I’m not a big fan of Seek & Finds. You know, the simple puzzles where you look at a word bank and then circle the word in a jumble of random letters and whatnot. It’s not that I don’t find them fun; it’s just that they’re pretty mindless. While I would agree that mindless activity may be necessary from time to time, we activate the lowest part of our cognitive being to complete these puzzles, focusing more on simple letter identification and pattern recognition than meaning and deep processing. Contrast that with crossword puzzles or logic exercises where we can almost feel our synapses firing and neurons carrying signals throughout our brains.
After spending some time over the last few weeks involved in scoring leader training for New York’s state tests, I started to wonder why our kids are approaching reading like a Seek & Find as opposed to a logic puzzle. (read more…)
I love witnessing miraculous things, and I love it even more when it’s kids performing the miracles.
I attended a conference last weekend called EdJEWcon in Jacksonville, Fla., where I attended a “Speed Geeking” session designed and presented by fourth- and fifth-grade students. In the session, participants were engaged in a speed dating model but with technology. Each of the seven students prepared a five-minute presentation around a technology they cared about and shared with the participants how it impacted their learning. Students shared a variety of technologies including blogging, iMovie, Frames, and more.
The whole model reminded me of a discussion I had several weeks ago at EdCamp Buffalo about student S.W.A.T. teams: Students Who Assist with Technology. These are students who help each other and their teachers learn new software and hardware tools.
This is EXACTLY the kind of student-centered authenticity that schools need more of. In fact, I would love to see much much more of this going on in schools, particularly in faculty meetings. (read more…)
While political leaders in Washington debate immigration reform and debt issues, business leaders from a wide swath of industries are lamenting the deteriorating competitiveness of the U.S. in the global talent marketplace. Study after study shows the performance of U.S. students slipping when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We need an American competitiveness agenda,” Honeywell Chairman and CEO David Cote said during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference. “Our world has changed a lot in the last 20 years, and we’re still acting like we did 20 years ago.”
But if you’re a student interested in pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, what regions of the U.S. offer the best opportunities. According to this Esri-powered map from the Smithsonian, the answer is the Midwest.
I spend a good chunk of time on Twitter, often participating in or lurking on a Twitter chat. I have seen project based learning — PBL — a topic of discussion, but at the same time, I see a lot of claims about PBL that are just not true. What bothers me about these claims is not that they are wrong but that these misconceptions lead to further problems when implementing PBL. I’d like to take some time to dispel some of these misunderstandings in hopes that they clear up other issues teachers may have with PBL.
“I do projects all the time.” Often when I talk to teachers they respond, “Oh I’ve done PBL for a long time. We’ve always done projects in my classroom.” To me this is often a red flag. Projects and PBL aren’t the same. However, I do know teachers that have done projects in the past that have had many of the elements of PBL but might be missing some. (read more…)
Most school districts do not hire a principal a few days before the school year begins. Principals are typically hired months before they can officially start in the district. After getting over the initial shock and excitement of being the person in charge, new school principals have to figure out what their next steps should be. Everyone is waiting to see what a leader will do first.
The longer it takes a new principal to make their first move, the more at risk they are that someone will be critical of them for not doing anything at all. It sounds unfair, especially if the new leader is still teaching or leading another building in a neighboring district, but it happens. With the right first move, a new leader can create some important relationships before they even finish their teaching duties.
- First and foremost, send thank you cards for the interview and then for the job.