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RIDE supports several blogs throughout our website where Rhode Islanders and RIDE staff share their thoughts.

On this page, we have collected all of the blogs on our site - many of which share posts from Rhode Island educators other than RIDE staff. Blogs are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Commissioner's Corner: Blog posts and messages from the Commissioner to the Rhode Island community.
  • District Teacher of the Year (DTOY): Posts from the Rhode Island District Teachers of the Year, past and present, who share about instructional successes and challenges they encounter in Rhode Island classrooms.
  • Equitable Access to Excellent Educators: Rhode Island educators and RIDE staff explore factors and perspectives on the importance of ensuring that all students are taught by high quality educators.
  • Leadership: Reflections and insights from RIDE’s Leadership Fellow and other district and school leaders on the challenges and opportunities of being a school leader.
  • Rhode Island Poet Laureate: Reflections and poetry focused on teaching, learning, and the experience of education from Tina Cane, Rhode Island Poet Laureate.
  • Rhode Island Science Education (R.I.S.E.): A communication blog to update stakeholders in education and in the community on important developments, events and accomplishments in science education in Rhode Island.
  • Student Voice: Because student voice is an essential component of our discussion on education, RIDE will post essays written by students from around Rhode Island.

Click on a category below to filter by a particular blog:

Push, Pull, Play!

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 11/16/2018
Julie Myszak
2019 Barrington District Teacher of the Year
Primrose Hill, Sowams and Nayatt Elementary Schools
Elementary Instructional Coach

Inspiration should be everywhere in education. Students should be inspired every day by the knowledge and exploration before them, just as teachers should be inspired to learn right alongside their students. Driven by questions and curiosity, motivated by the ability to promote some form of change with their newfound expertise. This has always been - and will continue to be - the ultimate goal of education in my eyes.

I recently had the chance to engage in my own professional learning through work with RIDE in collaboration with Great Schools Partnership. The work involved the development of what they are terming “cross-curricular proficiencies.” Five areas in which, regardless of content, all students should have access to and master by the time they graduate high school. These five cross-curricular proficiencies: communication, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking, research, and reflection and feedback, are ways to define a successful, prepared, and flexible learner. Think about it: regardless of whatever pathway a student chooses to take in life, if they have the ability to communicate, collaborate, think critically to solve problems, engage in research, reflect and provide feedback to others, they are bound to be successful.

To say I was motivated by the change this could bring, as well as the opportunities for both the students and teachers in my district, is an understatement! So, when given the chance to write and pilot a kindergarten science task aligned to one of these proficiencies, I eagerly accepted.

student on a slide in a playground

With the development of a set of progressive criteria defining what it meant for a kindergartener to collaborate, we began “Push, Pull, Play!” Throughout this whole investigation, classes were engaged in the scientific method for the first time. Students began by exploring where they saw examples of pushing forces or pulling forces on the playground. They then engaged in a slide exploration, where they participated in three “trials” down the slide, varying the strength of their pushing force, and collecting data on their speed. From there, they used their “data tags” to make scientific connections and claims about the relationship between force, motion, and speed.

student on a slide in a playground

Our next step was to challenge the students to engage in inquiry to investigate the effect of force on speed and direction, with a close lens on their ability to collaborate. We presented the students with their options of materials to investigate the effect that force has on the speed and/or the direction of an object. From there, it was all in their hands! They asked questions, designed a plan to investigate, collected data, and hopefully answered some of their “wonderings.” They formed hypotheses based on their plans. From there, the true collaboration began: they were tasked with working together to implement it all. What happened next was truly remarkable.

student on a slide in a playground

Sometimes you forget the power of simply watching and listening to students. To be an acutely present observer. How much you can really glean from meeting students right where they are, and giving them the permission and the time for them to take you exactly where they are going. Our role was to capture their ability to work with one another toward a single common goal.

student on a slide in a playground

When engaging in my own reflective practices following the piloting of “Push, Pull, Play,” this is what I’m now motivated by: the equitable entry point that instruction centered around one of these cross-curricular proficiencies allows for all students. When you embed the content, no matter what it is, in one of these five areas, it allows you to meet students right where they are and gives them the much-needed permission to take risks to reach their full potential. The content is the platform for students to engage in these practices. Imagine the pathways we can open to students if our message is clear; let’s work on communicating, collaborating, thinking critically, engaging in research, reflecting and providing feedback – that expertise can take you anywhere.

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