Yesterday, on my classroom "walk-throughs" I watched kindergarteners negotiate their way around netbooks. They weren't using a mouse. They were using the touchpad and their little fingers went searching for a story during their "Listen to Reading" rotation from the Daily Five. Their world at five is so different from the world we knew at that age. Their technological opportunities at five blow away the game of Pong we used to play. Recently, I wrote a blog entitled Resisting Technology is Soooo 20th Century because I feel as though technology is still a hot button issue. Through Twitter and other ...


"Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how you can make that future a reality." John Kotter This year seems different. Even in schools where principals have positive relationships with teachers the observation process is still nerve-racking for everyone involved. Many principals feel like Darth Vader as they walk down the hallway because teachers are afraid that they are the next unannounced observation. Even in the most trusting schools, there is a feeling of mistrust for the process. Educators who have been relegated to point scales are looking for the maximum scores and principals are trying ...


Those people posting negative comments on Facebook were negative before Facebook ever started. Facebook just allowed them the venue to spew negativity. What has happened to common sense? Has Facebook and Twitter created a negative tone in society? Or was there a portion of society that was already negative and social networking gave them the venue to share their thoughts? Too many educators cite negative comments as the reason they do not dive into social networking and the following story is an example of using social networking for the wrong reasons. Recently Teach.com posted a blog entitled Teacher Suspended ...


"The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy." Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Mission Statement Teach.com recently posted a story entitled Cursive Writing Being Phased Out in ...


LGBT students who would like to join a sport, or perhaps are already good at one, may learn that sexual orientation doesn't matter out on the field. What will help them learn that even more is when using derogatory words about sexual orientation isn't allowed on their field either. Most of us have attended sporting events. They're exciting to watch and remind older fans of a time when they were competitive. In high school, sporting events are an important part of the school culture. Friday nights are spent watching football games where students go out to support their teams. Sports ...


They wanted Jade to move. It didn't matter if they were an aide, teacher or principal, when she walked in they didn't want to engage with her. When Jade didn't want to do work in the classroom she fell to the floor and began having a temper tantrum. It seemed like 2 year old behavior coming from the 7 year old body. She moaned and hissed at other students. Sometimes she even smiled when she walked away from students knowing that she scared them. It made her feel better. When she announced she was moving to another public school the ...


People who are keenly aware of the trials and tribulations of life understand that since birth life has offered us different opportunities to build coping skills. Life is not kind to everyone. It doesn't matter if it's a break-up gone bad or a death in the family, we don't leave this planet unscathed. It does seem as though some people have a few more tough situations than others. The best advice I ever heard about working with people going through a hard time is, "Just because it's not the hardest thing you've ever been through doesn't mean it's not the ...


If we are to truly give our students a better education system, we first must get rid of a flawed system built on testing. This past week, many New York State students had to take field tests and my fourth grade students were one of the groups chosen. I'm sure it had nothing to do with this blog. I'm sure that there was some magical formula used to "choose" these schools. Field tests are used to see if questions are too easy, too hard or just right. Think...Goldilocks and The Three Bears only with a testing twist. Most administrators ...


The percentage of children aged 6-11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Weight of The Nation Our students don't get outside enough. When I taught second grade in a city school I brought my students outside for recess and a little girl came running up and thanked me for taking the outside. It's not like she was the first student to thank me for giving them recess but it was her words that followed that bothered me the most. "This is the only time I get to go ...


Great Lessons are a continuous conversation from one day to the next where you build on yesterday in preparation for tomorrow. It sounds like common sense. Shouldn't all observations be evidence based? Is this a passing fad using new vocabulary? Or is this a new focus for principals and teachers? The stakes are high and our focus has to be clear. We need evidence that our students are learning and state tests are not the way to do that. However, teacher observations and the conversations that take place before and after are important to that process because they can have ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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