Thoughtful Learning Blog

Thoughtful Learning Blog

The Thoughtful Learning blog features articles about English language arts, 21st century skills, and social-emotional learning. Insights come from the teachers, writers, and developers at Thoughtful Learning, who have been creating top-notch instructional materials for more than 40 years.

Obviously, school is intended to prepare students for life. But what do we mean by that? On the one hand, we mean that it provides students with the necessary skills to gain a career after graduation and become productive members of society. On the other hand, the teachers most of us remember long after our own schooling are those who encouraged our individuality.

Making the Grade

Yesterday I stumbled across an article about college students getting miffed when they didn’t get an “A for Effort”: “Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes.” I find it a difficult attitude to understand; it breaks down as soon as it’s applied to the working world. A building doesn’t care whether an architect tried her hardest—the design either stands or falls. A gall bladder doesn’t care that a surgeon did his best—the cholecystectomy is either a success or a failure.

“To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.”

—Anatole France

Creativity is the metaphoric power of a nine-year-old who calls her unkempt Shih Tzu a “dirty ol’ dust mop.” It’s the vision of a photographer who sees Easter Island sculptures in a series of back-alley shadows. And it is the inventiveness of a gardener who feels the stirrings of a story after digging up an arrowhead.

In Writers INC, writer Randall VanderMey captures the essence of creativity in the following scenarios:

As the person who usually answers questions (both in-house and out) regarding documenting research reports, let me second Dave Kemper’s most recent post about breathing life into the research process. Dave summarized Ken Macrorie’s I-Search approach to research writing. I’d like to parallel that with a digital-era view of what research is really all about.

The first step is to back away from a fixation on whether our references are punctuated correctly. The second is to unlearn the word plagiarism.