March 2010 Archives

"A second fundamental factor in the mental development of the child is the role of exercise and of acquired experience in the actions performed upon objects. There are two types of experience, physical experience, which consists of acting upon objects to abstract their physical properties and logico-mathematical experience, which consists of acting upon objects with a view to coordinating the result of the actions." -Jean Piaget I had an eye opening experience this past Monday as I attended a workshop put on by Shauna Smith, Nick Sanham, and Glen Bull at the 21st International Conference of the Society of Technology ...


Typically, whenever I read something telling me I need to contact my legislators, I automatically put my head down, hoping no one will call on me. I realize no one is in the room with me. I just hope someone else will do it. Do you ever feel that way? It's human nature to put off what we don't like doing or what we don't understand. But I have come to realize that I need to become more comfortable with this task. And I am trying to figure out what the obstacles are that keep me from having a more ...


Right now, it is an ideal time for hiring teachers. Unfortunately, there are few to no positions. The number of applicants for a single position is vast, which increases the number of quality individuals who apply. Recently, we were challenged with the task to find a leave replacement teacher for the last quarter of the school year. The experience is what brings us here, to this blog, as we reflected on the process and saw it through the eyes of candidates-- all of whom were aware of the number of applicants as qualified as themselves and the fact that only ...


Civic Enterprises has released its latest study, Raising Their Voices, concerning America’s dropout crisis. What resonated with me the most was the voices of the students in the report. Here are some samples: “To me, high school is like elementary and middle school. It’s all the same. We’ve been doing the same thing over and over again.” “If you just fight your way through it now and get through school ... eventually it will be interesting when you get into your career field.” “I’m going to be honest: school is really, really boring. I hate...


The entry was cross posted to www.sentimentsoncommonsense.comAs I work this academic year in rolling out a 1:1 program, I have thought long and hard about the next steps after the initial "out of the box" experience has worn off and the machines find their place in the daily lives of the students and their teachers.  Now in month 6 of the implementation, I am faced with some decision making about the next steps to drive home the initial success of our program.  Success, in this case, is a feel of "normalcy" around the school with technology. ...


There is another "Achievement Gap" in America and it is gathering on the near horizon like a storm cloud. Mark my words. That storm will come and we will see our future as a nation engulfed in another predictable catastrophe that didn't have to happen. I want Arne Duncan and our President to hear me. I am not in Washington DC or the halls of the state senate in Sacramento. I am at El Milagro and we are fending off foul weather. Here's a gap that's deep and growing deeper by the day: It starts in schools that struggle to ...


I recently attended an IEP meeting regarding a student whose primary disability is emotional/behavioral disorder, but one who is far below in his reading ability as well. We discussed how his adverse behavior incidents are becoming more frequently related to his frustration with his inability to read grade level books. When the teacher recommends that he read a "just right book," he becomes defiant and argumentative, insisting that the books she wants him to read are baby books. The argument usually escalates his behavior because he does not want to be seen reading baby books, and sooner or later ...


Many successful principals use a strategy each spring to get additional resources for their school. Other school executives marvel at how, somehow, these successful principals get those additional monies to help their students. I've listened to some wise school leaders about some tips on creating a better chance to get additional funds at the end of the year.   Who knows...you may find a nugget of gold this St. Patrick's Day that might help you get more one time funds for your school initiatives this year.  I'll ask for your ideas at the end of the post:  Spend your...


by Angela Maiers Reading matters to me. On a personal level, it is one of my favorite ways of spending time. In fact, reading is so important to me that I notice I'm less happy when I get busy with other matters and let reading fall by the wayside. On a professional level, I have devoted nearly two decades to helping students and educators discover ways to share the benefits, joys, and powers that come from membership into "The Literacy Club." I was ecstatic to see the March 2010 edition of Education Leadership wholly devoted to this complex and vital...


Supporting innovation and continual growth is an important part of the job of an administrator. Seeking ways to model and encourage integration of technology, building a vision for the future and staying on top of new developments and research can be a full time job. The use of social networking tools in my professional life like Twitter, and Ning helps me access the information I need to do my job. However, I find that often when I am filtering the information flow that my focus is on tools, research, or ideas that will empower the teachers and meet specific needs ...


A month or so ago, Twitter colleague Dave Meister (@phsprincipal) sent out a tweet wondering if any of the educational leaders on Twitter would want to attempt a "virtual" meet-up sometime this summer. Being a generally social person who enjoys exchanging good ideas with smart people, I thought this would be great. Dave threw together a quick interest survey on GDocs and over 40 school and district-level leaders expressed interest in the event. Being fresh off the modest success of the Learning 2.0 event at my school, I volunteered to help out. We'd gotten pretty adventurous with the online ...


I have had friends ask me what I think of our neighborhood school, and my answer is quite simple. I tell them, "The school is only as good as the teacher your child has that year." I have believed this for a very long time. This stems from my belief that good teaching trumps everything when it comes to student achievement. Analyze all the data you want, throw a bunch of acronyms at people (NCLB, RtI, IEP, DIBELS, FAPE, PBIS, Yada Yada Yada), and race to the top of wherever you want. Yet, everything boils down to good teaching in ...


As mentioned in a previous post there has been a recent trend of students facing school disciplinary procedures for off-campus activities and behaviors in cyberspace. It is the goal of this post to discuss 1st Amendment common law as it relates to student cyberspace activities. Because there have been no truly definitive rulings to date on 1st Amendment issues regarding free speech in the schoolosphere, all parties are left to hypothesize about the boundary lines of student cyberspeech. However a review of a trilogy of law cases dating back as far as 1969 that acts as the guidelines for current ...


When I think back to my days in the classroom the most important moments happened when I looked past the hardened sneer of a difficult student to see them as they really were. It turns out they were rarely what they seemed on the surface. Somewhere deep inside them there was something more than the negative image that they projected to the outside world. Of course, this inner spirit was often walled off and starved; and the more a student needed my help, the more likely they were to push me away. It seems the one's who needed love the ...


Ok, so we all know someone or know someone who knows someone who took an online course. We all see the increasing popularity of universities like Capella, Walden, and the University of Phoenix. With regard to school principals, the real question is can a principal candidate with online credentials get a job? The findings might surprise you. We recently sent out a survey to 500 human resource manager to understand the acceptability of online credentials for principal candidates. Among other things we found the following: Question % Agree It is more difficult to assess the quality of online principal preparation programs ...


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