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  • Facilitator News for the Week Facilitator News for the Week of November 22, 2010

    • From: Walter_McKenzie
    • Description:

      Good Tuesday morning to our esteemed Professional Interest Community facilitators!

       

      It is a chilly end of November here in Alexandria. Leaves have blown from their branches and it very much feels like traditional Thanksgiving weather for us Americans on the east coast. 

       

      We will meet online Monday, November 29, 2010 at http://ascd.na4.acrobat.com/picsnov182010/ at 11:00 AM EST. I have already received input from several facilitators on exemplars for the rubric criteria. Feel free to email me yours ahead of time or share them live on Monday. You can access the most recent draft of the criteria at http://groups.ascd.org/resource/documents/111335-Criteria_Clusters.doc 

       

      It is critical that you participate in providing feedback as we continue to craft the rubric. Please be sure to make time to keep up with our work and to provide your input.

       

      In looking over finances for the remainder of the current fiscal year, things are tight and we are working to be thrifty and find savings wherever we can. I hope to be able to update you on our status the first of the new year.

       

      I am planning to provide a final update of our contact directory in early December, so if you have any additional changes for your community, please email them to me by the end of this month.

       

      Here's to a great week - and for those of you observing the American holiday - Happy Thanksgiving!

       

      Walter

       

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
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  • Reform in Mathematics Teaching Reform in Mathematics Teaching

    • From: Patricia_Dickenson
    • Description:

      Mathematics instruction changes as a reflection of what society deems to be valuable in terms of the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the workplace.  The Progressive movement of the 1920's was widely influenced by John Dewey's ideas that schooling should be  largely directed toward children's experiences and interests. Although this has good intent and justification,  in 1940's tracking in mathematics emerged as means to steer students toward mathematics courses.  As a result of tracking there was a sharp decline in the percentage of high school students taking algebra-from 57% in 1905 to about 25% in the late 1940's and early 1950s (Jones & Coxford, 1970). 

       

      Delivery of instruction is also contingent upon the reaction of perceived shortcomings of previous movements. The "Back to Basics" (1970's)  approach which focuses upon a skill and drill approach to instruction, was in response to the failings of "New Math" (1950's)  which focused on advanced mathematics  and was often developed by mathematicians who focused on higher level mathematics.

       

      Currently we see the focus of mathematics on higher order thinking and 21st century skills  with a focus on conceptual understanding more so than procedural. Content knowledge expectations are clarified by grade level standards and there is a spiriling of curriculum so that students have content knowledge that is in greater depth than breath.  As schools and districts move toward the Common Core standards, instruction must change too ensure the emphasis is on what students understand more so than what they can do.  And as we enter another pardigm shift in mathematics it is unknown what shortcomings await and what new challenges will emerge.

       

       

      According to Philipp, (2011) "the challenge is no longer how to get mathematics into students, but instead how to get students into mathematics".  How will you address this challenge and meet the expectations of the newest reform in mathematics?

       

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Ditch The Daily Lesson Plan Ditch The Daily Lesson Plan

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      Old Schoolphoto © 2008 Rob Shenk | more info (via: Wylio)

       

       ...

       

      I know this probably won’t be popular, but if I am going to continue to talk about “New Forms” in education, this needs to be on the table.

      Why are teachers still doing daily lesson plans? What is the conceptual (current, 21st century) framework around this traditionally rigid process? What is encapsulated in these daily snapshots that would not be better to see in either a weekly format or perhaps something a little more open-ended? (Meaning that if the learning takes 3 days, it takes 3 days…if it takes 6, so be it. What’s more important, the learning, or the time in which we expect the learning to occur?)

      I’m not saying get rid of all daily moments…assessment, anchors, general instructional arc…but the whole six point lesson plan thing seems to be a foot in the door of 1985. Or 1955.

      Perhaps the terminology is dated. I often say in workshops that teachers should stop the creation of the lesson “plan” and instead create lesson “events.” That which is memorable will stick. That which is traditional and “the same as always” will almost certainly be forgotten. Yet, in many schools, the traditional is so well entrenched that anyone doing great things is suspicious and certainly shouldn’t be trusted with children. Seriously. 

      What do you remember about your school experiences?

      The worksheets you did? The drill and skill cursive writing? No? No memory of those things?

      What about those moments that weren’t the same “day in / day out” minutiae? What about the field trips you took? What about that time your teacher dressed up as Jon Bon Jovi and sang the Periodic Table to you to the tune of “You Give Love A Bad Name?” (Which you can still remember verbatim, including the atomic weight of Carbon.)

      I think I’m opening several cans of worms here. For one, what does the hierarchy of lessons look like if we remove the daily lesson plan, and two, is anything singular even worth planning for?

      Briefly, let me address both. 

      A lesson typically fits into an instructional arc or subunit, tied into an overall unit, which is housed in a year of learning. This plan seems to me to perpetuate encapsulated moments that define when learning can take place. It’s kind of like going to the doctor on a Monday morning with a broken arm and the doctor saying that he’s sorry, but broken limbs aren’t dealt with until Friday, or maybe February.

      But WHAT IF (I like saying “What If…”) things weren’t so compartmentalized? What if the process for deconstructing curriculum, breaking apart standards, and precisely defining skills and methodologies was a little messier, and deleted the daily lesson plan in favor of “LESSONS” plans? We could still address common threads and connections through UNITS, but the plans themselves look at the whole neighborhood, instead of just one house. (Know what I mean?)

      But then, that opens up the second can of worms. The singular content area lesson. One skill, one piece of content, one content area, one assessment…everything one at a time and separated from everything else. It’s all very neat and linear, but it seems very limiting. I have a hunch that sometime in the very near future, the definition of what a 21st Century educator is will include the total abandonment of singular content lessons. The future is in integration.

      If you think about the “real world” that we’re preparing kids for, how often is the “real world” day broken up into science moments, math moments, writing moments, etc? We engage all of these things at all times. Also, it’s not like integrated units are anything innovative…there’s been tons of research and lots of books written specifically providing examples of how to do it. So why isn’t it happening? Kids don’t need a six-week unit on mastering quotation marks; they need to learn to master the quotation marks piece in the screenplay they write collaboratively about the people of Iceland solving problems around a catastrophic tectonic event that includes the gathering and analysis of quantitative data. (See what I did right there?)

      There’s other cans of worms here…the reformation of assessment practices (Think Denmark! Think Japan!), the realignment of associated skills with differentiated instruction and backwards design models, the deep understanding of curriculum design – specifically prioritization and consensus anchor knowledge, the singular student / singular product mode, etc.

      I’m thinking out loud here. If you’ve read this far, I hope it’s because you’ve either been inspired or angered. What are your thoughts? How do we innovate the “lesson plan?” How do we tear it down, build it up, upgrade it, dispose of it, or grow it? Or do we just keep the blinders on and hope for the best with what we’ve got?

       

      Mike Fisher

      Twitter: @fisher1000

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 10025
    • Comments: 24
  • Welcome Aspiring Principals!!! Welcome Aspiring Principals!!!

    • From: Luana_Zellner1
    • Description:

      1.     How should principal performance be assessed?
      [This is YOUR opinion]

      2.    What makes an effective school?

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 848
    • Comments: 23
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  • Five Reasons I don't Assign Ho Five Reasons I don't Assign Homework

    • From: Mark_Barnes
    • Description:

      The homework debate is one that has permeated education for many decades, and it shows no signs of slowing. Homework proponents perplex me, because the research is so overwhelmingly against homework's effectiveness.

      After much consideration and my own exhaustive research, I stopped assigning homework a few years ago. Homework simply doesn't fit into a Results Only Learning Environment.

      Although I could speak endlessly on the negatives of homework, I'll get right to the top five reasons I don't assign homework, in reverse order.

      5 -- Virtually all homework involves rote memory practice, which is always a waste of time. In the age of the Smartphone, who needs to remember by rote?

      4 -- Homework has nothing to do with teaching responsibility (HW advocates love this claim). Not only is there not one reliable study to prove that homework builds responsible children, based purely on what we know about responsibility, the assertion is illogical. Responsibility implies autonomy, and homework offers none of this. Students are told what to do, when to do it, and when it must be returned. Where does responsibility come into play?

      3 -- Homework impinges upon a student's time with family and on other, more valuable, activities -- like play. As Alfie Kohn states in The Homework Myth, why should children be asked to work a second shift? It's unconscionable to send children to work for nearly eight hours a day, then have them go home and work for 2-5 more hours; we don't live in 19th century London.

      2 -- I can teach the material in the time I'm with my students in the classroom. The endless cry of "I can't teach all of the standards without assigning homework" is a tired excuse used to hide ineffective methods. Creating engaging activities in place of lecture and worksheets, along with less testing allows teachers to cover more material in class and eliminates the need for homework.

      1 -- Students hate homework. I want to help  my students develop a thirst for learning. I want them to read for enjoyment and exploration. I want them to extend their learning when they choose, because they are interested in what we do in class. If I force them to do activities that they don't choose, they will hate them. If I penalize them for not completing something they see as valueless, they not only don't learn, they get a bad grade and hate learning even more.

      My colleagues often attempt to persuade me that homework is an integral part of teaching and learning. I'm simply  not buying. So, what's your take on the debate? 

       

      Mark's new book, Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom is available in the ASCD bookstore here.

      

      Follow me on Twitter, where we can continue the conversation.

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 20276
    • Comments: 21
  • Are You Making these Four Diff Are You Making these Four Differentiated Instruction Mistakes?

    • From: Robyn_Jackson
    • Description:

      If we truly want to help ALL students meet or master the standards, we must provide effective differentiation for our students. However, over the years, several practices have crept into the way we differentiate lessons that actually make student success LESS likely. The following are four practices that actually interfere with effective differentiated instruction.

      Creating multiple assignments rather than multiple pathways. Differentiation is not about the number of assignments you create; it's about giving students multiple pathways to success and then helping them choose the pathway that is best for them. Simply providing multiple assignments not only creates a lot of work for you, it can pigeonhole some students into lowered expectations and decreased opportunities to stretch and grow. Instead of creating different assignments, create ONE assignment and provide students several different pathways to success on that assignment (for more on planning differentiated lessons that rely on ONE assignment, check out The Differentiation Workbook for a lesson plan and process). By focusing on different supports rather than different assignments, you can better target students' needs and give them the scaffolding they need to reach success.

      Differentiating by learning style versus learning needs. Not every lesson you give will accommodate students' preferred learning style - nor does every lesson need to. Our time is better spent examining students' particular learning needs for each assignment and using their learning needs to identify and provide the support and scaffolding they need to be successful. Learning styles are static while learning needs constantly change and shift depending on students' current content and procedural knowledge. Learning needs give you a much more accurate picture of where students are currently and what you must do to help them successfully master a range of standards and skills. From there you can create customized pathways and supports to help all students meet or exceed the standards.

      Differentiating by achievement level rather than by students' current learning level. Some will tell you that there are three kinds of students - high, medium, and low. But this distinction is not very useful. There are times when a student you consider to be in your high group will struggle with the content. Other time, students in your low group will sail through an activity, outperforming the students in your high group. Because students bring a variety of skills and experiences to the classroom, classifying them as high, medium, and low doesn't really help you adjust your instruction effectively to meet their complex needs.  These static groupings also limit students.  Once you start thinking about students in these ways, it is difficult to see them any other way.  Differentiating by achievement level often results in lowered expectations for struggling students and extra work for advanced students. Lowering the target for some students while raising the learning target for others is not differentiation - it's tracking. Real differentiation takes into account where students are at a particular point in time. It doesn't label kids "low", "average," and "advanced"; it groups students by their current understanding of the content and processes involved in a particular learning activity and then provides students with the targeted supports they need to successfully master that activity.

      Differentiating down rather than up. When we differentiate down, we tend to look for ways to "dumb down" an assignment to students' current learning level and hope that over time, they will begin working at the level demanded by the standards. In most cases, our efforts fall short. Differentiating up means starting with the standard and figuring out what supports students will need to reach the standard. All assignments are written at or above grade-level. We can offer students varying degrees of support and different routes to success but the target itself should never change.

      By avoiding these mistakes, you can make your efforts at differentiation much more successful -- and much less stressful. Take a look at your differentiation practice and make sure that you are not unintentionally making things harder for both you and your students.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 14737
    • Comments: 15
  • The Motivated Student Book Dis The Motivated Student Book Discussion

    • From: Bob_Sullo
    • Description:

      I am excited to announce an online book study discussion group based on The Motivated Student: Unlocking the Enthusiasm for Learning.I hope you’ll join this professional learning community and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

       

      The purpose is to discuss The Motivated Student and identify how to take positive advantage of the internal motivation students bring to school. If you’re satisfied with the number of students who work hard and regularly display the effort you want, then this group is not for you. On the other hand, if you wish more students worked harder and you’d like to develop strategies to engage and inspire more students, you’ll find this group professionally enriching.

       

      Here’s how it will work: I’ll host a live online chat, following the schedule outlined below. The chat will give me an opportunity to introduce some key concepts from the chapters we are discussing and to initiate conversation. After each live chat, I’ll post some questions/topics for discussion on the “Inspiring Student Motivation” group wall on EDge so participants can share strategies, ask questions, and provide suggestions about how to foster internal motivation and academic success. Just go to http://edge.ascd.org/_Inspiring-Student-Motivation/group/110667/127586.html to get to the “Inspiring Student Motivation” wall.

       

      Here is our schedule:

      April 15: live chat from 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern time.
      Topic: Chapters 1,2,3 of The Motivated Student

       

      April 22: live chat from 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern time.
      Topic: Chapters 4,5,6 of The Motivated Student

       

      May 6: live chat from 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern time.
      Topic: Chapters 7,8,9 of The Motivated Student

       

      May 13: live chat from 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern time.
      Topic: Chapters 10,11 of The Motivated Student

       

      May 20: live chat from 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern time.
      Topic: Chapters 12,13,14,15 of The Motivated Student

       

      To order The Motivated Student visit: http://shop.ascd.org/productdisplay.cfm?productid=109028.

       

      Get your copy today. I look forward to chatting with you on April 15!

      Bob Sullo

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 5565
    • Comments: 15
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  • A Bucket List for K-12 Student A Bucket List for K-12 Students

    • From: Steven_Weber
    • Description:

       

      In today’s global and entrepreneurial economy, every student must be able to walk out of the building with a meaningful diploma, prepared for success in the twenty-first century.
      Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises, and the Data Quality Campaign, 2011, p. 1

       

      In 2007, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman starred in The Bucket List.  In the movie, Nicholson and Freeman make a list of things they wish to do before they die.  They sky dive, travel the world, visit landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, and climb the Great Wall of China.  The term bucket list is becoming more popular.  When someone uses the term sarcastically, they may say, "That is definitely not on my bucket list."  Recently, a friend gave me a book titled, The Baseball Fan's Bucket List.  The book suggests that every baseball fan should visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, learn to keep score, see a Double AA game, and watch the movie Bull Durham.  As a baseball fan, I can promise you that these things will bring happiness.  Each of them have been checked on my bucket list.

       

      Typically, people create a bucket list, because they want to have the opportunity to do the things on the list before they 'kick the bucket.'  What if schools created a bucket list?  I realize how morbid this sounds.  It would frighten a nine year old to hear the teacher say, "We are going to learn teamwork and communication skills today, because you need to have these skills before you die."  For the remainder of this article, let's eliminate the thought of dying.  Rather than dying, assume that all students will need to have their bucket list checked by graduation day.

       

      What would a Bucket List for K-12 Students Look Like?

       

      This is the age old question, "What should every student know and be able to do?"  As we celebrate the Class of 2012, we can reflect and ask if each student is graduating prepared for college and career.  What skills are students lacking?  Do they have a good balance of academic skills and soft skills?  Do they know how to complete a job application?  Did the school teach interview skills?  Do they know how to manage their money?  The following list is a short list that I have started for K-12 students.

      • Communication Skills
      • Collaboration Skills
      • Time Management
      • Interview Skills
      • Personal Financial Literacy
      • Digital Literacy
      • Ability to analyze multiple perspectives
      • Ability to share his or her own perspective (i.e., blogs, social media, and creating original work to post online)
      • Civic Literacy
      • The Tools Needed to Succeed in First Year College Courses, without Remediation
      • Resiliance
      • Punctuality
      • Metacognition
      • Ability to Apply Skills and Adapt Abilities in Different Enviornments
      • Critical Thinking Skills
      • Citizenship (The type of skills that apply in most international settings)
      • Reading and Writing Skills (not just a passing grade in English, but true skills)
      • Global Awareness
      • College Knowledge (What Does It Take to Get Into College? - See David Conley's books and articles)
      • Students Who Understand the Importance of Community Service

       

      If you have attended a Senior Awards ceremony or a graduation, you may have overheard adults whispering:
      "He is the total package."  "She is what every employer is looking for."  "He is the most well-rounded student."  "She may win 3/4 of the scholarships tonight."  "He has the skills that every student needs upon graduation."

       

      According to the Alliance for Excellent Education (2009), “The mission of the public education system must shift from educating some students and preparing them for the twentieth-century American economy to educating all students and preparing them for the twenty-first century global economy” (p. 4).  The recent adoption of the Common Core State Standards may support college and career readiness across the United States.  If educators would commit to a bucket list for students, then there would be an intentional effort to see that more students are 'the total package.'  Some students will still possess better reading skills and some students will have a deeper understanding of digital literacy.  Some of the seniors will still go to Harvard and Stanford, while a majority will not qualify.  If you have ever viewed The Bucket List, you see the satisfaction that it brings the actors to check off their goals and dreams.  Student success should not be left to the decision students make when they come to a fork in the road.  Students will make choices for the remainder of their lives and those choices should be based on a solid foundation.

       

      As a parent, I would be thrilled if my own son and daughter graduated with the skills that I outlined in this article.  Which skills or understandings would you add to the list?  Share your thoughts below on ASCD EDge.  If all of your students entered your class with a bucket, could you fill it by the end of the year?  Which skills are elementary, middle, or high school-specific?  Which skills are taught and retaught throughout the K-12 years?  How can a bucket list provide more students with the skills highlighted by the Smithsonian Institute's recent video about education?  If we truly want to change the world, we may need to develop a bucket list for K-12 students. 

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 10347
    • Comments: 14
  • How to stop discipline issues How to stop discipline issues forever

    • From: Mark_Barnes
    • Description:

      A Results Only Learning Environment has no discipline issues. Many educators find this nearly impossible to believe, so I decided to explain how to stop discipline issues forever.

       

      Behavior issues are a matter of opinion
      One thing that separates ROLE teachers from traditional teachers is how behavior is categorized. Teachers in favor of control, for example, will say that cell phone use or students talking and moving without permission are major discipline problems. The ROLE teacher embraces these behaviors, because the results-only classroom is a workshop setting that encourages autonomy and constant collaboration.

      So, when someone is shocked to hear that I have no behavior issues, my first response is to suggest that my view of discipline is different from that of traditional teachers, who might argue that I have many problems, due to what they may perceive to be chaos in my classroom. I say that I have no discipline problems, because my students are not disrespectful and are never disruptive in the classic sense of the word.  I never have to punish a student, nor would I consider doing so. Our workshop setting provides freedom and eliminates control, which is what typically leads to disruption.

      Most disciplinary issues begin with bad teaching  
      In the past, I punished students for talking to peers, because I saw this as disruptive to the constant lecturing I was doing. When students refused to complete a task, I removed them from my room. What I didn't realize then was that the problem wasn't a disrespectful or disruptive student; it was a boring worksheet or textbook assignment, which did not offer autonomy or ignite a thirst for learning. Now students collaborate, work on year-long projects and participate in their own mastery of learning outcomes, through two-way narrative feedback.

       

      What students say
      Last year, I polled students at the end of the school year about result-only learning strategies. One question was about behavior. I asked them why they believed there were never any discipline issues in class. Eighty-four percent reported that the ROLE encouraged a desire to learn over a desire to be disruptive. 

      You see, the absence of discipline issues has nothing to do with me being a great teacher. It's about a 21st century learning environment that fans intrinsic motivation and keeps students so engaged in learning that disruption is not considered. 

      Imagine how much learning would take place if all of your class disruption and discipline problems vanished forever.

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 2806
    • Comments: 14
  • How narrative feedback can cru How narrative feedback can crush the ABCs

    • From: Mark_Barnes
    • Description:

      Real education reform consists of change in the classroom, rather than more high stakes testing, vouchers and merit pay. A Results Only Learning Environment emphasizes student-centered, project-based methods that embrace autonomy and self-evaluation. There's no room for number or letter grades in a ROLE. Narrative feedback drives assessment and mastery learning.

      This video demonstrate how narrative feedback works. How can you work narrative feedback into your own class?

       

      Mark's new book, Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom is available in the ASCD bookstore here.

      

    • Video blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 4209
    • Comments: 14
  • 10 of the Best Apps for Educat 10 of the Best Apps for Educators

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      Whether you're an educational technology wonder, or a little slower on the draw, apps for your iPhone and/or iPad can make your job a lot easier. We’d like to share what we think are 10 of the best apps for educators. These will not only keep you organized, but place helpful resources at your fingertips.

      Keeping You Organized

      DropBox - A FREE resource for keeping your computer files organized and protected from lost flash drives and/or computer crashes. DropBox ensures your data is available from any computer with Internet access. 

      Harvest - Time/Expense Tracking - Hooray! Education expenses are tax-deductible. When tax time rolls around this app provides easy expenses totaling for your tax accountant or TurboTax.

      QuickVoice Recorder -  The late comedian Mitch Hedberg used to say, “I sit at my hotel at night; I think of something that's funny; then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny.” Agreed. The best ideas always seem to come when there isn’t a pen within arm’s reach. Knowing this, QuickVoice allows you to record messages to yourself. Play them back later for transcription or to take action. 

      Docs Anywhere Anywhere. Exactly! DocsAnywhere allows you to copy your documents to your “i-device” and take them wherever you go. Since documents are transferred through USB, you’re never a hostage to a vindictive wireless network.

      Pages - Not a graphic designer? No problem. Pages lets you use graphs, pictures, artsy fonts and designs to make classroom handouts that are much more engaging.

      LanSchool Teacher's Assistant - This app helps you monitor/censor student activity on classroom computers.  Finally - you don't have to be at every computer all the time.

      Great Resources

      Freebooks - This app allows you access to 23,469 free books. Use an e-Reader and your classroom is connected to some of the best literature the world has to offer.

      Today in History - Though it's the most helpful for history teachers, this app is organized by year so any teacher can browse and find cross-curricula factoids to help students connect the dots.

      Molecules - Science students get 3-D images of the molecules they're studying with this engaging and interactive app. Even the non-science enthusiasts will be interested.

      Mathematical Formulas
      - Sometimes our students can throw us for a loop. This app provides access to formulas from various disciplines to keep lectures moving forward.

      Taking advantage of these apps can help you streamline your performance both inside and outside your classroom.

      If you have an interest in instructional technology courses, or want to learn how to successfully integrate educational technology into your school or classroom, learn more about Marygrove College’s online Master of Education Technology degree.

      And to ensure that a Marygrove education is an achievable, financially-sustainable investment, the college has reduced tuition rates for several of its online graduate programs—including our instructional technology degree program—by 19 percent.

       ten common technology challenges for teachers

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 14076
    • Comments: 13
  • Just Because We Can Just Because We Can

    • From: Walter_McKenzie
    • Description:

      I've recently had deep discussions with an artist and an educator who are each aggressively advocating for high-quality experiences they believe they can provide via the computer. The artist is adamant his iPad paintings are a valid form of art. The educator is touting his implementation of iPads to Kindergarteners in a Maine public school district. In both cases I asked the same question: are you advocating for this because it adds value, or just because you can?

       

      In the case of the artist, the crux of the discussion focused on the medium: is painting on an iPad a valid form of art? The artist insisted, “Yes, an iPad as an art medium.” I tried to understand his reasoning, but was stuck on the fact that it did not provide the touch, texture and multi-sensory experience of traditional paint on canvas. Is “painting” on an iPad human expression? By definition, yes, a human is expressing him or herself visually to anyone who might see the resulting display. But that is more craft. Any craftsperson can create and reproduce images as visual products. That does not make it art. Art is a process: the use of artistic media to create and arrange visual elements in a way that evokes human response. Let me share a dated example. At my wedding an eccentric high school friend and aspiring artist gave me the gift of “Xerography”: a framed picture of objects he arranged on the glass of a photocopy machine while placing his face over the top as he hit the copy button, resulting in a bizarre set of images with a ghostly-gray profile of his face in the background. While original and well-intended, rest assured I did not consider it art. We laughed and I put it away in a box. That was the extent of my human response...

       

      Spring forward to the discussion of iPads for Kindergarteners. The educator in question was touting this because it was “the first district in the country to do this,” which left me responding “maybe there’s a reason no one else has tried.” My objection lies squarely in my background as an early childhood educator. Five year olds need to learn using all their senses…they need to interact with others and their environment…they are in Piaget’s Preoperational stage: highly egocentric and demonstrate magical thinking in trying to understand how the world works because they cannot yet think logically…actively interacting with the environment, and developing their fine and gross motor skills in the process. Five year olds need concrete, real-world experiences that help them test their understandings of how things work around them as they interact with peers and adults. For all these reasons, equipping every Kindergartener with an iPad...while it may be done with the best of intentions...is developmentally inappropriate.

       

      The key for me in both these discussions is an understanding of human experience: authentic, virtual and vicarious. In my mind:

      • authentic human experience means by definition that it is real-life, direct interaction with the human environment…the world
      • virtual experience happens in an artificial reality that is constructed to simulate human experience, these days usually via technology
      • vicarious experience is a second-hand immersion into someone else’s authentic human experience, be it a “you had to be there” story or a software developer creating an interactive simulation

      If you accept that these three working definitions (in layman’s terms, I know) are fair and reasonable, then the entirety of both discussions comes down to one essential question: can virtual, vicarious experience supplant authentic human experience? The ed tech educator within me wants to say “maybe…depending on how it’s used” but my early childhood educator background pushes back “no” it cannot be….by definition! Don’t get me wrong. I taught Kindergarten and first grade back in the late eighties and we had computer software I would use for concept of letter, one-to-one correspondence, ordinals and the like, but always with adult support and never as the learning experience itself. Technology in general can nicely augment authentic human learning experiences, when used appropriately given the learner, the objective, and the task…but it can never supplant it.

       

      Not convinced? OK. let’s play it forward. If we can learn and grow and create and communicate and live completely virtually, then why continue to invest our time and effort in the physical world? The premise of the Matrix is suddenly attainable. So…is that our future? And if your answer is no, then where do you draw the line between authentic human experiences and virtual, vicarious ones…?

       

      Here’s where I draw the line in my mind…

      • developmentally, around age 7 children can start thinking logically with scaffolding and support. So, beginning in the upper elementary grades, one-to-one computing may be appropriate for certain specific learning experiences. 
      • beginning around age 12 children start using abstract reasoning and think logically. So by middle school children can incorporate virtual, vicarious learning experiences into their working understanding of the authentic world.
      • furthermore, Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory informs us of many different paths to learning. So even as adults, we need to be able to integrate authentic, virtual and vicarious experiences together in our working mind.

      Any technology application that goes against these principles is not in our best interests...it's being done “just because we can.”

       

      If I’m wrong, then the world will move towards a more fully realized virtual existence, and we will be better off for it.

       

      If I’m right, then this will be just the most recent example of how ed tech ran after the latest fad, implemented it less-than-responsibly, and had nothing to show for it once the dust settled. This is what baffles me: ed tech enthusiasts continue to complain they are not taken seriously, yet they continue to act as though they’ve learned nothing from the past 30-plus years of wasted resources and empty techno-promises. If the examples discussed here are added to a legacy of folly, it will only further undermine ed tech’s credibility with mainstream education and the public...at a time when public monies dwindle and public education is under fire.

       

      I really want to be wrong...

       


       

      Resources:

       

      Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8: A position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children  http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PSDAP.pdf

       

      Developmentally Appropriate Practice in the Age of Testing: New reports outline key principles for preK–3rd grade: The Harvard Graduate School of Education  http://www.hepg.org/hel/article/158

       

      Developmentally Appropriate Practice: The Franklin Public Schools, Franklin, Massachusetts   http://goo.gl/1Fzcg


      Developmentally Appropriate Practice: The Teacher Research Institute at Western Oregon University  http://www.tr.wou.edu/train/cdcdap.htm

       

      Early Childhood Education Standards for Quality Programs for Young Children: The National Association of Elementary School Principals  http://dpi.state.wi.us/ec/ecstndpg.html

       

      Early Connections: Technology in Early Childhood Education: The Northwest Educational Technology Consortium  http://www.netc.org/earlyconnections/index1.html


    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 2456
    • Comments: 13
  • What I Wish I Had Known about What I Wish I Had Known about Student Motivation

    • From: Bryan_Goodwin
    • Description:

      “You’re a smart kid; I just wish you’d apply yourself in my class.”

       

      Most teachers have uttered a similar phrase. I know I did. I remember one student particularly well; we’ll call him Jerry. His quick answers and witty insights—when he paid attention—told me he was smart enough to be doing better than he was.

       

      My pep talks with Jerry never did much good, though. Sometimes, the more I goaded, the less he tried, which frustrated my ambitions of channeling Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poet’s Society, inspiring students to hang on every word of Nathaniel Hawthorne or Emily Dickinson. It felt like even if I stood on my desk dramatically reciting “O Captain! My Captain!” Jerry’s response would’ve been the same: meh.


      Sending students the wrong message

      Years later, while digging into research on student motivation, I realized what I had gotten wrong. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has shown that telling students they are smart actually lowers their motivation and achievement. In an experiment, Dweck and her colleagues treated two groups of students quite differently. They consistently praised one group for its ability, saying things like, “Wow. You got eight right; you must be really smart.” They praised the second group for effort: “Wow. You got eight right; you must have worked really hard.”

       

      The students hearing continual praise for their ability developed a “fixed-mindset” and came to believe that achievement or “smarts” was innate, not developed through effort. Consequently, they began to avoid challenging tasks, fearing that if they tried and failed, they no longer would appear smart. On the other hand, 90 percent of the students hearing praise for their effort took on more challenging tasks and found they actually enjoyed the work.

       

      My first mistake, then, was telling Jerry he was smart.

       

      My second was trying to guilt trip him. I played on the fact that Jerry seemed to like me, saying, “Come on, you really should read The Scarlet Letter. Do it for me.”

       

      The right kind of teacher talk

       

      Edward Deci, who spent his career researching intrinsic motivation, found that motivation stems from two deep psychological needs: competence and self-determination. We enjoy challenging activities if we choose them. Even positive feedback from teachers can undermine motivation if it comes across as coercing students (“You should keep up the good work.”). What’s more effective is providing feedback on how students measure up to a defined standard.

       

      What I realized, too late, was that teacher talk is incredibly important. When teachers aren’t thoughtful about what they say in classrooms or write on papers, they can chip away at students’ intrinsic motivation to learn.

       

      Here are a couple of examples I’ve drawn from research showing “should” and “should nots” when it comes to teacher talk.

       

      • Say this (growth mindset) . . . "Your practice is really paying off. You're getting your math facts down."
      • Not this (fixed mindset) . . . "Wow, that was quick! You blazed right through those problems! You’re a math whiz."
      • Say this (growth mindset) . . . "You seem frustrated and tired right now. That means your brain is working hard. We’ll keep at it, and I know you’re going to get it."
      • Not this (fixed mindset) . . . "Not everyone is a natural at this. Let’s do a few more problems and then move on to something you’re better at."


      If I could do it over again with the benefit of hindsight, I’d tell Jerry something like this: “You’ve got a lot of potential. Right now, it’s going to waste. I’d like to help you unleash it, but that’s up to you.”

       

      What kind of teacher talk did you hear when you were a student?

      Read about Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.

      Learn more about Edward Deci and self-determination theory.

       

      Join my upcoming session at the ASCD annual conference, "Bored to Death: What We Know (and Ignore) about Student Motivation. Sunday, March 25, 3:00-4:30 pm room 111, Pennsylvania Convention Center, First Level.

       

      Bryan Goodwin is the author Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success.  

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 11201
    • Comments: 12
  • SOCRATES FAILS TEACHER EVALUAT SOCRATES FAILS TEACHER EVALUATION

    • From: Heidi_Hayes_Jacobs
    • Description:

      by Heidi Hayes Jacobs        

      www.curriculum21.com 

       

      So, it came down to one day, one test, at the Acropolis as the young men of Athens took out their #2 chisels to answer 30 questions on stone tablets.   It is the annual timed test to prove the students’ knowledge and competence as they seek to become philosopher-kings.  This valued test is the ultimate prize  demonstrating not only the achievement of students, but also serves as the one key evaluation of the teacher.

       

      Credit should be given to the test making company for developing multiple choice items with one correct answer given the challenging subject matter:  philosophy and governance.  Short answer constructed responses are a bit easier in those fields.  

       

      The results were posted in the Agora for all to see  the quality and performance of their teacher.   Socrates failed.    He simply spent too much time asking them to think.   A walk- through evaluation by his supervisor (undisclosed), determined that “ sometimes Socrates’s  students meander through endless dialogues examining challenging questions that do not have one right answer.”    Hopefully, he will be replaced or perhaps go through an intensive summer professional development program in Sparta. 

        

             

       

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 19243
    • Comments: 12
  • Giveaway: The Understanding by Giveaway: The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units

    • From: Leslie_Welch
    • Description:

      Three lucky winners will recieve a copy of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe's new book, The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units.

       

      To enter, answer this question: 

      "What is the best part of your job?"

       

      I will select 3 random responses and announce the winners Wednesday at 5 pm. 

       

      Good Luck!

       

      ~Leslie 


       

       

       

       

      Disclaimer: This contest is not affiliated with Facebook 

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 1541
    • Comments: 12
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  • A Practical Action Plan for Tr A Practical Action Plan for Transforming Education #blog4reform

    • From: Walter_McKenzie
    • Description:

      Happy New Year! As we enter the decade of educational transformation (d.e.t.)  http://goo.gl/yemgX here is my proposed action plan for working to transform education. It is a practical plan, but not an easy plan. There are many institutional and financial forces in play that will oppose this plan. That in and of itself is a good indicator that the plan is on the right track!

       

      Get all the stakeholders to the table

      Get everyone involved and invested in education to the table. Not for a panel discussion or a brain dump or a free-for-all….but for decision-driven examination of the following issues listed below: public officials, private interests, parents, students, educators….everyone at the table and not in their traditional roles, because all their roles are changing. Who should call this gathering of stakeholders? Whoever has the vision and gumption to speak up first. Who should set the agenda? The group will set the agenda at the table. Whether it starts at the national level, state level or locally, it has to start somewhere, if it hasn’t already.

       

      Put children first

      The single focus of stakeholders at the table must be meeting the needs of our children. Children need to be rested, nourished, healthy, safe, secure, loved, supported, challenged and engaged to be successful. In addition, children must be empowered to learn using all the information and resources they have at their disposal. They should not be held back by the limited vision, expertise and resources of a teacher, school or district. When children have their needs met, they flourish.

       

      Redefine teaching

      Don’t even bother to come to the table unless you are willing to rethink everything you’ve ever learned about being a teaching professional, because when this action plan is implemented your job will be markedly different. If you got into education to help children learn and grow, you will be able to shift your thinking. If you do not want to have this discussion, perhaps you need to revisit why you are in education. Teachers must become flexible facilitators, possessing the skills and experiences to support students in learning and growing as each child is ready to do so.

       

      Adopt a campus model

      Take your technology budget and turn it on its head. Plan to move to an open campus model where students bring their own technology to schools and hop onto your network for access to resources and information. Phase out break/fix services and hardware budgets and reallocate those funds into a robust wireless environment that welcomes portable technologies while maintaining user safety and data security. I know there are lots of logistical questions. I understand this is not the model K-12 has used heretofore, but that model can no longer be justified fiscally or instructionally.

       

      Individualize learning

      It is all about student learning. Not achievement scores. Not closing statistical gaps. Not putting technology in their hands in the name of some digital utopia. Learning here and now, accepting for the first time in western education that every student deserves a personal learning plan with the resources provided to ensure success. It’s time to put aside the standardized classroom model and put in place individualized learning for every student. We know enough about individual cognition and learning styles to tailor learning for each child, and the tools are available to make it happen.

       

      24/7

      Learning doesn’t just take place between 8:00 AM and 3:30 PM, and educational access issues do not only exist outside of school. Instead of viewing a “school day” and time out of school as mutually exclusive portions of a student’s life, we must redefine learning time so that it recognizes learning taking place seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. We are at a point where we can no longer ignore all the learning going on outside of school hours, both locally and globally. We either open the schoolhouse doors and welcome in the 21st century, or public education is doomed to irrelevance.

       

      K-20 Competency-based Learning Continuum with no age/grade benchmarks

      The ultimate goal is to provide learning experiences for students that span their formative years and provide a strong bridge into adult learning and productivity. No grade levels. No age levels; students moving along as they master specific skills and information and are ready to learn. K-12 nicely aligned with higher education and the workplace, making each connection a natural transition for students to realize their full potential. Project-based learning and problem-solving experiences embedded in every student’s learning plan. Finally a system of education that allows all children to be successful; no one settling for meeting minimum standards or being held back from reaching their full potential.

       

      These are the action steps that need to be taken. The details of union involvement, teacher contracts, restructuring finances and redesigning facilities to meet this new model will all need to be meted out, but they should not be used as excuses for not being able to move forward.  I have every faith that current decision-makers are capable of working out these details once they are no longer acting as guardians of the status quo. They have learned how to work the current system to sustain their staffs and facilities. It will be an entirely different proposition to rethink funding formulae, staffing positions, school law, and the like. But I have every faith that those who choose to be part of the transformation can get the job done. To the rest? Our children will have 15 or more different jobs in their lifetimes. Perhaps it’s time you consider a career change too.

       

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 4802
    • Comments: 12
  • Five of the Biggest Mistakes I Five of the Biggest Mistakes I made as a new teacher

    • From: Robyn_Jackson
    • Description:

      I’ve been talking to teachers lately about creating an environment in their classrooms where students are free to make mistakes and supported in learning from their mistakes.  I argue that learning from mistakes can be a powerful way of helping students learn. But the value in learning mistakes isn’t just limited to our students. As professionals, we need to learn from our mistakes as well. I realize that the environment in our profession isn’t exactly friendly to making and learning from mistakes right now, but I would encourage you to not let that stop you. Don’t be afraid to make the inevitable mistake or two in the classroom as you teach. Instead, be open to learning from your mistakes and using them to make your teaching stronger.

      To get the ball rolling, I thought I’d share five mistakes I made early in my career and what I learned from them. Please share your mistakes as well in the comments section and let’s learn from each other.


      1. Mistake #1: I took everything personally. If the students disobeyed me, I got angry at them.  If they didn’t do their work, I took it as a personal affront.  Every time they put their heads down or didn’t turn in their homework, I was personally offended.  The problem with taking things personally is that it usually leads to blaming the students. The moment I realized that it wasn’t about me, I was able to to shift my focus from how offended I was to what I needed to do to help my students make better decisions the next time. When I stopped taking personal offense at everything my students did (or didn’t do) I was able to focus on how I could best respect, honor, appreciate, and capitalize on the currencies they brought to the classroom.
      2. Mistake #2: I avoided dealing with parents. When parents contacted me, I used to cringe.  Usually, they were not calling with good news.  I did everything I could to avoid dealing with them.  By seeing them as an adversary, or at least a nuisance I wanted to avoid,  I created more problems with parents than I solved.  Once I learned to see parents as my partners, to keep them informed about what was going on in my class, and to bring them into the loop early in the process, I found that parents were my best allies.  As a result, even when we disagreed on a course of action for their child, we were more likely to work out a plan that we could both support.
      3. Mistake #3: I waited until students were failing to intervene. I was always surprised at interim time that certain students were failing.  What made it even worse was that by the time I sent out interims, there was really little students could do to redeem their grades before the end of the marking period.  It wasn’t until I created aproactive intervention plan that forced me to systematically look at student performance that I started to notice the moment students began to fail and plan in advance what I would do to get them back on track.  Then, I could intervene before they got so far in the hole that they could not possibly ever get out.
      4. Mistake #4: I was afraid to make mistakes. I thought that as the teacher, I always had to be right.  I worked really hard at being the smartest person in the room.  When my students asked me a question for which I had no answer, I’d make one up.  If I made a mistake, I would cover it up.  Only when I gave myself permission to be, well, human, did my teaching get really good.  When I let my students see me make mistakes, admit them, and then take steps to correct them, it made it okay for them to make mistakes too.  The more I took risks in the classroom, the more I made it safe for them to take risks.  As a result, my classroom became a place where real learning could happen.
      5. Mistake #5: I tried to cover everything. I thought that if it was in the curriculum, it had to be taught.  The problem is that most curriculum documents are so bloated that it is difficult to cover everything or allot the same amount of time to every assignment.  What’s more, covering the curriculum does not guarantee that the students will meet all of the standards.  Once I realized that, I began to focus on the standards and on helping my students reach the standards rather than just cover the curriculum.  Doing so gave me more time to teach what really mattered and more flexibility to adjust my teaching based on my students’ needs.

      What mistakes have you made and what have you learned from them?

       

    • Blog post
    • 4 years ago
    • Views: 21981
    • Comments: 12
  • "Resume Tips" from a recently "Resume Tips" from a recently employed educator

    • From: Trevor_Fritz
    • Description:

       

      After meeting with various teachers, administrators, “resume pros,” interviewers, fellow students, mentors, and so on, I felt that I was able to finally condense everything I learned into a creative and effective resume. I was able to successfully attain a job as a social science teacher at a Chicago land high school and believe much of my success began with my resume. Below is a list of tips and advice that I believe should be helpful to teachers, especially new ones, as they search for jobs. Feel free to comment, add on, and especially criticize what I have to say (I do not believe that this list is the end all be all of resume tips, it is simply what I felt was the most effective during my interview process):

      1.    1.   1 page resumes (especially new teachers)

      Why?

      -           I found many educators pushed me to have a 2 page resume. Condensing to 1 page is important because new teachers tend to fall short on significant meaningful experience, which make a resume 2 or more pages long.

      -          These jobs are extremely competitive. Think 250 applicants for a single opening. When I see a couple paragraph news article, sure I’ll read it. If the same article is 5 pages long, most times I will take a pass (As  I think to myself, I cannot even follow my own advice writing this blog)

      2.     2.  GET INVOLVED

      -          Get involved with your school and in your community and anything that has to do with working with kids (camps, babysitting, volunteer work)

      -          Everyone will tell you, join groups that have to do with your major (NCSS for me). Just by paying that $35 student rate fee for joining groups means very little on your resume. Try and get involved in these groups however you can so you have something meaningful to write in your resume or say in an interview. If you are young this shows you are a go getter.

      3.    3.   FORMAT CORRECTLY

      -          No white spaces or areas. Do not use just a simple line as a space. Using the page layout tools to put different spaces like 6 pt and 3 pt. between lines. I used 6 pt. for section spaces and 3 pt. for lists under the sections

      -          Have clearly defined sections of your resume. For this everyone’s may be different depending on their experience and skills. I played with the margins also so that it fit on a single page and go rid of the standard 1” margins.

      4.    4.   DO NOT STATE THE OBVIOUS

      -          Do not write that you are CPR certified, Suicide Prevention Suicide Certified (for my Indiana peeps), or you followed students IEPs during student teaching. It is a given that you are certified and followed IEPS otherwise it would be illegal for you to teach

      -          If you are a basketball coach, do not write you helped players with their jump shots. It sounds childish and pretty obvious, if you organized activities or did something significant put that down, otherwise leave it as Coach Basketball at _____ (I made this mistake on my resume and it made it look a bit unprofessional)

      5.     5. BE MYSTERIOUS

      -          In other words your resume should give a brief but descriptive outline of yourself, but leave it open for a conversation where it leaves the reader wanting to know more about YOU

      -          I ALWAYS say this to my friends when I look at their resumes. You do not need a ton of bullet points under each activity you did. While you should highlight the important aspects of your job or activity, leave some things open for discussion during interviews.

      -          For example, I did UVA’s Semester at Sea and I left my description sounding exciting but leaving out details. It has come up in almost every interview I have had. When talking about things that are truly impressive you have done, your words spoken will excite an administrator much more than your words written.

      6.     6.  OBJETIVE

      -          Make sure that you have an objective- “To obtain a challenging and rewarding position……”

      7.     7.  CLEAR AND CONCISE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME

      -          When you are writing do not fluff up your resume with long drawn out impressive sentences. Be clear and concise with what you want to say. Remember there are 250 other resumes fighting for that same job

      As a final note I want everyone reading this to know that this is simply my take on a solid resume. I am in still in search of answers, information and guidance. With that said, feel free to give me feedback, whether it’s something positive like, “Trevor you are a genius” (which I know is doubtful) or if you want to take a huge dump on my post and say something like, “How the hell did you get job?”  Either way, give me your opinion and comments because my hope is to get some discussion going to further my development along with others in the teaching community.

      You can contact Trevor at ttfritz8@gmail.com or find me on twitter MrFritz8.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 5205
    • Comments: 10
  • Are You Irreplaceable? Are You Irreplaceable?

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      Fullscreen capture 9302011 112808 PM.bmp.jpg

      In a recent coaching conversation, a teacher told me that her 12th grade students should be able to just be assigned work with the expectation of completing it.  She was tired, she said, of lazy students who didn’t do what they were told and were so disengaged from the learning process that they barely did any assigned work, choosing instead to accept D’s and F’s.


      I didn’t agree or disagree with the teacher, but asked what she thought her role was.  She told me that she was the one who helped the students learn but was frustrated that they didn’t complete assignments.  In the most respectful way possible, I asked the teacher about the possibility of putting all of the students in the auditorium, and having someone just assign them tasks.  Whether they did them or not, it might help alleviate her frustration.

      She asked, “Who would teach the kids?”

      I said, respectfully, “Who’s teaching them now?”

      I told the teacher that I wasn’t intentionally being snarky, but wanted to drive home the point that assigning tasks and teaching were two different things. Teaching is a skill, a hard one. Assigning tasks is something anyone can do.  Assigning tasks is what I imagine early teachers on the prairie would do because they had multiple ages in the same one room schoolhouse. It is not the hallmark of the 21st Century Teacher.

      The 21st Century teacher is an expert guide, an expert in questioning techniques, and an expert in designing instruction that meets the needs of the 21st Century learner. Those needs must involve communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem solving.

      I talked with this teacher about transforming her classroom from a place where tasks are assigned to one where problems are solved, where students work together to investigate issues, where exploration and mistakes are valued over rote answers on worksheets. It was a powerful conversation.

      It reminded me of the quote that floats around Twitter often, “Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine, should be.” (Arthur C. Clarke) When we take a critical look at our professional practice, and really delve deeply into what we do as educators, what parts of our practice are automated? What parts could be done by anybody? In the 21st Century, how can we adequately prepare our students for college and careers with 20th, and perhaps 19th Century notions about what teaching is?
      There’s no denying it. Our students have changed. They live in a new world. It’s not the world we grew up in, but we still have a responsibility to prepare them adequately.  Have you considered what you do as an educator that makes you irreplaceable?
    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 2239
    • Comments: 10
  • Breaking the Cycle Breaking the Cycle

    • From: Walter_McKenzie
    • Description:

      In America, success is defined by short-term business decisions…how quickly you can implement a plan that delivers a big monetary return. We are all familiar with those people who are revered for their ability to be able to do this: athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs. Unfortunately for the rest of us, in each case it comes down to inherent talent that makes this possible. So how do we find worth in a society that reflects value in dollars? Some try to get-rich-quick playing the lottery and the market, while the majority of us work hard to achieve honest accomplishments that pay the bills.

       

      Public education is the antithesis of what is valued in American culture. No no no don’t gasp or protest…I’m not saying it’s right…I’m just stating what we all know to be true. If American culture valued education, teachers would be paid well and students would be provided everything they need to be successful, as an investment in our future.

       

      But look at the headlines over the past year:

      • Public education is being depleted of resources as governors work to balance budgets in tight times
      • Taxpayers resist further tax increases to fund education because the short-term gains are not appreciable
      • Teacher unions lose collective bargaining rights in key states because of the perception they have over-reached in the past and that they continue to be run by self-serving leadership
      • Educators are vilified as the problem with public education because the system pits student performance against teacher performance
      • Thousands of teachers lose their jobs across the country due to budget cuts, with profound long-term implications for our workforce while addressing short-term economic realities

      It’s a three-cornered-conflict…three powerful forces pitted against one another:

       


       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Resources are shrinking, our culture continues to look for short-term wins, but our long-term prosperity depends on investments we make now.

       

      My question to you is this: is American public education, by definition, doomed to be under-valued and under-resourced because of the culture in which it subsists? Or are there ways to re-think education that could produce short-term wins that add value that attracts new resources and then greater investment? I know this is hard to even conceive given our career-long experience as educators, but this is what the cycle would look like:


       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      I’m not here to tout possible solutions. I’m simply asking the question. What if the equation is this quantifiable, rather than speculating on grand visions of sights yet unseen? If you could plug in one short-term investment to start kicking this cycle into motion, what would you come up with? It may be as simple as this.

       

      Walter’s blog archive: http://surfaquarium.com/blog.htm

      Mirror site: http://surfaquarium.blogspot.com/2011/09/breaking-cycle.html

       

    • Blog post
    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 1931
    • Comments: 10
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