Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dr. Daniel Amen's tips about "how to handle email" have helped me stay fccused

I found some useful info and I am sharing it with the hope that you will find it helpful.

I have been following D.r Amen's recommendations about the use of email for several years.

1.  I look at email only once or twice a day
2. I stay focused.  Before looking at my email, I write the priorities of my day.  
3. Then I look only for email that are related to my priorities of the day.
4.  I don't worry about responding to each piece of email.  Set aside a day once a week to deal with every other message that you receive.  
5.  I tell my new clients to send me a text if they want me to look at an email within 24 hours.     Generally it takes 72 hours for me to look at every email message.

I pass along this web page because I found it useful

Steve Math Teacher
Steve McCrea

Editor, Building More-Responsive Schools by Abraham S. Fischler, Ed.D.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Demonstrate Mastery: A CD of projects for digital portfolios is available for teachers who want to showcase the power of collaboration and initiative with project-based learning

Guest Blog post:  Matt Blazek's list of projects (available from Matt at has the following introduction:

There are many approaches to teaching and learning that are used within our classrooms. Some  methods are more effective than others overall and others are often disparaged. Project based learning happens to be a style that comes under intense scrutiny and ridicule at times, often being thought of as the lazy way out for teachers because the student is expected to complete the project to learn instead of the teaching preparing and delivering lessons.

This is where this guide comes. By using this guide, the aim is to eliminate the "easy way out"  stereotype that has come to represent project based learning. The intent of projects according to this
guide is for students to demonstrate mastery of a topic in a personal way- through an independently researched and personally created project. Hence the title: Project Based Learning: Making it Personal. 

Traditional models of lecture and test, which have come to dominate education in this age of standardized testing, do not adequately prepare students for life after school. The workplace does not rely on multiple-choice tests to gauge success. Instead, it measures performance through the ability of the person to complete and master assigned tasks, often with little guidance. In this sense, the person must become an expert on the topic of their work (whether it is the menu at McDonald's or the load calculations for a new bridge) and be prepared to demonstrate that expertise at any time for employers or clients.

Essentially, life is one huge project that begins at birth and ends at death. Only at rare occasions outside of educational system will a person ever need to master the five paragraph essay or the testtaking skills necessary for success on multiple-choice tests. Instead, a person will have to repeatedly demonstrate mastery of the skills needed in their field through the completion of projects or tasks in a timely and efficient manner.

So let's get away from the lecture and test mentality and move back into reality. It is time to truly prepare students for life and not merely prepare them to attend educational institutions. Real
world skills need to be emphasized and mastered so students are able to move into the next stage of their lives. Let's put the student first and change education for the better by following through on the purpose of this book: MAKING EDUCATION PERSONAL!

Grading Rubric
It is important for students to understand the goals of projects before they begin their project. Considering that it is impossible to be successful without having clear expectations established, each project discussed also includes a suggested grading rubric. There are several important features to each rubric.

The first is that an explanation of each category is provided as well as the performance expectation of the category. Additionally, when students receive their final score they will be able to receive consistent feedback because it is already provided. Finally, it decreases bias and allows for several different people to provide grades that are consistent because the standards are clearly stated.

See the Blazek Sample Project list

Guest Blogger
Mastt Blazek teaches at Boca Raton Prep  He can be reached through Transform Teaching at  +1 (954) 646 8246.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013