29 October 2010

Then and Now

According to Blogger, this is my 1500th post: a pittance compared to Bora, but not too shabby for a little edublog. This site contains the drips and drabs of my career and thoughts about public education. Whether they have been worthy of so many posts is a decision for The Reader. A lot has changed for me over the almost six years I've had this space, but I will save that brand of nostalgia for another time. Instead, I find myself wondering about the changes to teaching over the past few decades.

My mother is in the picture on the right. It was September 1969, just after she turned 23 and was beginning her second year of teaching. Me? I'm the barely visible bump underneath her dress. (Even as a fetus, I was in a classroom...not that I recall that particular experience.) I'm kind of a problem (yes, already). Being unwed and pregnant as a public school teacher in 1969 was "not simple," as my mother once said. She taught until Remembrance Day, then quit and stayed hidden in a local hotel until I made my appearance a couple of months later. After handing me over to the government to find a new home, she moved on with her life and career.

When I finally did meet her, she was still teaching and working part-time in her school as an administrator. I never got to see her teach (she usually had a Grade 1 classroom), but stories from former colleagues and students suggest that she was excellent.

On the left, we have my father. This picture was taken on the same outing as the one of my mother. He, too, was a teacher---elementary music. He is 30 in this photo, but also a second-year teacher. He had worked for the CBC and lived in his parents' basement for most of his 20's before escaping into a different life and career...one where he sowed lots of wild oats (although we think I am the only one that sprouted) and started a decades-long affair with alcohol. I don't know much about his skills as a teacher. I never had very many conversations with him, and his advanced Parkinson's symptoms made things even more difficult. His girlfriend at the time---who was still teaching---seemed to think a lot of his abilities. I hope that he inspired a lot of children to love music.

I have been thinking about these stories, along with those of every other former teacher I have known, as the 2010 pot swirls about educational matters. Has teacher quality changed in the past few decades---are the characteristics which now define a "good" teacher different from the 1970s...the 1950's...or the 1850's? Have teachers always suffered from the madonna-whore syndrome: at once expected by society to have no besmirches upon their personal escutcheons while carrying out the heavy demands placed upon schools? Have teachers and schools been continually vilified and perceived as not doing their jobs well? Did my mother and father feel as overworked and underappreciated in 1970 as my friends who teach today? In other words, has the world changed while teachers have remained the same?

It's not that I think there will be a resolution to the push and pull between what society thinks it wants its teachers to do and what actually happens. Rather, I would like us to realize that while the world we live in may change, people do not. A six-year old is a six-year old. Perhaps she is dressed differently from year to year...perhaps he has access to different information. But the human needs and growth remain the same. Relationships are built in the same ways. Teachers who see a new batch of 6-year olds every year may remember these things, but a society which has long forgotten what it is like to be six does not.

Somewhere behind those pictures...behind this blog...behind the at-large rhetoric about education are real people. Remembering that means that then and now aren't so different. It just means that we have to keep that important piece in our sights.

Epilogue: After my mother died last year, we found this children's book. It had originally been given to my aunt, who was all of 5-years old when I was born; however, at some point, it had returned to my mother for use in her classroom. We returned the book to my aunt, but not before I snapped a picture of the note on the title page. I think it is the only "public" piece I've ever seen where my mother acknowledged my father. I also thought the story choice was a bit...interesting. Who else but a secretly pregnant woman who can't see her family for Christmas would send a story about a woman who was in danger of losing her firstborn child? Here's hoping that pregnant and unmarried female educators have a simpler time of things now.

23 October 2010

Memory Lane

This is my new BFF. It is a Canon Pixma MX340...a replacement for my 5 year old HP all-in-one that gave up the ghost months ago.

It has been my quest the past few months to methodically go through my house and pare down my "stuff." I do this every 2 - 3 years and am always surprised at what I find. This round, I have tried to be especially thorough. There is not a single drawer, cabinet, or box anywhere in the house that I haven't completely sorted through (except for the Christmas stuff...but it's time is coming). I have looked at every book, every keepsake, every piece of clothing, dish, linen, and tool. There have been trips to the dump, to Goodwill, and items moved out via Craigslist. Yesterday, I bundled up all of my old electronics: an ancient (i.e. 7-year old) laptop, the HP all-in-one, 5 cell phones, 2 zip drives, 2 cameras, a Palm Lifedrive, and countless chargers and cables. For $10, Office Depot graciously accepted them all and boxed them up for e-cycling. And I came home with my new friend.

I need this friend. You see, it has an automatic document feeder on the top and wireless capabilities. And here at home, I have a few boxes of files that I want to digitize. Lots of paper from my career never had an electronic form. They were copies handed to me at conferences, dittos from early in my career, articles from my own schooling, and so forth. As I've been sorting this summer, I've realized that I'm not ready to put my teaching career in the recycling bin---but it is not so great that all these little treasures are starting to smell like basement. This is where my BFF comes in. Now, I can easily scan anything I want to hold onto---and across the room, no less---and it will magically appear on my computer desktop, ready to keep and share with others. I'll archive, make a backup copy, and then I can recycle the hard copies from my career.

I started with a milk crate of files this morning. I'm about halfway through, although I've already sorted what I want to scan and what I don't need to keep. It's been a fabulous little journey down memory lane: creativity tests for gifted kids...intriguing labs...interviews students did with polio survivors...projects...and so forth. Since I didn't get the fancy-dancy version of the all-in-one, I can't do 2-sided scanning. But, I can merge things with Acrobat Writer and all will be well.

I plan to upload and share some things here. Perhaps some of my old favourites might find new life in your classrooms. Maybe that little Canon can be your BFF, too.

16 October 2010

Here's Johnny!

I'm bushed. Three conferences in a week is a lot...especially after the previous week contained three separate (but informal) presentations on the new assessments, too. I am the freakin' Johnny Appleseed of EdTech Assessmentland: planting little seeds of ideas that I hope will bloom all over the state.

Things I've learned during conference season:
  • I don't care what content area it is, the teacher archetypes appear in all of them. You know what I'm talking about. Whether it's the jaded veteran or the person who has to bring up the same point over and over again, everyone has their role in the discussion. I know I shouldn't be surprised by this, but it amuses me to see it in such a wide variety of settings.
  • I will not claim that our tools are going to lead to widespread change. What I do find interesting, however, is that someone in each group I've worked with has commented that they feel like the finally have something that will lead to conversation and collaboration with another group. IT staff thought they had the basis for a discussion with curriculum...librarians have a link to CTE...and so on. The fact is, they don't need us for any of that. Catalyzing those connections is an unintentional, but fortuitous, consequence.
  • We're on the right track with these assessments. Sure, not everyone is going to love them and use them. And people in the room who thought our work sucked probably kept quiet and will use the anonymous survey instead. All comments---even the ugly ones---can be used for learning and improving what we have. For example, someone didn't like the arts/edtech assessment we developed because a teacher might have to teach something new---why not just have kids research a piece of tech and do a powerpoint instead? And while we won't go that direction with our work, what those sorts of comments tell me is that we have to do a better job communicating with the field about what's in our standards and why we've made the choices that we have. There needs to be more foundation built.
  • Because of the enthusiastic reception (so far), I am a little freaked out about our writing sessions this fall. We're going to fly without a net. Instead of building onto existing assessments for social studies and arts, we're going to create brand new pieces that integrate a variety of content. Social science and math? Math and engineering? Epidemiology? Criminalistics? The curriculum world is our veritable oyster. This is a wonderful thing...but also makes for a very big world. We can't write about everything. We need to carefully select 6 or 7 topics. How to choose these? Can we write them in a week...which is all the time we have? I'm gettin' the sweats just thinking about it. These things have to kick ass and chew bubblegum. (Kind of like this, but without bullets.) I believe in my assessment group...just gotta believe a little in myself, too.
I have the upcoming week to catch my breath from conference season. The next one will be in March (3 conferences in three states that month) and I will have a whole new set of information to share by then. This is a process which has many miles to go before I can sleep. But next year, I hope to watch the seeds I've planted grow and bloom.

12 October 2010

STEM Dissection

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, my assessment group will be focusing on constructing some classroom tools which integrate and measure STEM and Educational Technology. In preparation, I have been asking for ideas from a variety of people and looking at countless online resources. After all of this, and in spite of being a science teacher for 17 years, I have decided that I really don't know what the hell STEM is.

At the surface level, the acronym represents science, technology (but not educational technology), engineering, and math. What I can't tell is whether this is supposed to just be a broad category of subjects...or something special that integrated two or more pieces.

Most of the STEM-touting Web sites I've seen for educators are very silo-like. Science lessons here...math lessons there. You might find a resource that addresses both science and math concepts or science and engineering---but the connections are forced...the alignment artificial. (And you know how much I hate that.) And don't get me started on the technology stuff. It's all hardware.

Maybe this is okay. Maybe it's really meant to be S-T-E-M, without any fusing between the areas. Somehow, I thought the integration and connection between content pieces should be the focus. Or maybe it's all of the above: Wild STEM, refusing to be tamed.

I just find it interesting that with all the talk and money being thrown at STEM these days, there is no standard for what it is. My hunch is that a lot of groups will say that they're all STEM, all the time in order to get some funding...but they have no more clue what they're doing than any other group. Is that really what we want?

While none of this will be sorted out before my group needs to write, I am fairly certain that we're going to go with an integrated model---not simply science + edtech or math + edtech. And maybe, just maybe, we'll prove that educational technology is "T" enough for STEM.

11 October 2010

Terms of Engagement

Later this month, my assessment group will be reconvening to do some more writing. I haven't seen them since June and really have missed them. They spend time with other teachers every day. I rarely do---and their energy is restorative to me. In exchange, I try to give them rich professional learning experiences.

One of the things that I have been wrestling with---and will ask them to wade through---is some definition around two adjectives: relevant and authentic.

Education is replete with calls for learning opportunities which are "relevant" to the student. Until recently, I hadn't thought about this term much. I was part of a discussion recently where someone pointed out that adults have to deal with problems all the time which aren't relevant to them. Ever had a co-worker/spouse/child drop an issue in your lap? Suddenly, someone else's problem becomes yours. "Authentic" has its own issues. I have always assumed that authentic was interchangeable with "real world." Maybe it still is.

Both of these terms require some sort of context---relevant for whom? authentic as compared to ? Dan Meyer has been exploring pseudocontext over on his blog: "authentic" examples of math that are bastardized to create a problem for students to solve.

As much as I want to avoid this as we move forward with the EdTech Assessments, I have also been struggling to find examples of STEM concepts that aren't chock full of pseudocontext. I am beginning to wonder if this is a de facto piece, especially for younger students.

For example, are there authentic and relevant problems for first graders to solve that involve knowledge and skills from science, math, and technology? I can think of topics that integrate these. I can easily picture providing students with some materials science experience and then having them design a new home for the Three Little Pigs. I can make connections with science and math concepts (properties of materials, measurement, etc.). Knowledge of the attributes of different materials can be very useful. But I have to admit that a first grader is not going to be out building houses anytime soon. Does this make the experience irrelevant---just because it is not as applicable when 7 years old? Have we created something that isn't authentic because primary students aren't responsible for real world engineering/architecture---or is it because we might try to tie this to a literary piece that they understand? Or, is it okay to build background knowledge of materials and design in age-appropriate ways that can become relevant and authentic later in life?

Even with older students who have some additional life experience in them, I'm not sure that we ever get to "relevant." I think it's easier for them to make the bridge to "authentic," but it's still somewhat artificial. I'm not sure what that will mean as my assessment continues to build tools for the classroom. I'm hoping that we can find some peace with these terms of student engagement.

10 October 2010

Breakin' the Law

Every once in awhile, I see a piece about dumb laws (now there's even a Web site devoted to them). These are laws which were enacted at some point in the past, and as society and technology moved forward, the law was forgotten...but still left on the books. For example, in Washington state
  • All motor vehicles must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag (daytime) or a red lantern (nighttime) fifty feet in front of said vehicle.
  • It is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone the chief of police as he is entering the town.
  • All lollipops are banned.
Furthermore, in Seattle it is still illegal for anyone to carry a concealed weapon that is more than six feet in length. Let that be a lesson to you, fair citizens and visitors to our state.

These are, technically, enforceable. It takes a lot of time and effort to repeal laws, and so they stay in the code and we just pretend they aren't there. Other laws may be broken on purpose in the name of a civil disobedience cause---and society condones that sort of activity, too.

How do we know when it is okay to break the rules?

I was thinking about this after yesterday's presentation on cell phones. What I hear from teachers who are not opposed to using cell phones as instructional tools almost always goes along with this: cell phone use by students during the school day is expressly forbidden (or has many restrictions for place/time) by district or school policy. These same teachers know that when they do allow students to use the phones for instructional purposes that they and the students are not in compliance. While in my professional capacity I might not be able to condone that, I also don't discourage it.

Board policy can suffer in similar ways to "dumb laws." I've seen Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) for districts that are seven years old (and older). Think of all the ways technology and access have changed in the past seven years: increase in mobile devices (cell phones, iPads, netbooks...), wireless capabilities, bandwidth/broadband to more areas, more online tools (blogs, wikis, YouTube, Facebook). An AUP can get antiquated in a hurry. Meanwhile, at the school level, you have more flexibility---but can have the fight between personal opinions. For cell phones, this often takes the form of extremes. And really, do you want to spend your "bored meeting" time listening to the "no way no how" types vs. "teach responsible use" camps?

Instead, the path of least resistance is just to use your professional judgment and hope your administrator isn't one to be hellbent on enforcing the cell phone ban. Personally, I think a good compromise would be to include something like the one below (from the Uni High Student Handbook):
Students may have silenced mobile devices on their person. The use of Communication features on cellular devices during instructional time, or in a disruptive manner in the school atmosphere, is prohibited.

Note: Each teacher has the right to allow the use of mobile devices (e.g. cell phones, laptops, iPods, personal data assistants) during Instructional time.

The school has separate expectations for phones during regular school hours and during extracurricular activities. What I like about this policy is that it leaves the decision up to the teacher. You can set your own expectations. You choose what makes sense.

What a concept.

There are times in both society and school where a common code makes sense. But there also comes a time when we need to look carefully at our values and check to ensure that match what we communicate to stakeholders. In the meantime, this one's for all the teachers out there who are putting themselves on the line in the name of using technology in the classroom:

09 October 2010

Cell Phones in the Classroom

Today, I will be taking a new presentation out for a spin. Some teachers and I will kick the tires on it and see how it handles. I have this same presentation proposed for two conferences later this year which will give some other opportunities to do some fine tuning. If it's looking tight by then, I'll put in for some national conferences next year.

This is a "wolf in sheep's clothing" presentation. Yes, we will talk about ways to use cell phones for research and data collection, but there are some other pieces I plan to sneak in. I also know some other things will bubble up---I expect people to have a lot of big buts. This is all good. My goal isn't to change minds. I would rather provoke some thinking and questioning, things that have been lacking in most approaches to dealing with mobile devices in the educational environment.

I'm starting with some information from Pew.

I will do some colour adjustments to the slide once it hits the LCD projector. Computer monitors are poor judges of what looks good large scale. Anyway, if you don't want to "click to embiggen" the above graphic, this is one of several pieces I've pulled for the audience to consider. In orange, we have the relationship between family income and the presence of a computer in the household. In purple, the presence of a cell phone. As you might expect, as income increases, so do the number of teens who have access to both pieces of technology. The surprise is in green. As income decreases, the use of a cell phone to go online increases. Not shown in this slide are trends involving minorities---non-whites are far more likely than whites to use cell phones for connecting online and taking advantage of a wide range of mobile features. When we ask students of poverty and students of colour to turn off their phones...when we refuse to offer mobile versions of educational websites or school surveys which can be completed via text messaging---are we increasing issues associated with the achievement gap?

I want participants to play with text messaging (also known as Simple Messaging Service or SMS). Google SMS is one of the more robust options available, but I have spent time exploring others. What I've learned in the last few weeks is that SMS really blossomed as an option in 2005 - 2006...but I don't think the American public was quite ready for it. Not as many teens with phones then...not as many text messaging plans included with cell phone contracts. As a result many of the really cool SMS things I read about are no longer available. The most hilarious example of this was my test message to Yahoo! (92466---just spell "Yahoo" with the phone keypad). I sent a basic query "pizza 98504" on a Thursday morning. I did get an answer---but not until Sunday evening. So, apparently the SMS system still exists in some capacity for Yahoo!, but if you need a speedy answer, this is not the way to go. One other intriguing thing I've learned is that SMS is used extensively and in diverse ways in other countries (especially India). I suppose it could be argued that in many of those countries, people don't have computers---phones are the tools they do have and therefore SMS is more important. But I think that's all the more reason to have options here. I can pretty much count on every teacher and most teenage students to have a phone. I can't count on a 1:1 computer situation, bandwidth, open filters, or other conditions. We need to have more companies offer SMS options.

I have ideas to share using SMS and data options for conducting surveys, classroom assessment, and capturing information about student performance. I'll also give a nod to App Inventor.

At some point, however, we do need to talk about policy and implementation issues. I am not interested in promoting cell phones as a cure for what ails schools. I think that they can be a disruption in the classroom if their use isn't focused on learning. There are problems with the content of pictures and texts students store and send on their phones, including those which allow cheating on assignments and tests. But I think that we are going to have to find ways to (a) incorporate these tools---as appropriate---for lessons and (b) involve students and teachers in talking about responsible use as opposed to outright banning. I am wanting to gather ideas from educators at these presentations. What are the problems? What are the possible solutions?

So, we'll see what happens today as I roll this out. I've never designed a slide show with so many "warm" colours. I'm not sure that this is such a great idea given that the topic may be controversial and this range tends to incite people...but we'll see if I get out of there without being pelted with rotten fruit.

Do you have favourite tools for text messaging? What are you doing with your phone---other than calls, contacts, and calendaring?

08 October 2010

The Road Ahead

I've neglected to mention some of conferences I'll be at this year for presentations. If you're around, please stop by and introduce yourself.
  • Friday, October 8: WA ArtsTime
  • Saturday, October 9: WA Council for Social Studies Cross Current
  • Friday, October 15: WA Library-Media Association
  • Thursday, December 9 - Friday, December 10: WA Educational Researchers Association
  • Wednesday, March 2 - Friday, March 4: Northwest Council for Computers in Education in Portland, OR
  • Saturday, March 19 - Sunday, March 20: WA Science Teachers Association (tentative)
  • Saturday, March 26 - Monday, March 28: ASCD Annual Conference in SF
This is a rather diverse list. The first three represent new conferences for me, which I find very exciting. Now that I have a foot planted in educational technology, it means I have a foot planted in most content areas. Interestingly enough, I have no presentations on grading scheduled (yet). All but the ed research conference and ASCD will have me focusing on the new EdTech Assessments. However, I am rolling out a new presentation on "Cell Phones for Data Collection and Research" presentation this year. That proposal is out to three conferences and confirmed for one---and I will share more about that session tomorrow. The NW computer conference and ASCD will include my presentations on data visualization for the classroom---with the computer conference being a 3-hour hands-on workshop.

I like being with educators, so these upcoming opportunities really are among the highlights of my year. I hope to see some of you at one or more of these events!

07 October 2010

Coming Attractions

Just because I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about a lot of education-related...stuff. Here are a few topics I've been kicking around in my head. Perhaps you'd like to ponder and weigh in when the time and posts come:
  • Would the world be a different place if we focused on local problems first? Or would that only increase our capacity for prejudice? I am still struggling with the issue of "global competence." If the neighbouring district has a homeless student population of 25%, should I focus on helping make a difference on that issue...or should I give my money and support to relieve issues in Haiti or Pakistan? How we make choices---how do we help students prioritize---in a time when we know more about what's happening worldwide and have so many options available?
  • There is a lot of angry banter in the last month about public schooling in America. Maybe you watched Education Nation. Perhaps you've been reading shared ideas at the Huffington Post or other items in your RSS feed. I am not a fan of any of these, but I have been pausing to think about what is the work of a teacher? What should we expect teachers to do? Beyond that, what are the problems associated with education that we can solve? Given unions, local control, meddling by the feds, state laws, Billionaire Boys Clubs, and every other group with an interest in education---where is the common ground?
  • Beyond that, if we don't have the societal conditions in place to get to the kinds of conversations about instruction that we want to have, what should we do? Who is responsible? For example, if students don't have access to quality health care, nutrition, and safety at home---then learning is impeded. I don't want to make excuses here. Impoverished children can and do learn. I have yet to see a school that doesn't fight hard for its kids. I am just thinking about how we as a society need to enable change. 
  • Good teaching requires a Swiss Army knife of skills: classroom management, questioning strategies, interventions/reteaching, assessment, planning for instruction, etc. It's unreasonable to expect teachers to spring fully-formed from ed school experiences. However, which of these skills are absolute musts? What should happen to teachers who don't develop facility with all the tools?
  • Unpacking standards and deconstructing learning goals can lead to valuable reflection and conversation among teachers. However, it is unreasonable for a teacher to understand what interventions are appropriate for every student in every subject (especially at the elementary level).  What supporting materials should be provided---what should teachers be left to struggle with? Where is the balance in terms of teacher autonomy and support needed to ease the load?
If anyone comes here looking for answers...you will be sorely disappointed. But one of the reasons I've stayed away from writing this past month while all hell seems to be breaking loose in the edusphere is that I'm tired of the rhetoric. At some point, it's time to "fish or get off the pot," so to speak. Enough whining from various parts of the education spectrum. If you don't like your administration, change schools, become part of a solution (or an administrator yourself), or work to get new administrators. Don't like who's making the laws? Get out to campaign and vote. You don't like the program the local school is implementing? Get your ass in the classroom to really learn about what is going on and volunteer in your schools. You don't want the new standards/assessments your state is building? Call your legislator. Respond to the postings for educators to participate in state level work. Make time to go to a conference or an appointment to talk with someone involved. In short, be responsible for your ideas. I am good about this in some ways---and not so good in others. But what I hope to get from this posts is some sort of guidance about a plan of action. Maybe you'll be kind enough to share yours.

06 October 2010

That's What She Said

Dear Presenter from Today,

Even though you stressed the important role of feedback in formative assessment during your presentation today, you neglected to ask for any. So, as a favour to you, I'm including some here.

I agree that the Black Box article by Black and Wiliam is seminal and an important read for classroom educators. I also know that it is nearly 15 years old and much has been researched, analyzed, and written about providing student feedback and using formative assessment in the classroom. Perhaps this article is appropriate when working with teachers new to the ideas. In a room full of state leadership, this article is redundant. We have expertise. Use it.

I really loved (not) how you modeled the complete opposite of everything you were talking about today. All the stress on adjusting instruction and meeting students where they are---all the emphasis on the responsibilities of the teacher. Such important concepts. And yet, we as learners were treated to one of the most extensive "sit and gets" I have been to in a very long time. We weren't to use our phones to connect and learn and look at links you provided because the phones distract you. You. We are learning. We are the clients. You are there for us. Don't treat us like we're just a meal ticket that should bow at your feet.

You are right in that teachers need strong support. They also need real answers. When someone asks you for some concrete suggestions about closing the gap between student learning and the standard, don't give them a bunch of platitudes and then ask, did that answer your question? I nearly burst out laughing when the person quietly said "Thank you." because what was hidden in there was "No, but now I feel too stupid to ask again." And you just went right on with what you wanted to talk about instead of what they needed. You didn't have a clue what you'd just done. If you don't know an answer, at least be gracious enough to say you don't, offer to do some research, or ask the other participants for their suggestions. You've already said that you moved into administration from teaching because teaching was too hard. Now you're going to tell us what to tell teachers? How about you stick your advice in your ZPD and smoke it?

The coup de grĂ¢ce was your observation about sending teachers to professional development. I have to agree with you that there is a lot of poor PD out there. You were generous enough to show us that first hand today. But I particularly loved your statement that when you were an administrator, that if teachers came back with a "neat idea," you never allowed them to go to a workshop again because getting neat ideas is a waste. Neat ideas don't help kids. (Is that why you provided none today?) 

Let me tell you about "neat ideas." They might not help kids directly---but they inspire teachers. They make them want to try new things that can reach students for the first time. They can motivate teachers to think of new ways to present material or assess learning.  They make teaching exciting. I have to say that when I was a n00b teacher, "neat ideas" are what saved me and kept me in teaching. Now I am wondering how many careers you crushed when you told a spirited teacher "no more learning for you." 

That was my biggest takeaway today: you don't know jack about learning (especially how adults learn). Don't learn using a computer or phone---only the sound of your voice or these relatively poor visuals that were included could possibly suffice. Don't learn from the person sitting next to me. Don't go some place where I might be exposed to (gasp!) a neat idea.  

Lucky us. You're coming back two more times this year. Unfortunately, I won't make the last meeting as I am already scheduled to be looking at student work and having meaningful conversations about it. There are sure to be "neat ideas" there, so I'm sure you will be relieved to know that I'm not inviting you. But my phone and I will be ready to join you and learn in January. I hope you're ready.

Sincerely yours,


05 October 2010


I'm not dead...just having a very difficult time at the moment. September was hard for personal reasons. October is not off to the best start for work reasons. So, I've been trying to take care of myself and am about ready to take on this space again.

Some good news on the way, as I will also be doing some writing and posting for ASCD starting later this month. Should be just the kick in the pants I need.