Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Thine Own Self Be True, a Lesson on Identity

Amazing day at teaching! I told my students that in order for them to establish good relationships with others and put in place a plan for their lives that they needed to know themselves. "To thine own self be true." I gave them a questionnaire and then they shared their responses willingly. *Favorite color *Name one of your gifts *Name one thing that makes you unique *If you could make school a place where you did nothing but practice at what you want to be as a professional, what would you spend your whole day doing? *If you could make school a place where you focused all day on learning one thing what would it be? *If you could be guaranteed a Best-selling book and make 2 million dollars at it, what would you write about? *If you could write, produce and direct the next box-office hit, what would it be about and who would star in it? *If you could sit down for 2 hours with a historical figure who would it be? *Name your super hero (fictional characters not allowed) Who is extraordinary? *Who thinks you are a super hero? DREAM BIG LIVE BIGGER!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bridging the Achievement Gap through PBL3 and a PC!

Bridging the Achievement Gap through PBL3 and a PC! Increasingly with the inception of multi-facted technological advances, both parents working outside of the home, single-parent homes, and movement away from the parental family nucleus, (logistical concerns) children are coming to school deficient in not only language acquisition, as a result of rich experiential language sharing, but, deficient in simple problem solving strategies, hand's on development, in some cases deficient in learned skills such as riding a bike, skipping, in short kinesthetic, hand-eye developed skills. Schools must fill this void or like a child who walks before crawling, must go back and learn to crawl or suffer developmentally. NCLB and governmental imposed standards have diminished the plausibility of this taking place in the early developmental period. In the place of show and tell, skipping 101, hopping 101 and tumbling 101, finger painting, etc., is Alegbra Readiness and standardized test prep. Teachers of pk-3 know the importance of play. They chose to go into that level because in their souls they are still remembering the with fondness the time when they began to play at “school.” They wanted to continue this approach. Their Professors reminded them of the importance of “playing school” with their soon to be students. Instead they are quickly swept into the bureaucratic nonsense of the day. Along with this reality is the ever increasing achievement gap. While there has always been an achievement gap predominately due to the generational poverty both economically and academically, the reality of our current cultural demise has greatly contributed to this particular culture group. The need for play based learning to take a lead in educating all children, but most especially those who are suffering, who are caught in the achievement gap-hose is more important now than ever. Children play at growing up. School should feel like they are playing at becoming who they want to be when they grow up. Children should be playing at becoming doctors, lawyers, they need to be playing at who they will be, because that alone infuses goal based learning, success determined play. More importantly during some of my recent inquiry into advancing my research I discovered something quite telling about the “great divide” in academic outcomes. While we continue to glory in the technological advancements of our day, we ignore this simple fact: NOT everyone is advancing with it! In 2003 we were introduced to youtube, that was only 10 years ago. When I entered my first classroom as an educator in 2000 very few people had cell phones. Very few people had laptop computers. Many were still saying goodbye to their antiquated “machines.” While the academically inclined, the upper middle class were making room for their home computer systems, many were still hoping for a place to live for more than 6 months at a time. We have advanced rapidly, however, our school systems and our average urban home has not. They still fight to keep their lights on, let alone have a PC on their living room tables, or wifi accessibility for their kids to apply for jobs, do their homework and yes, take an online survey. A prior Post on Paper and Pencil = PC As long as that divide is in place we will not advance all populations, thereby closing the achievement gap. How is this for an idea? Bill, why don't you and all the other IT giants get together with Arne Duncan and instead of ensuring that everyone has an free phone, ensure that everyone has a pc, wifi (which should be free now anyway) and teach them how to use their pc's as a phone? It is a win-win situation. That is a start. Now, let's go play!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

HETL and Patrick Blessinger

Recently I had not only one opportunity, but two opportunities to speak with Patrick Blessinger. Patrick is the founder of HETL. Higher Education, Teaching and Learning "The International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL). The mission of HETL is to bring together higher education professionals from around the world to dialogue, network, and collaborate on critical issues relevant to teaching and learning. We welcome you to explore our site and to get involved in our many activities." Patrick and I had such an amazing time discussing education, the role of educators and Meaning Centered Learning, that we literally found ourselves wishing we had another hour, or two. From those discussion even more question emerged. As a result, Patrick Blessinger will now be joining ME, the first Thursday of every month to discuss education and our passion for learning. Make sure that you join Patrick and myself and visit our professional education pages. Also, please connect with HETL on linkedin. Our next visit will be Thursday, September 5 at 8pm eastern, 7pm central. Feel free to email your questions to, call in with your comments, (646) 595-4620.
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