Sunday, October 21, 2012

Five for Friday- The Late Edition

Is Nature a Cure for Bullying? 

Some interesting statistics. America's Report Card 2012: Children in the US

Should we create an elective hour that allows kids to choose their own course from a place like Udemy?

Here is an interesting piece about reading aloud and the benefits that it can bring readers young and old.

Didn't know about PopTech until recently. Another place for great ideas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Golden Age

Is it possible that we are in a Golden Age of Education? This doesn't mean a Mission Accomplished Age of Education, but a place that outstrips the overall accomplishments of the United States Education System during any time in history. Clearly, it is easy to fall into a trap of nostalgia believing that where and when you went to school was the best of times, but often, the reality is that there is no perspective of the system as we were inside of the system. Schools probably worked for us as current teachers, educators, etc., but there were certainly kids dropping out, disappearing from the system, and draining the social services of our country during your eras also. The data below raises some interesting points about how more students have access to education for a longer period of time now and how education continues to bring greater numbers out of poverty. Are we too negative about the system as a whole and does this negativity inhibit future growth and innovation?

 education infographic image [Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

How are We Measuring the Tough Stuff?

As the nation goes crazy surrounding the implementation of the Common Core Standards, it seems like there may be a bit of leaving for vacation without turning the iron off. There are a number of really important things in education sliding to the side as the space and time for Common Core sucks up all of the oxygen in the room. One of those concepts is how to focus and develop the tough elements that come from our education system like grit, self-control, and collaboration. While the standards don't make this impossible or dictate not to teach these things, the time, energy, and resources are being shifted away from this work making it only the resolute teacher or the rebel teacher that will continue their journey in this area. Schools hold the unique potential to be cauldrons of growth in these non-academic areas. Schools are the reason that new leaders, citizens, and stewards emerge, but not solely because of the knowledge that the schools have passed on, but because of the passion that the culture of the school has enriched. Be careful as everything becomes about Common Core that there are essential non-cognitive factors that we need to remain focused on as teachers, leaders, and learners in our buildings. Angela Duckworth does a great job refocusing our priorities with this TED talk below.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Five for Friday- Links and Ideas

Here is a great list of traits to share and discuss with kids who are looking for excellence.

Continue to come back to these Thinking Routines as keys to moving our classrooms forward.

Art, art, and more art. Our kids need art in all subjects.

Still haven't landed on the best digital citizenship stuff for student or teachers. This seems good. 

Frustrated by the overuse of Lexile levels. Read here.

Great stuff for teacher who are never satisfied with their classrooms; 7 new ideas

Why teaching grit doesn't mean teaching compliance.

Incredible collection of Project Based Learning resources

Friday, October 5, 2012

Five for Friday- Link and Ideas

System Thinking from NSTA

JouleBug look like a great way for schools to combine gamification and sustainability

Great inspiring piece about Staying a Lover of Little Things

Not sure that I love all of these ideas, but the conversation about better grading will move us forward.

Interesting piece about flipping the math classroom.

Let the Bammys Grow and Flourish

It has been a few weeks now since I returned from Washington, DC and the Bammy Awards. It was truly a pleasure to have received an invitation to this incredible event. For those that don't know about the Bammys, here is the official description.

The Bammy Awards is a cross-discipline award that identifies and acknowledges excellence throughout the education field -- from teachers, principals and superintendents, to school nurses, support staff, advocates, researchers, early childhood specialists, education journalists and parents.  The Bammy Awards were created in response to the tremendous national pressure on educators and education leaders to improve student outcomes, and the intense scrutiny that today's educators face as a result. 

The Bammy Awards acknowledge that teachers can't do it alone and don't do it alone. The Awards aim to foster cross-discipline recognition of excellence in education, encourage collaboration and respect in and across the various domains, elevate education and education successes in the public eye, and raise the profile and voices of the many undervalued and unrecognized people who are making a difference in the field.

After having a few weeks to return home and allow the event to soak in, it is clear that the Bammys are an event that are needed to reshape the mental models surrounding schools and teachers. There are so many incredible things to celebrate in education today, and the momentum remains to talk about the negative and focus on the failure. The Bammys can be a part of the momentum stopping counter narrative that brings our nation back around to a common sense, solution-oriented approach to moving forward in education.

The Bammys provide a night of celebration, a night of beauty, and a night to hear what is right about our work with kids. The challenge of moving from an inaugural event that is the celebration of an idea to a version 2.0 of an event is that there are now expectations that the Bammys begin to play a role in change. Playing this role will require an incredible program that is broadcast and shared at a level seeps into the DNA of our families, leaders, and communities.

Bravo to the Bammys on year one, and I'm looking forward to supporting this celebration for many years to come.