“On the back of your notecard, please write one thing that I can do to make this class better for you.” “Don’t make it boring,” fourteen year old me wrote on the back of my card. This was the first … Continue reading Attention, Please
For the first six years of my career, I taught a middle school computer applications class. Nobody really cared what I taught. They didn’t say that, of course. But the administration knew that kids needed to learn about computers, and … Continue reading Information Illiterate
It was eight years ago now that I heard Richard Culatta speak at EduCon. At the time, he was the director of the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education. Now, he’s the CEO of the International … Continue reading Pencil Sharpeners
One of the recent trends in schools has been the creation of a “portrait of a graduate.” This is a process through which a school district, with input from students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members, defines the characteristics we … Continue reading The Problem of the Portrait
I’ve been a little obsessed with Corwin’s Visible Learning MetaX since Matthew Mays shared it at a conference last month. I’ve been skeptical of Hattie’s work in the past, and to some extent, I still am. Recall that Hattie’s work … Continue reading What Should We Stop Doing?
I carry my work life in my backpack. I try to make sure it has everything I need, everywhere I go. If I’m in a school or at a meeting or in a coffee shop, my backpack has all the … Continue reading Cleaning Out the Backpack
A few weeks ago, I had a request to remove Zoom from our student devices, and block students from reinstalling it. “We’re never going back to that,” the teacher explained. Apparently the fifth graders are using the chat function in Zoom to talk to one another, which she wants to stop. By “that,” she meant remote schooling. At the start of the pandemic, we leaned heavily on technology to continue instruction. Students took their devices home. They had Zoom and Google Classroom and lots of apps and strategies and work-arounds to try to continue learning. Those first three months were … Continue reading Unzoomed
Snow days are magic. There aren’t many things that remind us how unimportant we are. But that call from the school changes everything. Suddenly, that homework assignment isn’t due for another day. The test has been postponed. The faculty meeting … Continue reading Snow Days
Years ago, my elementary schools were very fond of Accelerated Reader. Students would read a book from the Accelerated Reader list, and then take an online quiz that measured reading comprehension. If they passed the quiz, they were awarded points … Continue reading What Do Grades Mean?
As we work through plans to replace SMART Boards in our classrooms, I was reflecting today on the classroom environment that they were installed to support. In my schools, we had dabbled with interactive whiteboards for a few years, but … Continue reading Smarter Boards
Last year, we spent a great deal of time crafting our portrait of a graduate. The trend in public education over the last several years has been to identify the characteristics that we would like our graduates to leave with. … Continue reading Living the Vision
In the job interview, they asked if I knew Linux. Sure. I’d played around with it a little. I used it as the operating system for a “server” that I set up in my classroom. I was running a MUD … Continue reading Problem Solving