EMOJIS ~ Feelings during Reading!

Emojis Feelings Reading.png


Dear teachers, you know that EMOJIS are in!
I know that kids love emojis everywhere especially when these cuties
can help them better express their emotions!
My students loved this unit where they could tell all about their
different emotions they have had throughout the whole book, not
just writing or saying “happy” or “sad”!
In this unit you will also have a great opportunity to expand your
students’ vocabualry when it comes to adjectives that can better
depict their pleasant and unpleasant feelings.
Psychologically speaking, we know that our students need more than
ever be able to express their feelings appropriately.
I know that you will enjoy this unit, especially when there is cutting,
gluing AND emojis involved!!!

Flexible Seating!



Today’s schools are no different than the ones in the 1800s! “Well, wait!” you might say, “A lot has changed since then, curriculum has changed, seating arrangement has changed, discipline has changed, books, technology, resources, many things have changed!” Unfortunately, one everything has not changed, and that is the sitting requirement that we impose on our students. Students are still required to sit for seven hours, on the same chair, on the same hard chair. We may even have group desks, and not arranging them in rows and columns, but the child is still asked to remain seated quietly as can be for most of the day.

Health Corps (2009) reminds us that there was an advertisement many years ago that would flash before the late evening news, “Do you know where your children are?” It was aimed at parents, to raise awareness that we need to know where our kids are, and what they’re doing, especially in the late night hours. Now, health and children’s advocates say that we should now be asking, “How many hours do your kids sit daily?” As expected, too many hours of sitting is bad for kids’ health.

A prior study by Kravitz (2009) on the British Medical Journal suggested that adults, and especially children, need to avoid sitting for too long. If we don’t move often during the day, the risk rises for certain health changes in our body that predispose us to disease. The telomere length of certain cells in our body is associated with healthy lifestyle and longevity. Prolonged sitting causes telomeres in our body to lengthen. When telomere length is longer, our overall lifespan may be shortened. With kids it is the same way, if not worse. Kids who sit for too long periods of time may have similar, adult-type health consequences.  Even if children exercise in the morning or evening, but sit the rest of the day at a desk, rarely getting up, they may be at risk for these significant and unhealthy blood vessel changes. That also means that if students play a sport for an hour or two a day, but sit in school and at home for the rest of their waking hours, they too are at risk of developing these early, ominous heart-risk provoking changes. Globally, kids sit on average 8.5 hours. Specifically, movement and activity really drops after age 8. That’s of course, when school, homework and tech devices take over kids’ lives.

Reynolds (Science of fitness, 2015) also agrees that children are sitting too much. He adds that children who sit too much may face adult-size health consequences. The study found that after a single session of prolonged inactivity, the children developed changes in their blood flow and arteries that, in grown-ups, would signal the start of serious cardiovascular problems. Many epidemiological studies have found associations between multiple hours of inactivity and increased risks for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, liver disease, metabolic syndrome and other conditions, including premature death. Most worrying, these risks remain elevated even if someone regularly exercises but then settles into his or her chair for the rest of the day. “It seems clear from our results that children should not sit for prolonged, uninterrupted periods of time,” (Dr. McManus 2015).

So, we as teachers need to encourage children to stand up and move around at least every hour. A stroll around the classroom or living room should help. Dr. McManus suggests that vigorous exercise is not required to keep children’s arteries healthy. Unfortunately, chairs are as alluring to the young as they are to grown-ups. “I was surprised by how easy it was to get children to stay still for three uninterrupted hours,” Dr. McManus said. “We’d expected that they would want to be up and moving around.” But they were content to sit, entertained by movies and iPads.

James A. Levine (2005) also says that research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.

The solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. Students need to start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever they have the chance or think about ways to walk while they work. The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, these activities burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When students sit, these processes stall — and their health risks increase. When students standing or actively moving, they kick the processes back into action.

Dr. Mercola goes on saying that our body is designed for regular movement, but many Americans spend the bulk of their day sitting still instead. Worse still, many Americans don’t fit in a workout or a long walk either, which means their bodies are virtually always in a sedentary state. It’s not that sitting is inherently dangerous… the danger is in the dose. While a brief period of sitting here and there is natural, long periods of sitting day-in and day-out can seriously impact your health and shorten your life. Now, let’s visualize an American classroom, don’t you see students sitting all day? They are not meant to sit for so many hours in the same place every single day at school. We now know that today’s chairs do not offer enough flexibility to optimize learning. In 1912, Maria Montessori described the impact of chairs saying: “When chairs were used, children were not disciplined, but annihilated” (Montessori)

Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, and author of the book Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, has dedicated a good part of his career to investigating the health effects of sitting.

His investigations show that when grown-ups and children have been sitting for a long period of time and then get up, a number of molecular cascades occur. For example, within 90 seconds of standing up, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol—which are mediated by insulin—are activated. In short, at the molecular level, our body was designed to be active and on the move all day long. When people stop moving for extended periods of time, it’s like telling our body it’s time to shut down and prepare for death. The more hours you spend sitting in a day, the shorter your lifespan may be. The evidence is overwhelming at this point—10,000 studies and growing—, the answer is to stand up as much as possible. “Inactivity—sitting—is not supposed to be a way of life”. Levine (2015)


What is the solution?

Teachers, scientists and doctors all over United States have been thinking about it and decided that it is about time to bring a solution to our sedentary lives and our bad habits are being copied and forced to follow by our students. The following real story represents the journey of every teacher who decided to make radical changes in their classrooms.

Delzer (2015), Edsurge columnist and teacher, says “It’s been my dream to make my 2nd grade classroom look more like a “Starbucks for kids”https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-10-01-why-the-21st-century-classroom-may-remind-you-of-starbucks, and less like, well, a classroom.” She goes on by reflecting about how we can provide a Starbucks for kids, “Think about when you go to Starbucks to complete some work. Why do you choose to work there? Where do you choose to sit? I usually gravitate towards the comfy seating choices like the couches and big chairs, and yet, I see people choose the tables and chairs over and over again. Regardless, when you walk into Starbucks, you have choice. You get to choose where you sit. No one checks you in and directs you to a spot, telling you that you must sit there for the remainder of the day to do your work. If you need to get up, walk around, or choose a different seat, you are free to do so. As I sat in our local Starbucks this past summer, I looked around and thought—why can’t my classroom look like this?”

Kayla Delzer decided to renovate her classroom and before she even purchased a single thing, she thought about why she was doing a classroom redesign. She remembers, “If we truly want to prepare our students for the real world, we need to put them in responsive, dynamic environments that reflect life outside of a traditional classroom. And what’s that life outside like? Full of choices, where adults are responsible for their own learning. As a college student visiting my classroom once said, “It’s like you’re treating them like little adults.” And as my teaching has changed, my classroom design needed to change right along with it.”

After consulting Erin Klein, a classroom design guru who has been “ditching her desks” to avoid “the cemetery effect” for a few years now and sharing her experiments on her blog, she thought about her classroom and the traditional chairs and tables she was given—and she came up with a plan. Looking around her classroom, she quickly realized that she had far too much furniture, so she got rid of four tables, her huge teacher desk, 20 traditional chairs and a file cabinet. Next, she started looking for resources to redesign and repurpose what she already had and could be used in her classroom.

What came out of that was flexible seating and open floor space. Now, she has a large, open area for whole group instruction and five remaining tables, each designed with a specific purpose: a small group instruction whiteboard table with stools. a stand-and-work table with no chairs, a crate seats table, a sit-on-the-floor area with core disks or pillows and work table (see to the right), and a stability ball chairs table.

Delzer allows students to responsibly choose where they work every day. When they arrive in the morning, they make a choice for the day but are free to switch places as they see fit throughout the day. She has enough seating options in her classroom that there are never issues about running out of one type of seating. At the beginning of the year, students spend an entire day trying out each of the seating choices. After that, she begins to let them self-select their seating daily. “One big note: Students know I always reserve the right to move them.”

Delzer proves that behavior issues and distraction are reduced in this environment. “the behaviors of my students who have exhibited aggressive or distracting behaviors in the past have significantly decreased.” There is power for them in the choice to select where they will work. They know the work isn’t optional, but choosing where they work is.

Since desks are not present anymore, you might ask where the supplies go! Mrs. Delzer suggests having work bins in the corner of the room where students keep folders, math journals, and other personal items. They use community supplies at each of the five tables, and she also has individual baskets of supplies for students that choose to work on yoga mats or work rugs.

This is the testimony of a parent who is echoing thousands that get to witness their children’s excitement for school. Lorraine Albrecht, mother of one of Delzer’s students, says,     “From a parenting perspective, I have really enjoyed the flexible seating option Mrs. Delzer has offered this year. When I was able to observe the seating options in her classroom, it just really made a lot of sense to me… meeting the kids’ needs and also allowing them the responsibility and flexibility to choose where they will learn best for the day. My daughter has come home just thrilled at the opportunity to choose where she sits and it appears to help her focus when she isn’t expected to sit in a chair for long stretches of the day.”

If we take a look at classrooms over the past 70 years, we are seeing the same type of learning environments, year after year. The world is changing, yet our classrooms are remaining much the same. Revitalizing space is a straightforward way to let students exercise choice in the learning environment and find academic success on their own terms. Teachers across the United States are switching daily to this type of classroom; teachers even encourage each other on blogs and social media posts. Teachers call it the train, where many teachers jump in every day.

Even the Mayo Clinic released an article all about the new classroom of the future; they call it the “Standing Only Classroom.” Developing the classroom of the future was a team effort. With more than 10 years of research into NEAT, Dr. Levine and Dr. Lanningham Foster provided credibility and a plan of action. The Rochester Public Schools were enthusiastic partners, willing to try creative approaches to education. Nicole Brekke-Sisk (Mayo Clinic, 2006) says that the “classroom without desks” not only keeps students moving, it also makes teacher-student interaction easy. Kids crave movement. What’s more, they need movement for proper development. We need to find ways to give children more opportunities to move, whether it’s at school or at home.”

The results were surprising: “I noticed several major changes in my students once we implemented the more mobile classroom,” says Rynearson. “There was less movement for movement’s sake — fewer trips to the bathroom or water fountain. Students shifted their bodies and changed positions when they needed to in order to stay focused. And students were able to move themselves away from other students who might be distracting or bothering them. This led to much less bickering and fewer distractions from class work.”


Brain research also confirms that physical activity – moving, stretching, and walking – can actually enhance the learning process. Eric Jensen (2000), in his article “Moving with the Brain in Mind(Education Leadership Magazine), protests against the sedentary classroom style and suggests a better way to spend the long days in our classrooms, not only for students, but for teachers. Teachers need to engage students in a greater variety of postures, including walking, lying down, moving, learning against a wall or desk, perching, or even squatting. A slanted desk means less fatigue, better concentration, less eye straining, and better reading. Students experience less painful electromyogram activity in the lower back when they use slanted work surfaces instead of flat ones (Eastman & Kamon, 1976).


Teachers should regularly engage students in movement. “The data suggest that exercise is the best overall mood regulator” (Thayer, 1996) The brain learns best and retains most when the organism is actively involved in exploring physical sites and materials and asking questions. “Merely passive experiences tend to attenuate and have little lasting impact” (Gardner, 1999. pg. 82). Active learning has significant advantages over sedentary learning, which are: more can be remembered, they can have more fun, the styles can be more age appropriate, and can be more intelligence independent and that reaches more learners. Active leaning is not just for physical education teachers – that notion is outdated. Active learning and flexible seating are for educators who understand the science behind the learning; this is why teachers across the United States are switching daily to flexible seating in their classrooms. Teachers and students love it!

Flexible Seating looks like this


Seating: So as long as a student’s postures and movements do not disrupt others’ learning and comfort, they are literally allowed to choose any number of places to land in our classroom. They can be:

  • on the floor, carpeted or tile
  • over/under a blanket, pillow, or lap-sized bean bags
  • on a couch, an easy chair, a Papasan chair, a traditional chair (wood), stools that don’t move (with or without back support), stools that move up and down, “spinny” chairs on wheels, chairs that feel like they may tip (but don’t), chairs that are plush on the seat and/or the back, or a high-backed easy chair
  • on bouncy balls
  • on scoop rocker chairs
  • on raised chairs
  • standing or even
  • lying down on their tummies or backs!
  • DSCN9796.JPG

Students tell that the room is not only relaxing, but also makes them feel cared about and understood. Parents might even have this kind of question or even other, so the following is a letter to parents, who are an important element at the time of making the changes. We need to have their support, they need to be aware of what is happening in their child’s classroom, and why they change is taking place.

Check this great blog that contains also a letter to parents explaining what flexible seating is all about. After all, you need to bring parents on board!!!


Flexible Seating is loved by students and teachers, is needed by students and teachers, and it is much deserved. Help me to make the change that should have taken place more than a century ago in the American classrooms and around the world. Studies prove that flexible seating is not only a good think, but a necessary one to improve health and learning.


Would you help me make a difference in the world by changing one classroom at a time?


Flexible Seating looks like this


References and great resources!

Bjorklund, D. F. B., R. D. . (1998). Physical play and cognitive development: integrating activity, cognition, and education. Child Development.

Brekke-Sisk, N. (2006). STANDING ROOM ONLY in classroom of the future. Mayo Clinic Alumni.  Retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiazdrbqcjLAhWlzoMKHZKeC_MQFggcMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mayo.edu%2Fpmts%2Fmc4400-mc4499%2Fmc4409-0906.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFRPVbWl19_IdOM8Zn5UTTrGQQDpg

Brekke-Sisk, N. (2015). Standing-room only in classroom of the future.   Retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjdqbDdw8PLAhWLw4MKHQhkDkkQFggcMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mayo.edu%2Fpmts%2Fmc4400-mc4499%2Fmc4409-0906.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFRPVbWl19_IdOM8Zn5UTTrGQQDpg

Cindy. (2015). Alternative Seating. Retrieved from http://primarychalkboard.blogspot.ca/2015/11/alternative-seating-classroom.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+PrimaryChalkboard+(Primary+Chalkboard)

Corps, H. (2009). Sitting Too Long Is Bad for Kids’ Health.   Retrieved from https://www.healthcorps.org/sitting-too-long-is-bad-for-kids-health/

Danneman, I. (2014). Six Alternative Seating Options in the Classroom for a Child with Special Needs.   Retrieved from http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/11/03/six-alternative-seating-arrangements-for-a-child-with-special-needs/

Delzer, K. (2015). Why the 21st Century Classroom May Remind You of Starbucks. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-10-01-why-the-21st-century-classroom-may-remind-you-of-starbucks

Eastman, M., & Kamon, E. . (1976). The effects of emotion on cue utilization and the organization of behavior. Human Factors, 18(1), 15-26.

Emnett, A. (2015a). Alternative Seating.   Retrieved from http://mrsemnettsclass.weebly.com/alternative-seating.html

Emnett, A. (2015b). Alternative Seating This Year! St. Luis, Missouri.

Gardner, H. (1999). The disciplined mind. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Gonzalez, J. (2015). Flexible Seating. Retrieved from http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/flexible-classroom/

James A. Levine, M. D., Ph.D. (2015). What are the risks of sitting too much? Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

Jensen, E. (2000). Moving with the brain in mind. Educational Leadership, 58(3).

Kravitz Ph.D., L. (2009). Too Much Sitting is Hazardous to Your Health? . British Medica Journal.  Retrieved from http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/sittingUNM.html

Leslie. (2015). Your kinders are under the tables! {alternative seating}. Retrieved from http://www.kindergartenworks.com/classroom-management/kindergarten-alternative-seating/

McManus, D. (2015). Too much sitting is bad for children The New York Times.(Health).  Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/23/sitting-is-bad-for-children-too/

Mercola, D. (2015). Are you sitting too much? Retrieved from http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/05/08/sitting-too-long.aspx

Nellis, B. (2010). Exercise Balls and Balance Discs Improve Classroom Learning and Benefit Kids with ADHD. One Touch Massage. Retrieved from http://blog.1massagestore.com/2010/06/22/exercise-balls-and-balance-discs-improve-classroom-learning-and-benefit-kids-with-adhd/

Petlak, L. (2015). Functional, Flexible Classroom Seating Options Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2015/11/functional-flexible-classroom-seating-options

Primal Posture. (2016).   Retrieved from http://gokhalemethod.com/

Reynolds, G. (2015). Gretchen Reynolds on the science of fitness.

Schools, A. C. P. (2015). Flexcible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/practice/flexible-classrooms-providing-learning-environment-kids-need

Semnnets. (2015). Letter to parents about flexible seating.   Retrieved from http://mrsemnettsclass.weebly.com/alternative-seating.html

Smith, L. (2014). Forget the neat rows of desks, Michigan Center students stay on task in alternative seating. MLive. Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2014/12/forget_the_neat_rows_of_desks.html

Thayer. (1996). The origin of everyday moods.

Wyatt, K. (2009). Stability balls let kids get rid of the wiggles. SFGate. Retrieved from http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Stability-balls-let-kids-get-rid-of-the-wiggles-3168996.php

Mrs. Jimenez’s Philosophy of Education


I believe that education is the instrument that God has given us to instill in our students the love for truth, knowledge, and service. Education is not just the act of imparting and receiving knowledge and skills, but it is the most powerful instrument that we have to help our students, with knowledge and skills, to become successful citizens in this world and the one to come.

Education philosophies have been in constant debate as about what to put in the center of education. Some philosophies put the subject/discipline in the center, some put the teacher in the center, and some put the student. Whatever is in the center will shift the education perspective radically, how teachers see themselves, the curriculum, and the student. It is crucial to have clearly in our minds what our philosophy of education is, because our perspective is going to drive our thoughts, habits, plans, actions, and goals as educators.

It is my philosophy that Jesus and our service to Him should be the center of Christian education. But before expanding in this philosophy of education, I think that it is crucial to realize that many other philosophies have been playing a role in the history of this world and each of these philosophies have left a legacy in all of us as educators and thinkers.

As early as the beginning of this world education has been in constant change, philosophies have come and gone, but all of them have left us something that we are still applying in education. Education philosophies like idealism, realism, pragmatism, critical theory, periannialism, progressivism, essentialism, social reconstructionism and critical pedagogy, to mention a few, have given us the platform that helps us analyze our views and choose what has really impacted students throughout history in a positive way.



To start off, the idealism with Plato (424/423 BC – 348/347 BC) was grounded in his vision of the ideal Republic, wherein the individual was best served by being subordinated to a just society. He advocated removing children from their mothers’ care and raising them as wards of the state, with great care being taken to differentiate children suitable to the various castes, the highest receiving the most education, so that they could act as guardians of the city and care for the less able. Education would be holistic, including facts, skills, physical discipline, and music and art, which he considered the highest form of endeavor.

Plato’s writings contain some of the following ideas: “elementary education consisted of music and gymnastics, designed to train and blend gentle and fierce qualities in the individual and create a harmonious person” (Freedman, 2003). The best students would take an advanced course in mathematics, geometry, astronomy and harmonics. Also, a man would have completed his theoretical and practical education by the age of 50.

Education is and should be holistic. Education needs to prepare the child to be successful in all aspects of life, including the most important one: the spiritual. As White (1903) states, “True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come” (Education, p. 13).

“True education does not ignore the value of scientific knowledge or literary acquirements; but above information it values power; above power, goodness; above intellectual acquirements, character” (Education, p.225).

Unlike Plato, I believe that children should stay with their mothers as much as they can possibly can. The mother is and should be the first teacher of the child. “The child’s first teacher is the mother. During the period of greatest susceptibility and most rapid development his education is to a great degree in her hands. To her first is given opportunity to mold the character for good or for evil” (pg. 275).


Then, realism with Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) came along. He considered repetition to be a key tool to develop good habits. The teacher was to lead the student systematically; this differs, for example, from Socrates’ emphasis on questioning his listeners to bring out their own ideas (though the comparison is perhaps incongruous since Socrates was dealing with adults). “Aristotle placed great emphasis on balancing the theoretical and practical aspects of subjects taught” (Burnet, 2013). He also mentioned the importance of play at home and at school.

Ginsburg (2007) agrees with Aristotle and says that play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents and teachers to engage fully with their children and students. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for children. We need as teachers to promote play while being at school. We need to incorporate play in the instruction and the curriculum. Children can benefit greatly from playing; they need it and deserve it.

John Lock (1632-1704) also shared the realism philosophy. Uzgalis, William (2016) say that he wrote that “the little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences.” How true this is, as the saying goes “students don’t remember what we have taught them, but we have made them feel.” As teachers, we need to remember that it is not all about teaching a discipline, but to help them develop memories that will help them become Christian adults. White invites to reflect on the important things that should be passed to children during the tender years, “Too much importance cannot be placed upon the early training of children. The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood, have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of the after years” (Ministry of Healing, p. 380).



Pragmatism and Progressivism

The main proponent of pragmatism was John Dewey (1859-1952). He has his input in education history as well. As a philosopher, social reformer and educator, he changed fundamental approaches to teaching and learning. Mayer (2014) says that “Dewey’s concept of education put a premium on meaningful activity in learning and participation in classroom democracy. Unlike earlier models of teaching, which relied on authoritarianism and rote learning, progressive education asserted that students must be invested in what they were learning. Dewey argued that curriculum should be relevant to students’ lives. He saw learning by doing and development of practical life skills as crucial to children’s education.”

I totally agree with this Dewey’s idea, “When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious” (White, pg. 267). Children should be trained to be successful in their insertion to their communities and how to be servant leaders in them. The spirit of service is the spirit of heaven and self-direction is what they should learn while at school. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can give these to our students, and He is the only one who can also provide us and our students with lovely and harmonious lives. School is a powerful instrument to accomplish these qualities in our students. School should be imparting knowledge not to be a goal in itself, but to acquire knowledge to pursue a greater purpose, to be successful citizens of this world and the one to come.

Along with Dewey came William Heard Kilpatrick (1871-1965), who was a US American philosopher of education and a colleague and a successor of John Dewey. “He also believed that the role of a teacher should be that of a “guide” as opposed to an authoritarian figure. Kilpatrick believed that children should direct their own learning according to their interests and should be allowed to explore their environment, experiencing their learning through the natural senses” (Chipman, 1980). Proponents of Progressive Education and the Project Method reject traditional schooling that focuses on memorization, rote learning, strictly organized classrooms (desks in rows; students always seated), and typical forms of assessment. I do believe that students shouldn’t be in an authoritarian environment, but I also believe that students need direction and guidance in what is best for them to learn. Students do need to explore what they like and what they interested in, but I think that they still need guidance and trained in what they need the most at certain ages. I believe that caring teachers know how to find the balance between students’ need for exploration and students’ need for relevant knowledge and skills, which are not necessary considered needs by children.

Critical theory

Paulo Freire (1921-1997) also made great contributions, especially from the critical theory perspective. Freire was a Brazilian committed to the cause of educating the impoverished children of his nation and collaborating with them in the pursuit of their liberation from what he regarded as “oppression.” Freire is best known for his attack on what he called the “banking concept of education” (Freire, 1980),in which the student was viewed as an empty account to be filled by the teacher. Freire adds to my philosophy of viewing education and curriculum as an instrument to help the child be successful citizen of this world and the one to come, not just as a child who needs to fill his brain with knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Education needs to provide so much more than knowledge, education needs to use knowledge as a means to provide the tools to think critically, solve real-life problems, and contribute to leave this world a better place.


According to Maftoon (2013) Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that one deems to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. They believe that the most important topics develop a person. Since details of facts change constantly, these cannot be the most important. Therefore, one should teach principles, not facts. Since people are human, one should teach first about humans, not machines or techniques. Since people are people first, and workers second if at all, one should teach liberal topics first, not vocational topics. The focus is primarily on teaching reasoning and wisdom rather than facts, the liberal arts rather than vocational training. Allan Bloom (1930-1992) was one of the proponents of this view. In a way, perennialists coincide with my philosophy of education because I believe that knowledge should serve as means of becoming a person who can leave this world a better place. The skills that students need to have to be able to leave this world a better place is not so much to acquire knowledge and facts, but the capacity to choose and act wisely using the knowledge given to them.

Another important contributor to the inquiry method in education is Bruner. He emphasized intuition as a neglected but essential feature of productive thinking. He felt that interest in the material being learned was the best stimulus for learning rather than external motivation such as grades. Bruner developed the concept of discovery learning which promoted learning as a process of constructing new ideas based on current or past knowledge. Bruner is also a philosopher that I would recur to in order to add to my philosophy of education. Students do need to see relevance in what they are learning; students need to come to conclusions by themselves. We need to help them become thinkers, and not mere reflectors of what we do, say, or think.

Social Reconstructionism and Critical Pedagogy.

The Montessori Method arose from Dr. Maria Montessori’s (1870-1952) discovery of what she referred to as “the child’s true normal nature” (Montessori, 2007) in 1907, which happened in the process of her experimental observation of young children given freedom in an environment prepared with materials designed for their self-directed learning activity. I am all for nature and for providing a more flexible space for children to learn. Children are children and should be treated as children. Children need to feel free, relaxed, cared for, and loved. As teachers we need to provide this type of environment. We need to provide flexible seating, if possible, flexible schedule – where they can have often breaks, opportunity to the different learners to learn in their learning style and so on.

What I need to differ with this great educator, philosopher, and thinker, Maria Montessori, is that the child is not in the center and the child should not decide what to learn since children are children and they many times don’t know what is best for them in terms of education, content, and ways of learning. It is our great responsibility and privilege to find and impart the knowledge in the way they need to acquire to become successful and serviceable citizens for Jesus in this world and the one to come.


Education is the means in which we carry knowledge, concepts, and skills to our human treasures. Knowledge doesn’t have a goal in itself, but to be an instrument to help our students to become successful adults. Instead of having the teacher, the student, or the curriculum in the center of education, we need to have Jesus as to the one we need to imitate in order to be these successful people we need to be. Only by imitating him and teaching our students to be like him and serve him, we would be accomplishing the real goal of education!


Burnet, J. (1913). Aristotle on education: being extracts from the ethics and politics. Boston: Harvard Publishing.

Donald D. Chipman, C. B. M. (1980). The historical contributions of William Heard Kilpatrick Journal of Thought, 15(1), pp. 71-83 Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42590176

Freedman, J. O. (2003). Idealism and liberal education. Michigan.

Freire, P. (1980). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Brazil, London, New York: Bloomsbury.

Lyn D. English, D. K. (2016). Handbook of International Research in Mathematics Education. New York, NY.: Taylor and Francis.

Maftoon, P. (2013). HISTORY OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT. ( International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World (IJLLALW)), College of Foreign Languages and Literature, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran, Iran. Retrieved from http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=perennialism+education+scholar&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNl-GFnYfMAhVCkYMKHQkQD30QgQMIGjAA

Mayer, D. (2014). John Dewey | Philosophy and Education Retrieved from http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/projects/centcat/centcats/fac/facch08_01.html

Montessori, M. (2008). The Montessori Method Radford , VA: Wilder Publications

Uzgalis, W. (2016). John Locke. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/

Preparing Students for TODAY


Is technology the solution?

How do we go about preparing students for the future?

How about starting preparing them for TODAY?!

Educating our children for today

to be successful citizens of this world and the one to come.

by Yanina Jimenez


Phrases like this are ringing on the field of education in the United States and the world lately, “Ensuring that today’s students have the education and training to meet future career demands is critical to the economic and social well-being of individuals, cities, and the nation as a whole” (Perna, 2016). Educators, policy makers, governors, administrators, and many other entities are pushing toward this one goal: to prepare students for career and college, to prepare students for tomorrow. Even the Common Core State Standards have this slogan.

I wonder if we are all too worried about the future that we forget to prepare our students for today. Frankly speaking, we really don’t know how tomorrow will look like. Why then, not to prepare our students for today’s world? Why not giving them the principles that will make them life-long learners and the ability to use knowledge to be successful citizens today? If we empower our children with the ability to use the knowledge and skills they acquire in their classrooms today, they will be better off for today and they future!

We know what this millennium looks like. In Curriculum for the New Millennium, Hay L. and Roberts A. (2001) talk about the most significant trends that have emerged in our era: technology is powerful, convenient, and complex; the world will continue to become more globally interdependent; our society demands an even more convenient lifestyle, expecting all institutions to deliver their services with ease and speed; the number, frequency, and complexity of values questions confronting educators is increasing dramatically. All these trends are having consequences on the curriculum and its delivery.

Saavedra (2012) reflects on the needs that students have today, on the 21st century, because of globalization and economic necessities. She goes one by saying that interconnectedness our global economy, ecosystem, and political networks require that students learn to communicate, collaborate, and problem solve with people worldwide. Employers demand fewer people with basic skills sets and more people with complex thinking and communication skills. According to Saavedra, students need seven survival skills which are:

  • critical thinking and problem solving;
  • collaboration and leadership;
  • agility and adaptability,
  • initiative and entrepreneurialism;
  • accessing and analyzing information;
  • and curiosity and imagination.

These abilities are also commonly referred to as higher-order thinking skills, deeper learning outcomes, and complex thinking and communication skills. Hoomes (2013) affirms that the solution to prepare students for today is the ability to solve problems, thus students are ready for the world community.

What is the solution?

Technology is presented by leading magazines, people in power, policy making, big companies, and countless teachers and administrators as the solution to the demanding needs of our students in this era. Though technology is a great instrument used in instruction and collaborative projects among other learning experiences, there are indeed negative effects of using technology in today’s classroom. Klaus (2015) makes a strong statement, “At times, technology can hinder the learning process.”

Classroom teachers are using technology in the classroom more frequently than ever before. According to the National School Boards Association, students who are exposed to a high volume of technology perform as well as expected on standardized test, however technology can potentially do students a disservice if used inappropriately. When teaching using technology, instructors must be aware of the potential hindrances technology can bring to the learning process. Some negative effects of technology in today’s classroom are that it can take away valuable learning time, it can be overused, and it can also turn educational experiences into games for students. Technology should be used to supplement the classroom curriculum, but should not be used as the sole source of learning.

“Children become increasingly unhappy the longer they spend playing computer games and accessing the internet, according to research” says Paton (2012). Young people exposed to modern technology for more than four hours a day are less likely to display high levels of “wellbeing” than those limiting access to less than 60 minutes, it emerged. There are negative effects for young people exposed for technology for too long during the normal school day. Young people’s brains were failing to develop properly after being overexposed to the cyber world at an early age.

Although Gates (2010) assures that technology is needed in all aspects of education he confesses that technology itself is not the answer to all the issues we face in our efforts to live up to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are significant social, cultural and institutional challenges that must be overcome as well. Technology must be implemented as part of a thoughtful, holistic approach to education transformation that includes teacher training, relevant curricula, parental involvement and programs for children that fill unmet needs for basics like nutrition and health care.

If technology is not the solution, then what it is?

Once upon a time, educators might have said to their students, “If you’ll pay close attention to what I’m going to teach you, you’ll learn everything you need to know for a successful life.” It’s doubtful that this message was ever entirely true, but it’s certainly not true today. “We don’t know all the information that today’s students will need or all the answers to the questions they will face. Indeed, increasingly, we don’t even know the questions” (Treffinger, 2008).

These realities mean that we must empower students to become creative thinkers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers—people who are continually learning and who can apply their new knowledge to complex, novel, open-ended challenges; people who will proceed confidently and competently into the new horizons of life and work.

Students who are competent in not only the basics of content areas but also the basics of productive and creative thinking will be lifelong learners, knowledge creators, and problem solvers who can live and work effectively in a world of constant change. Walker (2012) says that preparing students for today’s world demands that education be delivered in a vastly different manner than what we see today in U.S. schools. She also affirms that students need: Cognitive skills: critical thinking and analysis; Interpersonal skills: teamwork and communication; and Intrapersonal skills: resiliency, reflection and contentiousness. Lange (2014) adds to the list of things students need to be able to do to be ready for today’s world that is: critical thinking demonstrated through inquiry, questioning, problem solving, and collaboration.

How do we promote lifelong learners, knowledge creators, and problem solvers?

Yi (2015) questions an important aspect of critical thinking. “How does one teach someone to think? Learning how to think, rather than just what to think, requires practice. This is where educators play such a crucial role. Critical thinking is a skill that moves beyond memorization and regurgitation.” In order to gain competency, students must be exposed to the world of ideas and taught to critically engage them. We want to protect our students from ideas that might be harmful to their developing faith, but this also leaves them unprepared to deal with the real world when they move beyond the perceived safety of the classroom. Another reason for our underappreciation of philosophy is the advice we have received from Mrs. White, who emphasized exposing students to the Bible and nature and was critical of education focused solely on an exposure to human ideas. Teachers may feel unqualified to teach philosophy or think it should be relegated to postsecondary education. However, critical thinking is a skill that should be acquired much earlier than in college (much like reading and math) and can be learned when modeled by teachers who have dared to go beyond reflecting to thinking carefully and deeply about the issues broached in philosophy.

Our students will be better off for today when we, as educators, promote lifelong learners, knowledge creators, and problem solvers, in the context of eternity. Wesley (2012), reminds us that as educators we need to have “an eternal orientation” in all we do, “every decision, every action in this life has eternal consequences.” (1 Timothy 6:12).



Bertoni, S. (2010). Bill Gates and techonology in education. Forbes.

Hoomes, E. W. (2013). Future problem solving: preparing students for a world community. The Kappan.

John Wesley Taylor V, P. D., Ed.D. (2012). A biblical foundations for integrating faith and learning. Journal of Adventist Education.

Klaus, J. (2015). Negative effects of using technology in today’s classroom. Demand Media.

Lange, S. (2014). Strategies to promote critical thinking in the elementary classroom. Next Generation, 1(5).

LeRoy Hay, A. R. (2001). Curriculum for the New Millennium. Educational Leadership.

Paton, G. (2012). Overexposure to technology ‘makes children miserable’. Daily Telegraph.

Perna, L. (2016). Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs in metropolitan America. City in the Twenty-First Century.

Saavedra, A. R. (2012). Learning 21st-century skills requires 21st-century teaching. The Kappan.

Sherrelle Walker, M. A. (2012 ). Scientific Learning.

Treffinger, D. J. (2008). Preparing Creative and Critical Thinkers. Educational Leadership, 65.

Zane Yi, P. D. (2015). Thinkers or reflectors? Young Adult Retention, Philosophy and Adventist Education. Journal of Adventist Education.