had each teacher made a page in an eBook this spring about a favorite iPad use, lesson, or goal achieved (PDF version). All of these pages were compiled and shared among all the teachers and then given to the new instructional technology coach. The book contains all sorts of ideas for using iPads for instruction and learning, from formative assessment to green screening, Book Creator to Explain Everything. It offers a great snapshot into fifth grade classrooms at all six of our elementary schools. 

You can learn more about our 1:1 program, iPads, and use of technology for learning in the related posts below:

Monday, June 12, 2017

School's Out But Teachers' Learning Doesn't Stop: Summer Professional Development in Minnetonka

As in past summers, now that the students have left we have numerous options for Minnetonka teachers' professional development. Hundreds of our teachers will spend time in classes and trainings we offer beginning this week, continuing in July and into August right up until school begins. We have both face to face and online training options. Annually over 400 Minnetonka teachers take technology professional development classes during the summer months in addition to the other curriculum trainings and courses offered. Summer is a prime time for teacher training to occur. Our summer program has grown considerably over the past 12 years--back in 2005 we only had eight technology related classes!

Over the next three months there are technology classes related to iPads, Schoology, computer coding, digital health and wellness, maker spaces, Google, research/fake news and more. In addition to technology classes, there are also many non-technology sessions offered such as classes on assessment, engagement, special needs, and our teaching and learning framework. We also offer extensive training sessions in August for all of our new teachers.

We use My Learning Plan to manage all of this. Teachers can sign up and drop classes, automatically be notified and reminded of classes and locations, and we can track rosters, waitlists, and CEUs. Teachers receive a stipend for the time they spend learning in summer technology sessions.
More details about this summer's technology options are below (open in a new window):

Related Posts:

Monday, June 5, 2017

Harnessing the Power of Technology in Physical Education


Physical education students at Minnetonka use their iPads in a variety of ways to enhance their learning. At both of our middle schools, physical education teachers use technology in their instruction and take advantage of the students each having an iPad. Here a just a few of they ways how:

One of the many benefits of an iPad in physical education classes is its two cameras and easy to use video editing software. For example, Minnetonka students use these to document their learning and teach others fitness and sports skills. One such project students enjoy is creating instructional videos of themselves teaching skills such as soccer, basketball, or hockey or teaching fitness activities like jump roping, yoga, or pilates. Two example student projects are shown above. This project's requirements are to show the audience the proper way to perform the skills included in the video. Students were tasked to include step by step instructions and drills to ensure the viewer can correctly learn the content. 

Video Rubric
During this project, students work collaboratively in small groups to plan out, act in and edit the final product. Students then upload their videos to Schoology, our learning management system. The physical education teachers use this project each year as a review activity for the students and as a common assessment for their eighth grade students. They use the rubric pictured to assess the products.

Screen cast for Team Handball
Students use their iPads in physical education in other ways as well. As you can see in this video, physical education teachers have been creating instructional videos for their students using screen casting software for years. These videos are put in Schoology and students watch them before beginning a unit. The teachers have also created assessment quizzes as follow ups to the videos to check for understanding. This flipped classroom model allows for increased time in class for physical activity instead of taking time for direct instruction during class.

Sample Student Activity Log
A third way students use iPads in PE is to keep an activity log in Notability. Students record their sedentary, moderate and rigorous activity, as well as their sleep. They then look at their data and overall averages for a week and complete reflection questions on how they feel about the results. Students work to find ways to be more active, sleep more/less, etc.

Each of these activities demonstrates how technology is used to augment and accelerate learning for physical education students in Minnetonka Schools. Communication, collaboration, creativity, and authentic and real world learning are important skills for today’s students, and the use of technology for learning enhances this learning.

Thanks to Eddie, Keegan, and Robert for permission to share their Basketball Skills Video and to Hunter, Harrison, and Nick to share their Soccer Skills Video.

Related posts: