Gamification, AI Guidance, and 21st Century Skills

Topics for this week include the benefits of gamifying instruction, thoughtful guidance regarding the use of artificial intelligence, and building 21st-century skills.

Gamification, AI Guidance, and 21st Century Skills
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


Join me in Denver for the ELEducation’s 2023 National Conference, #ELNC23–use my unique registration code to save $50 on your conference registration: JeremyELNC23 #SponCon #WeAreCrew

Happy Friday once again!

Highlights from this week include safely conducting a food-burning investigation with my 8th graders, watching them participate in the first middle school dance we've had in a few years, and preparing to be on the upcoming Teachers on Fire Podcast. You can check it out on YouTube as it's being recorded. Chalk this one up as another opportunity for growth.

I wish you a weekend of rest and renewal. Try to take some time to reflect on your "Wins" from this past week. Thank you for doing your part in shaping the future.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Gamifying instruction can improve student engagement and test scores.
  • Thoughtful guidance and policies are needed for the safe and responsible use of AI in education.
  • Building 21st-century skills through cross-curricular activities and independent learning is crucial.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Play the Game - In a middle school math classroom, gamifying instruction has transformed students' attitudes and performance. Gerilyn Williams, a math teacher in New Jersey, incorporated game elements into her lessons, such as mathopoly and quests. The result was a significant increase in student engagement, improved test scores, and a positive shift in students' perception of math as an enjoyable subject. I’ve experimented with adding gamification elements on and off and have found they can be motivating for a certain segment of students. One the the biggest things to plan for is to make sure that whatever you put in place is sustainable for you as a teacher.
  • AI Guidance - Incorporating AI in education holds potential benefits for improving learning outcomes, supporting teacher instruction, and enhancing educational equity. However, it is crucial to develop thoughtful guidance and policies to ensure the safe and responsible use of AI in primary and secondary education. This AI Guidance for Schools Toolkit provides a framework for education systems to create guidance, inform policies, and build capacity among stakeholders. It addresses immediate concerns, facilitates organizational learning, and promotes improvement and transformation across the education system. Although I'm still a little apprehensive about AI, I have to confess that has already helped me a few times.
  • 21st Century Skills - It’s important that learners at all levels are able to build their 21st-century skills. The four core skills of communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration are essential for students in today's rapidly changing world. One useful approach is to have a presentation project running in the background with your class. Try this 10-step project-based approach that allows learners to acquire these skills while engaging in cross-curricular activities and independent learning. It also provides downloadable worksheets for different stages of the project, offering practical resources for teachers.
  • Resource - In November, we observe National Native American Heritage Month, a time to commemorate the Indigenous peoples of the past and present. It is an opportunity to show respect for Tribal sovereignty, support Tribal self-determination, and fulfill the United States' solemn obligations and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations [source]. Here are some Native American Heritage Month Teaching and Learning Resources.
  • Social Media - My students coached me on how to make an unboxing video. It was fun to put this video together.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Don’t Stop Believing - Despite being considered a "low performer" by his professor, Albert Einstein's intellectual brilliance and creative thinking led him to develop groundbreaking theories in physics, including the theory of relativity. His success serves as a reminder not to underestimate the potential of people based solely on their performance. Who we are today isn’t who we will be years later.
  • Just Move, Even Just a Little - You don’t have to spend massive amounts of time exercising to get the benefits. The key is to pick something and do it with some consistency. Can you squeeze in 21 minutes a day?
  • Happiness Skills - Numerous theories try to explain the concept of happiness. Taking a balanced approach may be the most effective way to proceed. While it may not be possible to directly teach happiness, we can still apply and practice skills that contribute to our overall happiness.
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“Leaders start with the positive, always believing the best first.” - Skip Prichard

Teacher Commuter Playlist - My Baby Just Cares For Me (Nina Simone)

Favorite Things

  • Kids and Science - A 14-year-old boy named Heman Bekele from Virginia has won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for creating a soap to treat melanoma. Heman hopes to distribute the soap to communities in need through a non-profit organization in the future.
  • Shower Thought - "No one prepares you for the fact that you have to figure out what to eat for every meal for the rest of your life." [source]
  • Teacher Gear - Chances are if you are a teacher you are also a connoisseur of caffeine. This Highly Caffeinated Teacher Shirt is for you.
Check out different styles and pricing.

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