8 Days a Week

Let’s pretend we live in a world where no students are ever tardy, there are no altered schedules (no joke: last year there were no fewer* than eight to ten different schedules depending on whether or not it was a morning assembly, afternoon, late start, etc.) The class period is 50 minutes long, after a four-minute passing period, where all students have hydrated, taken care of bathroom necessities, and enter the classroom, crossing the threshold to a new adventure. That’s the dream. The reality is students, and teachers, are…humans. The school day feels less like a nurtured, creative maze and…

Gentle giants.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”–Eleanor Roosevelt Confession: sometimes my mind, and actions, hits all three sides. Perhaps, though, there is form and function in all points: we need the ideas, we need to analyze events, and we strive to understand one another. Gossip and venting for its own sake are counterproductive, but is it a necessary evil? Jason Deehan recently posted in Edutopia, “Should Venting About Students be Banned?” and his conclusion is yes. He dug further to consider consequences, and found this: First, I found an article on Psychology Today. The article acknowledged…

The Write Thing.

We are having a grand conversation about the rigor of texts in our school, looking vertically both to the lower grades and the high school grades, to find appropriate, “rigorous” texts (as some define by high Lexile scores as the sole criteria). As with many shifts, if I don’t do the reading and thinking on my own, I never can adapt or shift professionally. So, to the experts! Away! Grant Wiggins defines rigor as being in the task (so therefore, not the teacher, and not the text). So, what is rigor? Rigor is not established by the teaching. It’s not established…

Relevance.

You may all think I am evangelizing the mighty gospel of gaming, but that is not true. What I am promoting is relevance. My brother-in-law works for Blizzard games. He has been working 60-90 hour weeks for months on end. He is extremely talented and intelligent, like all of the Love brothers. He sent this e-mail about his work on Diablo III yesterday afternoon:  http://eu.blizzard.com/diablo3/world/systems/runestones.xml The above link has some breakdown videos of various player skills in Diablo III. We just released this info to the public today. I did all of the special FX for these, except for the…

In the Zone: Brain research, reading, and responding

Every teacher worth his salt knows about Piaget and Vygotsky. And I am not going to pretend or fake that I understand everything about their theories on cognitive development. When I was studying their work, it just made so much clear sense, that I embedded a golden nugget into my own brain, and that was this: we learn from our world/each other. The more interaction, or appropriate interaction at the right times in our lives, the better. It doesn’t work for every brain/person, but I’m making a generalization. Take a baby. Cuddle, talk to him, give him safe, warm shelter, (thank you,…

Overconfidence.

  Is there such a thing as “over-confidence?” How do we learn to know when we don’t know something? As I was looking over the recent assessments, one student wrote “[Yay I feel so accomplished! <3].” I trying to puzzle out how or why this student stated this, because the score was 37%. Was this student feeling overconfident, or perhaps was this a pre-emptive strike on the ego, knowing the responses weren’t very well crafted, and wanted to take away any negative feelings? I don’t know. I am over-analyzing it, perhaps. A few years ago, when I was working on…

Dog Ear: A reader's best friend.

Dog Ear is one of the best book recommendation blogs for young adult readers. So, if you need to sit and read a book, go fetch one you might like, and don’t waste time chasing your tail. (And no, I’m not above pandering to you by using a cute photograph of an Aussie.) If you want something interesting to chew on, find a book that speaks to you. (Dog Ear is named such because to ‘dog ear’ a page in a book you turn the corner down to hold your place, or one of your favorite places, such as a…

Charting your journey.

This article link content is NOT about your personal  beliefs, or mine. It is about what we talked about (briefly) the other day — in addition to books, poetry and songs can also help us find answers to our questions–they speak to us. Another path is reading what other great thinkers/philosphers reflect upon, and consider. This article has three minds considering an historical figure, and the possible significance, all from their own cultural perspectives. If you read this article, consider the questions the writers were attempting to explore. I don’t say “answer” because rarely do we find definitive answers to…