Saturday, May 19, 2018

Educational Links 5/20/18

Diving into Classroom Culture


Hospitals See Growing Numbers Of Kids And Teens At Risk For Suicide

Why Design Thinking Isn't Just for Techies

The Faces of the Teacher Revolt

5 Ways Curriculum and Technology Leads Can Better Work Together to Support Students

21 Questions To Reflect On Your Teaching This Year So Next Year Is Better

How Making Art Helps Teens Better Understand Their Mental Health

The benefits of art in a child’s education are widespread. Art can help kids express themselves and understand the world around them. Art is usually a hands-on experience and fun. For low-income students, studies have found that kids who have more arts education in school see long-term benefits by both academic and social standards.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Educational Links 5/19/18

Reframing Techniques for a Child's Negative Behavior

Some of the Best Ed Tech Websites for Teachers and Educators


Social Skills Building Blocks

Does School Choice Put Freedom Before Equity?

Getting To Know Students Starts With Asking The Right Questions

The Anger Teachers Don’t Feel Comfortable Expressing

Teachers experience the full spectrum of anger in the course of our work, ranging from mild annoyance to blinding fury. Yet most of the time, we swallow it down. We keep smiling, even when that smile becomes more of a grimace.
There is a strong taboo against teachers admitting to our anger, let alone expressing it. We are supposed to be sweet, kind, patient, and docile.

Part of this norm involves gender. In a profession where women make up more than 76 percent of teachers but fewer than 25 percent of superintendents, women are often expected to accept mandates handed down by men without objection, let alone anger. The tired phrase "monitor and adjust" might be better translated as "accept the unacceptable without complaining."

White Fang by Jack London: Great Summer Read

Adventure with White Fang
Its like a hundred degrees outside. Even video games are boring. What's a kid to do?

Jack London will take you on an adventure anywhere, anytime. Boy or girl from grade 6 up will enjoy this, and you may even choose to go on the adventure, too, and share the reading. London's great talent at creating setting can give you goosebumps like its forty below when its July 10th and 97 degrees in the shade. White Fang, like the companion Yukon book The Call of the Wild, both really take you to the Gold Rush in Alaska in the 1890's. Maybe because Jack London, never one to be a wimp, actually lived in the ultra-rugged region himself. Here's more about him.

It is still unbelievably difficult to get there and stay, but Jack's cabin is there for the visiting if you are a hearty soul. Or you can check out these websites:

The She-Wolf leads the pack.
The very best aspect of this book for all readers is the point of view. Somehow London brought us to the wolves' minds. First, as we meet White Fang's parents and the wolf pack, and then the wolf cub's perspective of growing up and surviving the standard conflicts of nature, others, and self. The chapter when the cub first ventures out into the world by himself is absolutely amazing-- I really like Jack London. The several times I have taught this story to middle school kids, they have totally gotten sucked into the wolf's experiences.

White Fang is the lead
Of course, there is one crisis after another. It is an adventure story, with villains and heroes, both human and animal. And this book is truly much better than any movie--there is no way to portray White Fang's perspective except with London's narrative. And this book, unlike almost all other stories about canines, has a really happy ending. Whether you reveal that to the young reader at first or not is up to you.

Here is an online link with White Fang. The titles of the chapters are compelling just by themselves.

Jack London has numerous stories you may be interested in sharing with a youngster from middle to high school.

This is an online collection:

The dog wonders at the man's actions.
Maybe not such a good idea.
Here is a specific site for possibly London's most famous story, "To Build a Fire." Be warned, it is intense.

These stories bring up themes of survival of the fittest and of man's inhumanity to man and animal, of course. But there are also rich veins of kindness to be mined, and gold nuggets of friendship and loyalty.

My family and my classes have made visits to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary here in Southern California. There are even movie star wolves there! Check it out, you may wish to contribute for their upkeep.

White Fang, the adventure hero!
Meet you on the Chilkoot Trail!

Oh Puh-leeze, Let's Read!

I Double Dog Dare You To Read One of These Books To A Child and Not Have Fun!

What Teachers Like To Read To Little Kids

Song of the Swallows

Read This Author For Little Kids--Beverley Cleary

Books To Ease Kids' Toxic Stress--Including Martin's Big Words

Junie B. Jones 

Don't Forget Laura! Laura Ingals Wilder 

The Black Stallion Books

The Chronicles of Narnia

King of the Wind

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry

Let's Read These Books This Summer

Here are some truly awesome books to read together with  your secondary student:

Read! Classic Adventure, Romance, Mystery

Feel Lost At Sea With Ed Tech?

I won't say the 'average' teacher has issues with the rapidly changing ed tech classroom. I would say 'normal' teachers do. The complexities of the nano-second ed tech progress confuses even the techies. Now the Common Core requires testing online soon and very soon K-12.

Try not to panic, 92% of teachers that are floundering with these all pervasive, complex, overwhelming classroom changes. Don't cry. You are not alone. Not really.
  • Where can I find help? We're going to Chromebook.  I'm a teacher with not much tech expertise.  
Google Chromebook is a good deal for many districts. And the students can really learn to write with it. I have an affiliation with a district that I feel represents the complexities of rural, poor, and tech challenged students and their teachers. They have just acquired 1:1 Chromebooks in the classroom for grades 2-12 . Just weeks ago. The only required training for teachers was the very first level for Google Certified Teachers, and they are walked through it district assistance. Is that enough? For the great number of average teachers who only go online maybe for Facebook, no. What should I do if I'm a teacher in this category? Here are some resources: 

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Understanding Google Certification 

Chrome: Getting started

This is a quote from this page. DON'T YOU FEEL BADLY after reading it. If you are a teacher, such as myself, who has actually spent 24-7 planning and teaching and not sitting in your computer chair--this isn't that simple to you. So here is the smug quote:

It’s easy to get started with a Chrome device, whether you are an IT administrator, a teacher or a student. There’s no steep learning curve standing in the way of learning, teaching and sharing, and the web-based management console makes it easy to administer a fleet of Chrome devices.

I really despise the stuck-up attitude given by some of the ed tech community. We are not stupid, and we have legitimate questions. Don't you tell me, sonny, there's no steep learning curve. Anywho, ask for help, from your grade level, from the tech person, from family. You could pray about it. Don't give up. Some teachers I spoke to said they were retiring because of the changes with ed tech. Retire if you are ready, not to avoid learning something new.

  • I'm a Principal and my teaching staff has the deer-in-the-headlights-look when we talk about ed tech at staff meetings. Its just about an emergency. What to do?
Be reassuring. Remember teaching? Evaluate your students (staff) and differentiate instruction. Organize trainings lead by compassionate ed tech savvy staff that won't embarrass or leave the teachers behind. Maybe there's a Special Ed. teacher who knows ed tech and could do this for you. I'm actually not joking about that. Don't take the teachers' word that they understand ed tech, (their jobs depend on this, they'll smile and nod just like a student), check for understanding through walk-throughs, demonstrations, asking the right questions in a non-threatening environment. Just like a good teacher. Grade level reports with evidence of success. Remember teaching? Check for understanding and, as we all know, teachers (and everyone else) don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect. Ed leadership has to actively support ed tech learning with your staff. Your future test scores depend on your teachers knowing ed tech. Here are some resources:

Office of Education Technology 

Why Teachers Hate Tech Training ... and What to Do About It 

Training Teachers to Integrate Technology
  • I want to use ed tech in my class, but we are not getting the ed tech equipment. I teach Special Education, and also need time for training in ed tech.

Red flag here. By my informal observation, special education classes are not receiving current ed tech. In the past, special education classes customarily received out-dated textbooks, inadequate or inferior classrooms, no equipment or it was shoddy, and somehow funding earmarked special education did not make it to the student even when in an IEP. I'm not naming names, or stating it happened under my watch (it didn't because I'm kind of a watchdog about that.) I have recently been in a Special Education for the Severely Handicapped/Autism Classroom that very effectively used iPads with the students. I would be very interested to see how Chromebooks with the simplified writing opportunities work with this student community. Do Special Education students have a right to ed tech like the other students? How about the teachers?

This is a Special Education legal website. Don't tell anyone I sent you.

Technology and Assistive Teachnology 

Chromebooks for Special Education and Assistive Technology 

What does edtech look like in the special ed classroom?

  •   Ed tech looks so exciting online. Why does seem so dull in a real classroom?

News from Skype in the Classroom
Ed tech is absolutely, mind-boggingly exciting. We have lived to see the future! And the kids are launched exponentially, literally launched into a future of success, productivity, equity, and fascination no one can even dream about. Some teachers are like the explorers of the 'New' World, the New Digital World. What are they reporting back? How can all teachers get in on it? First, all teachers need to board the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and launch into the unknown. Shake up those lesson plans from 1989 (or even 2011) and incorporate the communication values of the internet. Skype. Email. Virtual tours. TED talks. Research using curiosity. Poetry Slams. Virtual Art Shows between schools. Dance Festivals. School Gardening Shows. Sing offs. Pen pals--an online community for your class from anywhere your district will let you skype. IMAGINATION will drive the best teachers to learn ed tech. Truth be told, not all teachers need to be ed tech experts. Collaborate with ideas for educational experiences within your PLN--how exciting to have all that enthusiasm and expertise united for learning fun. The best part is no one is bored, not the kids, not the teachers. The Common Core is reinforced with teachers reaching the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy. Principals can arrange for collaboration time. Go beyond CoolMath and Accelerated Reader. The teachers that don't want any change? Let them retire or find another profession.

Exciting Ideas for the Implementation of Educational Technology in the Classroom 

Learn the Ins and Outs of Google Classroom from an Expert 

Cool Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

Teaching Is Learning Ed Tech 
Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech

Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech II


One Memorial Today

Orvis Henry Sweet, Union Army, Vermont

Orvis, age 21, will be shot in the lung one week after this picture was taken by Matthew Brady in Washington, DC. His younger siblings on the family farm in upstate New York (he volunteered from St. Alban's, Fifth Vermont) grew up and after the Civil War moved West to Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and California to become lawyers, Congressmen, ambassadors, journalists and teachers. His father, Haviland Livingston Sweet, died earlier in the War, under the leadership of General McClellan.  Orvis' uncle , John Charles Closson, volunteered from Michigan and was killed, too. Their sacrifice was not in vain.

He volunteered while working at a Print Shop in Vermont, where his family had lived on Grand Isle for generations since the Revolutionary War. His ancestors were Pilgrims and Wampanoags.

He was a regular kid who lived and died for great things.
He fought with his unit through all the major battles of the Civil War, being mortally wounded in the Second Battle of the Wilderness. If you ever watched Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil War, you know how that one was particularly hellish.

One of Orvis' younger sisters was Alice Eliza Sweet Link, my great grandmother; she went West after the Civil War and became a teacher.

Trip to the Wilderness Battlefields 


With that haunting music that always brings tears to my eyes, Ashokan Farewell.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Educational Links 5/18/18

A Checklist For 21st Century Teachers

As Expectations of Teachers Change, Administrators Rethink Their Observation Practices

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Including Students with Disabilities in Classroom Lessons 

Making Sense of the 3 Levels of Autism 

Every person with autism receives the same diagnosis: autism spectrum disorder (ASD). But autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that a person can be mildly, moderately, or severely autistic. What's more, while everyone with autism has certain core symptoms, many people also have additional associated symptoms such as intellectual or language impairments.

Educational Links 5/17/18

Surface vs. Deep Learning: Knowing the Difference

The Benefits of Study Groups

Maybe we should be making a stronger pitch for student-led study groups. There’s all sorts of research documenting how students can learn from each other. But, as regularly noted here and elsewhere, that learning doesn’t happen automatically, and some of us worry that it’s not likely to occur in a study group where there’s no supervision and distractions abound. Recent findings should encourage us to give study groups a second look.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Educational Links 5/16/18

What the Teacher Strikes Can Teach Students About the History of the Labor Movement

The Case for Holding Students Accountable

Funding the Interactive Classroom

Playlists: A Path to Personalizing Learning


Should Reading Be Taught Whole Class or Small Group?

The 8 Most Atrocious Myths About Inclusive Education

When it was passed in 1975, what is now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act became the most sweeping legislation in the history of United States education.  No law, before or since, did more to change the landscape of our schools.
Four decades ago, there was a virtual system of educational apartheid.  Today, 94.92% of students with disabilities, ages 6-21, attend their local neighborhood schools, 80.87% spending part or all of the day in a general education setting.  Most (61.08%) are included in “regular” classrooms for 80-100% of the school day 

Teaching Is Seeing The Happy 'I Got It' Face

 1. Helping Struggling Readers 

2. 5 Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Learn Math Online 

3. Teaching Reading to Teens with Learning Disabilities 

4. Top 10 Skills for High-School Students 

5. Helping Newcomer Students Succeed in Secondary Schools and Beyond 

6. Helping your child

Many parents want to help their child or children with their English but are not sure what they can do to help. In this section you'll find lots of expert advice about helping your child learn English.

7. Helping kids learn to succeed 

You did it!

8. Parental Involvement in School