Posted on 6 May, 2013 by jlevno
There’s no doubt that those of us in education go through an annual cycle… as the end of the year approaches there’s a flurry of motivational blog postings extolling the virtues of finishing strong, staying positive and building relationships just as many post how tired they are of cheating and the stress of helping students get into colleges.
Here I go, with my own effort at keeping things positive! I’ll start with a few things I saw recently on Facebook that reminded me of stepping back and taking a breather:
I also first saw the following, on Facebook, posted by a former student who is now in university… shortly after that George Couros also posted the very same Ted Talk, “Every Kid Needs a Champion”:
Rita Pierson is a true champion!
And, finally… life is too short to forget to take a moment to appreciate what we have:
With that, may we all have a positive, meaningful and happy end to another school year!!!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: balance, blogging, positive expectations, reflection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 3 April, 2013 by jlevno
Students have been given ‘projects’ as assessments for as long as I can remember. However, I have often questioned how these projects actually tie-in to the learning goals and whether they do anything for learning other than causing stress. They can also be real ‘monsters’ to grade, once all the projects come in.
The folks at the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) have developed a handy-dandy checklist to help ensure that projects are well-structured and meaningful (see below).
Project Based Learning (PBL) has always had much potential but, as is true of many things, must be used in moderation and with other learning strategies to help keep students engaged, reflective and exploratory learners. Nevertheless, when used properly PBL can help encourage life-long learning by giving students the opportunity to direct their own learning, take some risks and explore a topic more deeply than worksheets and textbook section review questions can.
In a related post, Jeff Dunn at Edudemic makes the point that the BIE checklist can also be useful for guiding the development of any learning activities. Point well taken! I would add that the checklist also fits well with Understanding by Design framework that utilizes Essential Questions and Big Ideas.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: differentiation, learning, PBL, resources, technology | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 1 April, 2013 by jlevno
Here is an amazingly complete array of useful tools for any educator interested in effectively integrating technology and classroom practice!
Technology Integration Research: Additional Tools and Programs | Edutopia.
Another reason to love Edutopia!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: assessments, blogging, education, learning, technology | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 4 March, 2013 by jlevno
In June, last year, I shamelessly ‘advertised’ for LinkedIn and just over a week ago I posted a link to an ASCD resource that I saw through LinkedIn. They aren’t paying me… really! Nevertheless, I love the group updates that I get. So, here I go again!
One of the LinkedIn groups I subscribe to is called “Learning Forward“. Lately, there have been some great discussions in that group, appropriately focused on how learning is being transformed and how we must transform to keep our learning optimal and up-to-date. For example, the first edition of the Virtual Education Journal addresses game-based learning and virtual environments. The folks at EdWorks also contribute regularly to the Learning Forward group with posts like: “Kick-start Staff Morale with K-TECH“; and, “Flipped Classrooms Need Flipped Leadership“.
Anyway, if you’re not “LinkedIn” I highly recommend doing it AND connecting to like-minded educators and groups that you share some interest with. Learning never stops!
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Posted on 28 February, 2013 by jlevno
This was posted on my birthday, last year, by Goodwill Librarian (on Facebook). Even though I do not know who Goodwill Librarian is nor do I think Goodwill Librarian knows who I am (it was a public post) – I ‘took it personally’ in only good ways and have finally decided to share it! Gotta love Dr. Seuss!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: character, common sense, courage, Dr. Seuss, family values, Joseph Levno, reflection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 21 February, 2013 by jlevno
ASCD Express 8.07 – Strength-Based Learning Strategies for Special Needs Students.
Another good article from ASCD! A lot of this is just plain common sense but it helps to make the strategies explicit with examples. Of course, the next step is moving beyond the, “Oh, this is good to know” to the “I’m going to collaborate with you to help ensure these strategies get used regularly” and then follow-up with teachers.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: ASCD, common sense, differentiation, education, reflection | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 19 February, 2013 by jlevno
Even though I’ve been quite busy lately (leading schoolwide accreditation will do that!) I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction that education is headed. You can easily find proponents of a communication/technological/education revolution… I’m one who gets drawn in easily to promises of exciting innovations. Yet, at the end of the day, not a lot really changes.
Is it just fear? Is it that changes are occurring and it will only be after looking back that we see how much we have actually changed?
When I go into classrooms, I tend to see a very familiar picture. That old factory model of education is still prevalent (what century are we in!?)! Unfortunately, too often, I also see kids falling through the cracks and/or really not meeting their potential. Would a complete shift to a totally constructivist learning model REALLY mean that each kid would meet their potential and be fully prepared for an uncertain, highly technological future? As you can see, I have many more questions than answers.
Deep down, I go back to the central underlying life philosophy I subscribe to. Balance. Kids CAN learn better than they are now. Educators CAN do a better job of educating by blending constructivist approaches with a set curriculum. Best practices point to ‘student-centered’ learning (but, what does that REALLY mean?). So… the students should be directing all that they learn? How about Early Childhood literacy research that shows that “systematic instruction in phonemic awareness and decoding” [Quick, 1998] is necessary? How does that ‘gel’ with the constructivist Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)?
The fact is, there are specific skills and content that students need to learn. We can facilitate that by planning a curriculum that encourages DISCOVERY of that content and those skills but we NEED a shift in thinking to occur! We need like-minded teachers working with like-minded school leaders to take some risks and build it (remember Field of Dreams?). Parents will jump on board as soon as they can see the results.
Now! Where and when are we going to do this!?
Quick, Beth Nason. “Beginning Reading and Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP): Past, Present, and Future.” Peabody Journal of Education 73.3 (1998): 253-72. Print.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: balance, change, curriculum, education, leadership, learning | 2 Comments »