A New Direction: The Joy of Learning
Literacy Milestone: Reading Her First Picture Book On Her Own

Some Interesting #JoyOfLearning Articles, with Notes: January 5

JoyOFLearningLogoIn honor my new blog direction (see description here), I'm trying out a new feature. I've always shared a number of articles on Twitter each week, and then rounded them up on my blog on Fridays. Now that I'm looking for them specifically, I'm seeing quite a few articles that relate directly to my interest in education and the joy of learning (or lack thereof). I've decided that I'll try rounding them up with more detailed quotes and my own comments, so that I have these posts to refer back to. I'm not sure if this will be sustainable, time-wise, but I'm interested in giving it a try. 

This is awesome: More Playtime! How Kids Succeed w/ Recess Four Times a Day at School

Christopher Connelly: "Teachers at Eagle Mountain say they’ve seen a huge transformation in their students (since tripling the amount of recess). They say kids are less distracted, they make more eye contact and they tattle less...When it comes down to it, (Debbie) Rhea says, our kids are better off if we just let them be kids."

Me: This program for kindergartners and first graders is modeled on schools in Finland, where kids have much more recess time than in the US, and also have much higher scores on international education rankings. Kids this age learn SO MUCH by playing. In my daughter's kindergarten classroom there is a play area full of toys and dolls. However, the children are not, even during recess, allowed to use these. They are an artifact to an earlier time. 

What Do I Expect from Elementary School? Not this. Thoughts from a saddened mom

Laura Eberhart Goodman: "For my elementary school aged children, I care more about whether or not they love going to school than I do about their academic progress. I am clever enough to know that if they are enjoying themselves at school, they will learn. Academics follow naturally if the proper environment for learning is there... Just because students may have to sit in an office for 8 hours a day when they are adults, doesn’t mean that they should have to start practicing it now as children... Why has elementary school become the time for instructional and assessment methods that are more appropriate for high school and college students?"

Me: I found this article sad, about a mother's unhappiness over her children's reactions to school, but reactions to the article suggest that such feels are not uncommon. Although my daughter doesn't have much homework yet, it is something I worry about for the future.  

Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick? (through stress)

Vicki Abeles: "Expectations surrounding education have spun out of control. On top of a seven-hour school day, our kids march through hours of nightly homework, daily sports practices and band rehearsals, and weekend-consuming assignments and tournaments. Each activity is seen as a step on the ladder to a top college, an enviable job and a successful life...Yet instead of empowering them to thrive, this drive for success is eroding children’s health and undermining their potential. Modern education is actually making them sick."

Me: I just finished reading Abeles' book: Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation. She has given me a LOT to think about. I'll have more to say about it in a future post. 

The Lessons of Winter Break: Protect Playtime, Downtime + Family Time via

KJ Dell’Antonia: "This winter break, in which we all managed to spend significant amounts of time completely off the clock, really fulfilled its purpose. We reconnected and recharged, and if we were reluctant to go back, that only proves that we need more of the same...A good vacation is a start. But our children need to have that open-ended, what-do-you-want-to-do-today feeling more often. That is the lesson of a good winter break for me: Saying yes to “PDF” (playtime, downtime, and family time) is worth saying no to something else."

Me: I had a similar experience to Dell'Antonia's (before running across this article). As my daughter's Christmas break drew to a close, I found myself tallying up all of the great things that she did with the unstructured time, and wishing she could have more of it. See details in this post on creative play

Re-Energize Your Classroom in the New Year w/ breakout rooms, + more |

Nicholas Provenzano: "The New Year is a wonderful time to start trying some new things. You've spent a good amount of time with your students and feel more comfortable exploring new strategies and practices that are more tailored to their learning needs. I want to share some great ideas that you can use to change things up for the second part of the year -- and that can also help beat the winter blues."

Me: I especially like the idea of "student interest projects", in which kids get time to learn about something that they are interested in. How much more do kids learn when the topic fascinates them? 

That's all for today. Please let me know if this feature is useful. Should I do separate posts for these articles, with more commentary from me? Or do you find it more useful to just see the links by themselves because you'll just click through anyway? 

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook