Sunday, December 29, 2013

How to start an After-School Skills Center and How to Build Personal Learning Plans with a Four-Page Survey

Here are some MORE POSTERS for the walls

These posters are expected to inspire students to stop, think and get inspired.

I'm going to use this poster to remind students to look at their journals and reflect on something that they wrote two months ago... 

I've started an after-school center for the community around Lawrence Academy in Florida City, Floirda.   If you are in the area, you are invited to come to the school between 4 and 8 pm and get free services.

Let's explore the Internet together, Monday through Thursday

Call (954) 646 8246 if you want to be sure that the After School Skills Center has enough capacity.  RESERVE YOUR PLACE (and check to make sure Steve does not have a course in Broward College tonight).

Here is the link to the posters and the description of the After School Skills Center

Get the posters here!

Here is the link to the Four-Page Survey about Interests....

The "Goals" Poster and Steve's Top Ten Videos and Websites at

I encourage my students to set goals for themselves.
Here's the poster that is in the lunch room of the Lawrence Academy in Florida City.

The “GOALS” Poster
Every student (who wants one) can have the following:
Go ahead, click here
a student bank account (no monthly charges)
a digital portfolio (to show your classwork on the Internet)
a digital Library on Google Drive
a USB with highlights of your portfolio, your libray and your résumé
a collection of your favorite songs on a CD
a résumé or list of skills, a business card
a YouTube Channel (so you can hit LIKE and leave comments)
a Facebook account, a Twitter account, a account
a blog so you can identify something cool and tell others about the cool things you have found
a Tumbler account (if you want to curate your favorite things in life) a journal to capture your thoughts
a notebook to capture interesting designs
a domain name (your own “”) for $10 per year
How to play dominos and backgammon and chess
a Klout account (so you can measure your clout)
What else do you want to know how to do?
a list of five websites and five videos that you recommend to cool people whom you meet.
I don't like watching TV or going to most movies. Why should I stop acting in MY movie to watch someone else's movie?

I am the producer of my movie. I invite you to participate as a supporting actor in my movie... I have written the script but sometimes the Director takes over and asks us to improve our acting and “take two.” Lights, cameras, action!  
Here is the list of videos and websites that I encourage students to visit.
VIDEOS (these are search words on Youtube)
1 - Dan Pink motivation
2 - Ken Robinson paradigm schools
3 - Sugata Mitra Hole in the Wall
4 - Dennis Littky TEDx New York
5 - For the Love of Learning, a tour of Highland Park school.
6 - 9 Minutes with Dennis Yuzenas
7 - 21st Century Skills Culture at High Tech High
8 - Arthur Benjamin: Focus on Statistics
9 - Dancing words by Orlando
10- Aleph Molinari digital divide

Here are the hot links.  You can see these videos now, today, at this moment, but first go into your YouTube account and get ready to CLICK LIKE and leave comments.

1) Dan Pink Motivation.
WHY: In his book Drive, Dan Pink talks about what many of us believe are the key motivators. We assume that if we offer more money, we'll get more from employees. His description of autonomy, mastery and purpose helped me design better classwork (and I hope you get some ideas about how to motivate people you work with).
2) Ken Robinson paradigm schools. Sir Ken's talks have turned into an internet sensation. A search of “Schools destroy creativity” will give you a video that has been seen by more than 12 million (February 2013). .
WHY: The “animate” of this “paradigm” talk helps me follow the argument that nearly 10 million people have seen. It's a sophisticated word (what do you get for twenty cents? A pair of dimes) that means “model” or “view of the world.” I like this video because many parents begin to ask for more services for their children. They are more ready to leave behind the “lecture” and embrace the methods that make learning personal to the student.
3) Sugata Mitra Hole in the Wall. John, my computer guy, asked me, “Have you heard of TED Talks? There's this guy from India who has a really good presentation.” That's how I learned about TED Talks. (Thanks, Evgeny.)
WHY: Dr. Mitra's step-by-step presentation hooked me and I hope it will help you see where our taxes should go, both overseas through foreign aid and in Great quote by Arthur C. Clarke (the science fiction author): “A teacher who can be replaced by a computer should be.” I've listened to four versions of his talk about the “Hole in the Wall.” I selected this version because of its length. I usually like to link someone to an official version of the video, but I have to agree that this 5-minute excerpt gets the message across. I hope the channel owner (igaroy galroy) shares the revenue with a charity. You can also see Sugata Mitra on TED Talks with a variety of transcriptions.

4) Dennis Littky TEDx New York. The “x” means that there is no official transcript available, but the talk is lively. I hope the view counter reaches more than four million.
WHY: Littky started a school in Providence, Rhode Island, that got the attention of Bill Gates. Littky's book (2004) used the phrase “the New Three Rs: Rigor, Relevance and Relationships.” Gates used the phrase in a talk to the nation's governors in February 2005. The Littky video gives you an idea of the mental and emotional force behind the ebook excerpt (see the ebook section) and the two websites ( and that are listed in this book.
More: Hear the interview on National Public Radio 25 April 2005. Search: “Dennis Littky” You'll see this reference in the search result: School Features Real-World Learning, No 
5) For the Love of Learning. This is a tour of Highland Park school in Los Angeles and an interview with Enrique Gonzalez. The camera work and editing is by Erik Friedl, whose channel Aiglon27 has several videos that are in the 500 videos book.
WHY: Enrique led the transformation of a high school and then worked at a middle school (see the Nightingale Initiative in the ebook section). In the stories the he tells in the video, he puts a California spin on what Dennis Littky writes about in the 2004 book, The Big Picture: Education is Everyone's Business.
6) 9 Minutes with Dennis Yuzenas. This award-winning teacher let me come into his classroom and interview his students.
WHY: Dennis shows how projects don't need to be complicated and how rubrics (checklists with expectations spelled out) can turn almost any teacher (preacher?) into a “guide on the side.” If you work with me, you'll see some of Dennis in much of what I do. Watching this video is a way of knowing how I like to work.
7) 21st Century Skills High Tech High. I read about this school in Tom Toch's book, High Schools on a Human Scale.: How Small Schools Can Transform American education. High Tech High is located in San Diego, Calif., with opportunities for training for teachers on its website and its channel
WHY: Here's a charter school that puts digital portfolios and descriptions of projects on the internet. This openness helps advocates of interactive learning. I can say to one of my
Here are some tips for
writing ideas in a journal
students, “That's what a good project looks like. What is missing from your project?”
The description panel of the clip in the YouTube channel reads “A school culture is key to cultivating and supporting 21st Century Skills. At High Tech High, 21st century skills are fundamental to everything that happens.”
Here are transcripts from stages of the video:
“Employability skills are really college prep skills.” (1:30)
“The whole village has a hands-on approach.” “Teachers need to learn how to structure projects and give clear expectations to the kids. (3:24) “Build a common culture of learning and asking questions.” (4:00)
“just like you would do in the real world.” (5:00)
8) Arthur Benjamin. Teach statistics watch?v=BhMKmovNjvc A short video that draws attention to the current culture in math circles that elevates calculus above statistics.
WHY: I wish I had shown this video to my niece before she entered high school. She could have anticipated the fun she would have in statistics class. “Statistics is about stories. What are the chances that something will or won't happen?” she said “I wish I had known about this before I took calculus.”

9) Dancing words by Orlando. This video is based on the quotes selected for commentary by Dr. Abraham S. Fischler. Search terms are "Dancing Words Transform Education."
WHY: Sometimes reading a list of quotes is not enough. The quotes appear in the ebook (suggested in another chapter of this book). Some people will “get” the quote only after seeing it flash on a screen.
Go deeper: Look at the power of “dancing words” in the work of Box of Crayons and the “Entrepreneur” video created for Grasshopper. That's where I got the idea to make the words dance. Here are some links:
Entrepreneurs can change the world
Words for 2011 inspiration is a way to find this video.
10) Aleph Molinari digital divide. This presentation took place at a TEDx event in San Miguel Allende, a town in Mexico.   WHY: This video and the Sugata Mitra video are not the best choices for some parents. Some parents might not relate to the situations of areas that lack wi-fi. “Why are you showing me a segment about computers in Mexico?” I was particularly enamored with One Laptop Per Child (a campaign to help more families get online) ... until I saw this video.
What would happen if people looked at dozens of these videos? Would they ask for a different type of school? Would teachers (after viewing the videos) start delivering different types of lessons? Would principals design their schools differently?don't know. I use these videos to connect with students and parents. I'm at heart an introvert, so it helps me to have a reason for talking to a parent that I haven't met yet. “Hey, thank you for coming to my class. Can I give you a DVD with some cool videos on it?”
Go deeper: “What about the Steve Jobs video?” Steve Jobs gave a talk at the 2005 Graduation ceremony. Some readers might prefer to spend time with him. Nearly two million views (as of January 2013) on this link:
What about videos by Richard Branson? Advice for Entrepreneurs is located at
Maria Andersen's descriptions of the future of learning? She has a clever suggestion for a “learn this” button on our web search program. 

(1) This site gives you links to the skills that your child will need to participate in the global economy in the future. You can see another version of this presentation by searching “Tony Wagner survival skills.”
(2) survival-skills Tony Wagner seven survival skills” Print this list. Post it. Give it to each of your child's teachers. Sit in a classroom and count the activities that support these seven skills. Or send your kid to the website.
(3) Keep returning to see the updates.
(4) One of the first places on the Internet to offer free ebooks.
(5) is the organization that Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor founded. You can find an example of the dynamic Big Picture schools with interactive programs at
(6) The slogan is “Lead the Change.” I recommend that you study the videos on this site. A remarkable center or research connected with a school near Sydney, Australia.
(7) Scribd is a source of more ebooks.
(8) Here's a program that is open to people who want to help others with language practice (conversation and accent reduction) BIBPenpals.
(9) The meditations of the man who wrote the ebook called “Our Lives Are What we Make of Them.”
(10) for applications of theories of teaching, especially the educational philosophy of John Corlette.
(11) I recommend the link for “digital portfolios” or “DPs” on
More examples of schools – if you are going deeper, visit some schools via the Internet, such as, one of the schools profiled in Tom Toch's book.
(12) so that you can download useful videos.
(13) Go to and click on the download button.
Find this video please
Yes, you can download videos for your child to watch instead of watching TV. You can feed that brain.

(14) and are useful for kids to know about. You can create a family album and post lots of photos in a book. Set an example to your children by maintaining highlights of your family's odyssey and then share that journey with a printed book showing what happened that year or over several years. When you go on a trip, make a scrapbook with the photos and notes that you pull from a journal (that you write with your family each night – set an example). Use to make a collection of photos, the way my wife did in Vaison- la-Romaine. Search “jk mccrea eyes on provence” and you can see the book on Amazon. 
-Vaison-Romaine- ebook/

Please go here  >>>>

An open letter to principals about the Seven Survival Skills, Tony Wagner and the Entrepreneurship Center at the Met School in Providence, Rhode Island

An open letter to principals and directors of schools

Tony Wagner of Harvard university spoke to Oxbridge Academy in the summer of 2011.  He spoke about the need to produce opportunities for students in high school to develop seven "survival skills."  Here is the list.

Here is the link to Wagner's list

Here are two blog posts about a school in Rhode Island that is putting the INITIATIVE 

POST 1 a visit to the Met Center in Rhode Island

POST 2 a visit to the Entrepreneurship Center

The opportunity
What school will offer the Met Center a second location for their system?
What school will be the first to contact Jodie Woodruff at the Met's Entrepreneurship Center and discuss collaboration?  (yes, that's one of the seven skills).

The Met Center has developed a model that can be duplicated.  Is your school ready to embrace and build on the Met Center's model?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What poems (lyrics of songs?) are on your classroom walls? What words are priming the minds of people who enter your school? Here are some of my favorites
I want you to be brave
I use converters like to
download mp3 files (converted from Youtube videos)
and then those mp3 files are shared with students

To avoid having the lyrics found in a search (the copyright holders tend to want to decide where the words are displayed), I've made screen shots of the lyrics that I have in my classroom.  
The choices appear at the end of this post.

I find that I am a better teacher, more involved, more inspired, more likely to arrive at work whistling when I can see the words on the wall.

You're the twinkle in my eye
Take me across the sky


Silver moons and paper dreams
Faded maps and flying things
You're my favorite one-man show
a million different ways to go...  
will you fly me away, Take me away with you... 

Annie Little has created some cute "ditties" that have me dancing across the room.

Search Results

  1. 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time | Personal Excellence

    Aug 9, 2010 - With hundreds and thousands of great songs out there, it is challenging to narrow it down the list. In the end, I selected the top 25inspiring  ...

  2. 30 Inspirational Songs that Keeps You Motivated for Life -

    Mar 22, 2013 - 20 Excellent Websites That Make Your Children Smarter ...Here is a list of 30 inspiring songs that will help you to stay the course and go for it. ... We've all had bad days where everything feels like its on top of you, but think  ...

  3. Top 15 Inspirational Songs to

    Mar 18, 2013 - We all are consumers of music. Many of us are producers of music. Some of us have a natural ability with an instrument. Some of us have ...
  4. Motivate and Inspire You! - Joel ...

  5. The 20 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time (as of 2013)

    Look no further, this article reveals the top 20 inspirational songs of all time - as ...arrangements give inspirational songs the power to motivate, to inspire, and to  ...

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Annie Little and Marcus with that cute song for the Kindle

I want you

Part of Your World (this is an excellent song for its rising sound.

The Ride of Paul Revere *(Up with People)

GO ahead, click here and hear the songs that inspired a 
teacher since 1965

  1. LOUIS ARMSTRONG LYRICS - What A Wonderful World - A-Z Lyrics

    Lyrics to "What A Wonderful World" song by LOUIS ARMSTRONG: I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom, for me and you. And I think to myself, ...

  2. What A Wonderful World Lyrics - Louis Armstrong › Louis Armstrong

    What A Wonderful World Lyrics - I see trees of green........ red roses too I see em bloom..... for me and for you And I think to...

  3. Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    Lyrics to 'What A Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong. .

  4. Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World (Lyrics) - YouTube

    Nov 25, 2010 - Uploaded by DaddyDJMix
    Good old song of Louis Armstrong - What a wonderful world. Subscribe.

I also like this verse from The Lion King

They live in you
They live in me
They're watching over 
Everything we see

In every planet
In every star
In your reflection
They live in us...  

Let's call on our ancestors to express their hopes and dreams through us.
Let's call on them to bring us the power and focus to deliver and discover our purposes ... and let's put those purposes to work.