Sadly, my Diigo post- to blog feed is down and so these GREAT resources didn't post since July 3rd (and I've been blogging every day) so, now, you get a mega-dose of news and information instead of the usually smaller 4-6 items of note a day. Sorry that this is a tad late. It is important to me to give you two or three informative posts a day and I've been blogging away like crazy and didn't catch that it didn't come through due to my current book project,
Flipped classroom, behavior management, Olympics, some amazing research, cool videos, Tweets of the world visualized. Tons of things for you to peruse and read in one MASSIVE post. ;-)
I hope this will be fixed very soon, I know Diigo is working on it. I love DIigo and it is one of my favorite tools – there is something going on with the new authorization method of Google, but they have assured me they're working on it.
Parents Day is July 28th. Here are 15 ways to incorporate parents into your classroom with some great ideas. You start off the school year trying to establish a positive, encouraging relationship with parents. It is one of the most important things you do. You each have a role with children. Plan NOW how you are going to relate to and encourage parents in your classroom this year – here are some ideas.
National Parents Day is coming up on July 28th. I didn't know about this until I came across all kinds of things for celebrating this day. I saw that this is a US holiday but sometimes celebrated internationally as well. It is a day set aside to celebrate the role of parents in a child's life. If you don't celebrate it then or aren't in school, you could tie this in with back to school or your back to school letter. Parents are important – it is a great reason to remind parents and encourage them to play an active role in their child's education.
A list of 5 Twitter accounts for teachers. Yes, I'm on the list but there are great twitterers on this page (as well as quite a few left out.) Thanks to mark Malloy for this list and information on each person.
I'm testing the share my lesson site, in particular, the friending feature. I've friended some people that I know but was hoping that some of you who are planning to join the site or are already there would friend me. (If you're doing common core, it is a must join to get free resources and lesson plans aligned to common core.) This is the sister site to the TES site out of the UK that I've been using for some time now and if you have a profile there, just log in with that and accept the terms to move things over. If you uploaded to the TES site, you'll want to move over those resources. Thanks for helping me test it. Full disclosure, I've been doing work for TES and share my lesson for some time now. As you can tell, I do love what they are doing and their passion to help teachers mobilize and organize their own free content to share with others. the TES site uses the UK system and standards and now they've done the same thing in the US. Thanks for helping me test. (I would also appreciate someone sending me a message to see if that works too and you can message me any feedback and I'll pass it along.)
Classtools.net is one of my all time favorite graphic organizer/ video game playing site and also creator of the Fantastic Fakebook activity where students can create fake profiles (not really on facebook, they are simulated) on famous figures in history and literature. These are ideal for 1:1 laptop programs but the games are flashbased so if you use on an iPad you'll need to use a Flash browser (I think atomic web browser has flash mode.)
Common Sense media rates all of the Olympic Video games that you can purchase for children. Their top rating right now is for mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics which you can get on Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS. Great ratings. Also note that they are now beta testing learning ratings which I think should be on learning but also should rate the analytics that come out of games for parents and educators.
Kevin Jarrett pointed out to me that Common Sense media now has movie reviews for kids to help you determine what is appropriate for your children. Again, you have to take everything under advisement ad make decisions for yourselves but as long as we go to whatever Hollywood dishes out, they'll keep doing it. (After all, they did research and found that a “G” rating was a “death sentence” for a movie. That is crazy.)
My Friend Anne Truger recommended this site as a place to go for movie reviews for kids. You have to be careful not to read too much of it or you'll hit spoilers. I like this – it hits the different areas: sex and nudity, violence and gore, and profanity. I've had a couple of movies that I've felt were over the top on profanity and trash talk lately and am going to be checking out websites like this one from now on. This is one to share with parents.
Socialympics is what people are calling this summer's olympic games. There is a new Olympic Athlete's hub to help fans find and follow Twitter feeds and facebook pages. the Head of the IOC social media says that “London 2012 will ignite the first conversational Olympic Games.” Let me make a point that most US schools will be left out of this conversation and bound to traditional media but that those who can connect at home will have access. Social media is part of how we communicate and does have a place.
Facebook has launched an app where you can build the ultimate Olympic games in your city. It is part of Facebook's massive launch that will transform the Olympic games into the largest use of social media for a sporting event that we have likely seen in the history of the games and perhaps the world.
I'm enjoying Reddit but only using the “Alien Blue” app on my ipad. It is a cool source of information and conversation. In this example, a teacher is asking for advice as a beginning science teacher. I hope some of you elementary science teachers will take time to answer. Check out reddit but also check out Alien Blue – it is an example of how an app makes a service so much more.
Finland is an innovator in education and now they're doing it again. Schools need a facelift. If you're building a new school – rethink school. I'd look at the designs. Also, Ewan McIntosh wrote a great “7 spaces of schools” that is in the “Choice” chapter for those of you have bought my book Flattening Classroom, Engaging Minds – he talked about this on a boat in South Africa with me 2 years a go and is an expert to follow in the area of school design. “Finnish students consistently have placed among the top countries on the Program for International Student Assessment, which gauges 15-year-old students’ ability to understand and transfer concepts in reading, mathematics, and science. For example, in the most recent mathematics assessment, in 2009, Finnish students scored 54 points higher than their American peers on a scale of zero to 1,000. Pasi Sahlberg, the director general of the Center for International Mobility and Cooperation at Finland’s education ministry, attributes the nation’s academic achievement to a three-fold approach: quality of the academic curriculum, equity in educational access, “and the third one is the environment. How the environment and design of the school is supporting students’ learning. When we combine these three things we can say something about the overall goodness of the school system.”
A new study shows most professors are afraid of elearning and the growth of online courses. I predict that in 4-5 years the same will be true of traditional classroom teachers. The fact is that we all must be innovative and learn to teach in blended and online environments. Change creates victims and victors – with great change comes great opportunity. The one thing I can promise is if you do nothing and ignore it, you'll not be on the winning side. Learn. Connect. The Flat Classroom is a fact and it is here — we're doing it in k12 and it is about to grow exponentially. After schools flip they're going to flatten. One leads to the other.
Suzie Nestico (Flat Classroom certified teacher and project manager) aligns her Flat Clasroom and NetGenEd projects with Common Core standards.) Here's how she aligned with common core writing standards. I like how she fully discloses to students what she's doing and why as well as providing links and instructions to the students.
I uploaded some information, resources and lesson plans relating to the Google World Wonders resource. If you want to see what I upload you can follow me on sharemylesson.com – a great site for free resources for teachers. (They have entered the common core alignments so when resources are uploaded it requires that the resource be aligned with common core standards. If you create free lesson plans and resources or share online and work with educators in the US, you'll want to come and share over here as well. Send me a note about how you're using the site. I love free! (Note that if you have a lot of resources to share, you may want to talk to them about becoming a content partner.)
Dr. Leigh Zeitz shared at ISTE 2012 about his use of Distributed learning Communities to facilitate collaborative creation. Here, he talks about his Emerging Instructional Technology wikibook that his students build. This is an excellent framework for writing, collaborating, and working with technology and was presented as an example of writing standard W.x.6 (the x is the grade level).
My friend Jennifer Roberts is a digital lead teacher in San Diego. She copresented with us at ISTE on Common Core in the Cloud and rocked it. Here's the website she built about Writing Response groups and what she does in the classroom. She's very knowledgeable and I love what she's doing with her students.
national Novel Writing month is in November but this website is so much more. I heard Jennifer Roberts share this with our Panel on Writing with Common Core at ISTE 2012 and this website is a phenomenal way to meet the 3rd standard W.X.3 about Writing narratives. Students collaboratively work together. You can do this any time but November is the big emphasis. I think every school should participate in Nanowrimo — just love it.
“Around 7,000 online students recently earned the first certificates awarded by MIT and Harvard through their Edx partnership. That’s more than twice the number of degrees that MIT awarded at this year’s commencement. Another 147,596 observers signed up to marvel at what an MIT course is really like. Substantially greater numbers are expected for the spring course offerings.” With a title like this, the blog post is a great overview of the infancy of online learning. Perhaps the information age is giving way to the learning age. Whatever the case, we no longer have silos of learning by location but rather, by connection. High speed Internet and self discipline will give you access to leading edge learning without having to leave an aging parent or move your family. A new age is certainly dawning.
Researchers and institutions should continue to take note that Open is really the way things are moving. You may want to look at Scholastica. I could see schools creating their own journals. Now that would be fascinating. “With traditional journals suffering from rising costs and increased disinterest in print subscriptions, online open access is looking more appealing than ever. The team behind recently launched Scholastica is offering a new platform for those interested in joining the movement.” It makes a great point that an academic paper is a poor discussion forum and gives you other options for creating your own open journal.
New infographic surveying almost 500 teachers about flipped learning. 99% of teachers would use it next year. I am doing some work with Classroom Window and I love what they're doing with surveys and making the results meaningful to educators and decision makers. Of note, 88% of teachers said it improved their job satisfcation and 67% report an improvement of test scores.
Yesterday Jeremiah uploaded a video “a conversation with my 12 year old self” – it is hilarious and going viral because it has 26,121 likes but it says that it has only 309 views (views can take a while to catch up with the actual views from what I understand.) Intriguing and enjoyable. We could have kids do this sort of thing NOW (I talk about this in the Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds book – the importance of legacy and relating to yourself over time as one of the ways of connecting or flattening.)
World wonders is a phenomenal new site for Geography, Literature teachers who use the flipped clas model as it is not just a video but an interactive experience. Here's a blog post I wrote about World wonders and how it works on a computer as well as an iPad with notes and links to lesson plans.
A pdf with 20 ipad apps for educators – this may be something you could email to your teachers if they've just gotten ipads to teach them how to open and read a pdf on their ipad. This is really just a powerpoint converted to PDF but it does include links and screenshots.
A parody critiquing Khan Academy is making the rounds and more of them are sure to come in since “Mr. Meyer, along with Justin Reich, a blogger for EdWeek, is sponsoring a competition offering $750 in prizes to the best user-submitted videos critiquing Khan Academy lessons.” Khan is a start and has a very powerful supporter in the Gates Foundation, but after talking to those using the site for math instruction, I understand that the gamification elements behind working the math problems are what many teachers like. Some students use the videos to find answers and instruction when their teachers don't explain things well. However, I do agree that many of the videos could be improved. Of course, we need better videos to have an alternative because critiques right now are like chosing a set of store bought chocolate chip cookies or nothing. We need more elegant, informative videos for sure, but where to put them and how? Many open education services are providing the videos, but much of Khan's benefits are the searchability and the sheer volume of videos. What do you think?
I'm enjoying reading how this teacher is flipping his classroom as he answers the question “what happens when kids don't do their — homework (i.e. watch the videos.)” Very creative answers to this but ones we'll have to discuss.
Zero tolerance policies give no leeway for wisdom or common sense. This young man was suspended and received criminal charges for shooting spitballs causing him to be unable to go to the Naval Academy. I find this completely ridiculous. I've seen other implementations of zero tolerance (a local kid suspended because he had a steak knife in his car from a barbeque the night before) that totally lack common sense. Educators need the freedom to work with children using discretion. Spitballs shot through a ballpoint pen are not what was intended. We need some common sense and to be able to hire wise administrators to use their judgement. Zero tolerance leave little room for interpretation when things like this happen. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, so it is still allowed in the US.
The platform adopted by Texas Republicans is drawing criticism as it should from many areas. I remain firmly apolitical on this blog as I've worked in DC for a Senator (Sam Nunn) who voted based on the issue not the political party. I find partisanship as being lived out today harmful for our country but this mention isn't about my own political views. I do not believe that higher order thinking (creating, etc.) is a problem. In fact, in a world where memorization is less important, this view that kids should be memorizing is completely misguided. As a Christian who has read Darwin, Nietzche and Marx, I have always ecouraged my children to make decisions and take positions out of a position of choice and education rather than one of ignorance. I just don't understand why they are taking this position against “higher order thinking.” What research are they citing? People can blame teachers all they want but politicians who understand little to nothing about education are making a mess. I hope that Texas republicans will take a stand against this misguided platform – surely they didn't understand what they were voting on. The position causing the most controversy, however, is the statement that they oppose the teaching of “higher order thinking skills” — a curriculum which strives to encourage critical thinking — arguing that it might challenge “student's fixed beliefs” and undermine “parental authority.”
With the US government owed over $1 trillion in student loans, more stories of aggressive debt collection are coming out like this one. A teacher defaulted on a $3100 loan and had $2496 taken from her bank account without her approval. Interesting story from bloomberg.
1:1 ipad implementations- this is your nightmare. This comment from a student is going viral on reddit with more than 1,000 comments. Basically, the school bought ipads, required students to pay $50 for insurance, set up a wiki for teachers to post assignments (but the teachers don't.) The student actually posted this post from his/her ipad. Likely this experience on Reddit is going to be one of the best learning experiences of the year. Read this and share it with your 1:1 implementation team. iPads without a fundamental change in how you teach are just expensive toys. We need to change all of how school operates, not just what is in the kids' backpacks.
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.