The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

By Evie Blad — May 23, 2014 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. I returned this week from a really wonderful time at the Education Writers Association National Seminar in Nashville. There are some wonderful, smart folks covering our classrooms, statehouses, and school boards. I’ve spent today chatting about nutrition and reading these kid poems about vegetables.

But let’s finish our weeks the right way, with some good reading for folks who care about kids. This week, we read how video games can promote a growth mind-set, we learn about the effects of trauma exposure on the brains of children in Oakland, and more.

Can Mario make our minds stronger?

Video games nurture an incremental understanding of intelligence. Because players are rewarded for one task at a time—for overcoming one obstacle after another—they learn to understand learning and accomplishment iteratively. For example, each track in Nintendo's classic game Mario Kart has its own particular challenges. Each time a player drives it he or she addresses the weaknesses of the previous attempt. The player iterates performance incrementally, addressing shortcomings and adjusting accordingly. He or she understands that mastering one course doesn't necessarily equate to mastery of the next. A new learning process begins at the conclusion of the previous one." —Mind Shift explores how video games may affect the way kids learn, interact, and think.

On childhood trauma:

Young people in this society are not listened to, they've been kind of marginalized by their communities, and nobody takes them seriously. But if you go towards them with an open heart and compassion, treat them like a human being, and build an authentic relationship and actually listen to them, then that may be the first time they've ever had an adult listening to them, and that's the beginning of the therapy and the beginning of the healing. Over time you teach them a bunch of techniques, but really, the relationship, that's the most important thing." —Vice talks to a child psychologist about helping children in Oakland recover from the stress disorder caused by living in a violent environment.

A flare-up over a feather:

I'm still gonna wear it, I can't take it off, I mean ...You can't make me." —Kaden Tiger, a Native American senior at Seminole High School in Oklahoma, was almost left out of his graduation activities after he attached an eagle feather to his cap.

On the only foolproof way to get teenagers to listen:

Some were nervous at first that I would follow them on Twitter, but I said 'I don't want any more of your drama.' I do not follow kids back through the guidance Twitter page." —Linda Swanson, a Nebraska school guidance counselor, talks about a Twitter stream she runs to help her students transition to college. Her quote is included in a post on EdWeek's College Bound blog that also covers using text messages to remind teens about crucial deadlines and information.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.