Attention English teachers: Mister Teacher, Lady Strathconn, and others have been passing around a list of (mostly) classic books to test how well-read they are. How about you?...


Andy Carvin of learning.now disputes the notion that Internet social-networking tools are to blame for the growing level of narcissism among young people. On the contrary, he argues, sites such as MySpace and YouTube are more about community than self-centeredness: Sure, some people are there for vanity or proto-celebrity purposes, but most people are there for us, not me. They’re communities where people come together to find each other and bond over likeminded interests. They’re communities where people reinforce interpersonal relationships through sharing and creating content. As with most new technologies, that is, it’s all in ...


Epiphany in Baltimore is frustrated that parents are not just a phone call away. Limited resources left the inner city teacher struggling to find a way to connect with students' parents: At school this year, parental contact is nearly impossible. I have no phone in my room. ... To call parents at home, we must use the English department phone. However, the line out was inadvertently cut a few weeks ago by custodial services, and now there is no way to call out from that office. Therefore, I had to go to the main office, and speak in the very public ...


Tim of Assorted Stuff examines whether the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project will benefit developing countries, and what U.S. schools could learn from it. He comments on the following excerpt from eLearn magazine's article, Can the "$100 Laptop" Change the World?: Some of the problems [Ethan Zuckerman] sees in the schoolrooms in the developing world are echoed here in our own halls of learning. "Educational systems that teach to standardized national tests mean that the emphasis is on making sure a percentage of students learn enough information to pass the national exams, and less on learning through self-guided ...


More on the subject of kids who don't get support from the adults at home: NYC Educator is surprised to find himself in agreement with conservative commentator David Brooks, who argues that a really good presidential candidate would take the approach that schools don't just need more money—they need programs to make sure kids are prepared to learn before they get to school. NYC Educator's thoughts: The bold candidate will admit that kids who don't learn social skills at home don't carry them to school. Kids with caring parents become better students. David Brooks suggests a program where trained...


Mr. Lawrence from Get Lost, Mr. Chips explains why a longer school day may not be the be-all, end-all solution for producing higher-performing students: I used to think a longer school day was ideal in improving scores and getting everything done that needs to be done curriculum wise, but now after some time working I've changed my mind. In my highly subjective viewpoint, I feel like the longer the kids are in school the more they 'drift off' - maybe it's just me, but the last class of the day is less attentive and thinking less clearly than classes early ...


California Teacher Guy writes a supremely sad post about a student who's ready to throw out a quiz paper rather than take it home—because he knows no one at home is interested in his schoolwork: "Instead of throwing it away, why don’t you take it home?” Sergio shook his head. I tried again. “Are you sure your parents don’t want to see it?” “They don’t want to see it.” “Well, how about your aunt or uncle or grandparents?” “Nobody wants to see it.” “Well, I’m not going to throw it away,” I said. “I’m going...


Amy, the Denver public school teacher of Groovygrrl's Weblog, makes some apt comparisons when discussing budget cuts and teaching job "redistributions": People who work in schools make friends in a foxhole--it's a hard job, no matter what you are doing, and if you work there, you automatically share a special connection with everyone else there. We talk about our time in schools like military folk do: long-term teachers are invariably called "veterans." So it's that time of year, and the cuts are in. And, of course, one of my best friends has had her job cut. Rather, her job is ...


Nancy Flanagan of Teacher in a Strange Land counters the increasingly trendy notion that schools today are not giving enough attention to "gifted children." Among her observations: [I]dentifying giftedness in kids is an exercise akin to nailing jello to a board. Drawing the line between “gifted” and “not gifted” is often an exercise in parental politics as much as determining appropriate instructional practice. ... The identification process often amounts to restriction of resources based on some pretty shaky premises and indicators. What makes the argument especially interesting—you might say telling—is that Flanagan herself has a master's in gifted...


Ms. Ris of Mentor Matters offers some tips on the art of managing the "parent connection". The key, she says, is to invite parents' participation as much as possible but not to get too worked up about it when they don't come through: Over the years, I have learned the importance of focusing on what it is I CAN control. I control my decision to continue to keep open the door to my kids’ parents. I hope for the best, but prepare for non-participation. That’s my reality, and to accept it leaves me the energy to really work with ...


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