February, 2015

Come to Your Senses!

All information, whether digital, written or other, enters our minds through our senses—The more vivid the sensory properties in a lesson, the more unforgettable. For example, activities like exploring nature, cooking or visiting a museum usually stimulate the senses. In NWK we place great emphasis on experiences with the Sensory Alphabet. We begin by using cameras, recorders, “lookers,” and other props to observe and collect each element, such as shapes or spaces, in the environment. Read More →

Two African Tales

Sharing stories from different cultures is a great way to encourage appreciation of diversity. Over the years, I have collected many tales from different parts of the world and the USA. Some of my favorites come from West Africa. Here are two examples: TOO MUCH TALK. This traditional tale is re-told by Angela Shelf Medearis, a wonderful African-American children’s writer and is exquisitely illustrated by Stefano Vitale in vibrant colors and patterns that reflect its Read More →

Making the Most of a Cultural Resource

In the late ‘70’s, my colleagues and I conceived and ran the award-winning Learning About Learning Laboratory School in San Antonio. Although our students had to pass standardized tests at the end of the year, until then we did not have to abide by the customs of cutting the school day into subjects and separate objectives. In addition, we had rich historical and natural resources, including the San Jose Mission, a National Historical Park, originally Read More →

Shaping a Better World

NWK believes you can see things in a child that give you clues as to their creative strengths. Here is one story—of my little brother! Since he was a little boy, Rock Ridgeway was interested in two things: making shapes and contributing to a better world. As he grew older these two interests converged and defined the path for his life’s work—creating inventions to improve the lives of people without damaging the environment. His interest in Read More →

Ways to Say, “I Love You!”

Positive feelings have all kinds of health and learning benefits. Some neuroscientists believe the brain is more like a gland than a computer. You cannot separate a child’s cognitive self from their emotional being. Learning is more likely when a child has confidence in himself and a positive relationship with his parent/teacher. As we come closer to Valentine’s Day, I have been thinking of all the many ways we can tell a child, “I love Read More →

Be Kind!

This is “Random Acts of Kindness” (RAK) week. https://www.randomactsofkindness.org Anytime is a good time to do something kind—and for no special reason at all. But this week is a special time to create a tsunami of kindness to spread all over the world. To join the movement, you just have to do something kind this week for someone you know (even yourself) and something kind for a stranger. Here are a few ideas I do Read More →

Creating a Creative Climate

ASCD is offering a free course on “The Whole Child,” which features five important needs of every child—that they are safe, healthy, engaged, supported and challenged. They ask participants to ponder the characteristics of a positive context for learning. From my experiences I came up with these: A place where each can learn and develop at their own pace. One of the Latin-American teachers with whom I had worked sent me a distraught instant message: Read More →