Monday, January 26, 2009

We Have a Girls Hoops Team!

Several weeks ago, three 6th graders came to my office, concerned about turnout for their basketball team. At that point, only six or seven young women were attending practice regularly. These girls created recruitment fliers to post in the school, and asked me to make announcements at school assemblies. Well, they're up to around 11 girls at this point--and the uniforms look great! Ms. Chetaitis and Ms. Key are the coaches.

IST Training Today

Gary and Fran are here from Turnaround for Children. They are training our administrators, support staff, interventionists and team leaders on the Instructional Support Team (IST) process. IST's meet each week to action plan around interventions for struggling students.

I am re-working lunch duty schedules so that Assistant Principals can
attend their grade level IST's, which meet on Tuesday and Thursday. A typical IST is comprised of:
  • Team's teachers (6-10)
  • Assistant Principal
  • Team Leader (Teacher)
  • Grade-level guidance counselor
  • Parent Coordinator
The IST meeting will follow Turnaround's protocols, and will reflect the needs of our children. Depending on the focus of each meeting, different school personnel will attend. For example, if a child with attendance issues is being discussed one day, personnel from the school's attendance team might attend to support.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Live Blogging From Educon 2.1 - Day 2

11:51 AM: Sam is facilitating "Inquiry" at our table. He has provided us with a political cartoon, which features an Atlas-ian SLA student struggling to keep the world on his shoulders. Over the horizon, there is another person with a word balloon: "Need help?" Sam insightfully prompted us with questions to analyze the cartoon. He did an admirable job. Sam left us with this:

"Education starts with the student's ability to ask questions. We have to be taught the right questions to ask."

11:26 AM:
Now Marie is at our table. She is presenting on the SLA core value "research." Her sample is a research project she completed on police brutality. Marie's research team chose the 5/5/08 incident involving three men in a car and about half a dozen police officers. Marie and her fellow students learned how to put their bias aside and use facts and concrete research to support findings. Marie's big takeaways about doing research:

-annotate your bibliography
-discern helpful websites from inadequate ones
-create questions before seeking out information to focus the search

11:18 AM: I'm at a session facilitated by SLA students about the values which underpin their progressive education here at SLA. Students are rotating through groups of conference attendees.

Last year I met an outstanding sophomore named Jasmine at SLA. She is an outstanding spokesperson for not just her school, but all young adults. Right now I'm listening to her present on the SLA core value of "Presentation." The five core values here are:


Jasmine is so eloquent and composed! She told me that she definitely wants to teach for a career. I'm hoping I can hire her.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Live Blogging From Educon 2.1 in Philadelphia

01:40 PM: There is so much information on the web. The conversation has now shifted into how to aggregate the pertinent RSS feeds and tagged items and to filter out the rest.

01:24 PM:
Interesting ideas:

1. All Logins that can be eliminated, should be.
2. Everything that can be aggregated, should be.
3. Everything that can be archived and tagged, should be.
4. No new online space (blog, wiki, portal, etc.) should be created that cannot leverage existing spaces.
5. Workflow is king. Any space that doesn’t play well with the tools that people already use, is worthless.
6. Quiet the incessant chatter of the web. Focus only on conversation and voices that matter.
7. All spaces must include specific information for specific stakeholders.
8. All spaces must be able to accommodate an infinite number of stakeholders.
9. Action should be inevitable, and membership should be impossible.
10. You should be obsolete in your space immediately.

01:06 PM:
Watching a presenter from Denver talk about how log-ins require an unnecessary layer, and they should be eliminated when possible. He is showing slideshare which allows students to annotate and then tag pictures, which leads to easy search, classification and teacher grading. I guess teachers can type in the assigned keyword (assigned to students as a tag) and all related items come to the screen.

This is getting me to think about how we manage our student online work systems as a school. It is tricky, because 2.0 tools which get used depend on the preference of the teachers.

12:35 PM: Lunch was outstanding, because there is a Trader Joe's two blocks from SLA. CIS 339 staff I've talked to mostly enjoyed their first session at 10 AM.

11:18 AM: Now conversation is focusing on what kind of political change is possible. It seems like independence/autonomy is being placed opposite system/culture.

11:06 AM: Just shamelessly plugged my workshop for Sunday afternoon. Someone fed me a layup so it was unavoidable. "What do you do when your principal won't LET you use these tools?" I told people to attend The Principal Said No tomorrow.

10:58 AM:
I just spoke about how our country is at the ideal point for widespread change of the educational landscape. People are worried that enough educators aren't committed to Web 2.0 tools. My point was that exposure is the first important thing that happens.

10:52 AM: Taking part in a "Flat Classrooms" debate regarding the future of 2.0 technology. At the Educon 2.1 conference at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.


What: Educon 2.1 Conference
Where: Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA
Who: 20 members of the CIS 339 staff are here for the weekend!