Please take a look at the information gathered by EdWeek as they share it in chart form for easy comparison.

Survey data show significant differences in student and teacher motivation. — Read on www.edweek.org/leadership/student-and-teacher-motivation-in-charts/2023/02


Motivation seems to be a driving force for teaching and learning. We have lots of data and information to share about motivation, but is it the only thing to worry about with teaching and learning? No, we know this, but motivation is an important part of teaching and learning. If we are not motivated, we are most likely not to be fully engaged.

“Perhaps the starkest difference between 13- to 19-year-olds and educators: Thirty-eight percent of students said that as of 2023, the pandemic had made them less motivated to do their best in school. But a whopping 80 percent of educators said that the pandemic had made students less motivated.”

In addition, the question about misbehaving provided additional data for us to consider.

Then if you continue to look at the different responses, you will find answers similar to the data we have collected. Students want opportunities to redo work which they failed. They want opportunities to improve and to show they have learned the content presented. I do not believe it is the mindset that everyone gets a trophy, but instead, everyone is gaining the foundational content they need.

In addition, you see students wanting specific feedback on what to do to improve, choice in learning, some humor, and fun. They would like to have hands-on learning, field trips, and connect to the real world and careers. We know this; we have heard this; why are we not doing this?


The answer is mandates, funding, and fear of breaking the mold of what has always been done. Please be the one, the few, or the many who recognize it is time to change how we are doing to identify what individuals need to achieve the why in teaching and learning.

Take the lead from this survey and ask your staff their thoughts. What about asking your students? When you know the study results, what do you do next?

I love asking questions and more questions. It is when you continue to seek to understand solutions reveal themselves. The complete focus on academics misses very critical needs. Until we can address the essential requirements, changes in the academic data will not be achieved. Just look at our current academic performance.

As always, I welcome thoughts, suggestions, feedback, and ideas to share. We are all working to be part of the solution daily.

Please read my review of the book Trauma-Sensitive School Leadership. MiddleWeb has published the review, and this is a book to consider adding to your list of reading.

The reports of students failing in schools have identified our schools as failing. We have many things we need to repair in education, and we have not addressed these issues for decades. However, in the last three years, more has been added that needs to be addressed first before we can think our children can begin to catch up to the learning. Trauma is just one of those layers. Let’s start by understanding the how of leading trauma-sensitive schools.

From P.E. to culturally responsive teaching, the finalists all find ways to connect to their students.
— Read on www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/meet-the-5-teachers-being-considered-for-national-teacher-of-the-year/2023/01

I want to say I am so excited about the work all of these teachers are doing and I would have a difficult time selecting just one. This is teaching! We need more and more celebrations of the work teachers do and to honor all they do.

Very proud of the representative from Illinois! Excited about the work with AVID as it is one of my favorite programs. There is so much to be excited about with these teachers! Congratulations to each one of them and continued successes #Bethesolutiondaily.

What is on your reading list?

Can you imagine if you were told what books you could and could not read? You go to the checkout at the bookstore or the library and are told, “I am sorry, this is not at your reading level.” You were so excited about reading the book, and you were denied.

The most significant way we turn our students off to reading is by narrowing their abilities to select what they want to read. I was a huge fan of programs that helped to steer students into a path to keep them reading and measuring their levels. It promised to help students make gains in reading. We are always looking for those magic wands and programs to enhance skills to demonstrate growth.


The reading diet of our students today seems to be unhealthy. They are not making the gains in reading, and it is not because educators are not working hard to deliver curriculum and get through the massive demands. We are asking teachers and students to do many things to check their completed boxes, add additional tasks, and forget about the joy of teaching and the love of learning.

Cultivating the love of reading can be done with several different approaches and ideas. There are many ways to promote reading, but we must remind ourselves that the world has significantly changed, and we need to adjust. We do not need to change our core values or standards; it is in how to approach the energy, technology, and innovative ways to capture and engage.

One of the things I did as a teacher way back in the late 90s was to turn a textbook for Social Studies into a student-led project of making a radio show about history. Students selected the chapters based on the topics of what they were interested in and they created the script. Then they developed the tasks to complete, questions to ask, and the assessments to check for understanding. All of us enjoyed it, and we recorded it to share with others.

Create your ways to generate ideas to bring love and joy to reading! Could you share with us your creative ideas?

Teaching and learning are a priority. This is our number one concern in helping to build a strong foundation. Our focus is not to seek those who are seeking to answer correctly but to continue to question and seek.

To continue to grow, we need those who will search for new ideas, find discoveries, explore, innovate and discover. Pushing thoughts and ideas and preventing opportunities to question and choose will cause group thinkers.

As you look at the world through your lens, what do you see?


Education, I have said for decades now, is “Something we do with children, not to them.” The perspective we take, the choices we make, and the relationships we develop will impact education. This is a powerful influence for today and future generations and in what lies ahead. Sitting in our classrooms today are those who will be in charge, leaders, and innovators who will change tomorrow.

Through my lens today, I see a much-needed change. People are working to bring changes and provide hope and encouragement. It is a time for everyone to work together; at home, school, and community, and I believe there is one more piece at least to add to this puzzle. Maybe you can help me find it. I know the pieces I used as I worked to help the individuals I served, and I know you will too!

Reading is vital to me as an individual, mother, grandmother, teacher, and leader. I want children to love reading. The more you read, the more you know and learn.

My parents could not complete school and, therefore, could not read. This had a significant impact on my life, and I felt it as a young child. Going to school, the teacher read nursery rhymes to us. Most of the children knew all of them, but I did not. I felt nervous instantly.

Children sitting in your classroom may feel more than nervous; they can be fearful, stressed, and uncertain. Our children have faced trauma issues in some form over the past decade. Many are more severe than others, but trauma's effects still exist in every classroom across our country.


When I was a child, we often had to take turns reading out loud for the class. You knew when it would be your turn and if you struggled with reading all you could do was think about when it would be your turn. Could you read all of the words? You would look at the paragraph and try to make sure you could do it. So all of the material that was being read, you had no idea what it was about.

It is my hope we are not still doing this round-robin kind of reading. This style of reading turns students off from reading, but also of the content they need to learn. Children who are in a state of fear and trauma, will retrieve information differently from the world than one that is calm.


As a teacher, I know the importance of the development of fluency. Fluency affects comprehension, so how can we access fluency without doing a round-robin?

Struggling readers spend much time learning about how to read and not enough time reading. Having time to read books for the joy of reading is what we want to instill in all our students. We want them to pick up books and read them.

In my classroom, we had books, recording devices, and reading areas. I was blessed with volunteers who would come to help in the school. The kids enjoyed reading to them and also recording to hear themselves reading. It is compelling.

I listed these quotes in my weekly, but without their authors. Today I have added the authors. I ignored who I selected, but only in the content of the quote. They have the points I wanted to make about the importance of learning and how we can sometimes forget.


Quotes about learning

These are just a few quotes about learning? Which one from the list would you select as your learning quote? Maybe you have one of your own, please share.

Curiosity and Imagination

I shared in a blog post a week ago that I was given the best opportunity a grandmother could ever have. My daughter and son-in-law asked if I could home-school my youngest grandson for the rest of the year before he goes to Kindergarten in the Fall of 2023. My heart is whole!

He would identify with the second learning quote. He said to me as we were working, “I love using my imagination to create.” He loves building things with his hands, and he is a big storyteller. I love his imagination. My hope is, he will continue to have a growth mindset, utilize his imagination and creativity to discover his potentials in making a difference in the world.


Did you know that early in life, Albert Einstein was not considered very intelligent? He continued to grow and became one of the most outstanding scientific thought scholars known. I often think about what my former teachers would think about some of the students they taught and what they have accomplished in their lives. Did they see them succeed? Did any of the performances surprise them?

Can you recall the learning journey you followed and are still following? As you grew up as a child, what are the things, people, places, or ideas that would spark you into wanting to learn?


When working as an educator with students, staff, and families, it is vital to know one approach will not work. Every child is different, families have different cultures and expectations, and the staff approach teaching and learning with diverse backgrounds and specialized talents is rich when shared.

Looking forward to taking time to check on different posts within different groups as they discuss the remaining school year. Looking to see how they are working to keep student engagement, building on curiosity and imagination as the school year ends. The important part of education is helping to fire up the brain to learn with curiosity, innovation and not by filling it with information. Teaching students to think, not what to think. Helping students learn to explore outside and around to find their purpose, opportunities, interests, and more learning.

As an educator for the past two decades, boys have been in academic crisis. “Nearly twice as many boys as girls have trouble reading, are diagnosed with language disabilities, and are referred to special education classes. 41% of children in the United States are not reading at a basic level by third grade, and a majority of them are boys.”

In the article America’s Boy Crisis, Crichton writes about America experiencing 26 mass shootings in the last 10 years. These shootings were committed by deeply troubled youth, aged 12 to 25 years old. All were male, and more than half were white.

In his research he discovered, all gave warning signs that were ignored by authority figures. I will state that they were not noticed by many people involved in their lives. Mental Health issues overlooked and not provided to our youth for many years.

Six of these shooters, based on information available, lived in fatherless homes.

Critchlow refers to this as a lost generation—Generation Z, those born between the years of 1997-2012. He describes this generation as semi-illiterate, addicted to social media, and secular.

African American and Hispanic youth have seen reports of academic risks at high rates, also tied in many cases with fatherless homes and other barriers over the past decades. White males experienced similar barriers, challenges, and academic shortcomings. It is not a race issue, but a gender issue. All of our boys are at risk, with some facing a higher level of challenges and barriers, but all at risk.

I know from my involvement in education and trainings, sociologists and experts have talked for decades about social consequences of fatherless households. Now I know single moms can do an excellent job in raising children, but mentioned in the article is evidence in research where the one’s who could not have issues.

“Less time is spent by youth today than a decade ago on socializing, attending parties, sporting, or entertainment events. Drugs, legal, and illegal, are destroying young men. In 2021 alone, 107,000 opioid deaths have occurred. Most of these deaths (69%) occurred among males.”


“Farrell and Gray identify four crises that boys now face: a crisis of education, a crisis of physical health, a crisis of economic health, and a crisis of mental health. All these lead to a void of purpose in many young men’s lives, and a consequent struggle to achieve a sense of self-worth.” -Bob Funk. Warren Farrell and John Gary are the authors of the book The Boy Crisis.

In conclusion, I would like to make a few points to ponder about the young boys in our lives. Since I entered the world of education way back in the late 80’s, boys have been in crisis. I do believe if we would look at the data they were in crisis before I began. All of our boys are in crisis. I will also say our children boys and girls are in crisis. My focus for this blog is on the boys.

Are there specific things you are doing to support the boys in your school? Do you have ideas to share? Boys learn differently than girls. It is important for all of us to remember, one glove does not fit all.

I will have more to share about supporting boys in education. The most important things we need to remember are:


References:

Additional resources for this topic would be Michael Gurian who has written 24 books in the field of education, parenting, and psychology of boys and girls. Christina Hoff Sommers’ book The War Against Boys, How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men or Michael Thompson’s work in this field. In addition, I discovered an article written by Donald T. Critchlow discussing how mass shootings spotlight a lost generation of white youths mentioned in the blog.

Tom Mortenson, Pell Institute

Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and Teresa H. Barker, It’s a Boy, p.201.

Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.36.

Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and Teresa H. Barker, It’s a Boy, p.211.

Ibid, p.189.

Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.122.

Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and Teresa H. Barker, It’s a Boy, p.186.

Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.307.

Ibid, p.35.

Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, The Minds of Boys, p.255.

Michael Gurian with Kathy Stevens, Boys & Girls Learn Differently, p.308.

Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, The Minds of Boys, p.22.

Donald T. Critchlow, Katzin Family Foundation professor at Arizona State University, is the author of Revolutionary Minds: Five Monsters Who Turned Liberation Into Tyranny

An opportunity for $1million dollars awards to one middle and high school school in every U.S. state of $10,000 to help establish a computer science education with Code.org.

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In addition to the $10,000 awarded to the school to fund a project(s) of the school's creation through DonorsChoose, the implementing teacher(s) in each winning school will receive a no-cost scholarship to attend Code.org's Professional Learning Program.

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