Three Great Writing Apps for the MacBook Air

The MacBook Air changed my life. I’ve written everywhere, including some very strange places.

Day One ($10)

This app is perfect for journaling and getting writing ideas down as they appear. When you install Day One on your MacBook Air, a bookmark appears in your drop down menu on the top right of your screen. I use this option to quickly jot down a quote or catchy phrase before I lose it.

Byword ($17 with in-app purchase)

I sometimes take what I write in Day One and expand upon it in Byword. It is a similar app – distraction-free screen, iCloud storage – but also allows me to post my writing on my WordPress blog. Blogger and Tumbler are also supported. In fact, I wrote this post in Byword!

Scrivener ($45)

Purchase this writing software with the intent on putting a project together to publish. You can move sections around within a project while working on it. This offers a distinct advantage over Word or Pages: No more going back to try and rearrange ideas. Scrivener is built for writers.

photo credit: Macbook Air 13″ via photopin (license)

Do you know how I know my son read his book?

  1. He was asking about the next book in the series before he was halfway through the first one.
  2. The thickness of his book doubled while reading it, due to spilling his drink on the pages while eating and reading.
  3. Creases regularly appeared on the spine of his book while reading it.
  4. The book’s covers were bent because he fell asleep on top of his book one night while reading.
  5. The book’s corners were frayed because my son shoved his book in his backpack every morning.
  6. My son wanted to watch the movie about his book before he was finished.
  7. His classmates wanted to read his book once he finished, after seeing him immersed in it.
  8. My son continued to think and talk about his book, long after he finished it.
  9. My son can identify a related series to his book that he might want to read next.
  10. My son’s love for reading increased after reading his book.


Time and Money

Matt Renwick:

“It’s about more than just time or money. It is about treating educators as professionals striving to always become better in a very complex profession. Only in an environment that honors the nonlinear path that learning sometimes takes can this occur.”

Originally posted on Theory and Practice:

The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice by David A. Garvin and Joshua D. Margolis (Harvard Business Review, January/February 2015)

Two Harvard business professors explore the two roles that oftenplay out in professional settings: Advisor and advisee. This article relates well to teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches. They identify the many hurdles involved in giving and receiving advice, includingan inaccurate assessment of one’s own knowledge, dismissing ideas because they don’t fit with one’spredetermined line of thinking, and surrounding oneself with poor advisers.

When you pick your advisers, you pick your advice.

For advisors, the best wayinhelping those looking for support and ideas is being an active listener. This includes providing ample time to ask open-ended questions in order to determine the role one should play as the advisor. It is ultimately about helping the advisee become independent as a leader in their organization, as the advisor won’t be there forever…

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Social Identities

Matt Renwick:

Being a member of a group is an essential part of who we are as people. Many benefits derive from these associations. But when these influences also cloud our thinking about important topics that might butt up against current beliefs of the group, how do we respond? With thoughtfulness, or defensiveness? Comments are always welcomed.

Originally posted on Theory and Practice:

I teach only the truth – but that shouldn’t make you believe it. – Martin Fischer

Source: Sean MacEntee via Flickr ( Source: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Why Your Customers’ Social Identities Matter by Guy Champniss, Hugh N. Wilson, and Emma K. Macdonald (Harvard Business Review, January/February 2015)

Three business professors and researchers explain the importance of social identities. This concept can be defined as the personas people take on and the decisions they make based on the community or group in which they are associated with or represented by at that time. When a social context changes – for example, a couple of famillies installing solar panels in a community – this action influences other people’s behaviors that reside in this neighborhood (they are more likely to buy solar panels, too).

This phenomena relates to all communities and groups, online and otherwise. Individual interviews about how a person feels about a product or service…

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What is a big misconception about technology in education? 

I posed this question to the many members of a Google+ Community I host, related to my book I published last year. Below are a few replies.

What statements might you add to this list? Please share in the comments.

That it can replace good teaching or even a teacher.

That it replaces conversations (oral communication) in the classroom, that it is a ‘fad’ that will pass, and that kids don’t need it because I (elder teacher / parent) didn’t have it when I was in school, and I did just fine…

That learning can become turn-key.

$750,000 in proposed cuts to Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools

Today, I wrote this post on our school’s blog. It will also serve as the front page for our school newsletter next week. We need to advocate for what’s right for our students, families and staff. To not advocate is to concede our authority as the experts in our profession.

Before sharing details regarding the state’s proposal to reduce school funding, consider the following:

• Wisconsin has the highest high school graduation rate of any state in the U.S. (Source: National Center of Education Statistics)

• There is a correlation between increased funding for public education and higher achievement for students, especially for students living in poverty. (Source: Education Policy Analysis Archives)

• The longer a student stays in school correlates not only with a longer life span for that student, but also for that student’s parent(s). (Source: Washington Post)

Knowing this information, why would any state leader propose to reduce funding of a successful institution that not only improves students’ learning outcomes, but their family’s own health and happiness? This is a question that needs to be answered by our local legislators. To be able to ask this question, we need to understand how funding for public education is being cut and why.

The How

Cuts to public education are happening in a couple of ways. First, this year’s proposed state budget calls for a $150 decrease in per pupil funding. That means that for every student in Wisconsin Rapids, the district would receive $150 less than we normally have in the past. Second, there is a request to expand the school choice and voucher program throughout the state. Specifically, some government officials are asking that the cap on the number of vouchers be lifted. This would allow even more families to enroll their child(ren) into private schools using public dollars.

The Why

While some suggest that public schools have enough money and that the competition created by school choice/vouchers helps improve education for all, the evidence shows otherwise. In fact, research from Public Policy Forum has shown that in Milwaukee, public school students outperform private school students. This is a startling fact, especially since public schools have to enroll all students regardless of poverty, behavior, or ability level. Private schools have and use discretion on who they enroll in school.

What you can do

This is not an issue with private schools per se, but with how the system is being (mis)used to defund public education. As parents, the best thing we can do is to contact our representatives and ask them why these harmful proposals are being considered. Thank you for advocating on behalf of our kids!

A New Theory and Practice Podcast – Connected Leadership

Originally posted on Theory and Practice:

Principal PD (4)

Tomorrow morning (Saturday, February 21, 8 A.M. CST), I will be joined by Spike Cook, Jessica Johnson, and Theresa Stager to discuss connected leadership. The title references Spike’s book from Corwin, part of the Connected Educator series.

During the podcast, we will discuss three articles I summarized from a previous post here at Theory and Practice. This podcast will be broadcasted live, either by clicking here or the embedded video below. In the meantime, leave a comment on this page to possibly win a free copy of Spike’s book!

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