Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spencer's Scratch Pad: Anti-Homework

Spencer's Scratch Pad: Anti-Homework: "I am against homework. When I vocalize this, I typically hear the following questions: Isn't practice necessary? I agree that practic..."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Teacher Common Sense takes on Education "Reform" Nonsense - Living in Dialogue - Education Week Teacher

Teacher Common Sense takes on Education "Reform" Nonsense - Living in Dialogue - Education Week Teacher

Resources to Help Schools Understand Social Media

Don't skip this post.

Resources to Help Schools Understand Social Media

Let's try this....
Company Overview:
We are an elementary school dedicated to creating 21st Century Learners. We offer small class size, multi-age classes and team teaching! Students get to experience all the Fine Arts PLUS we integrate technology, writing, science and social studies themes into the curriculum. Some other things we do at Stratford are: * our curriculum is aligned with IOWA CORE * PBS- 3 B's * CGI mathmatics * use CAFE strategies * use Project Based Learning * use Smart Boards in every class * We have 3 computer... (read more)
Stratford Community School District is a community of learners where there are high levels of learning for all students and teachers.
We "produce" 21st Learners!

showcase some of our students 21st century skills on Facebook...even though it is blocked in our schools.

Tagxedo...tag cloud with style

This is a Tagxedo of our Two Tech Teachers Blog.

Twitter Search in Plain English

Twitter in Plain English

Video: RSS in Plain English

Blogs in Plain English

Social Media in Plain English

Saturday, December 4, 2010

iPad Apps for Education | Diigo

More classroom iPad apps. Special thanks to George Couros for sharing his Diigo links. If you're on Twitter, you need to follow him.

iPad Apps for Education | Diigo

Top 20 iPad Apps for Teachers | Diigo

Have a new iPad? Here are some apps to consider loading.

Top 20 iPad Apps for Teachers | Diigo

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hungry Minds Pasta Dinner... A HUGE Success!!!!

A BIG thank you to all of the fifth grade teachers, students, parents, and principal Cathy Hamilton for an outstanding Hungry Minds Pasta Dinner. We will know by early next week how much money was raised for the selected charities (Heifer International, World Food Programme, International Children's Relief, and the Haiti Children's Home). Enjoy the slideshow from the event.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CurateUs: Share Links Visually on the Web

CurateUs is a tool for visually sharing content on the web. With the click of a button, this cool tool makes it easy to legally take a snapshot of a website, add a sticky note to it, and embed it into your blog along with automatically generated attribution and a backlink to the original site. There's more, CurateUs also lets you quickly grab a quote from the web and publish it along with the attribution and backlink.

Building Math Positivity | Edutopia

Building Math Positivity | Edutopia

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grade 3 Architecture Adventure Program at Lincoln

Architecture Adventure taps into Oak Park's wealth of architecture and professionals in the field to inspire student learning. District 97 students in art classes and a summer camp learn about architecture, work with visiting architects, design and build projects, and take field trips to Oak Park and Chicago sites of interest.

Launched by the Oak Park Education Foundation in the fall of 2006, Architecture Adventure brings the experience, expertise and passion of professional architects, engineers and designers into the classroom. The program takes place in K-8th grade core curriculum and art classrooms.

Architecture Adventure:

* engages children in skillful decision-making
* teaches students about built environments throughout the world
* inspires students with visits to significant architectural sites

This is the second year of the program at Lincoln with architect Mark Klancic. The focus of the program at Lincoln is using Google Sketch Up to learn design elements while creating an original home design. A slideshow of the first day is below:

Check out the student products from last year designed in Google Sketch Up.

Photos from Fall Architectural tour of Oak Park.

Check out photos from last year's program.

Great Quote...

Tony Wagner, the Harvard-based education expert and author of “The Global Achievement Gap,” explains it this way. There are three basic skills that students need if they want to thrive in a knowledge economy: the ability to do critical thinking and problem-solving; the ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to collaborate.

This says it all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Disrupting Class Book, by Clayton M. Christensen

The 35 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools Chosen By You | Edudemic

Check these out. How many do you use? Which ones would you like to use but cannot access from school?

The 35 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools Chosen By You | Edudemic

Haitian Children's Home

The Lincoln School fifth graders are having a Hungry Minds Pasta Dinner on Thursday to raise funds for the Haitian Children's Home and other charities. Check out the video the students created below:

I Need My Teachers To Learn

This one is for you Rick! Thought that it pertained to what you went through last week at school with others. Keep inspiring your students every day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Improving Reading Fluency with Web Cams

While at my wife's bedside at the Cleveland Clinic last week, I ran across an interesting post on Twitter.  It offered a link to an article called, I Can See Me.  The article described a study by researchers at Kansas State University.  In a nutshell, they set up web cams and had children record videos of themselves as they read aloud.  The children then reviewed the videos and reflected on the fluency of their reading.  The researchers noted remarkable gains in reading skills as the students continued to critique themselves by observing the videos.

We practice a very structured form of readers' workshop.  Conferencing is an important component of the program.  Kids dread being called back to the table.  Most groan audibly when their names are called.  They know they will have to read out loud to me and listen to my observations and suggestions.

I have long known that when a student is permitted to control various technological devices they are more deeply engaged in the planned activity.  Would that be true here?  Would the groans again reverberate throughout my classroom?

My students are very familiar with Mac Books.  The love the built-in web cam and use the Photo Booth program to take pictures of themselves and each other.  They did not know Photo Booth will take videos as well.

To help me with my initial experiment, I enlisted the help of a student observer from a Computer Applications class at a local college.   She, too, was familiar with the Mac.  We each took a student and explained that they would be reading a page from their leveled reader.  They would not be reading for me.  They would be reading for themselves.  We showed them how to record a video and instructed them to read for a minute of time.  They were encouraged to read as naturally as they were able.  Then we stepped away.

When they finished, we sat with them and watched the video.  We didn't have to ask too many leading questions.  They wanted to describe every nuance of the experience.  We gave them suggestions on strategies to use and other things to consider as they continued reading.

Their excitement was contagious.  Everyone wanted to get into the act.  From the shyest to the most gregarious, each student wanted a turn in front of the camera.  Kids begging to read?  How could I deny them.  I started passing out Mac Books and gave everyone a chance to read for the camera.

Conferencing in my classroom will never again be boring or a source of anxiety for my students.  With the videos, essential discussions will be meaningful and encouraging.  I can't wait to see where this strategy takes us or how it impacts student learning.  I'll keep you posted.

Special thanks to Brian Kotts for posting the article on Twitter.

If we were really serious about educational technology

Here is a great post by Scott McLeod on his blog, Dangerously ! Irrelevant

If we were really serious about educational technology

What would you add to his list?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Creative Courage - Blogging for Real Reform 11/22/2010

Waiting in a long line to ride a roller coaster is not something that is found on my bucket list. Though I always enjoy the ride, I detest the wait. That is as true today as it was in 1982.

Back then, our summer vacations were usually marked by trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. This one, though, marked an "Ah, ha!" moment in my thinking about children and creativity, about my own creativity.

The lines seemed especially long for the roller coaster rides that year. Noisy children, sweaty everyone, loud music were intensified in those lines. The music, though, seemed especially loud. I looked for the loud speakers, wondering if I could cut a wire or two. I found them, but they weren't speakers at all. They were television sets.

Mounted to poles about every fifty feet, were the huge black boxes. Each was tuned to the same channel, a new channel created the previous year, MTV, music television. I watched, not in awe or wonder, in the line, there was really nothing else I could do.

MTV was originally created to show music videos. Music videos were a relatively new phenomenon. Rock singers, primarily, and their bands made movies about their songs. Kids were easily enamored of the videos. They were all the rage. My own kids had been watching these videos from the beginning of the channel. This day, this moment, was my first experience with the medium.

Standing in that interminable line, I began to recall a growing number of times my kids said they were bored, the times they said they couldn't think of anything to do when they had free time. I also recalled a conversation with one of my son's teachers. She remarked that he didn't seem to be very creative.

My thoughts wandered back to my own school days. I mulled about creativity. I thought of a geometry teacher who helped me make sense of the subject by comparing it to a game of pool. I fondly remembered a teacher who played classical music. He would have us listen for the different instruments and describe how thy contributed to the piece. His best lessons were when he had us close our eyes and imagine that the music was describing a story, a story that we got to make up in our heads. Everyone's story was different. Everyone's story was uniquely his.

That's when it occurred to me that these newfangled music videos were robbing my kids of their creativity and their curiosity. Their senses were being filled with someone else's vision. My kids' imaginations were being stifled and numbed. The imagining was done for them. They could not create any meaning beyond what the producers wanted them to know. Later, I told my kids about my thoughts. They told me I was probably too old to understand. Music videos were cool.

Does the fault lie with the media? Is blame to be found in its messages? Or is it to be found with those who control the messages? And what does this have to do with education?

It's about control there, too. Control, we must remember, is nearly always about money. Business manipulates politicians to favor their products and practices. Politicians manipulate administrators to help them keep the promises they made to businesses. Everyone at that level is rewarded with more cash. Administrators manipulate teachers to achieve the standards set forth by those further up the food chain. To ensure compliance, they mandate curriculum, time on subject, methods of lesson delivery, and more. In their efforts to comply, teachers try to manipulate their students. As freedom of thought and professional initiative are systematically pruned from a teacher's skill set, is it any wonder that creativity and imagination are little more than a whisper in the wind?

As a sixty-year-old with a mere five years in my classroom, I clearly see the need for teachers to be courageously creative in their classrooms. I rail against the mind-numbing sameness with which we are expected to teach. I teach my students that meaning is to be discovered, made, or invented. Meaning demanded by others must be questioned and appraised for its value.

I have joyfully discovered that my students love learning how to create. They thrill at the opportunity to imagine. They dance when they discover dreams do come true. The flourish when they realize I care more about how they think than I do about what they know.

So, now I wonder. I wonder how many others teach their students to create and imagine? Are younger teachers to much a part of the system to understand the need? Are older teachers, much-maligned and weary of political criticism, simply putting in their time until retirement? Where will the support come from? Who will stand and be creatively courageous in their classroom?

Rick Glass

Friday, November 19, 2010

The 21st Century Learner

Against the Wind: Inspiring Ideas Videos

Brian B., also known as the Nunavut Teacher, has put together an excellent collection of inspirational, educational videos in a Prezi format. This is a great collection and his blog is worth a thorough read as well.

Against the Wind: Inspiring Ideas Videos: "I just made a Prezi to keep some of my 'Inspiring Ideas' videos in one place. People featured are Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Sir Ken Robinson ..."

"Moodle" Official Music Video

Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness: Weekly Core Subjects Resources

The more I look at the work of Michael Zimmer, the more impressed I am. He is amassing an amazing list of resources. Visit his blog soon and be sure to check out his older posts as well.

The Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness: Weekly Core Subjects Resources: "Another week, another great set of resources for the Math, Science, Social Studies, and English. Hope you find some resources that you can ..."

12 Fun Hacks for Getting More Out of YouTube

Some great resources here. Looking forward to trying a few.

12 Fun Hacks for Getting More Out of YouTube

Alfie Kohn - Children and altruism

Alfie Kohn: "Making students work a 'second shift'"

So...what do you think?  How necessary is homework?  Are the results worth the costs?  Is it about real learning or is it about control?

Do Kids Really Need Homework?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Case For Social Media in Schools

A Must read from Mashable

The Case For Social Media in Schools

WCS Tech Mentor Blog: Welcome to the International Children's Digital Li...

WCS Tech Mentor Blog: Welcome to the International Children's Digital Li...: "Thanks to Twitter, I found this powerful resource a few minutes ago, the International Children's Digital Library. It is free to join for..."

Over 75 Free Rapid E-Learning Resources » The Rapid eLearning Blog

Over 75 Free Rapid E-Learning Resources » The Rapid eLearning Blog

Out of This World: Students Take an Eco-Friendly Field Trip to Mars | Edutopia

What classroom environment have you created?

Out of This World: Students Take an Eco-Friendly Field Trip to Mars | Edutopia

Professional Learning Communities

Our school district has a huge initiative to create Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). The administration tells us these are created when grade level teachers meet to discuss best practices, strategies to meet needs of particular students, etc. The PLC would also include teachers from adjacent grade levels to ensure flow of curricular goals and other topics of common interest. Our Superintendent summed up his take on PLCs in one word, collaboration.

In my experience, my fellow teachers and I have always done that. We have always been great at collaboration. Now, it seems, our collaboration has been formalized by regularly scheduled meetings and written reports to our Principal. I find it interesting the prior to this formalization, collaboration came easily and naturally. We would share student needs, teaching strategies, lesson plans, and much more over coffee, during prep times, at lunch, in the parking lot. Those conversations happened daily.

Now that we are required to do it, we must schedule those meetings. Scheduling a 30-45 minute meeting into a teacher's week requires Houdini-like skill. Coordinating available times with multiple teachers compounds the burden. The Administration says we should use our lunch times, prep times, or before and after school times to do this. Of course, they have to be arranged around RTI meetings, staff meetings, professional development meetings, building committee meetings, district committee meetings, parent meetings, case conference meetings. Oh yes, for the past year and a half, we have followed the administrative "suggestion" to give up 20-30 minutes daily of our lunch hour for math remediation with our students (They have to give up recess).

All of this has the lofty goal of enhancing our professionalism and increasing student learning. While I will do my duty and be an active participant in this new requirement, I can't help but wonder if education isn't being mandated and legislated into oblivion.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Creating a Passion for Learning: Reflections on Our Current Reality

Creating a Passion for Learning: Reflections on Our Current Reality: "I believe we are truly at a time where a critical mass of energy and ideas from many different sectors have converged. There is great input ..."

25 Important Twitter Guides and Apps For Teachers | Edudemic

"Diving into a rich and overwhelming social network like Twitter can be difficult. I know of many teachers and academic-minded people who are still unsure about the merits of the tool or are simply unsure where to start." by edudemic

Five ways to spread the power of Twitter as a PD tool...

Justin Tarte - Life of an educator...: 5 ways to spread the power of Twitter as a PD tool...: "This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the EdcampKC technology conference in Kansas City, MO. This was my first 'unconference,' ..."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

About Me - Rick Glass

My name is Rick Glass.  After a 30-year career in the automotive aftermarket, I chose to enter the world of elementary education.  For the past five years, I have been teaching fourth grade at Harrison Elementary School in Warsaw, Indiana.

I am passionate about helping children learn to love learning.  As the father of five and grandfather to 25, I care deeply about creating authentic, engaging learning opportunities for my students.  I actively pursue project-based learning experiences on a global school.  I teach my students to develop personal learning networks with other students from a wide variety of cultures.

With the help and support of administrators, peers, and friends, I have developed a 1:1 student/computer learning environment.  Technology integration is at the heart of our activities and motivates my students to achieved more than they dreamed possible.  We actively network with more than sixty learning partners around the world.  Our credo is to "Work hard.  Be Nice.  Learn Well."

Personally, I am driven to use any possible method to help my students achieve success as learners.  Many of those tools are blocked or filtered and a number of school policies restrict opportunities for student success.  With this blog, I intend to explore a wide variety of thoughts and opinions that shape 21st century education.   My purpose is to stretch my thinking and offer my students the most effective education available.