Monday, February 28, 2011

Khan Academy

     Salman Khan developed the most used Internet, open-education resource for students and adults.  Check out Khan Academy and the available 2,100 free educational videos.  His presentation at the NAIS Annual Conference was impressive and convincing.  Students learning at a pace that inspires them to work and not be afraid to make mistakes.
     I love where Khan says, "This actually becomes the operating system for what goes on in the classroom where every student's allowed to work at their own pace and the teacher actually becomes more of a mentor or a coach."
     Perfect.  Exchange the traditional sage-on-the-stage approach for a more guide-on-the-side paradigm.
     Here, see what Bill has to say about it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Makes You Tic?

     I attended many impressive sessions at the NAIS Annual Conference this past week.  But after listening to Marc Elliot present "What Makes You Tic?" where he talks about his Tourette Syndrome condition and live-and-let-live (aka tolerance) approach to how we should interact with one another, I made my way to the front of the room, and extended a hug to him.  I did that 19 years ago after being similarly moved by Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot's talk to a group of educators.  Beautiful, thoughtful messengers do that to me.
     You might find it interesting, to read the message Marc hands to nearby people when he is in a restaurant, airport, or other public area when his Tourette's is troublesome:

Because I can't control it - 
I have Tourette Syndrome - a medical condition.  It causes me to make loud sounds, have twitches and say things I don't mean.  I can't help it any more than you can stop a sneeze or cough. I'm sorry if it bothers you - it bothers me more.

For more information about Tourette Syndrome: [TS website and address - link above]

     To learn more about Marc, click to his website and consider having him speak at your school.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NAIS 2011 Annual Conference

     I am off to Washington, D.C. to the Annual Conference of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).  
     I am especially looking forward to seeing and hearing Dan Heath, author of the bestseller Switch, Wendy Mogel, author of Blessing of a Skinned Knee and Blessing of a B Minus, Sugata Mitra, the man behind the "Hole in the Wall Project," and Geoffrey Canada, the educator featured in the film "Waiting for Superman."
     A great lineup of keynote speakers.

Monday, February 21, 2011

digital_nation - PBS FRONTLINE

     The FRONTLINE special "digital_nation life on the virtual frontier" is a program you will want to see, especially if you are in the classroom, or parenting, or use technology (that doesn't leave out very many people).  PBS is very educator friendly.  
     Here, see for yourself what I mean. Click on the trailer below.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Bottom Line - "Our Socratic Oath"

     I love author and independent school educator, Rick Ackerly's article, "Our Socratic Oath," in this issue of Independent School magazine.  To give you a flavor of the article, here is a quote from it that says it all:
"Happiness, success, winning, and achievement are not what we should wish for our children. Rather, we should wish that they develop the grit to live in life's tensions — the confidence to learn from conflict, mistakes, disappointment, failure, loneliness, and losing."
     Visit Rick at his website "The Genius in Children."

Monday, February 14, 2011

"1" Not Such a Lonely Number

     2011 is an unusual year . . . you know, 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, and 11/11/11.

     The year 2011 also brings an unusual algorithm; here, give it a try.  Add the age you are (will be) in 2011 to the last two digits of the year you were born.  I bet the sum is all ones.  Get some inspiration and listen to this Three Dog Night tune as you do the calculation.
     If anyone out there knows why this happens, please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Still Comes Down to Class Bias

     I was delighted to read "Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above?" in the Sunday NYTimes; it is an encouraging article about the amalgamation of races in the U.S.  One statistic stated "one in seven new marriages is between spouses of different races or ethnicities" and another stated "No one knows quite how the growth of the multiracial population will change the country. Optimists say the blending of the races is a step toward transcending race, to a place where America is free of bigotry, prejudice and programs like affirmative action."
     Nevertheless, in the end, I still believe that "Class Bias is The Real Enemy."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Rumpus Without Books?

     Upon walking through a Barnes and Noble store, I looked around and sighed, thinking, "In ten years this book store will no longer exist as we know it today."  My thoughts were partially confirmed when I read the Sunday NYTimes.

"Leaving the Pictures Behind" appeared in the Week in Review section.  The three-sentence piece caught my eye.  Here are those three sentences.
"Picture books are failing. Publishers, it was reported last week, have cut down on the number of new titles, and sales are suffering.
Blame the recession, but also the increasing pressure on preschoolers to read chapter books.
Just imagine: Max is being told to put away his yellow-eyed monsters in 'Where the Wild Things Are.' Seems worth a wild rumpus."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reprise of “Rethinking the ‘F’ Word”

      I recently had dinner with a Marine Corps officer who recruits officer candidates to serve in the Marine Corps.  I wasn’t surprised when he told me that his greatest challenge was to find young men and women who could see beyond the initial, youthful, and energetic enthusiasm and stay with the program through to accepting a commission and become an officer.  Too often he found the eager, 3.9-average student, athlete, and over-achiever who signed on and subsequently dropped out during basic training.  It was evident to him that the best recruits were those that had to deal with some kind of adversity in their lives.
     This conversation only reinforced what I wrote about in “Rethinking the ‘F’ Word.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dept. of Ed Regulation of Private School

In a recent NAIS Heads Listserve post, I came across this helpful U. S. Department of Education State Regulation of Private Schools Manual. It lists for each state, regulations for health and safety, including immunization and fire drills; number of school day requirements; textbook support; special education; professional development; and lots more.
See for yourself.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


     From Klingbrief: "Klingbrief is a free, [online] monthly publication of recommended articles, books, research reports, and media selected by and for independent school educators."  
     Coming from the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, here is a link to the January issue to get you started.  See what you think.