Thursday, May 29, 2008

tidying up a bit

The files need purging. Reorganizing. Examination. And, for the most part, a place to reside indefinitely.

On commenting (from a could have been / would have been comment based on this post):
- Yes, I veer into verbal non-sequitirs and quips because blogs don't make valuable conversation forums. They're great for expression. They're great for widgetizing. And for me, blog stat analysis is far more enjoyable than managing fantasy football stats.

- When I really want to discuss, I'd choose a face-2-face, or something Skype-ish (decked out with functioning webcams). I'm a real-time kind of fella.

- Something tells me that the Lincoln-Douglas debates wouldn't have played so well on Abe's blog. Although I hear could have helped bump their numbers.

- If I take the time to comment on someone's blog, then those authors are, to me, meaningful, relevant, thought-provoking, and or entertaining. But I never presume 'comment' denotes 'conversation' or 'discourse'.

- Links are fun. Choose Your Own Adventure stuff. I'm all giddy and early 80's again. It's like middle school, but hyperlinked.

- The discovery of new resources, lesson ideas, and "vid snacks" are yummy and invigorating. Most make me want to get back to my own class because I've found that the sharing of these 'goodies' never convert to useful tools with co-workers. 'Thank you' emails pour in. Appreciation in full-throttle. But there's little to no transfer. Interesting how 'sharing' now means 'more work for the teacher'; even when shared items are celebrated as a way to spark enthusiasm and interest in students.

- It's tough times reading comment streams. If one only scans comments, is that person a bad blogger? Does the term 'blogger' only refer to the authoring of one's own posts? If you don't have a blog, but you comment on blogs, can you call yourself a 'blogger'?

- When comment tension gets going, when a 'blogger' has to constantly clarify, explain, debunk, disprove, support, regurgitate, I find myself yearning to "talk it out". Maybe on a phone. Ideally, face-2-face.

- Old School Blogger: is there such a person?
Above 'hyphen-points' composed March 6, 2008, just after midnight, five hours and twenty-eight minutes before the birth of Twin One.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

34' x 29', or so they say

I like Diesel's approach to sales.
1. The jeans, while shelved, are a mixed and jumbled lot; a seemingly random array of denim fashion.

2. The staff will not engage their customers.
They wait for them. They wait for them to seek out their help. They wait for them to need help make meaning out of the perceived chaos.

When a customer seeks out an associate, conversion is staggeringly high (Read your Underhill).

Think about this model for education compared to this one.

Thanks for the inspiration, Kate.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

one, two, three, all ears on me

Hearing, like car purchasing, is a study in depreciation.

You probably know about Mosquito Ringtones. They sound like...mosquitoes.

One site, offering free downloads, informs adolescents that:
Many of these frequencies are inaudible to people over the age of 30, enabling you to receive calls and text messages without...your teachers or parents knowing

A great, new tool for classroom management?

Monday, May 26, 2008

by word, image, & video

Memorial Day 2008

A Drive-By Gawking

The scene: A mother and father, each pushing a double stroller. They are a block away from their home, returning after having lunch at the local pizza shop. A green Saturn, driven by a middle-aged woman, approaches. The driver slows down, stops in the middle of the road, looks at the mother and father (each pushing a double stroller), smiles, nods her head in disbelief, and drives away.

Look Out! Salad!

Seriously, look out! Those cucumbers are eerily close. And the radicchio? Right behind you.

Brothers in Arms

(note: Flip video not a pretty conversion over to Google...yikes!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

an unexamined summer

Dear Graham,

On the first day of sixth grade, students at Rydal Elementary stood on the blacktop, waiting as three teachers took turns calling out their class lists. It was a well-known fact that you wanted to be "an early draft pick". If you were part of the last 24, you didn't even have your name read aloud.

You had Ms. Gesler.

The lucky 48 would look over their shoulders as they moved to the safety of their new classrooms. Most of them snickered, but no so overt as to be caught by Ms. Gesler. She was a professional snicker slaughterer.

A trio of seemingly impossible personality traits about Ms. Gesler, but all true:
  1. She was an uncool Bobo Fett.
  2. She made Yertle the Turtle look altruistic.
  3. She could make Chuck Norris cry.
She had no interest in the lives of her students, and no time for summerly anecdotes. She would never ask her students to:
  • Think about a noun that was a part of their summer
  • Think about an adjective that described a part of their summer
  • Think about a verb that conveyed an action they engaged in over their summer
  • Write a personal narrative that told the story of the noun, adjective, and verb they had selected
  • Use Flickr's Creative Commons pool to select poweful, appropriate images that helped convey the nouns, adjectives, and verbs they had chosen
  • Import those pictures in PowerPoint and use their chosen words as the text for each slide
  • Rehearse presentations based on their personal narratives and slides, focusing on delivery and other rhetorical devices
  • Present their slides and stories to their classmates while those in the audience would provide feedback and ask clarifying questions
In truth, she couldn't do this. No computer. No overhead projector. No PowerPoint. No Flickr. No Creative Commons.

But even if she could, she wouldn't.

But you could.

Friday, May 16, 2008

summer employment opportunity

There are five 8th graders sitting in a classroom and they all need a job. They've scoured the classified sections of the local newspapers, but every job seemed too specific, too technical, too much. So I gave them the following 'classified' (with inspiration from a higher power):
Wanted: Summer employees. Candidates must be in 8th grade. Interested? Please send four-slide PowerPoint highlighting your skill set. Pending our interest in your slides, contact for interview will follow. Be honest. Be prepared to defend your qualities.
So far, five 8th graders have submitted their PowerPoint slides. In truth, there are only five applicants, and they are all in the same class.

Here's one slide from Eddie's PowerPoint:

And here's a slide from Jeff:

Turns out, Alex has a quality that a potential employee would like:

But Gabby believes that this quality is in short-supply nowadays:

And then there's Melissa. Melissa figured out that the job description was way too vague, so no matter what the task, she wanted the employer to know that she's one heck of a:

And when they shared their slides at the end of the period, they realized that maybe, just maybe, they had done more than share their skills - they had acquired a totally new skill.

As Melissa said at 10:17AM this morning:
This is really making me think.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

we smart like pineapple

According to Mark Bauerlein, students spend their time on sites that:
harden adolescent styles and thoughts, amplifying the discourse of the lunchroom and the keg party, not spreading the works of the Old Masters.

I's agree!

In fact, I have proof that adolescents from the previous century lived a more academic, Old Master-filled life.

Here's a snippet from my high school treatise:
When in the course of my daily travails I stumble upon the rigorous and hearty company of my like-minded companions; of whom, I most and must readily admit oft times challenge the rigidity of my thinking, we engage in the spirited and light-hearted contest we have entitled, 'Old Master Challenge'.

Its rules, accessible to all my peers; as, for well we all know, today's adolescent collective is an inspired, collective lot of well-articulated deliverers of discourse, makes for a competitive and dare I say fun passage of the inexorable grinding of time.

October 5, 1988

I'm having a tough time coming up with:
a. Sites that "spread the works of the Old Masters"
b. Adolescents seeking out these URLs

But I did find:

And if Bauerlein would like to take the proverbial bull by its proverbial horns, here's two URLs ready for occupation:

Adolescents are adolescents, and the infusion of technology isn't weakening their communication skills, although Naomi Brown cites an NAEP report (National Assessment of Educational Progress) that only 24% of twelfth-graders:
are capable of composing organized, coherent prose in clear language with correct spelling and grammar.
Curious thing around here is that over the last five years, 85% - 89% of graduating seniors continued their education at either a two or four year college.

Friday, May 9, 2008

According to the Education Hub on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website:
Much research has been conducted as to what makes a great school. There are many intangible components. However, research supports the notion that great schools and school systems tend to have six common elements:
  1. Clear Standards
  2. Fair Assessments
  3. Curriculum Framework
  4. Instruction
  5. Materials & Resources
  6. Interventions
In fact, PDE even created an illustration:

However, the more time I spend looking at that image, the more time I spend thinking about increasing student achievement, I tend to see this:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

don't grade notebooks

My notebook from a week long graduate course on assessment:

My notes from said week long graduate course on assessment:

And here's the moment when I officially abandoned note-taking:

And I wonder why assessment irks me.