Month: March 2008

Total 32 Posts

Excerpted – 3/31/08

To come to work here in Clayton County, a failing school district in Georgia, former Pittsburgh superintendent John Thompson wants $275,000 in salary, a $2 million consulting budget, a Lincoln Town Car with a driver, and money to pay a personal bodyguard.

Patrik Jonsonn, citing many good reasons for me to take up the district admin track. [Christian Science Monitor]

I’ve been a Diigo user for two years come July. Seems like everybody and their grannies have adopted it in a Twitter-induced stampede over the last two days…. I’ve been evangelizing Diigo on these pages since day one.

Clay Burell, who would like you to know that, between the two of you, he found Diigo first. By two years come July. [Beyond School; OLDaily]

I used to think that blogging had the potential to have a huge influence on how education could unfold in this country, and by extension in other systems around the world.

Graham Wegner, experiencing either a crisis of faith or a moment of clarity. [Teaching Generation Z]

Forget the stuff about belonging, generational inertia, cultural identity, fitting in, and living in no-choice neighborhoods, E. is drawing a clear connection between his increased gang-affiliation and resulting beating with an inability to construct and conceive of fun.

TMAO, recoding generations of gang affiliation in one powerful anecdote. [RoomD2]

First, there are far too many sessions. The conference program they give you is the size of a phonebook. Seriously, it’s huge. Maybe not a big phonebook, but it’s bigger than the books you buy at ed tech conferences by popular speakers. It’s big and heavy.

Chris Craft, defining “session glut.” [Crucial Thought]

So in looking at session selection policy, is it any wonder that this method leads to homogenous, cookie cutter selections that represent the acceptable norm? Shouldn’t we be concerned that in times that call for radical change, the standard method for conference session selection is biased against radical proposals?

Sylvia Martinez, explaining why K12 Online Conference repeatedly rejects my keynote proposals. [Generation Yes Blog]

So Happy Together #5

I’m one day out of a presentation to the Oakland Teaching Fellows on digital projectors (working title: PowerPoint – Do No Harm) and really excited about it. A lot of these folks are right around my age, some older, which’ll make for different dialogue than what I’m used to in my high school classesWhich usually hovers around who can fart loudest into the speakerphone..

This last note-to-myself circles around classroom management and how much easier it is to keep a large group of students focused with a digital projector, presentation software, and wireless remote than without.

One Idea:

Classroom Management: The Triangle Offense

Like This:

Let’s say you’re in a short lecture block. If your only tools are a chalkboard/whiteboard and chalk/marker, you’re tethered to the board.

You can draw a bit, write a bit, ask questions a bit, but always at the board. If Llewelyn loses focus, you can wander to his desk, maybe ask a softball question to pull him back in, but then you’ve gotta return to the board, all while the kids farthest from you drift off.

Your classroom dot plot looks like this:

Let’s say now you have a digital projector and a wireless remote and you’ve already loaded some discussion-worthy diagrams into your presentation software. You’re mobile.

You walk to the far side of the classroom and address the board. Your focus directs theirs. You toss a question at the opposite side of the room pulling them into your locus.

Your question, the projected image, and the kid answering the question, are three vertices of a triangle inside of which classroom management is a relative non-issue, inside of which you all have really, really good focus.

It’s the triangle offense, and it’s very effective.

Previous Editions:

Help Me Get Away With This

Mean, median, and mode are each important, each easily mistaken for the others, and, depending on context, misleading or completely meaningless.

I came across a scenario yesterday which highlighted their differences and limitations a little too perfectly:

  1. Consider every human being in the world.
  2. List each person’s total testicles.
  3. What is the mean, median, and mode of that list, and what do they mean?

Is this even worth the trouble? If you aren’t trying to shock or pander to or titillate your students, are testicles fair game? ‘Cause the implications and extensions are really awesome here.

Like: the average human being has one testicle.

Or: the median number of testicles is either zero or two depending on gender majority.

And: the median and the mode will be the same number except under a few (also awesome) conditions.

How do I avoid panicking my principal here?

[via Jim Ray’s cool tumblog]