Monday, July 13, 2009

Competition in the Classroom (7.12.09)

I am a fan of competition in the classroom. Why? Because I see how many students at the elementary age compete in sports and thrive on that competition. I don't see competition as a way to belittle anyone. Rather I see it as a motivator. Some students enjoy is a fact of life after all. Perhaps you would like to try a little competition in your own classroom. Strutta might be just the ticket for it. This web20 site allows you to setup competitions with voting etc. right on the web. Like many web20 sites this one is free. I haven't had a chance to try it out but certainly will give it some play time in the future.

National Teacher Unions and the Struggle Over Reform 7.12.09

The Citizen's Commission on Civil Rights just released a report documenting the role of teacher unions' role in school reform movements.

If you look at the people who were involved in this writing (Bill Bradley and others) you see names that are generally supportive of teachers. But being supportive of teachers and being supportive of teachers unions are two different things.

The report challenges unions to get out of the way and allow some reform to happen. Accountability needs to become a part of all teacher's jobs. Surely not everyone is as good a teacher as the next teacher. The report also advocates a sharing of resources in terms of staffing. Talented teachers should move (or at least some of them) to school where they are most needed. Just one more initiative the unions are fighting hard to block.

Once again....whose rights are the unions fighting for....the teachers or the students? Whose rights should the union be fighting for? The students or the teachers?

Comics in the Classroom (7.12.09)

Have you noticed how popular graphic novels such as the Bone series has become?

Perhaps you are looking for some suggestions on how to implement comics in your own classroom because what counts is reading and making meaning then the above post is for you.

Great information, lesson plans, tools, etc.

Making Data More Useful 7.12.09
This blog isn't very active but what it posts is very good. This is the official PLC blog and many of the questions are answered by Richard DuFour himself. Good article on 3 important keys to managing assessment data. They are:
1) data needs to be easily accessible (within 48 hours of testing)
2) purposefully arranged (best way to ensure teachers can make us of it)
3) teachers must be given and take time to publicly discuss the results.

That 48 hour turnaround is huge for us. Our current system does not allow 48 hour turn around although we could make it so if we pushed it.

I'm going to have to share this one with the boss.

Web 2.0 Survey Results

At the beginning of our course I asked each of you to complete a Web 2.0 survey concerning tools we know about and use. I was trying to differentiate between three different usages....personal, professional, and with our students.

I was very pleased with the results. It was especially interesting to read thru the last two questions to find how people learn and what tools they use.

It is interesting how we as educators have started to many of these tools in our personal lives and even in our professional lives....but it seems we aren't quite there in using the tools with students yet.

I wonder why that is? I have my own theory but would love to hear your ideas as well. I apologize if the text is too small. I'm using a tool called embedit. The service allows you to embed any type of file. Just in case I'm also attaching the PDF version of the survey results.