Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 12/17/2013

The Internet is abuzz over Chris Lehmann‘s @chrislehmann  announcement that Science Leadership Academy (SLA) will be moving to Dell Chromebooks and turn in their Mac's. (I'm sure this will be a topic of conversation at the wildly popular Educon event coming up at SLA in January… wish I could get there but I feel like everyone else is going.)

Meanwhile Miguel Guhlin @mguhlin shares his recommendations for apps on Chromebooks as he's supporting schools who have made the move.

Oh, and Peggy Sheehy @peggysheehy – the matron of gamification — has done it again. She's making waves as only a former rock star turned teacher can and taken World of Warcraft and created a Common Core Aligned curriculum using the tool to improve writing. “Go forth and be epic” is not only the battle cry of the game, but the legacy of Peggy's life (as well as Lucas Gillespie and Craig Lawson) is to do truly epic things that wow everyone who watches.

Nicholas Provenzano @thenerdyteacher talks about the fine line we walk between letting kids fail and helping them along. This, indeed, is the line between just memorizing and higher order thinking. Once we give students the answer, if they get it right, often it is just memorizing. We want them to think and there may be times to let students struggle, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, so they can acquire knowledge and learn.

Meanwhile, Mark W. Guay @markwguay  has a post telling principals why they should be on Twitter that is sure to ruffle feathers and get some a tweeting.

Finally, in a random note, if you've always wondered by NORAD tracks Santa, you'll be interested to find that there is a great story of a higher up government official turned softie in a super secret organization and a typo behind this story.

I hope you're finishing well as students have exams and many of us are grading late into the night. We're all ready for the holidays around here but it will be some time before it happens as my desk loads up with goodies and my favorite gift — notes from students. I'd take a handwritten note from a student any day.

Be an epic educator today, friends, because kids are worth it.

;-) Vicki

CHROMEBOOKS: Making news and being used in schools

CLASSROOM THOUGHTS: Real teachers share best practices

  • Epic learning: Common Core enters World of Warcraft – index

    Peggy Sheehy is the matron of gamification and she's one upped her own groundbreaking work in Second Life. She's gamified the Common Core Learning Standards. Wow. One more reason you can't use standards as an excuse to do nothing.

    “They are also learning to be mighty gamers because Sheehy is gamifying the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS).

    With the command “Go forth and be epic,” students pack away drafts and log on to 3D Game Lab where A Hero’s Journey awaits.

    WoWinSchool: A Hero’s Journey  is a curriculum based in World of Warcraft (WoW), a massively multiplayer online role-playing game in which players assume characters and interact within an ever-changing, virtual world.  Sheehy helped to frame the curriculum developed by Lucas Gillespie and Craig Lawson with whom she collaborates on the award-winning WoWInSchool project.  ”

    tags: education gamification news trends all_teachers

  • The Nerdy Teacher: Smiling As My Students Fail #edchat

    Great advice from Nicholas Provenzano about failure:

    “What I am not saying is that teachers should leave students on their own to figure everything out and sit back and watch them fail on exams or essays. Teachers still need to guide their students and let them explore learning, but you have to let them try new things and learn through trial and error. The error part is the thing people are starting to forget. In the rush to get through content, it's easier to give students the answers instead of letting them discover them on their own through hard work.

    As you work in your class this year, try to take a step back when a student fails the first time. Assure them they can come up with the right answer on their own if they try a couple of times. Offer them strategies on how to approach problems in different ways to get new outcomes. ”

    tags: education teaching failure

SOCIAL MEDIA: Reasons Admin Should start Tweeting

  • Share this article with your principal and superintendent – not to pressure them but as many start seeing the wisdom that wise leaders tweet, you'll want to help them along. Principals no longer question the wisdom of writing for the school newsletter – this is just a newsletter but in shorter form and much more personal. It is something you can do.

    “Great schools (online, blended, and traditional) act as nurturing centers that foster creative development and high-quality art, math, and science skills; and school is the medium to advance human development and better society. The internet took our society into hyper speed and successful schools will quickly follow.”

    tags: education news twitter social media

HOLIDAY Randomness

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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timholt December 17, 2013 - 4:22 pm

Here is my response to the SLA switch.

“…I am disappointed in Lehman here, because it is clear he is pimping himself and his school out to Dell to be some kind of national advertisement for Dell Chromebooks. Maybe he has bigger ideas for himself and his school, and he thinks that Dell is the train ticket he needs to expand that message: “Lehmann said he hopes that partnership will result in a national platform to tout SLA’s “inquiry-driven, project-based” approach to learning, which he described as an important counterexample to the “tutorial” model of personalized learning (in which technology is used to deliver tailored content to students) gaining traction around the country…”

coolcatteacher December 18, 2013 - 6:02 am

Tim-Of course, there’s the fact that Philadelphia as a city is one of the most struggling cities and school systems in the country and that money is very tight. If he didn’t have money to keep Macbooks going then what could he do. He’s had to fight for grants to get what he needs for his students. I just know in my own situation at school that we don’t have money to burn and I could see myself making the same decisions for austerity reasons. But I’ll relisten and see what you hear – I just know that exceptional times call for exceptional circumstances.


Vicki Davis
@coolcatteacher Blog
Host: Every Classroom Matters
Author: Reinventing Writing
Co-Author: Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds
:: This email (and tweets too) are off the record unless we specify otherwise.:: :::: Sorry for brevity as sent from my mobile device::::::

timholt December 20, 2013 - 9:21 pm

Here is what is going to happen: He will be used as an example of how austerity (do more with less) should be the go – to model in education. That is what is scary. So the bean counters will say “Look, this rock star can do grew things with cheap crap computers, so you should do it too.” It won’t take into account the freebies he is getting, the support he is getting, etc.
That is what we should worry about.

coolcatteacher December 22, 2013 - 6:36 pm

It isn’t comparable when someone has a grant, that is true. We will wait and see. — Vicki Davis
@coolcatteacher Blog
Host: Every Classroom Matters
Author: Reinventing Writing
Co-Author: Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds
:: This email (and tweets too) are off the record unless we specify otherwise.:: :::: Sorry for brevity as sent from my mobile device::::::

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