It NEVER feels like enough

IMG_1740I pride myself on helping kids.

My classroom is the one that has kids in it all day long: before the start of the school day for conferences, during my free periods for meetings, just hanging out at lunchtime or after school when newspaper work needs some extra time.

If I have the time, it’s theirs… even when it spills into my personal life rendering balance nearly impossible.

And I’m not complaining; I love my work. It fills my soul and I’m good at it.

But… (more…)

What if we all had smart chips implanted in us at birth?

IMG_7036.JPGWhat big problem would you want to address in your Modest Proposal?

After a beginning discussion of satire today and an entry way into the grotesque proposal set forth by Jonathan Swift in his attempt to shine light on the poor treatment of Irish Catholics in England, we started talking about the structure and nature of satires.

“Do we have to come up with solutions?”

“Not real ones. Exaggerated ones that would never be possible, but would help people realize the nature of the issues. For example, if someone believed that technology was in issue in society, perhaps we propose that every child have an Intel chip implanted at birth so that we can be ‘smart devices’ rather than have a phone or tablet.” (more…)

Social Media Smackdown:Twitter vs LinkedIn

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 6.50.36 PMThere’s an interesting trend I’ve noticed with the kinds of discourse that occurs in different learning spaces.

Much like the variety that occurs in classrooms, different social media platforms invite and support different kinds of conversations.

While I find Twitter extremely encouraging and positive, I’ve found a lot of traditional and negative reaction on LinkedIn.

The demographic seems older and more established and stereotypically more resistant to new ideas. (more…)

If grades HAVE to be given, why not empower kids to grade themselves

IMG_6989.PNGGiving up grades wasn’t the hard part.

At least not after I had made the decision to do it. All of my reading and data supports that grading hurts learning and I’m in the business of promoting learning.

Unfortunately, I function within a system that still adheres to the old guard (as I know many of you are too), which means despite my best efforts (and tantrums), grades must be inputted into our PADS system for midterm and marking period communication.

Let me be very clear, I am not happy about having to put a summative value on student learning especially after all of the hard work of shifting the mindset in my classes away from them. (more…)

Beep, Beep: That’s the sound of the feedback

IMG_6970.PNGTime consuming, but worthwhile… that’s how I’d describe giving feedback to my students about their writing and their work.

Because of this fact, I’m always looking for ways to provide meaningful feedback but in a more efficient manner.

Enter @Voxer, my new favorite app for feedback.

While I sit in my car in the morning waiting to come into work, I’m able to read student essays and give detailed feedback in short sound bites for each section.

For example, listen to one bit of feedback, I’ve provided students here . (more…)

Book Recommendation: All Hand’s on Deck

IMG_6910.JPGHow many times have you heard “It takes a village?”

Although cliche, we can certainly agree to the truth in the statement.

What I appreciated most about Brad Currie’s All Hands on Deck was that it took a practical approach to how everyone in the village can actually get involved to develop a better school community.

Currie documents ways for teacher, administrators and parents to provide the most robust learning experience for students. Offering easy to implement advice about branding and availability for people in schools to make sure our stories get in the hands of the right people. (more…)