Thank you to the middle and high school teachers who came to my Hillsboro, Oregon training last week for the inspiration behind this blog post. A common question I receive is, “How do we get older students to do S’cool Moves activities?”
A good part of my teaching career focused on working with high school students, initially as a high school biology teacher, then as a middle school health teacher, and five years teaching in a special program for high school students at risk of dropping out of school. It’s from this vantage point that I answer the question.
The way into the hearts and minds of middle and high school students is to make it all about them! During the workshop training, I said to the high school teachers, “They need to understand how they learn.” As soon as those three words popped out of my mouth, “…how-they-learn,” I opened a PowerPoint, and my screen revealed to the attendees my son’s English assignment from last year in which he had to do a 20% project. He titled his project and blog, “How We Learn.”
When I showed the workshop attendees his PowerPoint, the response from most everyone in the room was, “Can we get a copy?” I asked my son permission to share with you his PowerPoint and his blogspot in hopes it will spur exploration and curiosity for other middle and high school students.
Daniel’s project explored how his mind works and shared with his readers how difficult school is for him due to his learning differences. His blog posts included links to interesting online tests and activities, revealing "how you learn" as a personalized experience for the user. His mentor for his project was Sarah Knapp, a university researcher who focuses on anxiety and depression, which often affects students who find school difficult.
Once students understand how they learn and see a need for strategies to enhance learning, they will be more open to trying out S’cool Moves (and other techniques to enhance learning; click here for an example).
I donated materials to the high school teachers at the workshop in return for their responding to this post and sharing with us what strategies are working with their students. I’m looking forward to hearing from them (and all of you too) soon!