My parent-teacher group will be hosting a book discussion both in person and on Twitter using the #ptchat hashtag. It’s at 5:30 tonight CST. These are the questions I plan to ask.
In the novel Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), the main character, Clay Jannon has discovered an ancient organization that may hold the secret to eternal life. During this process, Clay ends up at a small art exhibit currently hosting a 1st grade classroom on a field trip. In his desperation for any lead, he asks one of the students, “How would you find a needle in a haystack?” She thinks, then replies, “I would ask the hays to find it.”
Brilliant! This is one of my favorite quotes from the book, described in a review on Goodreads as “a love letter for books, bibliophiles, but also for technology.” So why do I like this line? Because it so aptly and succinctly describes my feeling about my personal learning network (PLN). If I have questions, or need support in an area, I know where to turn. No longer do I have to float around online, hoping to strike it lucky with a web-based resource I need. Each person in my PLN is like a piece of hay, and one of them is bound to know where to locate the needle that I seek.
Or, as Clay Jannon reflects on that 1st grader’s wise words:
It’s easy to find a needle in a haystack! Ask the hays to find it!
Right now I am knee deep in learning about the Teachscape classroom observation system. By the end of my training to evaluate teaching staff under the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System, I will have watched over 100 videos of classroom instruction. Without actually having applied this observational tool in the classroom, I have found lots of positive aspects about it. There is a common understanding of what good instruction looks like. All instructional leaders will be in their school’s classrooms on a more regular basis. Authentic pieces of evidence of progress toward professional learning outcomes will be expected in this process. Charlotte Danielson’s framework for instruction is well represented within Teachscape, such as I can see so far.
After reflecting on this training, along with my fourteen years as a teacher and administrator, I believe empathy is the most critical skill for educators to be highly effective in teaching children.
Some educators refer to the skill of “perspective-taking”. Ellen Gillinsky, author of Minds in the Making, defines perspective-taking as “figuring out what others think and feel” (http://mindinthemaking.org/article/category/perspective_taking/). Peter Johnston, in his book Opening Minds (Stenhouse, 2012), uses the term “social imagination” to describe how a person can “mind read” by closely observing a learner’s language and actions (76). I like both explanations, and the core of each of these concepts is empathy.
I define empathy from an educator’s point of view as the ability to inhabit a student’s situation, thoughts, and feelings. This skill, to mentally place ourselves within a student’s circumstance, can bear many opportunities for responsive instruction. Empathy gives a teacher pause when a student is not working as they should (“Is he sick? Hungry? Upset?”). Empathy allows us to prepare our lessons based not on what we want to cover, but on what each individual needs. Empathy clues us in to what our students’ parents are really saying and feeling, and not necessarily on what we hear and see. Empathy allows educators to teach with confidence, because they know their words and actions will have a profound impact on students’ lives. I believe empathy is the foundation for all that is possible within instruction.
This is a post I wrote for the Nerdy Book Club last week. It highlights important information from The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. My parent group and some staff will be hosting a book club around this resource.
I have been asked a number of times how our parent-teacher book club will go. To start, we received a local grant to purchase several copies of the Read Aloud Handbook along with many of the titles Jim Trelease recommends. Every first Tuesday of the month, we will facilitate a conversation about this resource. Our group will gather during our monthly PTO meeting. I plan to moderate the conversation with questions from the two chapters we read before the meeting. I will also post the questions on Twitter using the #ptchat hashtag so anyone can join us from home. Parents who attend will get to take home different titles to read aloud to their kids. At the next book club meeting, they can bring back those titles and exchange them with other parents for new ones. We hope this dialogue about books and the benefits of reading aloud will extend beyond our monthly gatherings.
Once our book club has ended, we will put these titles into Little Free Libraries in the area (also grant-funded). They will be installed in our surrounding school community. Families will have more access to books regardless of their current living situation or available resources.
Please join us every first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 CST on Twitter at #ptchat to engage in some great conversations! (Special note: School was cancelled tomorrow, so there will not be a chat on January 7. Stay tuned for when the January chat will be rescheduled.)
Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:
Starting in January, parents and staff at Howe Elementary School will join me in reading The Read Aloud Handbook, 7th edition by Jim Trelease (Penguin, 2013). Our goal is to create more awareness of the importance of reading aloud both at home and at school. At each meeting, we will also be taking home some of Jim’s suggested titles to try out. In preparation for our monthly conversations, I have listed my top ten takeaways from this resource. These conversations will take place every first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 P.M., both in person and on Twitter at #ptchat (thanks to Joe Mazza for encouraging us to use this hashtag). We hope you can join us!
Being a proficient reader is the best indicator of success in school and in life. This seems to be a no-brainer. But Jim Trelease is not just referring to K-12. He cites findings from the Brookings Institute that shows the best investment anyone can make in today’s economy is finishing college (xxvii). The author deftly connects proficient readers with future economic and social success.
Reading aloud is the best way families can raise readers. Put away the flashcards, turn off the computer games, and forget tutoring. For emerging readers, the best way to foster literacy in the home is to read aloud to them every day for at least fifteen minutes. The specific benefits include building vocabulary, associating reading with pleasure, creating background knowledge, providing a reading role model, and planting the desire to read (6). The bonding that has occurred between my own kids and me through reading aloud to them provides some of my fondest memories. For example, my son and I are having great conversations as I read aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling to him.
There are four consistent factors present in nearly every home environment of early readers (32-33).
The child is read to on a regular basis.
A wide variety of print material is available in the home.
Paper and pencil are readily available for the child.
The people in the home provide time, attention, and resources for the child’s interest in reading and writing.
A picture book should be on the reading list at every grade level. There is a reason why they are called “everybody books” now. They provide not only excellent stories for many age levels, but also contain cultural and historical references (63). Two books he references are Oranges for Frankie by Patricia Polacco and The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.
Fathers should read aloud to their children. So far, I am the only male that is taking part in our parent-teacher book club. Some of our parents plan to share the statistics and research about reading aloud with their families. Hearing and seeing a male reading shows kids, especially boys, that books and literacy in general are not just for girls.
Sustained silent reading (SSR) is reading aloud’s natural partner (p 80). I cringe when I hear stories about principals discouraging independent reading during school. What other activity produces stronger gains in reading achievement and engagement? (This question is rhetorical; the answer is “none.”) Kids need time to practice the skills and strategies teachers and parents have demonstrated. If the argument made by Jim Trelease is not enough to convince administrators to allow for independent reading, I recommend they check out Richard Allington’s seminal Educational Leadership article “Every Child, Every Day” (ASCD, 2012) and Donalyn Miller’s new title Reading in the Wild (Jossey-Bass, 2014).
Access to books is critical. As Jim states, “It is difficult to get good at reading if you’re short on print” (p 107). He cites research that shows that the best readers have 1) access to books, 2) personal ownership of the books, and 3) self-selection of the books. Summer seems to be the most important time to get titles into the hands of our students. Our school is making strides in this area by putting up Little Free Libraries (www.littlefreelibrary.org) in our community with the help of a grant. The titles we are exchanging during this book club will end up in these boxes. As this nonprofit organization out of Madison, Wisconsin states on their website, people can “give a book, take a book.”
The author likes technology…to a point. The author readily admits that most of his research for this final edition was found online. He has an iPad, iPad, and laptop (p 131). Jim appreciates the posterity that eBooks will provide all titles. He also notes the benefits for readers with significant challenges, such as the visually impaired. What worries him is all the multi-tasking that can occur when trying to learn with our gadgets. A reasonable approach. If Mr. Trelease does happen to read this post, I would encourage him to check out the end of Cris Tovani’s book So What Do They Really Know? (Stenhouse, 2011). She highlights a book conversation she had with one of her English students about The Great Gatsby, via text messaging.
Limit screen time. There is really strong evidence that as kids watch more media, their learning achievement decreases. Regardless of what is on the screen, kids’ brains need time to read print, socialize with others, and just reflect. Boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If there is a magic number, the limit seems to be no more than two hours of screen time per day, and no screen time before the age of two.
- Focus on interest and engagement. Many of us can recall a book that turned us on to reading. Often times, that book was read aloud to us by a teacher or family member. For me, it was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, read aloud by my third grade teacher. Once we have hooked students into the pleasures and rewards of reading, the rest tends to take care of itself.
Matt Renwick is a principal of an elementary school in Central Wisconsin. He regularly visits his teachers’ classrooms to share great literature with students. Prior to becoming an administrator, Matt was a 5th and 6th grade teacher. You can follow him on Twitter at @ReadByExample and read more of his posts at howeprincipal.wordpress.com.
I am starting to realize that one of my ultimate goals as an elementary school principal is to have books available within 200 feet of any student. Case in point: We just resupplied the shelves in the cafeteria with nonfiction titles from the National Geographic for Kids series. They are strategically placed; the K-2 students eat breakfast and lunch on this end of the room. Reading can commence while they wait for dismissal. I believe this sends a strong message: Readers read when there is time, and it is always a good time to read a good book.
Inspired by Regie Routman’s most recent post about what she’s reading, I thought I would do the same on my blog. Below are the books I read in 2013. I am sure I read a few more than what was listed here, but I was too busy reading to post them on Goodreads! Some of these titles are rereads, noted with an *. These books deserved another read because they had more to offer than one round would provide.
Books of Note
Favorite Fiction: The Wool trilogy by Hugh Howey
Humanity is sequestered to a silo underground, due to some event that made the surface of Earth uninhabitable. How the remaining members of civilization live and interact in this alternative world makes for a fascinating read. I have read the first two installments and plan to read the final book soon. If you investigate the back story on this series, you will discover the author self-published his writing online as a short story, in order to sustain ownership and to get feedback on how the story should proceed. Using his fans’ input, he crafted the rest of the Wool series, which then lead to a larger book deal. Is this the future of writing? If excellent science fiction like Wool is the result, I wouldn’t mind.
Suggested Nonfiction/Informative: The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
This resource should be in the home of every young family. Some hospitals hand this book to new mothers and fathers after delivery. Whenever a parent asks me about what they can do to help their child become a reader, my response is usually, “Read aloud to them, every day.” My school received a grant to promote reading aloud with our families. We will be hosting a book study on The Read Aloud Handbook with parents starting in January, along with putting up Little Free Libraries in our community. Look for a post on the Nerdy Book Club blog on January 4th to learn more about this essential title.
Recommended Paired Reading: The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students by Dr. Yong Zhao
Although I did not read both titles at the same time, I believe they would work well together if someone were studying education in the age of technology and globalization. In The Smartest Kids, Amanda Ripley follows three U.S. students as they participate in foreign exchange programs in South Korea, Finland, and Poland. That all three score higher than the U.S. on the PISA, an internationally-based standardized test, is no accident. This piece of investigative journalism gives the audience an anecdotal perspective of the difference between the U.S. educational system and these three countries. Although I felt the author gave too much credence to one assessment, she does make a compelling case that the U.S. does need to ramp up our expectations for students’ learning, especially in mathematics. Ripley also showcases the greater amount of respect other countries have for the teaching profession.
Where The Smartest Kids gives the reader an up close and personal report about education, World Class Learners provides a more aerial, 20,000 feet in the air point of view on learning. Dr. Zhao also looked at the PISA scores, and placed them side-by-side with an assessment on students’ engagement and entrepreneurship potential. The result: A strong correlation between high test scores and low creativity. The author, a professor in the University of Oregon’s College of Education, surmises that when schools focus on one right answer due to tests, students’ imagination and innovation skills are not as developed. When you combine this evidence with the fact that standardized test results cannot be used to teach more responsively, one wonders what we are really measuring and why. As Dr. Zhao astutely points out in his most recent post on his blog, “Global benchmarking can only give you the best of the past.”
Where their two philosophies converge is the belief that U.S. schools can do better. Whether it is through better teacher preparation programs, or through professional development focused on student interests and project-based learning, both authors believe life long learning and high expectations are the key to our country’s future success.
What’s On Deck? Books I Want to Read in 2014
Any thoughts on the titles and perspectives I share? What books did you thoroughly enjoy this year? What’s on your to-read pile for 2014? Please share in the comments.
My son recently tested for his next level in taekwondo. Before all the students test, they are asked a series of questions, in order to assess their understanding in areas such as the offensive and defensive moves in their new form.
What is the meaning of your form?
How many moves are in your form?
Did you make your bed this morning?
The last question is a personal favorite :). It’s knuckle push ups for those with messy rooms. Responsibility is applied conceptually within my son’s program.
Students are also expected to perform their newly acquired knowledge and skills. Mastery is shown by displaying accuracy in their moves and through board breaking. If a student does not successfully break the board the first time, or if their form is not up to snuff, they try again. And again. And again. No student is left behind. They were invited to testing day because the instructors felt they were ready. Some students are not encouraged to test even though they are eligible; the instructor felt they needed more practice before this summative assessment.
- When it is time for students to show what they know, is failure in option in our classrooms?
- If a student is not ready to test, do we allow them more time to prepare?
The most interesting question that gets asked of all students is the reporting of their grades. The master instructor asks each one of them to publicly share what they received on their most recent report card. Personal responsibility is also connected to their efforts in school. If a student wants to attain black belt, they have to be in good standing in their academics. At this last testing event, I heard the following responses, and these are only the ones I remember:
“All A’s and B’s”
“Mostly 3′s and 4′s”
“My child does not receive grades; we homeschool, and he is assessed every day on his progress.”
“I got an E, some P’s, and one S.”
“We do standards-based grading, so we won’t know until later in the school year.”
At the end of this roll call, the master instructor quietly laughed and shook his head. “I used to teach physical education. When I taught, all we had were letter grades.” His comment hit home. In my own school, we report out two different types of grades: letters (A to F at 5th grade) and numbers (4 to 1 in K-4). In our effort to be more accurate in our assessments, we sometimes muddy the waters in what is considered mastery.
Schools would be wise to look to extracurriculars when trying to better represent student performance and progress. Taekwondo, and I suspect other martial arts, are a great example. For each belt, it is very clear what the student has to accomplish in order to don the next color. There are specific kicks, combinations, and forms that must be learned to move on. These skills are an iteration of a broader learning progression; one set of learning targets is built upon knowledge both previously attained and yet to come. Also, the athletic ability is not as important as the adherence to the criteria for achievement. Students are not compared to one another. Their performance is as much about personal bests as it is about mastery.
- When we grade students, is our final assessment based on a common standard? Are we calibrating our judgment through collaboration?
- Are we comfortable giving an “A” to two different levels of understanding and performance, as long as both learners met the criteria for mastery?
In a prior post on this topic, I tried to start a conversation about this issue. As I reread my post and subsequent replies to readers’ comments, I don’t think I left the door open enough to facilitate a quality dialogue. I felt like I came across as knowing more than I probably do. After reading some of the articles in Educational Leadership’s most recent issue, Getting Students to Mastery, I have discovered the complexities on this topic. Grant Wiggins suggests that to help students attain a worthy goal, teachers should “provide valid feedback early and often” and help students “track their progress in closing the gap” toward true mastery (15). Thomas Guskey notes that mastery in itself “can be the learners’ purpose for engaging in a task or activity” (20). Guskey encourages teachers to focus on three practices when helping students strive for mastery (20):
- Allow students to resubmit assignments than need more work;
- Do not pressure students by consistently talking about grades and assessments; and
- Encourage self-comparisons and avoid comparing students’ achievement with that of other students.
When done right, it seems school and martial arts have much in common.
Last school year, I taught a class for district staff titled “Becoming a Connected Educator”. The course’s foundational text was The Connection Educator: Learning and Leading in the Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2011) by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall. We explored many digital tools that could augment the strong instructional practice in their classrooms. While I felt our time was well spent, I thought there could have been a stronger teacher perspective. As a principal, my position limited my ability to teach what a connected classroom looked and sounded like.
That is why I wish Marsha Ratzel would have written her book Teaching in High Gear: My Shift Toward a Student-Driven, Inquiry-Based Science Classroom (Powerful Learning Press, 2013) a year earlier. I would have referred to it often! Like her colleague Kathy Cassidy’s book Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades (Powerful Learning Press, 2012), Marsha provides that point of view that you cannot get from many other educational resources. She shares both her successes and failures, even though they are both categorized as “learning opportunities” in her classroom. Marsha doesn’t gloss over the growing pains she experienced as she helped her students become more connected. She recognizes that this work is hard even though it is worth it. As she integrated digital tools into her instruction, she also did not lose focus on the powerful practices that guide her students toward deep understanding.
The following quote nicely summarizes the concept of her book:
Excellent teaching is not so much something we achieve as something we pursue. It’s like mountain biking, another passion of mine. Heading toward the mountaintop helps me focus, but the greatest joy comes in the pedaling and enjoying the ride (p 10).
Having a professional-personal life balance allows Marsha to see connections between the two she otherwise might not have.
This past school year I experimented with teaching science through the lens of current events. That worked out very well — it allowed me to cover every single one of my science objectives and also overlap with my grade-level colleagues on tons of interdisciplinary skills that I know are critical to our students’ long-term success (p 14).
Marsha appears to have that unique skill to see beyond her own students and classroom. She intentionally incorporates other disciplines and meaningful content in her instruction.
Not only do her grade-level colleagues benefit from her collaborative nature, but so do her students. Marsha sees the advantage of partnering with students as she plans for instruction, all while still being accountable for their learning.
Let me be clear. I’m still in charge of my room. I bring the expertise about curriculum, lesson design and assessment. But I had become convinced that in order to create passion around learning, students had to become my partners in what we were studying. In more than 20 years of teaching, I don’t think I’d ever been to any kind of professional development where they talked about this. I knew I’d never had a college or graduate class about this kind of learning philosophy (p 17).
Marsha also recognizes that the learning targets, whether that be in her algebra or science class, can connect with broader concepts. This practice allows her students to develop enduring understandings of what is important to their lives, and life in general. Check out her reflections during her attempt to use a “Big Themes” framework with her 8th graders in science class.
Finding mega-themes where you can add onto knowledge as you revisit will help students learn material faster. If you give them a framework where they can hook new learning onto what they already understand, it isn’t like starting from zero each time (p 49).
Teaching conceptually relates the big idea to specific instances, thus compacting the amount of time it takes to teach those specific instances. Think about a multi-tool — a power tool with interchangeable parts (p 50).
I realized during this experience that empowering my students required a partnership where WE had to the design the path based on their vision and then travel that path together (p 53).
Students “won” because they had choice and could direct their learning toward things that interested them. I “won” because student involvement was rising and we were co-designing the learning activities. The school “won” because we covered all the science curriculum and additional topics in related subject areas (p 53).
I particularly liked this line. It reveals her gift to think beyond the now, to put herself in others’ shoes. Her value reaches throughout her school because of this ability to take multiple perspectives. Everyone benefits.
I am a believer in ‘intentional serendipity’ so I try to set up environments that are transparent – where kids’ characteristics, passions, strengths, quirks and ‘weaknesses’ are explicit. I have kids use shared creation spaces that I require the other students to visit and comment – so that each will know about all (p 70).
Marsha allows connections beyond her classroom walls through social media such as Twitter, her classroom blog, and Google. Readers get a first hand view of this interaction, as many of her tweets and posts are embedded in the digital texts.
These shared learning exchanges provides the model that helps lead Marsha’s class to allow their thinking to be visible. The interactions she fosters in digital spaces lead to learning opportunities that even she cannot anticipate. Giving students that space to explore allows Marsha to be a co-learner and coach in her classroom. Seeing this transformation as she becomes more than just your traditional teacher is inspiring.
In Teaching in High Gear, you get to witness first hand the evolution of an educator who decides to create a learning environment that works for all students. Her classroom moves beyond the four walls in her school. Her students become co-creators and deliverers of the content. Her parents and personal learning network get first hand access to their progress and performance thanks to the power of social media. Her school now has a model of a 21st century educator.
Just as important, Marsha discovers a powerful life lesson about this process of becoming an inquiry-based, student-driven educator.
My students’ strength meant they were willing to dig down deep when what they really wanted was to quit. Some people never learn that finding the answer or doing something successful is mostly overcoming fear that it can’t be done (p 95).
In the future, students who have Mrs. Ratzel as their teacher will reap the benefits of her courage to become better. This book provides a clear pathway for any educator to follow the trail she has blazed.
Ben Gilpin, fellow elementary principal (@benjamingilpin), listed my blog as one of eleven to receive the Sunshine Award. Thank you Ben! This award is actually a way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers, as well as to encourage them to share a little bit more about themselves. Here is a description:
The Sunshine award gives others an opportunity to learn more about me as a blogger and then, in turn, I will send sunshine the way of 11 other amazing bloggers for you to get to know!
Here are the rules Ben lists in his post:
Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
Share 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
Eleven random facts:
1. I have never traveled beyond North America. Cozumel (Mexico) and Victoria (Canada) are the farthest I have traveled from my home state of Wisconsin.
2. This year will be my eighth as an administrator. Before my current position as an elementary principal, I was an assistant principal and athletic director at a secondary school. I have spent the same amount of time as a classroom teacher at the 3rd through 6th grade levels.
3. Each role has their rewards and drawbacks, and I enjoy(ed) serving in both.
4. I have two kids – a son (7) and a daughter (5). They keep me moving.
5. I am married to Jodi. She currently teaches 2nd grade in the same district as me, but in different buildings. We literally met on the playground, when we were both teaching summer school.
6. During my athletic director days, I was also a WIAA certified official in baseball, softball, and basketball. There was always the possibility that a ref might cancel. I also coached junior high basketball for two years.
7. If I wasn’t in education, I could have seen myself as a landscape architect. I enjoy designing and installing gardens on my own property. Maybe that is why we bought a home with over an acre of land – I needed a large canvas.
8. I’m originally from Illinois. Most of my family still lives there. I would probably visit more often if it wasn’t for all those annoying tolls
9. I own at least four different Moleskine notebooks. They all have different purposes, such as reading notes, books I have read, and writing ideas.
10. I also own lots of tech. I have an iPad, an iPhone, and I am a premium user of Evernote. The Moleskine Evernote notebook might be the best invention of the year.
11. I don’t like cilantro, raisins, or mushrooms. If you have me over for dinner, please refrain from including these items in the meal.
Eleven questions from Ben:
1. Do you prefer to shop in stores or online?
Online. This year, I made the mistake of going to Wal-Mart for groceries on Thanksgiving night. I didn’t realize Black Friday now crept into Thursday.
2. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Six? That includes my older ones that I probably just need to throw out.
3. What is your favorite type of music? Favorite band or song?
Acoustic rock, especially unplugged songs from rock bands like Nirvana and The Foo Fighters. I am currently listening to The Lumineers.
4. Cats or Dogs? Why…
Dogs, although I don’t own one right now. Dogs are always happy to see you when you get home.
5. What is your typical bedtime?
6. Favorite twitter chat?
Basing this on the conversation I seem to join the most, I will go with #educoach. I enjoy the dialogue, moderated by @principalj, @kathyperret, and @shiraleibowitz, around how administrators can take a coaching-like stance with their staff.
I have never donated funds to either major party, so I would say “other”. In fact, I think money should be removed entirely out of politics. I think our current lack of government leadership is a direct result of this. Therefore, I don’t align myself with a party. It’s all too idealogical for me right now.
8. Best place you ever vacationed?
The two places I listed in my first fact: Victoria and Cozumel. I could see my family living in the former, and snowbirding in the latter (when we retire:).
9. Best book you’ve read in 2013?
I really liked Wool by Hugh Howey. It is a dystopian novel about the remaining members of human civilization living in silos underground. There are lots of parallels to our current society in this science fiction series. It is actually a trilogy, with the first book starting in the middle of this epic. Thanks to Curt Rees (@curtrees) for recommending and sharing this book.
10. Favorite television show when you were growing up?
Dukes of Hazard, no doubt. My family was also partial to reruns of the Andy Griffith Show.
11. What is one thing you never/rarely share that you are exceptionally proud of?
I received state recognition in high school for singing and for playing baseball. I know, a very unique combination. But if you see me, don’t ask for a solo. I only sang in duets and quartets.
And now for the eleven bloggers I want to highlight:
These are the blogs I find deserve more attention, whether they get a lot of attention already or not. Bloggers: Please don’t feel obligated to complete this task. Feel free to simply revel in this unexpected recognition :). If you would like to pay it forward, here are 11 questions/prompts I have for each of you:
1. What songs/bands are on your favorite playlist right now?
2. What book would you recommend that you own in multiple formats (print, digital, and/or audio)?
3. Apple or Microsoft?
4. “If I could live in any country other than my own…”
5. “When I am not thinking about school, I am…”
6. Who is the most important person(s) in your life right now?
7. “If I could meet anyone…”
8. “During the holidays…”
9. What will be your 2014 new year’s resolution?
10. “If I wasn’t an educator, I would…”
11. “On Fridays, I like wearing…”
I was asked this question, in so many words, by a guest touring my school today. My response was, “Uhh, well, uhmm…”. I obviously didn’t have an immediate answer. There are too many great resources out there to make an easy selection.
I threw this question out on Twitter.
I was asked today what professional resource I would refer to that would support best practices in the classroom. What would you have said?
— Matt Renwick (@ReadByExample) December 13, 2013
Here were the smart responses.
@ReadByExample I refer to Edutopia a lot, for a variety of reasons.
— Chris ONeal (@onealchris) December 13, 2013
— Courtney Cohron (@CCohron) December 13, 2013
— Susan Verdi (@sacchetti7) December 13, 2013
— Maggie Dorsey (@4MaggieD) December 13, 2013
— Mindi Rench (@mindi_r) December 13, 2013
— Ashley Hurley (@ashleyhhurley) December 13, 2013
— Jamie Graper (@ThatsJustGraper) December 13, 2013
— Jen Vincent (@mentortexts) December 13, 2013
— Gurney Tech/Library (@GurneyTech) December 13, 2013
As you can see, there were a wide variety of responses. If this were an election, Twitter would be the winner. Several online resources were also mentioned. I was a little surprised that more actual books were not suggested. For me, I referenced Visible Learning by Dr. John Hattie (Routledge, 2009). What’s great about education is that learning is complex enough to allow for a variety of responses with this type of inquiry.
So what is your go-to resource for teaching and learning? Please share in the comments.