Posts by LisaNielsen:

    6 ways unschooling can inform practice for innovative educators

    August 7th, 2013

    By Lisa Nielsen.

    Guest post by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko | Writer and blogger at Radio Free School.

    The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them. —Henry David Thoreau

    There is a whole world of learning that unfolds, starting with the spark of an interest.  For unschool educators, it is a matter of following the lead of the learner.

    The learner focuses on what he wants to know about. From this node of knowledge, like an octopus sending out its many arms to the environs around, the learner links to ever more nodes—making connections and expanding his knowledge.

    It’s the job of an educator to shine a light on the nodes so that the child can choose to look closer at or not.

    Putting a spin on some familiar platitudes that are regularly associated with school, I offer six thoughts on how the unschooling method can inform and help us improve educational practices everywhere:

    1. Share

    Imagine you are holding a newborn baby—fragile and utterly helpless. But then you see the light in the baby’s eyes—the way she searches the room, the way she tries to focus on her immediate surroundings: the patterns on the blanket, the shaking rattle, her mother’s face.

    You notice the length of time she stares at her waving fingers and you begin to understand that she is taking it all in, working it out—as much as she is capable of, a little at the time.

    The newborn infant has power—however limited it may be. She is already a great communicator. She lets us know her needs (belting it out for all to hear and we’d better hop to it quickly!) and we have the power to meet or ignore those needs.

    We begin to understand that education is not being ‘done’ to the learner. Rather it’s a partnership we enter into together with our young learner—herself, a self-educator—who is sharing her educational path with us.

    We commit to the child, meeting her half way in her effort to learn. We do not begrudge the baby nor do we mark her ‘wrong’ for not being interested in what we might be offering.

    2. Discipline…

    yourself.  You’re so excited that your learner is excited! As unschool educators I can’t tell you how many times we want to rush in—uninvited. But what can happen is that the interest cools because, in our enthusiasm, we’ve unintentionally taken over the project. Slap your hand and remind yourself, “Not yours.”

    Ever noticed on birthdays how everyone gets the kid something around a theme or subject they like? She loves horses? People bring horse books, horse sweaters, posters of horses, mugs with horse images on them. “I love horses but I like other things too!” my daughter once said.

    At times, we might be more invested in the thing than they are. Months and even years later, we might still be assuming the passion or interest is current when in reality it has long since morphed into something else. No child should be beholden to an interest.

    3. Respect

    Be respectful. It is as simple as considering how we interact with an adult. We assume that the adult is competent and will ask for our input/help/suggestions when they need/want to.

    But when it comes to children, we go by the assumption that they are incompetent and so we don’t have to treat them with the respect afforded to an adult.

    4. Attention

    I once did an interview (Radio Free School) with professor of Psychology, Dr. Ellen Langer (Harvard University) who made the comment that we often don’t take the time to be present to the child and give her our full attention. She suggested that this attitude might stem from our not realizing the child has something to offer us as well.

    “If when talking to a child, we maintain a limited view of what the child has to offer us not recognizing that the child has something to teach us, it’s exhausting when it could be enlivening,” Langer said. “To really understand you have to take the perspective of the other and people don’t always do that with children.”  One of the most critical skills we can have is the ability to really listen to the child’s ideas and build education on the understanding we get.

    5. Effort

    When my oldest was little, she would often get fired up at around 11pm and want to do math, or discuss a big world issue (at 17, she still does this) and I would just want to go to bed, but I made myself a cup of strong tea and soldiered on.

    Why? Because I knew that this was not only a real opportunity for both of us to learn something new, but also to nourish our relationship.

    The time we have them in our care is short. All too soon they will are gone—like my daughter who is off to University this fall.

    6. Promote excellence

    Kids are fiercely seeking to be competent people in the world. And the way they do this is by modeling and trying out and experimenting.

    The best model for any sort of education is being supported by people doing interesting things and willing to stop and share with the learner.

    Be the best model you can be.

    Trust that the child will learn. In the meantime, just simply watching their progress with genuine interest –rather than adding your two cents—and being appreciative of the child’s efforts goes a long way in inspiring the confidence they need to grow up trusting their own selves.

    Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko is the author of Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education in partnership with Dr. Carlo Ricci (Nipissing University). Beatrice lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her husband and three children.

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    Could PBL be the Solution to Education Reform?

    June 19th, 2013


    Posted by Lisa Nielsen.

    At the behest of politicians, educators nationwide have been told to view students as statistics, not as individuals, and to view the purpose of the educational enterprise as raising test scores rather than developing capable minds [1].

    Guest post by Bradley Lands  | Cross posted at The Landscape of Learning

    While I was taking a survey today about Response to Intervention (RTI) I began to reflect about how RTI and Data-Driven Instruction have affected my school.  In the past few years, I have noticed teachers becoming overwhelmingly stressed about Standardized State Tests.  Teachers feel like they don’t have enough time to lesson-plan in order to appropriately meet the needs of their students.  Moreover, teachers feel that the precious planning-time in which they do get is being wasted during team meetings and other scheduled events.  Teachers are becoming depressed because they are feeling like they are doing their students a disservice by “teaching to the tests” and there isn’t anything that they can do about it.  This unfortunately creates an extremely negative atmosphere that is contagious to all valued stake-holders in a school system.

    The saddest part about this story, is that the educators in my building, are all exceptional, highly-qualified teachers that have been forced to teach students in a way that will prepare them to be successful on State Standardized Tests, rather than preparing them to become successful, contributing citizens.  Public school teachers across the nation are battling this problem everyday.  However, I believe that I have a solution to this problem.  I am suggesting that the solution to the education reform that teachers are looking for, could quite possibly be … Project-Based Learning.  With Project-Based Learning, teachers will be able to successfully teach the  state and national standards with low stress, and high productivity.
    In order to show how PBL might be the solution to Education Reform, I have provided some FAQs that I have created about Project-Based Learning.

    Q:  I teach in a Data-Driven school where we use RTI.  How can I use PBL to collect data?
    A:  Suggest to your administration that you would like to try being data-informed rather than data-driven. “In schools that are data-informed, test results are just one more piece of information that can be helpful in determining future directions” [2].  If students are engaged in PBL, they can begin creating an ePortfolio in order to demonstrate their learning and understanding of standards, rather than testing for them.Q:  How can I effectively differentiate to ensure that I am appropriately challenging ALL of my students?

    A:  When teachers integrate Project-Based Teaching, they are providing the opportunity for differentiated learning, rather than differentiated instruction.  “Differentiated learning shifts the responsibility for the learning to the learner (where it belongs)” [3].  With that we are truly supporting students in personal mastery in a way that differentiates learning, meets their goals, enables them to own the learning, and prepares them for success in life” [4]. This Flow Channel Graph [5] helps to show how students need to be appropriately challenged. With PBL, students are empowered to work at their own pace and ability level which provides them with the opportunity to challenge themselves. Students will instinctively follow the “Flow Channel” when they take ownership of their learning.

    Student Engagement Graph: Challenge vs. Skill [5]

    How do I effectively assess my students?
    A:  Assessing students on their projects has never been easier.  Using a Rubric like the one below, allows students to know what is expected of them, and it gives them structure for their project.  It is important for the teacher to explain the expectations of the project in detail, so that students are fully aware of how they will be graded.  It is also a good idea to show an example and a non-example of a good project.
    Provided by Chris Lehmann at the Science Leadership Academy
    Q:  What types of projects can students create to show concept mastery?
    A:  Students can create a project using any of the Eight Multiple Intelligences.  Below are some suggestions for projects. “Students could meet standards at their own pace, in their own way and learning could be differentiated and aligned to each child’s talents, passions, interests, and abilities” [4].  Project-Based Learning also beautifully integrates The Arts into education.
     Provided by Dan Mulligan

    Q: How can I ensure my students are attaining concept mastery?

    A:  I have developed a simple step-by-step process to ensure that students are attaining concept mastery.

    1. Students are presented with a State Standard or Multiple State Standards to which they will be learning.
    2. Students are empowered with the responsibility of mastering the Standard(s).
    3. Students document their learning process via a KWLA Worksheet.
    4. Students demonstrate their learning and understanding via the product of their project.
    5. Students share their work via a presentation, and/or online-publishing.
    6. Students reflect on their process via Reflection Questions provided by the teacher.

    How can I be confident that my students will do well on Standardized Tests?
    A:  Since you will be engaged in best-practice teaching, students will be engaged in best-practice learning.  Having students create and share these projects will allow for the deepest understanding of the content.  Evaluation or Creation is at the top level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which means that students are attaining the highest level of concept mastery by creating these projects.  Students will no longer have to “memorize” or try to “remember” the information … because they will have learned it.

    What about my struggling readers?
    A:  It is ultimately the teacher’s responsibility to provide resources that are appropriate for his or her students’ reading level.  Google makes this easy for teachers.  Google Advanced Searchallows students to search the internet using a beginnerintermediate, or advanced reading level.  In addition, Google Advanced Search also allows students to search within a specific language. Students who are ELL can also research information in English and use Google Translate to translate the text into his or her primary language. Therefore, students should be able to perform research on any topic at their appropriate reading level.   For more information on how to perfect your Google Search, vist my blog post, “Why Do I Have To Memorize This When I Can Just Google It?”
    Q:  What about my students with IEPs?
    A:  Students who receive special services typically thrive in PBL projects.  Just be sure to provide the necessary accommodations when needed.Q:  How much planning will I have to do to meet all the needs of my students?
    A:  The best part about PBL is that there is very little planning involved. This is because the teacher is letting go of control by allowing the students to take ownership of their learning. Lisa Nielsen once said, “I realized that when teachers gave up control and empowered students to use the tools they want and meet learning goals in the way they choose, then true differentiation could begin and it wasn’t all on the shoulders of the teacher to figure out how to do this [3]. However, teachers will still have to prepare the necessary materials and resources for each lesson.

    Q:  What does an example of a PBL Project look like?
    A:  See below:  This student-created presentation is an example of my students creating a song about the Scientific Method in order to show concept mastery.

    Q:  What are some tools and resources that my students can use to create their projects?

    A:  Click on the link to access My Top Free PBL Resources.Q:  What if my school has limited technology resources?
    A:  Technology does not have to be integrated in order for PBL to be successful.  Students can easily create skits, posters, children’s books, songs, etc. without the use of technology. In addition, the teacher should acquire a plethora of books, on multiple reading levels, with information on the topic of the standard(s).  If technology devices are present, but scarce, groups of 4 or 5 students can be created to maximize the use of technology. Consider Getting Ahead of the Technology Curve with BYOD for more ideas on integrating technology in the classroom.

    Q:  I understand how PBL applies to all other subjects, but how does it apply to math?
    A:  See Below: Here is an example of how to use a paper-slide video for digital storytelling in the content area of MATH!

    A Dr. Lodge FIZZ video:

    What if I can identify a problem in which PBL is not the answer? 
    A: Please comment on this post if you can identify a problem in which PBL is not the answer, or if you have a question about PBL. This will help me to continue my research and application. Thank you!For an excellent list of more resources for PBL,vist my blog post: My Top Free Online Tools and Resources for PBL.



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    The Packet-Driven Classroom

    May 22nd, 2013


    By Lisa Nielsen. 


    Jeff Bliss got our attention when he shared his frustration with his teacher, classmates, and the world about his learning environment.

    The now viral video captures a room of passionless students, some with their heads down, some with a facepalm, some staring into space, all silently sitting at their empty desks seemingly disconnected not only from each other, but also from their behind-a-desk-fortress teacher.

    Jeff Bliss speaks his mind in the classroomJeff Bliss speaks his mind in the classroom

    That is until Jeff Bliss got up and spoke:

    Jeff Bliss: [I’m tired of] hearing this freakin’ lady go off on kids because they don’t get this crap. If you can just get up and teach them instead of handing them a freakin’ packet, yo. There are kids in here who don’t learn like that, they need to learn face-to-face. You’re just getting mad because I’m pointing out the obvious.

    According to classmate Colleen Hunt, “Everyone at our school is proud of him for speaking his mind and not being rude about it.” Jeff reignited a national conversation about the state of the educational system, the seemingly indifferent attitude of teachers and an administration that could allow teaching (or lack thereof) like this to go on in the classroom right under their noses. But many of those who work in or with, attend, and/or have children in schools, understand that in many cases it is not the teacher or administrator, but forces outside the school that has led to the development of the packet-driven classroom.


    I experienced this first hand. Two years ago I was overseeing a project where my staff was working with schools to support teachers in partnering with students to create passion-driven learning environments. I had a great visit, during what we called an innovation field trip, to one of these schools. What a day it was as students excitedly presented their worthy-of-the-world projects. They clearly owned their learning and demonstrated this in a variety of ways. Some had created videos, some PowerPoint presentations, some wrote articles, and more.  Students learned with and from one another, and they found places to share their work beyond the classroom.


    As I was leaving the school I happened to run into their teacher and commended her for doing such wonderful work. I was struck by the fact that she didn’t smile when I did. Instead, she thanked me but told me this would likely be her last year in the classroom.  What? Why? I didn’t understand.  She explained that once they got back from their February break (the following week), the school goes into full test prep mode and she would be required to stand by complicit as she watches the shining light fade from the eyes of her students.
    I looked around to make sure no one else was listening and whispered, “Why don’t you just keep teaching the way you teach and close your door?” She explained that this was not possible.  There was actually drive-by test prep collection. If she was unable to provide evidence that the required testing and prepping were going on at all times she was at risk of being written up for insubordination.


    Furthermore, online testing and prepping was on its way which meant administrators no longer had to go around to classrooms to ensure no student was left untested. They could log on and get data reports right from their desktop computers.
    For those who aren’t teaching or don’t remember what it’s like to take a standardized test, here is a reminder
    Students sit under fluorescent lights in rows too far to see what the other is working on. The walls and bulletin boards are stripped of instructional charts, celebrations of work, or instructional aides that usually fill the room.  The teacher may say nothing other than what is outlined in the packet. A student may not discuss a question with a classmate or teacher. Each question is what it is. There is no clarification. There is only one right answer. There is no nuance. Teaching is cheating. Talking is cheating. Looking at a bulletin board, using a book, a phone, a computer…cheating, cheating, cheating, cheating.

    With this in mind, fast-forward to Jeff’s test-prep classroom, under his teacher, Ms. Phung. There it is, the perfect packet-driven classroom. Rows of desks. Walls devoid of student work or learning materials. Students sit at desks clear of all but a #2 pencil so there is ample room for packets and scratch paper.The teacher distributes packets, reads instructions, but does not teach. If students ask a question, stick to the script. The lines sound something like…”Reread the question. Do your best.“ Gosh, thanks!


    Here’s something many of us know, but rarely say out loud: when it comes to packet teaching you don’t really need a teacher. Not only is a teacher not necessary for a “Pedagogy of The Test,” their teaching services are prohibited. Even after the students have drilled, killed and bubblefilled, their own teachers aren’t even allowed to grade their tests as this too can result in cheating… and the reality is, test scoring doesn’t need humans anyhow. Even in the 80s when I was in school we had bubble scoring machines and we are moving toward automated writing, speaking, and scoring systems as well.

    When we put this Bippity Boppity Boo all together, what we’ve got is a Jeff Bliss teacher whose job is to create a sterile environment, distribute packets, read instructions, keep kids quiet, and collect their papers at the proper time.

    We then realize that Ms. Phung was a model packet-driven classroom teacher. This is part of the reason why there was such outcry by educators when Jeff Bliss expressed frustration towards the teacher. If she is like most teachers, she likely thought she had signed up for a very different job, but the job changed, and eventually, so did she.

    The problem, of course, is that this is not what students want, this is not what parents want for their children, and this is not the work that teachers want to do. Jeff Bliss summarized what our students want and need.

    You want a kid to change and start doing better? You gotta’ touch his freakin’ heart!“
    And that is why teachers should be celebrating Jeff Bliss for saying what so many can not. We know and want this type of teacher and the class she presides over to become extinct.  We can automate packet distribution and scoring, but computers will never replace what students find most important.
    Students want a teacher who know how to build relationships with them. Connect with their heart. Know the passions, talents, and interests behind each face. Give them their learning to own for themselves. Build trust by listening when students talk, even when it is about the problem they have with the way they are being taught.

    Unfortunately, when our eye is so tied to the prize, and that prize measures how well students sit disconnected from the world, unable to speak to each other or even the teacher and fill in bubbles, we will get teachers like Ms. Phung and classrooms that house Jeff Bliss.


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    More Reading. More Writing. More Engaged Citizens of the World.

    March 10th, 2013

    Posted by Lisa Nielsen.

    By Sarah Mulhern Gross. Cross posted on March 6, 2013 on The Reading Zone
    Cum hoc non propter hoc.
    In last week’s NY Daily News, Robert Pondiscio, a former public school teacher and now the executive director of CitizenshipFirst, lauds the “… abandoning the literacy curriculum used to teach a generation of our children to read”. In the shift to the Common Core, he says we are leaving behind the balanced literacy approach of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, which he says has done a disservice to students.Having taught at a Project school and at non-Project schools, I beg to differ.

    I began my teaching career in a 3rd grade heterogeneously-grouped class that used Lucy Calkins’ methods. I attended training workshops, Saturday reunions at the Project, and read every piece of material I could get my hands on. And I watched those third-graders blossom as readers and writers. It was hard to facilitate the workshop and took a lot out of me as a teacher, but I was a better teacher for it. I was constantly reading and writing alongside my students, pushing them to reach higher and higher. While they may have started by reading books that were “just right”, my mentor and I were always pushing them to follow the reading ladder, as Teri Lesesne shows us. Students did not stay stuck on a lower level, never moving forward, as Pondiscio insinuates in his op-ed. That’s not the point of the method! The students receive individual attention, conferences, and book recommendations. They read constantly, both in and out of class. In the year that I spent with those third graders, they grew into stronger readers and writers, as evidenced by their assessment scores.

    When I moved to my own classroom and started teaching sixth grade, I brought the balanced literacy approach with me. Today, I teach high school in a co-taught humanities class (alongside the world history teacher). I continue to use a balanced literacy approach, modified for my high school students and schedule. And guess what? It still works. Which is why I am baffled by Mr. Pondiscio’s claims.He asks,

    What is wrong with balanced literacy? It assumes you build readers by encouraging kids to find books they love and read a lot. But over the years, that approach has consistently and systematically failed. Only 23% of our eighth-graders score “proficient” or higher on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a figure that hasn’t budged in a decade.

    Before I moved to my current job, I taught at an average middle school in suburbia. It wasn’t a Project school, but I used the same methods and ideas with my sixth graders at that time. I still attended Saturday Reunions, on my own time, and brought new ideas and methods back to my classes. And once again, I watched my students grow into readers and writers. Like Pondiscio’s students, many of mine came to me without background knowledge and needing scaffolding. Over 80% admitted to being nonreaders on my annual first day survey. So we read. A lot. Just like I do with my students in high school. They read their independent novels, where I challenged them with Donalyn Miller’s 40-book challenge. We read shared texts in class, both whole class novels and shorter pieces. And we used Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week to share great informational pieces at least once per week.I expected my students to read and they did. I expected them to improve as readers and writers, and they did. I had the test scores to prove it. Again, these were classes that were grouped heterogeneously and included students from all kinds of economic backgrounds. High expectations yielded higher results.

    How does Mr. Pondiscio’s statement relate to balanced literacy? Where is the evidence that there is a connection between the balanced literacy approach and the percentage of eighth-graders who score proficient and higher? Causation does not equal correlation. My guess is that poverty and other issues outside the classroom contribute a great deal to those numbers. Do we know what the passing rate would be if the students were not being encouraged to read and write on a daily basis?Of course not. But we do know that Mr. Pondiscio taught at a school where 89% of students receive free and reduced lunch. Noted researcher Stephen Krashen has been telling administrators for years that our crisis is not literacy, but poverty. As Mr. Pondiscio points out in his op-ed, students who come from poverty typically don’t have access to books, museums, and parents who stay home with them. So if, as Krashen says in his research, “f more access leads to more reading, and if more reading leads to better reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and a larger vocabulary (Krashen 2004),” then we need to flood students with books and reading material at school. And that’s exactly what a balanced literacy approach does.

    We do build readers by encouraging them to find books they love and read a lot. And unlike Mr. Pondoscio, I can share examples with you. Take this email that I received a few weeks ago from a former student. Now in high school, she tracked me down via this blog and sent me an email that still has me on cloud nine:

    I don’t know if you remember me but I thought I should contact you because I owe you a thanks. Before having you as a teacher, I wasn’t a fan of books or reading, but you changed that for me. I was able to find my love for books in your class. When you first handed out that reading packet, where we were challenged to complete 40 books by the end of the school year, I was horrified.

    When the end of the year came and I saw that 38 of those boxes were completed, I felt so accomplished, and to know I enjoyed most of those books was an even greater feeling. It was like I discovered something new about myself. I have a learning disability that is associated with reading so to have flipped my view on reading like that gave me a lot of self confidence, since it was such a difficulty before. I am so thankful to you for helping me discover my love for books, which in the long run helped to minimize my disability. You always encouraged us to read what we would enjoy…

    Tell me that a balanced literacy approach doesn’t work and I’ll show you 200 more survey responses, emails, and notes from students that show you is does. Students who now score higher on their SATs/ACTs, receive higher grades in all of their classes, and are more knowledgeable about the world they live in.That student is still a reader, so I asked her what her favorite book is (seeing as tastes change after middle school!). What she said simultaneously broke my heart and made my heart sing:

    It’s so hard to pick a favorite book when there are so many good ones out there! I guess if I had to pick I would say that Too Kill a Mockingbird and Penny from Heavenare tied for first. I heard a lot of good things about To Kill a Mockingbird, but my brother and sister told me they hated it for the reason that in high school their teachers made them dissect every detail of the book to the point where the sight of the book made them sick. I wanted to read the book on my own, before I could have the chance to hate it. I needed to read this classic on my own without bias so in the seventh grade, I did. It turned out to be a very great favorite of mine.

    Stop buying programs. Stop buying novel comprehension kits, scripted texts, and items like Accelerated Reader. They do not work. They aren’t real. Instead, they create a false sense of security because students can game the system and “pass” an assessment. An assessment that looks nothing like the real world. I asked this student about her favorite book because I wanted to know if she still read. After leaving my class, students moved on to a new building where they were forced to use Accelerated Reader. Unfortunately, I’ve shared my frustrations with AR (and similar programs) many times in the past. Student after student would come back to me and say they were only allowed to read AR books. We need to stop this.
    Mr. Pondiscio is right: ”The more children know, the more they can read with genuine comprehension.” So let’s give them more knowledge. Surround them with books, newspapers, read alouds, magazines, websites, technology, and fabulous teachers. No one method is everything. Mr. Pondiscio talks about E.D. Hirch’s early-childhood curriculum, one of the many recommended by the Dept of Ed, and says, “Its central premise is that an essential goal of reading instruction must be to ensure that all students — and disadvantaged kids most specifically — are explicitly taught the knowledge and vocabulary that speakers and writers assume they know.”
    Exactly. And we don’t do that when we hand teachers a curriculum and standardize education. Excellent teachers know that children get smarter when they are all provided with the opportunity to learn more and become more knowledgeable. So we need ELA and content area teachers working together to flood all students. That means dropping the standardization and being flexible. Taking the time to read one more chapter in that great read aloud because it sparked a cool research project for the class, or debating an article in the newspaper because the students have strong feelings about the topic, or throwing out the lesson plan because an issue in a popular novel or nonfiction text has inspired the students to write letters to a local politician. Students need real-world experiences and real audiences. They need to read like adults read, talk and write about books the way educated adults do, seek out more information the way your or I might, and write like they will when they are adults. And we get them there by encouraging them read and write as much as possible in school.
    And that’s what I see when teachers use a balanced literacy approach. It’s a balance between choice and shared reading using authentic texts, not some piece created for a textbook company to use. As Mr. Pondicio says, “…stops treating reading comprehension as a skill to be taught and sees it as a reflection of everything a child learns about the world.” Exactly, sir. More authentic reading. More authentic writing. And the result? Smarter, more engaged citizens of the world.

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    Mobile devices can help us take the necessary steps to keep kids healthy

    November 2nd, 2012

    By Lisa Nielsen.

    Pedometer Steps for Children
    Here a step, there a step, everywhere a step step. You may have noticed that today, steps matter.

    So, how many steps have you taken today:

    If you haven’t caught on, the latest data tells us adults need at least 10,000 steps a day to remain healthy and steps they are a taking.  From walking the stairs, to parking further away to taking a few laps around the block while reading the latest research paper.

    Pedometers are on the rise and considering that they’re built into many of the mobile devices teachers and students own and love, it’s no surprise that this healthy and affordable trend has taken off.

    So, how are our students doing?



    Well, no one cares about our child obesity. Life/death-Peh!  We measure student achievement not by how healthy young people are, but on how well they’ve mastered the finger exercise of drill, kill and bubblefill on standardized tests.

    Interestingly, if we allowed children to get up and move as nature intended we’d find that activity, movement and play is not only crucial for boosting brain power, it also is a great way to alleviate ADD/ADHD symptoms.

    Parents, teachers, and young people would agree that health and movement is important. Let’s refocus priorities from memorization and regurgitation to ensuring our students reach their optimal daily movement of  about 12,000 steps a day for young people. Let’s restore a move to the endangered practice of free time or recess and let our children get out and do, run, play.

    Let’s close down schools who keep our students sedentary and don’t respect their personal fitness.

    If you are an educator who is concerned about the health of yourself, your colleagues, and your students, start a knowledge movement.  Track steps. Chart steps.  Take a step in the right direction so that adults and young people can beat this obesity epidemic and move toward the road to a healthy life.

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