Live from the Learning Forward annual conference in Atlanta. I sat in on a couple intimate morning sessions - quite a difference from the enormous several-hundred-person breakfast and keynote this morning.


Live from the Learning Forward annual conference in Atlanta Good morning! A quick post before I head into my first "concurrent session" here at the Learning Forward conference. Beverly Hall, Atlanta Public Schools superintendent, just finished a keynote address about her district's major turnaround since 2000 and how professional development played a part. Ten years ago, she said, 50 percent of students were not meeting the standards, based on state standardized test scores. Since then, scores have shown "double digit increases" and the high school graduation rate has gone up about 25 percent. She said that the use of mentoring ...


Live from the Learning Forward annual conference in Atlanta Just got down to Atlanta for the Learning Forward annual conference. (Formerly known as NSDC, Learning Forward is a nonprofit professional organization focused on staff and school improvement. The group will actually be starting to blog on our site in the coming weeks.) The conference is a gathering of school administrators, superintendents, learning coaches, and pd coordinators. Most of the sessions revolve around best practices for staff development. As it looks, it should be an interesting few days. The conference is taking place between two massive downtown hotels—and I mean...


A teacher who has to have his jaw wired shut after a former student assaulted him remains concerned about the teen and says he needs help, not jail.


Should parents be graded just like schools and teachers?


A new report lays out steps policymakers can take to bring technology-based learning to every student.


A small group of New York City teachers marched into the Hearst Corporation headquarters to apply for Cathie Black's job as chairperson.


Despite opposition from anti-gambling groups, one northern Virginia high school is using poker to teach math.


In his latest column, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter highlights—quite uncritically—Bill Gates' campaign to curb teacher seniority pay, which appears to offend the Microsoft founder's business sense: "Is there any other part of of the economy where someone says, 'Hey, how long have you been mowing lawns? ... I want to pay you more for that reason alone." In a lengthy response, NYC teacher the Reflective Educator (in addition to taking offense at the lawn-mowing analogy) argues that removing seniority, nice as it may sound, would only diminish the overall quality of education at many schools by heightening the already ...


New research provides further evidence that assigning personal-values essays can help narrow achievement gaps.


A sigh-inducing story from the wires: A principal of a Hudson Valley high school has been placed on leave after another administrator accused him of making threats during a public discussion of violence at the school....


A Baltimore City teacher blames Teach for America for her difficulty finding a job, and says the program "pretends to have the solution."


Liana's post this morning about the NY Times article on how kids today may be "hard-wired for learning differently" made me think of this video clip I came across recently (maybe you've seen it) of a kid completing not one but two Rubik's Cubes while playing Guitar Hero and, of course, hitting all the notes. There's got to be some message in this for educators, right? I guess the question would be: Are schools leveraging or building on this kind of aptitude? Can they? Should they? Obviously this kid is a special case, but I suspect he's also representative in ...


A somewhat polarizing article in the New York Times says there's research suggesting that kids these days—immersed in technology that rewards small doses of attention—are hard-wired for learning differently than previous generations. The piece profiles a talented 12th grader who spends late nights making short films for YouTube and playing video games, and whose grades are suffering because of it. Some educators are embracing kids' new skill-sets by incorporating the technology they use at home into the classroom environment. One principal "asked teachers to build Web sites to communicate with students, introduced popular classes on using digital ...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English, Annual Convention, Orlando Author Gary Paulsen spoke at Saturday's ALAN—Assembly of Literature for Adolescents—breakfast. He likes to talk and spoke for almost an hour. There might have been a few eye rolls at my table and murmurings of "indulgent" towards the end of his speech. But I was told that is because language arts teachers know his books and his biography well. My confession is that I've never read a book by Gary Paulsen. He's a late-20th century Jack London who loves and writes about dogs. He's raced the...


New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman—purveyor of the "The World Is Flat" trope—bemoans the current indicators of the state of U.S. schools and praises U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's efforts to introduce performance pay and increased competition into the teaching profession. Duncan's view, Friedman argues, "is not anti-teacher. It's taking the profession much more seriously and elevating it to where should be." But he also notes that the burden shouldn't only be on teachers: "The more we demand from teachers the more we have to demand from students and parents," he writes....


Just saw this press release for iDiscipline HD, an app that allows teachers to track student behavior issues—and send e-mail notifications to parents, if needed—on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Out of curiosity, how many of our readers use mobile devices to monitor daily classroom data, such as discipline and attendance? What are the benefits of tracking students this way? Do you use your own device or do you get one from your school? For those who don't use mobile devices for record-keeping, would you have any interest in starting? What's holding you back?...


Renee Moore questions the wisdom of the the idea—raised in recent days by both Bill Gates and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—of paying effective teachers more for taking on larger class sizes: Giving the most effective teachers larger classes is NOT a way to reward them, but it is a way to lessen their effectiveness. It also begs the question: What kind of teachers will be working with the students that can't be crammed into the overcrowded classes of the "effective teachers"? A blogging middle school principal, meanwhile, picks up on the budgetary implications of Duncan's...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English, Annual Convention, Orlando A quick hit post...(Gary Paulsen and the Ed. Dept. are coming) Just stopped by for the last few minutes of "Modeling and Mentoring Literate Lives: Trusting the Reading Workshop" with Franki Sibberson, Aimee Buckner, and our own Donalyn Miller. Here are some really cool resources offered by Ohio teacher Franki Sibberson, whose presentation is the only one of the three that I heard. She's working with the idea that kids need to "write" the media they are "reading." On a side note, Franki offered that she gets ...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English, Annual Convention, Orlando Greetings and apologies for the lack of posting from the convention world of Disney where things are not always "magical." I've had a lot of technical issues which have made live blogging virtually impossible. This afternoon I attended a session called "Designing and Assessing Student Learning With Social Media." It was kind of like speed dating, as my friend Donalyn Miller pronounced it, so I didn't get to every table but what I heard was interesting. There was more "designing" and a little less "assessing" from what I ...


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