Start Monday. (Woohoo!) Use no textbooks.  Textbooks, especially ones about technology, seem like they’re out of date before they’re shipped. Avoid handouts whenever possible.  Papers have an annoying habit of getting lost, “lost,” or simply ignored.  Also, I’ve never seen a school copier go more than 4 weeks without having a spectacular meltdown.  Handouts have their uses, but I refuse to be one of the teachers staring at a copier exuding the magic blue smoke 5 minutes before class and wondering what I’ll do now…Continue Reading “Things to do at the new job:”

Made some origami for his kids a few years back, actually…  In any case, here he is speaking in front of the U.S. House of Representatives. Scott Kinney, Vice President at Discovery Education, at a hearing regarding the Future of Learning: How Technology is Transforming Public Schools on June 16, 2009.

I’m one of those teachers who will respond to the word “mines” by asking “Gold or silver?”  and the question “Can I go to the bathroom?” with “I don’t know, can you?” Yeah, you can say I’m a stickler about some things.  It’s genetic, I think.  Just try ending a sentence with a preposition when my sister’s around. I’m critical about this because one of the things we teach in school (according to our curriculum, at least) is how to communicate well.  People who speak…Continue Reading “On Language”

Having survived my 4th consecutive year presenting at MICCA & a few other places, I think it’s safe for me to say I know one or two things about it.  At least, I’ve yet to have a session that ended emptier than when it started, so I’ve got that going for me. So here’s a list of 10 things that, if done correctly, will help your audience stay engaged and secure in the fact that you know what you’re talking about.  (Or at the very…Continue Reading “10 Ways To Be A Better Presenter”

For the 4th year in a row, I will be presenting at MICCA. For the 1st time (for this conference, at least…), I will be presenting twice. And as usual, I’m opening my handouts up to everyone who wants to add in their two cents.  I feel they’re ready to go as-is, but that doesn’t mean I’m the only person who knows what he’s talking about!  (I’m hoping for supplementary information, not for someone to do the work for me.) My presentations are as follows. …Continue Reading “Help me at MICCA!”

The first WCIDWT was posted entirely on a whim.  The tech person at one of my schools gave me some interesting pieces of plastic, and the pack rat in me just couldn’t say no. Of course I had no idea what to do with them, so I snapped a quick picture with my BlackBerry and used Flickr to post the photo and my description/question to this blog.  The whole process took less than 5 minutes, but the responses were nice enough that I ended up…Continue Reading “What can I do with these? Review”

I handed colored pencils to my 1st graders today. This was not too surprizing, as I did the same thing last week.  What I have noticed, however, is that most of my teachers with younger students don’t let them sharpen their own pencils whenever they need to. I, however, do.  I would much rather see a student raise their hand because they’re having difficulty with a portion of their composition  than because their colored stick isn’t pointy enough.  As a result I usually announce in…Continue Reading “Don’t mind the shavings.”

Dan Meyer seems to have come across a recent theme in his lessons: he’s not giving them the answers. I think that’s awesome. This is something you could very well expect to see in any art class that has a good teacher, since in art you will often find three or four (or more) opinions about composition, color choices, techniques, or even the definition of “art” itself.  We can’t give a single answer because there isn’t one.  We’re kind of forced into the scenario of…Continue Reading “I’m not sayin’.”

I have over 2,000 students (not including teachers who are also, technically, my students) spread out over three schools.  This is a daunting task for many reasons, but only one of them irks be to the point that I’ll mention it at the start of this blog post: I can’t remember that many names. Oh, I’ll make valiant attempt.  There’s a handful of students whom I do know by name, but there’s just no way I can learn who everyone is when I see them…Continue Reading “What’s in a name?”

WARNING:  I’m either on a high horse or a soapbox grandstanding with an overinflated ego right now.  I’m not always this smug or confrontational (I hope…), but some recent events have led up to this post.  Read at your own risk. I do the impossible. Daily. “He won’t do any work. Just let him sit there.” “This class will never be controllable when it’s snowing outside.” “These special ed. students don’t have the hand-eye communication to use scissors.” Each of these statements is something I’ve…Continue Reading “Prove Me Wrong”