Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Music For Feeling Sorry For Yourself

Oh boo hoo.

NPR understands what I'm trying to say.

Have Yourself A Sullen Little Christmas


Elvis Presley & Martina McBride - Blue Christmas 

Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Dean Martin - The Christmas Blues 

It's Christmas Baby Please Come Home World Premiere 

These last two songs are pretty much rated R--but the Pogues' song is actually a masterpiece.

Fairytale of New York by the pogues lyrics 

Blink-182 - Won't Be Home For Christmas

Friday, December 15, 2017

Educational Links 12/16/17

How A Deregulated Internet Could Hurt America’s Classrooms  

Encouraging a Sense of Gratitude in Students

14  edu-books worth reading

Teacher Training to Implement Change

Secret Admirers and Classroom Management

A new Memphis nonprofit sees training teachers in dyslexia therapy as key to closing literacy gap for all

How to Create a Curious Classroom Culture and Inspire Innovative Thinking

3 Necessary Skills for Educators in the Era of A.I.

Over the past decade, the most prominent school reform effort has been the development of the Common Core State Standards and their assessments, which were intended to support college and career readiness. However, during that same period, the world of work took a sharp, driverless turn. Start-ups with odd names like Uber and Lyft swiftly accelerated, upending urban transportation, creating millions of new jobs and eliminating others.
Armies of robots, already in factories and warehouses, are preparing to march into offices and hospitals.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Educational Links 12/15/17

How A Deregulated Internet Could Hurt America’s Classrooms

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Student Group Work

How to Get and Keep Boys Reading

Down Syndrome Families Divided Over Abortion Ban

Can Schools Help Uncover 'Lost Einsteins' in Next Generation of Inventors?

A new generation craves this kind of curriculum

Making Digital Communications Accessible

As educators take advantage of digital tools to communicate with families and communities, do we think enough about who can access the information we share? According to the Digital Accessibility Toolkit: What Education Leaders Need to Know: “Accessibility is essential for leveraging technology and providing educational opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities and English learners (ELs). School systems need to ensure all information provided to the public, parents, and guardians is accessible.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Educational Links 12/14/17

Teaching Strategies: Well-Being Through Art Therapy

Types of Learning Disabilities

Civil Rights Commission Takes on Issue of Minorities in Special Education

What the net neutrality vote could mean for schools, students

A “Punishing Decade” for K-12 Education Funding in the States

How PBL transforms students into digital citizens

The Secret to Being a Better Teacher? Find Your Tribe

It could be stated as ‘Mutual sharing of knowledge and working together bringing forward the strengths of each other towards achieving a common goal or producing positive outcome’. This approach involves critical thinking, communication and social skills of the individuals involved and helps them develop a better understanding of the problem.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Educational Links 12/13/17

Assistive Technology

GAO report sounds alarm about vouchers and students with disabilities

Three strategies for making learning accessible for pupils with autism

The Top 10 Education Next Blog Entries of 2017

Technology in Rural School Settings: Closing the Digital Divide

The Future of Fake News

Competency-Based Education: Definitions and Difference Makers

Across the country, there is a growing movement to transition away from seat-time and move towards a flexible structure that allows students to progress in their learning after they have demonstrated mastery, which is oftentimes at their own pace. This movement, which extends well beyond issues of time and pace, is known as competency-based education (CBE). Numerous organizations, states, districts and schools have taken the steps to begin implementing CBE within their own contexts.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Educational Links 12/12/17

Seven Stupid Mistakes Teachers Make With Technology

Trump Administration Weighs In On FAPE, IEPs

ADD Symptoms Vs. ADHD Symptoms: What’s the Difference?

How one California school district is leading the way on new science standards

How Will America’s New Education Law Change Your School? 5 Experts Point to the Best New Ideas From ESSA Plans

Policy-Makers Should 'Treat Teachers Like Equals'

Why Every School’s Edtech Department Should Make Themselves Obsolete

In the last decade, schools have put significant resources into academic technology in an effort to improve instruction and prepare students for a rapidly changing workforce. Many have created new staff positions or entirely new departments, such as Technology Integration, to act as liaisons between teachers and traditional IT departments, and to help teachers use edtech in the classroom.
Created to serve a specific need, the real mission of these new departments should be to integrate technology fully, which includes training a technologically savvy faculty capable of picking up new skills on their own and able to work directly with IT departments. In other words, these departments don’t need to be a permanent fixture. Their ultimate goal should be to make themselves obsolete.

The Sky Is Cheap Entertainment: Winter Meteor Showers--starting this week

Geminids 2017: How to See One of the Year's Best Meteor Showers

Top 10 tips for meteor-watchers

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Educational Links 12/11/17

Learning & Attention Issues

America’s New Education Law: 3 Experts on the Most Common Mistakes States Are Making With Their ESSA Plans

My Favorite Resources In One Place

Secondary English Apps and Websites for ELA Teachers

5 Ways to Make Class Discussions More Exciting

Classroom discussions have been a staple of teaching forever, beginning with Socrates. I have taught using discussions, been a student in discussions, and observed other teachers' discussions thousands of times -- at least. Some have been boring, stifling or tedious enough to put me to sleep. Others have been so stimulating that I was sad to see them end. The difference between the two is obviously how interesting the topic is, but equally important is the level of student participation.

Five Poems to Soothe Kids' Toxic Stress

Grandpa was really sick now, thin like a skeleton.
The last thing I remember him saying was, "Did you bring the little dog?"
We hadn't brought Kip because Grandpa was in a hospice, but the pain-killers made him think he saw the chihuahua at the foot of the bed.  Kip had been a faithful friend stationed at the foot of his bed the previous five years at home when Grandpa was bedridden due to cancer.

Melanie, Grandpa and Kip 1962
Technically, Grandpa wasn't our 'real' grandfather. He was our grandmother's second husband. But to me, my sister, and all the many cousins, he was the best grandpa in the whole world. Everyone says that, even over fifty years later. He loved children. He loved us. He spent time talking to us, taking us on walks, teaching us to play the card game 'Casino.' And card tricks, too. All the photos with him showed everyone smiling. He was like that.

I recall watching baseball on television with him. He was a San Francisco Giants' fan. I realized last year that the reason I knew so much about the Giants was because I watched the World Series (1962) with him (the last baseball season Grandpa was at home), before he passed away the following spring. His going left a dark hole in the family.

Literature can ease the stress of a child's serious loss, so the effect doesn't advance to toxic, chronic stress. Literature draws the isolating pain out in the open. We aren't alone in our experiences; universal themes speak to our human condition, too. For me, I somehow found  "The Rainy Day," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, probably in my parochial school library. It soothed my heartbroken, prepubescent soul with lines like "Behind the clouds is the sun still shining" and "Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary."  Henry knew how I felt. 

#16 Life Doesn't Frighten Me At All by Ian Lantz
Childhood can be filled with fears, even terrors, real and imagined. We don't need to describe the traumas kids suffer. Maya Angelou's "Life Doesn't Frighten Me," infers a child's nightmares and possible real terrors;  the voice in the poem stands up to her fears. A group discussion of a poem allows a student to absorb the comfort at her own pace and need; she can share her fear or not. But the universal experience of fear is acknowledged.

Kids can be demeaned, betrayed, bullied. How can a kid handle that? Students, usually middle-schoolers, respond with shock at the opening lines of'
                                            I'm nobody! Who are you?
                                            Are you nobody, too?

Someone else knows how it feels? I'm not the only one going through this? When you're born into the caste of the rejects--what's a kid to do? Like Emily Dickinson suggests, reject the insult--its the conformists who are to be ridiculed.  To read how the totally unique Emily suggests we do this, go to this link and see all the poem.

Every year I have taught in Southern California, I have students that have had traumatic losses due to violence close to them. Even what we consider to be a cliche can comfort them. Famous sayings and poems aren't famous to kids--its new material.  The well known saying from Tennyson's "In Memoriam" is still valid:
                                           I hold it true, whate'er befall;
                                           I feel it, when I sorrow most;
                                           'Tis better to have loved and lost
                                           Than never to have loved at all.
For the rest of the poem, I always liked the reference to not wanting to be a 'linnet' (caged bird) that was never free to experience 'the summer wood.' Life has joys and sorrows, and we fly to the first despite the eventual descent into the second. 

Our people, our family can uphold us. Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son" speaks a mom's heart. Life's exertion, exhaustion, and unexpected reversals require relentless effort to overcome, often too much for the young  person by himself. Whether its a mother to son, grandpa to granddaughter, teacher to student---there are grown-ups reaching out to you. Someone cares. We can navigate you, one step at a time, past the hidden trip-ups. We know where they are-- we've tripped over a few--but let's get up and keep on climbing.

The comfort from the community;  poets from even two hundred years ago can be a member of that community. A poem can embrace the sad, frightened, lonely soul of a child.

I thought of Grandpa when his Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  I couldn't share it with him, except in my heart. That's a comforting thought. I learned that from poetry.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Educational Links 12/10/17

Do students buy into maker culture?

3 Most Exciting Higher Education Learning Trends for 2018

Ten Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break

Feds Urged To Clarify IDEA Rights At Private Schools

Parents need to be better informed about the implications of moving their children with disabilities from public to private schools, a new government report concludes.

Educational Links 12/9/17

12 Ways to Recharge Your Batteries in the School Holidays

Why I Teach Journalism in My History Classes

3 Ways EdLeaders Can Level the Computer Science Literacy Playing Field

'Utilise teaching assistants with a show of support'

The Life-Changing Impact of Inclusive Schools

Using “Quick, Draw!” With ELLs & Other Students

Creating Safety and Attachment for Students With Trauma

Many children and adolescents walk into our schools and classrooms carrying toxic levels of stress. They’re on edge, and their neuro-anatomy is in a state of dysregulation, which drives their behaviors and makes it difficult for them to learn.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Educational Links 12/8/17

In Discipline Debate, Two Groups Draw Different Conclusions About the Same District

F     Focus on equity to ensure that all students are 'computer science material'

Behavioral Treatments at a Glance

If You Feel Like You’ve Hit a Teaching Wall, You’re Not Alone

425 Ed Tech Tutorial Videos

4 ways to improve STEM professional development

Teachers often lack a voice and a choice in professional development. One of the first lessons we learned is that teachers should have a say in what they learn and they should feel comfortable enough to have a candid conversation about what they need or what they don’t know.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Educational Links 12/7/15

Trouble-Free Transitions: They’re Possible If We Understand Child Development

The Great Gingerbread House Project

Please Stop Blaming Kids’ Behavior on a Lack of Morals

The Learning Walk

Free Wall Maps for Your Classroom

Puzzle Maker Helps Kids Think Like Designers and Engineers

How Schools Can Help Students Manage and Mitigate Anxiety

Did I study enough for this test? Won’t my friends do better than me? If I don’t get an A now, I won’t do well on the next exam, and then will I even get into a good college?

Anxious thoughts such as these aren’t always just passing worries. They’re becoming deeply rooted, widespread mantras for young people across America. Anxiety is the most common mental health challenge that young people face, and it’s the top reason why students seek mental health services at college today. In severe cases, anxiety is stopping teens from doing homework, reaching out to friends, and even leaving their homes, and leading to depressive and suicidal thoughts.