Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Digital Learners- Ready or Not Here They Are!

We need to shift our way of thinking from 'outside the box' to 'inside the tech-box' because technology is a students way of life. Even the most non-tech. savvy kid owns a computer or owns an MP3 player. (Note to reader- my apologies if by the time you have read this blog the term 'computer' or 'MP3' is already dated).

I think the included video really puts into perspective the major "paradigm shift" of how educators connect with and inspire their students. I can sense some educators (read- administrators and teachers!) apprehensiveness when hearing or seeing the benefits of teaching with technology tools because it puts them out of their comfort zone and/or they posit students may take of advantage (i.e. use their IPOD in a way other than how they are instructed)of it.

I respond with two points:
#1 I believe you are either green and growing or ripe and rotten.
#2 If an educator understands the underpinnings of classroom management and how to implement it effectively, then they should be able to apply their skills/techniques to a tech infused environment as well. If the educator is not good in classroom managment then tech may hinder the class slightly more than usual.

When speaking with peers on this subject of digital learners we always come back to these questions- Where does a school begin to implement change? I appreciate the research and standards the ISTE (http://www.iste.org)puts in place. I especially appreciate the standards coming from three fronts- administrators, teachers, and students. Realistically do all three components start at the same time. Who really needs to "champion the cause" in order to enable change? What about schools which limit technology in a school environment because of philosophical or religious reasons? What if the administration is on board with infusing the classroom with tech but the teachers are not. What if the teachers want more tech tools/software/hardware in the classroom but the admin. doesn't? What if both want it but the school board doesn't. What if everyone wants it but can't afford it?

At the end of the day youth of Generation Z, or "Net Generation" as they are called, are headed in one e-direction - with or with out everyone else.

Connected Classroom

Great video for educators to think about which learning environments, lessons and activities can be created to inspire today's youth to learn in a meaningful and relevent way.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Motivation for Homework?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Biblical Lexiles

Should we consider incoporating lexiles when teaching segments of Chumash?
     After reading about a Lexile, an educational tool that aligns readers of all ages with books and other leveled reading materials (see the following http://www.lexile.com/about-lexile/grade-equivalent/grade-equivalen... ) it seems the Torah acknowledges at least one of the two components which comprise a lexile measure, if not both. As you know, lexiles are based on word frequency and sentence length. See http://lexile.com/m/uploads/downloadablepdfs/WhatDoestheLexileMeasu...  which reads “... A lexile measure is based on two strong predictors of how difficult a text is to comprehend: word frequency and sentence length.”
     Which texts do elementary age as well as beginner students use when learning to read Chumash/Bible for the first time? Virtually all Jewish day schools of all variety begin with the very first book of the Bible- Beraisheet/Genesis. Now consider the following- According to a breakdown of verses in the first book of the Torah, 231 words, which are all found by the end of the 5th parsha or first 25 chapters in Beraisheet, comprise 64% of all the words in Chumash. (An additional 313 words comprise another 16%. This means that only 544 words comprise 80% of all the words in Chumash.)
     I understand that the “word frequency” aspect is only one of the two criteria which comprise a lexile. That being said I do find it intriguing that Judaic learning acknowledges the aspect of word frequency as an aid to young students and beginners in Chumash.

      Although I have not researched the sentence length of verses in the Torah I would be curious to see if any elementary age educators or administrators know of educational findings correlating the sentence lengths of the first chapters of the Torah to beginner learners in Chumash.
     As an aside, I went to http://lexile.com/search/filters/results/ to see what the lexile was for the Old Testament/Bible. It didn’t say.
So again- Should we consider incoporating lexiles when teaching Torah? Has the Torah already incorporated lexiles for us?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Persistence & Success - The Story of the Bamboo Tree

Educators- it is imperative to remember long term growth for each student is our ultimate goal. This may seem challenging to internalize and actively pursue on a daily basis in the classroom...  Of course there will be those frustrating school days... The story of the bamboo tree may help this perspective.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Imagine Leadership

Check out this short video created by the Harvard Business School's Leadership Initiative. Very powerful and inspiring. How do we take leadership and integrate it into our own lives?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Do you Teach or Do you Educate?

How not to give praise in the workplace

Sometimes a person just needs a little praise by their supervisor/boss etc. to feel valued and then they will want to give 150% of themselves to their job. That being said, giving praise is very different than offering constructive criticism. Here is a short clip by Sesame Street's Statler and Waldorf on how not to give praise.

"Change we need" or "Change- We need?"

Check out this animate which reflects a most articulate critique by Sir Ken Robinson on how our education system is structured and the need for systemic change. After listening and watching, if you agree with his points, then ask yourself- What's the first step down the yellow brick road?