February 2010 Archives

I would like to start this post with a short anecdote: A friend of mine called me this fall and told me that he was feeling very downtrodden. He had a new superintendent who was not that tech savvy. However, he had stopped by this one particular afternoon all excited and holding a new article about technology. He came into my friend's office waving it and saying that he had a new technology of which he had just learned. He then asked my friend, "Have you heard of 'The Google'?" My friend almost cried. So what makes this story so ...


"The protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear. The right to protection from unlawful searches is an indivisible American value. Two hundred years of court decisions have stood in defense of this fundamental right. The state's interest in crime-fighting should never vitiate the citizens' Bill of Rights." -John AshCroft One would be hard pressed to ignore the recent developments of alleged violation of student privacy in the Lower Merion school district in Pennsylvania. Although, the district denies the charges, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit allege that a school vice-principal attempted to discipline their son on the basis of a photo ...


For as long as I can remember educators have tried to figure out how to infuse more technology into our daily school lives. There has been great strides forward, promising practices, extraordinary new systems that have profoundly improved teaching and learning. There has also been stubborn resistance for a million reasons. But that's public education for you. We are, after all, an extension of both democracy and the community of oft-conflicting values within which we exist. Issues come and go: desegregation, equal access, A Nation at Risk, back to basics, "accountability", economic downturns. We ride a wild pendulum. Megatrends. Sometimes ...


This entry has been cross posted to Sentiments On Common Sense. I just returned from a trip to the U.S. to hire some teachers for my school. Those trips are grueling, intense and a chance to examine my personal educational beliefs at a core level. We move out on these trips with great purpose. We work in teams. We talk. We collaborate. We commiserate. We come home exhausted. We interview 15-18 teachers a day and make some very basic decisions (to offer a contract or say "no thank you") which are VERY important decisions about who will be the ...


"What do you mean I only got a 2? They were all on task. They were all looking at me." It's no longer about the eyes and whether or not the students are looking at the teacher or have their books open. Student engagement is about the mind - engaging the mind and expressing it through dialogue with peers. Dialogue that is not intended just to answer the teacher's questions, but dialogue that is focused on a particular topic and includes accountable talk. We call it think, pair, share, turn and talk, Socratic seminar, etc., but it boils down to ...


How many times have you made a decision, let others know about the decision, and then get annoyed when others don't entirely buy into your decision. Even worse, they buy into your decision, but the "new direction" falters within a short period of time? It's frustrating and yet all so common. One of my former colleagues noted, "the only person that likes change is a baby with a new diaper." Strategic communication is a key component in translating decisions into action. It is helpful to me to remember that I've been thinking and working the issue in my head for ...


also posted on Angela Maiers' site I love learning. I love being around people who are passionate about their own lifelong journey of learning and teaching. It's contagious. As I reflect on these past 20 years of working in this great profession of education, and particularly the past few years of worldwide connections I've been fortunate to find due to the blogosphere, I'm excited about learning now more than ever. I strive for at least one WOW each day. On this day where we celebrate sharing our hearts and passion, I thought I'd share something I've been thinking on for ...


We can agree on pedagogy and theoretical constructs but what happens in the classroom when instruction begins is the real test of buy-in and willingness to struggle with change. The question continually on my minds is how, as an administrator, I can support, empower, and encourage the tenacity necessary to change old habits. Recently I have been thinking and reading about math instruction and ran across an article that is an excerpt from the book Treating Children as Mathemiticians by E. Geist. Based on the understanding that Japan and other countries have outpaced the United States in mathematical competencies a ...


the best way to impress mom and dad is to impress their child


Below are key elements of school district mission statements from 14 districts in the NY Metropolitan area. It is the mission of the (Name of school) to develop: active, life-long learners curious, compassionate learners students responsible for their own learning independent learners able to work collaboratively to solve problems creative and critical thinkers develop students' individual strengths, skills, and talents engaging, challenging and personalized learning environments connections to the global community integrity as a core value appreciation of self-worth and individual differences The problem is these wonderful concepts to which these school districts have seemingly dedicated themselves, are not in ...


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