Friday, July 3, 2015

When Jonathan Kozol Was Fired as a Teacher

Take three minutes to view this powerful video of Kozol reading from his book Death at an Early Age.

You may also want to hear npr's Claudio Sanchez's interview with Kozol, "Frozen in Time, Remembering the Students Who Changed a Teacher's Life." It begins with 78-year old Kozol telling of his dismissal as a teacher at the age of 28 because he was reading to fourth graders from Langston Hughes's poem "The Ballad of the Landlord."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Q & A With Sir Ken Robinson

I have always been a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson ever since I saw him speak in Radio City Music Hall at an NAIS Annual Conference and at an American Montessori Annual Conference and reading his books The Element and Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.

Read this excellent Education Week article, "Q&A With Sir Ken Robinson." It opens with

"Robinson, who gave the most-watched TED Talk in history (with more than 33 million views), seeks to answer this question in his latest book, Creative Schools (Viking Penguin), in which he shares many examples of schools that break away from the current education model into a more personalized approach to learning."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Money magazine's online article “Free SAT Prep Now Has the Official Stamp of Approval” by Kaitlin Mulhere unveils a once unimaginable idea — SAT free test prep.

“Two non-profit organizations have teamed up to create a free online SAT practice program. Can it compete with powerhouse for-profit test prep companies? The Official SAT Practice, an interactive online platform, is the result of a partnership between online education company Khan Academy and the College Board, which manages the SAT.”

Friday, June 12, 2015

50 Best Books for Summer

Check out this great article, "50 Best Books for Summer" from Scholastic Instructor. It gives a nice selection of books for kids ages PreK through 8th grade, AND you can download a neat pdf of the list.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Middle School Trip to Baltimore - Revisited

If you scroll back to my May 8 post, "A Middle School Trip to Baltimore?" You will learn about an eighth grade class that planned to go to Baltimore for their annual field trip.

Well, they went and their teacher Launa Schweizer wrote a follow-up article "Hard Lessons in Baltimore" in The Atlantic magazine. Please read her article. It is beautifully written and will take you along on the trip, using the students' experiences. I read it twice.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Eyes Wide Open

We learn how parents and educators scramble to keep up with children's technology learning curve in books like The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair (Read her Independent School article "Your Student in Class vs. Your Student Online") and the Young Adult Literature book Feed by M. T. Anderson.

It is crucial that we look at the BIG picture of the future of technology. My eyes became wide open after viewing this TED Talk. If you scare easily, you may want to pass on this one. If you want to learn more about what Marc Goodman has to say, read his new book Future Crimes: Everyone Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader?

NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof's recent article "Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader?" tells an interesting story on numeracy taught in our schools. He asks the following questions:

1) What is the sum of the three consecutive whole numbers with 2n as the middle number?     A. 6n+3  B. 6n  C. 6n-1  D. 6n-3

"More than three-quarters of South Korean kids answered correctly (it is B). Only 37 percent of American kids were correct, lagging their peers from Iran, Indonesia and Ghana.”

2) How many degrees does a minute hand of a clock turn through from 6:20 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the same day?

A. 680 degrees   B. 600 degrees   C. 540 degrees   D. 420 degrees

"Only 22 percent of American eighth-graders correctly answered B, below Palestinians, Turks and Armenians."

Kristof finishes his article with a logic puzzle. Be careful, this one may hurt your brain.

You’re in a dungeon with two doors. One leads to escape, the other to execution. There are only two other people in the room, one of whom always tells the truth, while the other always lies. You don’t know which is which, but they know that the other always lies or tells the truth. You can ask one of them one question, but, of course, you don’t know whether you’ll be speaking to the truth-teller or the liar. So what single question can you ask one of them that will enable you to figure out which door is which and make your escape?

Answer: "You ask either of them: 'If I asked the other person which door is the one to escape, which would he point to?' Then you take the other door."