Friday, January 9, 2015

Worth Reading...

Sharing a few highlights from the past few weeks.

1. Video Games and Making Math More Like Things Students Like (Meyer)- presentation by Dan Meyer on what we can do to elevate student interest in math class

Video Games & Making Math More Like Things Students Like from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

2. Creating Culture: An Imperfect Recipe- thoughts about fostering a specific type of culture in your organization.  For schools an important point to consider is how do we foster a culture which is progressive an innovative.  In part, how do schools function pas start-ups and support an entrepreneurial spirit.

Culture is an output of a bunch of inputs that have to come together the right way. Specifically it is the collision of people and their context, how they interact with each other in that context, and then how that context evolves based on those interactions as they multiply. 

3. What the Best Education System Are Doing Right- looks at education systems from around the world and highlights unique structures which are contributing towards student success.  Interesting commentary at the price some pay for success.

4. School Libraries Shelve Tradition to Create New Learning Spaces- shares examples of how some schools re-envisioned their media centers, turning them into more dynamic creative spaces.

The senior school library is based on the medieval idea of a cabinet of curiosities and is designed to be a place where older children can encounter information and knowledge in intriguing ways and make unexpected connections. It hosts temporary exhibitions, making full use of its location in Cambridge to source suitable artifacts for displays, which so far have included the Great War, Sherlock and a history of medicine. It also uses iBeacon technology to trigger information relevant to particular parts of the library directly onto students’ iPads as they move around.

5. Equipped for the Future- takes a critical look at the CCSS emphasis on close reading.  Compares the CCSS stance on college career readiness to commentary expressed by the National Work Readiness Council.

The problem with the Common Core’s mission to improve college and career readiness is not that these expectations are too high, but these standards are too narrow and specialized, so they do not prepare our students for the diverse real world reading and thinking challenges of life, school, and employment.

6. The Agile Classroom (Kiang)- an agile classroom is an environment in which your students are motivated to do their best work and feel invested in the class as a whole.  Teacher leans on background working in a start-up to support an agile, nimble, collaborative classroom environment.

Better yet, create a culture where kids don't have to ask permission. Successful startups don't wait for permission from other companies, and they don't wait for someone else to beat them to the market. Be the first and the best. In my classroom, when we prepared for our own pitch event, kids who had experience making movies held impromptu training sessions to introduce classmates to the app. Other kids formed their own panels to help provide feedback to groups as they rehearsed. These ideas came from the kids themselves, because I had created an environment where they felt encouraged to innovate and empowered to act.

7. The Table Master (NPR Morning Edition)- cool interview with Zakir Hussain, globally recognized percussionist.  Interesting snippets about his life and how his passion for drumming has been nurtured.  Bonus track to a collaboration between Hussain, Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck.

But Hussain's mind was opened to new things — including the music his dad would bring home from his world tours. He says he was the only kid on his block who would walk around with a boombox on his shoulder, blasting rock songs like The Doors' "Light My Fire." Hussain even considered swapping his tablas for a drum set at one point. He wanted to be a rock star — until an actual rock star set him straight.

8. Afterglow- it has finally gotten cold in this part of the country and we have had a few snowfalls recently.  As one of those easterners who like winter I want to share this movie by Sweetgrass Productions.  Very cool idea worth watching even if you do not love the cold or skiing.

AFTERGLOW - Full Film by Sweetgrass Productions from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.