IDEA Mind Map

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - 14 Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was originally passed and signed into law in 1990, its most recent major amendments were added in 2004. This important education law ensures the “free appropriate public education” for each and every student with a disability in the United States. Among its far-reaching impacts is the creation of the Individualized Education Program (IEP), which nearly all teachers in the US are familiar with in 2015.

My teacher education program, Teach-Now, asked us to create a Mind Map of the thirteen specific cognitive and physical disabilities covered under IDEA, along with describing or providing an example of what each disability entails for the child. And finally, we were asked to provide an example of a potential individualized intervention or accommodation that a teacher would put in place in order to make the learning appropriate for a child with that specific disability.

You can view my average Mind Map on the Mindmeister website here.

However, I was recently sent a newsletter from Mindmeister informing me of a couple things of which I was previously unaware. First, if you do not sign in to your Mindmeister account for six months it will be deactivated, FYI! Second, Mindmeister has a serious catalogue of searchable public Mind Maps that anyone can access and reference (as long as you give proper credit to the maker). Check out the education public maps here.

Finally, I was blown away with a few Mind Maps that I encounter during my casual perusal of the public catalogue. I wish I had spent some time viewing well-developed Mind Maps on the site before creating my own rudimentary ones. For example, here is a thoroughly better version of an IDEA Mind Map created by Sarah Euphrasia.

Ed Buzzword: Failure

Seems like everywhere you look these days there is an article, a book, a motivational speaker or educator who is slinging a slogan for the power of failure. From Tavis Smiley’s “Fail Up” to Silicon Valley’s “iteration”, the buzzwords and slogans for the power of failure are myriad these days.

Interestingly, Peter Thiel made a comment going against the grain of the conventional wisdom on the power of failure in an interview with Vox.com recently. He said, “One of the ideas I’m very skeptical of is that people learn from failure. I think, in practice, failure’s really demotivating. Hopefully, you have the character to persevere and keep going, but I think the default is that failure is powerfully demotivating. But success is very motivating.” Mr. Thiel is obviously talking about adults and specifically called out the need for “character to persevere” through failure and “keep going”. Thus, I’m going to assume that Mr. Thiel would agree that it is very important to explicitly and transparently teach character through both failure and success in schools and from a young age.

On that note, I am going to share two more readings on failure!

The first is a wonderful piece written by the eminent educator, Rick Wormeli, entitled, “Failure Preferred, Actually”. In it, Wormeli identifies thirteen ways for teachers to “make failure a valued route to learning” in their classroom. Here are some highlights:

    • “Failure can teach us in ways that consistent success cannot.” In other words, the only way we know how to instill grit and perseverance in a child or adult is through overcoming obstacles. If a child never struggles through something, never experiences failure, there is a world of empathy and coping skills that may remain under developed.
    • “Students should feel safe and invited to experiment and fail in the middle of class or at home as they learn new material…One of the most vivid ways to do this is modeling our own struggles to learn something new.” This is a huge leap for many teachers to take, especially considering the accountability education reform movement. Do most teachers really have the latitude to try and fail, iterate a lesson or unit, or even create a culture of experimentation in their classroom? And Wormeli does acknowledge this by writing, “One of the worst perpetuators of an unhealthy avoidance of failure is the pressure we feel from state or provincial testing.”
  • “Frequently relate the stories of famous figures in history, science, sports, politics, entertainment, and other professions who failed in some way but learned from the experience and grew as a result. Students are consummate story-receivers; they’ll remember the lessons learned.”
  • “Create a ‘Wall of Failure Success’ in which you identify students (with their permission) who failed at something initially, but learned from the experience and eventually became successful with that skill or topic. Be specific in telling their stories.”
  • “…acknowledging that we do not know everything is a good model for students. It builds empathy for what they are feeling as we ask them to take risks.”
  • “Make it possible for students to ask more questions in class than you do. If they’re asking the questions, they’re doing the learning.” I really like this because it is a clear whole group indicator of the learning, the curiosity and the engagement of your students. And this is easy to assess, you can tell when you are leading the students to the water and when they are leading themselves.
  • “The consequence for not doing the learning is the doing the learning, not escape from the learning.” That is a classroom slogan that I will be using soon! As Wormeli says, if we allow a student to skip an assignment or not re-do bad work or we refuse to reassess a student on an improved task, we are signaling to them that specifics of that piece of knowledge or skill is not important, that it’s okay for that student not to learn this thing.

 

Second, the TeachThought website had a great article on a design framework to help students fail successfully.


Framework for Failure

The framework is most concerned with definitions; redefining the meaning of failure based more on the tech world’s notion of iteration and “progress over ‘finishing’”. For example, Terry Heick writes, “If understanding is about making meaning, then failure is always only temporary. Making meaning is a present participle that indicates an ongoing process. It’s indefinite, if for no other reason than we can never fully and completely understand anything.” This is philosophical in nature, while Wormeli’s piece on failure is much more practical. The two compliment each other in ways that are unintended but are extraordinarily inspiring and useful to me as a teacher!

How to teach a young introvert

As an ambi-vert who definitely recharges through solo “me” time and someone who feels they are most productive and creative when NOT collaborating with a group or partner, I think this is important stuff for teachers to be aware of.

ideas.ted.com

See all articles in the series

What should we do with the quiet kids? A conversation with Susan Cain on the future of classroom education.

Susan Cain sticks up for the introverts of the world. In the U.S., where one third to one half the population identifies as introverts, that means sticking up for a lot of people. Some of them might be data engineers overwhelmed by the noise of an open-floor-plan office. Others might be lawyers turning 30, whose friends shame them for not wanting a big birthday bash. But Cain particularly feels for one group of introverts: the quiet kids in a classroom.

Cain remembers a childhood full of moments when she was urged by teachers and peers to be more outgoing and social — when that simply wasn’t in her nature. Our most important institutions, like schools and workplaces, are designed for extroverts, says Cain in her TED Talk. [Watch: The power of…

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My PLN Mind Map

kenny_short_pln

I created this Mind Map using the Mindmeister ‘add-on’ in Google Drive, so that it automatically saves in my G Drive. This PLN Mind Map was made a few weeks into my Teach-Now online certification program. Since then my Personal Learning Network (PLN) has grown. Below is a list of the additions to my PLN in the last nine to twelve months. If you would like to view my Mind Map online, go here.

I am still looking for a classroom to partner with internationally to do a Skype in the Classroom series. Since I am teaching in Korea I am looking for English-speaking classes and teachers that are in a similar time zone. That means American schools in Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines or SE Asia. Or, a classroom in Australia or New Zealand. If you know any teacher in those countries who might be interested, please connect us!

The Mindfulness Triangle

It seems like nearly everything education-related that I read or listen to as of late mentions either Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, Stoicism or all three. First, let’s provide some definitions for these ideas and then I will talk about a couple examples.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a structured, short-term, present-oriented psychotherapy for depression, directed toward solving current problems and modifying dysfunctional (inaccurate and/or unhelpful) thinking and behavior.
  2. Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment
  3. Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of “moral and intellectual perfection”, would not suffer such emotions.

In his book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Paul Tough writes that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in the context of character building and education, is “using the conscious mind to recognize negative or self-destructive thoughts or interpretations and to talk yourself into a better perspective.” For example, many of the KIPP teachers profiled in the book ask students to think about their thinking, identify either negative or positive thoughts, their behavioral triggers, the resultant actions, and then plot a repeatable course that nets better outcomes for the student.

In Invisibilia, the newest podcast from NPR, the first episode entitled, The Secret History of Thoughts, explores the three phases of psychological theory. At first thoughts had meaning and a connection to the material world, ie Freudian psychoanalysis. Then it became common theory and practice to assume that thoughts had limited meaning, automatic negative thoughts should not be simply accepted and internalized, and by challenging or contradicting your thinking you could change it, i.e. Dr. Aaron Beck’s CBT. And the podcast hosts mention that, according to the research, the latter has proven more effective than the former in facilitating mental health.

Finally, the third and newest psychological theory posits that many or most thoughts have no meaning at all, and that through mindfulness therapy a person can learn to ignore those negative, meaningless thoughts altogether, and deny them the power to affect mental health. Under this theory, meditation has become a regular part of therapy. And, in fact, there is a growing movement of educators who are using yoga, meditation and other mindfulness strategies to help their students learn and take care of the whole child. Here is a great review on the Cult of Pedagogy website about a great practical new guide to mindfulness in the classroom, Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom.

My frequent encounters with this vein of psychology did not stop there. Lary Wallace has written a great piece in Aeon Magazine online about “why Stoicism is one of the best mind-hacks ever”, using the parlance of our times. Wallace argues that Stoicism has been largely ignored in the West because it does not offer the “exotic mystique” of the great Eastern philosophies even though it is more accessible and therefore more practical for the average person. He writes, “Stoicism is, as much as anything, a philosophy of gratitude – a gratitude, moreover, rugged enough to endure anything.”

As a real-life example of just what Stoics can endure, Wallace references the 1993 King’s College London speech of US Navy Admiral James Stockdale. In the speech Admiral Stockdale recounts his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. He used this time as a ‘laboratory of human behavior’ in which he ignored or denied himself any concern outside of his very small ‘sphere of choice’.

Wallace’s emphasis on Stoic gratitude and Stockdale’s reliance on concerning himself only with his own actions in order to endure horrible war-time conditions both have significant ties with the character education being taught at KIPP Academies. Self-regulation, grit, and gratitude are of paramount importance for children of poverty to succeed academically and achieve social-emotional health. And any ‘mind-hack’, as Wallace labels Stoicism, must also require mindfulness to identify thoughts and actions that are within the sphere of choice. Therefore, these three ideas about our thinking, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness and Stoicism, all have significant overlaps which can be leveraged in the classroom through intentional practice. I am energized by this possibility and will have to follow up in the future with specific teaching practices that integrate these ideas and promote positive student behaviors.