And the children shall lead them?

How often do students not want an assignment to end?  In the blogosphere, we often talk about the transformative power of assignments that ignite student passions and connect them to a global audience, and the importance a tool like blogging can play in that.  In this case, Christian Long’s Alice Project  wasn’t just about blogging but allowing students to discover, write about, and share their ideas and understanding with one another.  What tremendous power in giving students the reins to discover their own understanding.   But who […]

Inspiring students to find their muse

Ever since I heard Konrad Glogowski speak at Educon 2.0 last year about blogging and the teacher’s role, I’ve found that a fascinating subject.  How do we encourage and support our students into following their own muse in their own blog? And I wonder how do we encourage them to do this when they ask research questions as well? In chapter five of her book The Writing Life, Annie Dillard inspires with a beautiful challenge. She writes about the “strange seizures” of fascination that are unique to […]

The changing nature of reading

Tim Lauer twittered a fascinating NYTimes article, “Literacy Debate: Online R U Really Reading?” about the changing nature of reading that our students are doing. As students do more and more of their reading online, as the article posits, (based on various research studies), how are we adapting our instruction/reading programs/”novel” assignments to account for this? And do we need to? The article notes that: “As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet […]

Creating an ensemble

One of the things that I can tell is going to be interesting about our professional learning community we have formed at my campus is the diversity of teachers involved.  We have members from departments all over campus, from English to science to special education to band.   And it’s fascinating hearing their perspectives on teaching and learning and what it looks like to them.    It also strikes me that one thing that happens in schools is that we tend to talk to the people we […]

Using versus having

“They say knowledge is power.  We say the use of knowledge is power.” Elliot Washor  in The Big Picture by Dennis Littkey As a group of us have been meeting at our campus to form a professional learning community, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the notion of students as a pail having information “poured” into them, versus the notion of students actively constructing knowledge. I think to librarians, this idea comes fairly naturally.   We know that we can’t “know” everything, but that the […]

31 day comment challenge reflections

How are our online conversations part of our own learning? I’ve been loosely participating in the 31 Day Comment Challenge, (which is an effort to focus on improving blog comments through various activities.)   It’s been a little bit of a learning curve for me to figure out how to use coComment, which is the tool we are using, but by joining the 31 day challenge group, and then backtracking to blog post’s other participants have been commenting on, I’ve discovered a number of bloggers I had never […]

Creating “space” for thought

Our campus has a Vision committee which I’ve mentioned before, made up of parents, students, administrators and teachers.   Yesterday at our meeting, we were discussing the books Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner  and Horace’s Compromise by Theodore Sizer, and in discussing the two books together some interesting alchemy came up. One of our parents delineated the five minds outlined by Gardner:  the Respectful Mind, Ethical Mind, Disciplined Mind, Synthesizing Mind, and Creative Mind. As we started discussing the difficulty with synthesis and […]

Curriculum and relationship

A group at our campus is starting a professional learning community. I’m cross posting the post below from the blog we have started, which we aren’t quite ready to share “prime time” but are using for our organizing thoughts, because I thought it would have interest outside of our campus. ————  In our meeting this week, Jeff brought up the idea of curriculum AS relationship, and the importance of relationship as the foundation for reaching students. In his book, The Passionate Learner, Robert L. Fried talks […]

Of communication, design, writing and many other things

It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writing, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. – William Bernbach A lengthy debate has been going on at Clay Burell’s blog regarding the weight and value of writing in Language Arts education, the effects of technology, and the importance of other aspects of communication like verbal or visual. I’ve been thinking about this […]

Learning because you want to

When I wrote my previous post, I didn’t know I’d soon have a perfect illustration of what learning looks like for younger students who have a natural joy for learning. In The Passionate Learner, Robert L. Fried points out that in preschool or kindergarten learners:  “Curiosity is everywhere.  Questions abound.  Pride and delight in learning are everyday occurrences.  The children draw and paint seemingly without inhibition. . . . They wonder constantly about why things are the way they are.” I had the opportunity to […]