Friday, April 25, 2008

Standing up

I read this article Teacher Suspended for Refusing to Give State Test and really started to think. The basic gist of the article was a middle school teacher in Washington state was suspended without pay for 2 weeks for refusing to give his students the state high-stakes test. Now that is what I call standing up for your convictions. As a union president I would never advise a member to be insubordinate, but I must respect his commitment and feel his frustration. What if a whole school, or district, or even state would do this. Who know maybe the next Arlo Guthrie would even write a song about it. Would Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. approve of such a protest?

I think most teachers will agree that a child is more than a test score, but how many of us would be will to put ourselves in that kind of peril just to show it. Maybe if we all did the effects of NCLB would not have been as devastating.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What a Day

Wow what a day. It started with a great PD session in Harrisburg with my friend Steve Sassaman from Performance Learning Systems. We were working on the art of presenting. I always enjoy our sessions with Steve. Next on the agenda was a train ride from Harrisburg to Philly, made even more enjoyable by the fact that I was joined by my good friend and fellow TIM (at least for a while) Dave Solon. We were on our way to a Discovery Educators Network (DEN) event that Dave set up. We were going to the Sansom Oyster House to a meet and greet with three of the Captains from the show Deadliest Catch. What great time. Visit Dave's blog for more of the detail. I will just include a link to the pictures I took.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Never put Science Teachers in a Room Together

I watched Al Gore: New thinking on the climate crisis from TED the other day. So I sent it to some of my science colleagues and they loved it as well. After a PD today one of the teachers I sent it to told a teacher from another school he would show it in his room after our session. So he, I and three other science teachers watch the video. Do not get science teachers fired up about the climate crisis. Well in actuality we should all be fired up about it. After watching the video and getting ourselves calmed down and rational again I had a chance to talk with a teacher from the other building and we started discussing how Gore's talked fit in with the new "Flat World" of Friedman. Included in that the facilitator at our PD mentioned Pink and Right brain thinking. So now here are a couple of science teachers standing in the hallway linking Gore, Friedman and Pink and what it means for not only our own children but how we have to teach our students. We brought back one of the strategies from our PD called QAR. We all said that our students have a difficult time with the two in their head types of questions, and that is exactly what Pink says they will need to prosper in the Friedman Flat World. Now Gore puts into place being politically conscience and wow. And what are many teachers doing, getting students ready for mandated tests to show AYP. God (or some higher power) help us. This needs to be a discussion for a late night with group of committed educators who are ready to change the face of education in America. Anyone ready to join me?

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Sometimes getting up at 4 am on a Saturday is worth it. I came across this TED talk and just got myself a new project. Johnny Lee takes a Wii remote and turns it into an interactive white board (SMARTBOARD). I know my wife has a lot planned for me this weekend, but I may just have to find time to work on this. Looks like could be a late night.

What makes this great is that Mr. Lee gives the software and instruction for free. With the use of YouTube for advertising his interactive whiteboard software has been downloaded thousands of times and his "invention" is being use all over the world as a cheap reliable substitute for equipment that is financially out of reach for many districts. The only problem is going to be getting the Wii remote away from my son.