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The 3 Things We Can Do To Reach Every Child

As long as we talk about reaching every child – it is someone else's problem. Instead what we should each be asking ourselves is how to reach that child right in front of us. Then we reach the child sitting beside her, and then, new one who just enrolled. We must focus on the living breathing children in our eyesight not just looking at the numbers on a page. Reaching every child should be what we do. It is in the educator's DNA. This is not someone else's problem it is the problem of everyone who claims to be an educator.

[callout]I'll be attending the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai next week. The organizers asked me to share my thoughts on reaching every child. This is not an easy topic but one each of us must consider in our daily lives as teachers.[/callout]

They Are Everywhere

Wherever you work or are located, this is your problem because there are unreached kids everywhere. They surround us. You can make a child put their body into a seat in a schoolhouse, but they are the only one who can truly bring their entire being to school. It is a conscious internal decision to become educated because education is not something given.

You can't give a child an education.

Education is always earned. You can give the opportunity to be educated but you can’t force someone to be educated. Becoming well educated is a decision to make the best of the educational opportunity presented. (Yes, there are far too many who have no opportunity to be educated as well.)

Reach Every Child

The Global Education & Skills Forum in Dubai next week will tackle conversations about reaching every child.

Educators Who Care, Share Best Practices

Engaging Every Child Matters. So, as we meet and discuss this most important issue, we'll need to talk about engagement and effective use of technology (my forte) but we'll also need to discuss the responsibility that each of us have to share the best practices we discover in our classrooms, outside our classroom walls. There are some of us who are experts at helping students make the most of the educational opportunities they have.

Every Child Having Educational Opportunities Matters. Some of you specialize in providing educational opportunities to those who have not had them. You have best practices too that need to be shared. Because lack of educational opportunities often means a complete lack of hope. More opportunities must be given to all students of all races and genders worldwide.

Reaching Everyone: Intergenerational Learning

I'm a teacher in a tiny rural private school in South Georgia United States. Many of the farmer's kids I teach don't have high speed internet and computers. Yet, as we learn and work together, I've taught them that we have an obligation to share that learning with the world.

Right now, my ninth graders are compiling an Encyclopedia of Learning Games using evaluation rubrics developed by Dr. Lee Graham's graduate students at the University of Alaska Southeast. They are learning web design, programming, and game design principles as they engage in a project to help more teachers find more free engaging, high quality games to teach kids in their classroom. (See  for our work in progress and join us if you want to.)

This work has run alongside an OOC (Open Online Community) studying gaming in education run by Dr. Verena Roberts and includes a component where students create a serious game in Minecraft with Colin Osterhout. We were discussing just this week that really we’ve created an Intergenerational Online Learning Community that is as powerful as anything that we have experienced. We’re creating Open Education Resources (OER’s) as we study.

Sharing Best Practices is something that we should do as educators. Photo Credit: iStock Photo.

Sharing Best Practices is something that we should do as educators.
Photo Credit: iStock Photo.

Sharing Your Story

I’m looking forward to the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai next week to hear the stories of others (and share mine briefly.) Some of the leading educational leaders and practitioners in the world are going to be there. If you're not there, you're still here reading this and you can share your story online everywhere you share. Your story is important. It matters that we help each other move forward because teaching is a noble profession but a very hard one.

Many of us are passionate about reaching every child. Never forget that the root of passion is:

Latin passiō  suffering, from Latin patī  to suffer

Having a passion for something requires sacrifice and giving all you have. Are you willing to sacrifice in order to help educate more children? There are no easy answers, my friends.

The panel

I'll be on a panel with some amazing educators (and one very cool student) as we discuss leveraging mobile technology, social media, and gaming to improve education. If you have questions or want to follow along, you can follow the Twitter handle.

Engaging Every Child

You can be anywhere and help educators everywhere. But you must be willing to share.

As for me, I dream not only of helping my students learn – and I love them dearly. But I also dream of helping other educators develop the same nurturing, empowering relationship I have with my own students.

The 3 Essentials We Need to Reach Every Child

  1. Opportunity. First students must have the opportunity to learn.
  2. Engagement. Second, we must understand that education isn't something you give a child, it is something they earn. We must focus on engaging the ones we have. Alarming numbers of children are walking away from education opportunities every year. We must engage those we have to help children become more intrinsically motivated to learn.
  3. Sharing Best Practices. Likewise, excellent teaching practices cannot be given to teachers — we earn them with every moment we teach and reach out to our PLN. We sacrifice our time and energy to pursue this passion because we must earn the right to be called an excellent teacher. Reaching every child always starts with the one right in front of you. And it continues with sharing with other educators exactly how you did it.

Looking forward to continuing these important conversations with some of you in Dubai where we'll discuss all three.

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher is an award winning blogger and full time teacher at Westwood Schools in Camilla. She is coauthor of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds and the upcoming book Reinventing Writing and has created more than 15 global projects connecting students around the world. She’s featured in the World is Flat, writes for Edutopia, and hosts a bi-weekly radio Show Every Classroom Matters on the BAM Radio Network.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Becca March 22, 2014 - 12:21 am

Vicki, you have an amazing voice which really pinpoints the core of education. I believe those 3 things are essential for all teachers to incorporate inside as well as outside of the classroom walls.
Engaging students requires teachers to know their students, each and everyone of them individually. Whether that be by having a spontaneous conversation with them, having a private interview session to learn about their favourite sports, tv shows etc. or whether that be through journalling. Either way, it is so crucial to find out who your students are, where they come from, their strengths, weaknesses and interests! This is the first step to engaging them and catering to their individual needs. By using differentiated instruction, we can reach every child.

coolcatteacher March 22, 2014 - 5:59 am

Yes, Becca. Getting to know every child is vital — and daunting for many as class sizes are very high in many countries — but standing at the door and calling each child by name and treating them with respect is important and vital. They’ll learn from you once they know you care.— Vicki Davis
@coolcatteacher Blog
Host: Every Classroom Matters
Author: Reinventing Writing
Co-Author: Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds
:: This email (and tweets too) are off the record unless we specify otherwise.:: :::: Sorry for brevity as sent from my mobile device::::::

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