Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let it Snow

For those of us living on the northeast coast, snow caused many schools to close today.

Check out this YouTube video showing how one ingenious school called for a no-school day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

All Kinds of Testing: To What End?

Here are a few good resources to bring you up to speed on testing in our schools, especially the first one.

1)  NPR's “The Past, Present And Future of High-Stakes Testing” is an excellent, short update on testing. Listen to Steve Inskeep interview Anya Kamanetz, author of The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing — ButYou Don’t Have to Be.
2)  Check out The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley to learn about a test that has been given to 15-year old students all over the world, using the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
3)  “Ivy League’s meritocracy lie: How Harvard and Yale cook the books for the 1 percent” by Lani Guinier

“. . . the name was changed first to the Scholastic Assessment Test (keeping the handy, well-known acronym) and later to the SAT Reasoning Test. Call it what you will, the SAT still promises something it can’t deliver: a way to measure merit. Yet the increasing reliance on standardized test scores as a status placement in society has created something alien to the very values of our democratic society yet seemingly with a life of its own: a testocracy.”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Learning to Lead

I am at a retreat about to listen to David Mead, a protégé of Simon Sinek. To prepare, I read Sinek's book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. I recommend it highly. 

In case you are not familiar with Sinek, here are his two TED Talks—they are so good—"Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe" (below) and a link to "Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action."

If you like him, then you'll want to try Fred Reichheld's The Ultimate Question 2.0, Dan Pink's Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and Danny Meyer's Setting the TableAll of these books revolve around learning to lead, "good profits," caring for employees, and providing dedicated service to customers.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Bit of Montessori Education

Read the brief article "Why the World Embraces the Montessori Method" I wrote. Here are some of the terms and concepts discussed:

  • Respect for the Student
  • Teacher as Facilitator
  • Intrinsically Motivated
  • Prepared Environment
  • Mixed-age Classes
  • Three-year Cycle
  • . . . and more. 
Read and see what you think.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A First Contract for a Third Grader

When he was in third grade, he received his first contract . . . from his father and mother.
#8 on this week's NYTimes Middle Reader bestseller list, The Contract by Derek Jeter with Paul Mantell is a thoughtful book, all children AND parents should read. Here is that first contract between Derek and his parents.
  1. Family Comes First.
  2. Be a Role Model for Sharlee. [Derek's sister]
  3. Do Your Schoolwork and Maintain Good Grades (As or Bs).
  4. Bedtime. Lights out at nine p.m. on school nights.
  5. Do Your Chores.
  6. Respect Others.
  7. Respect Yourself.
  8. Work Hard.
Failure to comply will result in the loss of playing sports and hanging out with friends. Extra-special rewards include attending a major-league baseball game, choosing a location for dinner, and selecting another event of your choice.

Meet Derek's mother and father Dot and Charles in this five-minute interview.