Thursday, February 28, 2013

Each one: Become a virtual mentor to a school

Hmmm...  what should we do with 10 words?

What's needed for transformation of a school?

a) a principal who wants something new to happen, who wakes up asking, Why are students sitting in one chair all day?  Why not move around the classroom?"

b) time spent by mentors virtually and in short multiple visits (not just one day).

c)  Kids who are curious and who are tired of being bored and passive.

d)  A space for kids to sit and ask questions.   Not 40 kids, just 12 of them.

Next time I want them to sign the posters that they created.

February 26 (the first visit... just to show my face)
I arrived at 11 am and left at 11:45 am

Six words, seven spaces... 

Went to Nightingale Middle School to meet some interns from HPHS for ten minutes (we talked about the printing program)

Feb. 27
Dinner with the principal to check the protocol

Feb. 28
Second visit, five of the students remembered me from the visit to the D3 lab

12 to 12:45 meeting
a) please distribute the DVD (after you have seen the videos on the DVD)
b) Posters
c) Camera (please take photos, record what's happening here)

12:10 to 12:15  LASSIE (keys to locked doors)
when you get through the door, show your 10 skills  CIA  CCCCCC II AA

12:15 to 12:45, they made posters.

A list of items to bring to a school:

a) Words for bathroom walls.

b)  A list of movies for a textbook.

c)  A DVD with key videos (especially a collection that describes FLIPPING the CLASSROOM)

d) a series of Dan Pink Posters

e)  Poster paper

f)  directions for and examples of books  

g)  books with page numbers marked on the edges of the book.   For example, P. 133 on A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink -- this page number tells students where to start reading.

h) a camera

i) blank poster paper

j) leave the following words "Can you put photos in a word document?  Can you save that document on a USB?"  Yes.  "Then you can create a high school yearbook in about 4 weeks.  Here's a camera and a USB flash drive."   Let's see what happens.  Cost:  $8 each, sell for $10.

Walk away from the school with:

a)  a promise from the principal to put a sheet in every restroom and change the sheet daily.   SOMETHING NEW HAPPENED TODAY.

b) an empty suitcase

c)  a mobile phone filled with some email and mobile phone numbers.

d) photos of students working on a poster

e)  the date of Graduation day (May 30)

The book with page numbers and notes on the edge (see left) and the frame with quotes or a list of skills (see right on the chair)

Notice the Tom Toch book
High Schools on a human Scale 

Thank you, HPHS, for welcoming me to your school.

Write to me at

Text me at +1 954 646 8246

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to improve schools: Talk to teachers in graduate programs about "Leaving to Learn" by Washor and Mojkowski

I have been talking with principals and teachers for several years about the importance of the Big Picture learning system.
Get the book on Amazon.
The new book by Washor and Mojkowski gives an opportunity for graduate students to be part of the transformation of schools.  I am lucky to know several teachers who are in master's degree programs and one of them asked me to suggest some books and articles to include in a research paper.  Fortunately, Enrique Gonzalez had recently told me about the Washor and Mojkowski book, Leaving to Learn, and so my friend, the graduate student, might be one of the first people to write about the recommendations in this book.

To improve schools, let's remember to contact tomorrow's teachers today.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

SCIL Vision Tour is coming to North America in 2013: Where should they consider visiting?

This is an open letter to SCIL, the learning center in Australia.  The director leads a "Vision Tour" each year (2012 went to Northern Europe)

Please pass this message to Director Stephen Harris
Here's a tour of the SCIL center in Australia
Copy to Anne Knock  HER NOTES FROM the 2012 TOUR

I've recently found your imaginelearning blog and I'm delighted to read about the concept of touring schools in the SCIL Vision Tour.  

a) how do you find and select the schools that you decide to visit?  The list of the 2012 European tour is inspiring.  I love the idea that a museum has a slogan like "touch everything." 

b)  are you still hunting for places to see in the US tour?  I wanted to check to see where your previous tours had visited, but couldn't find past items on your blog.  I enjoyed reading Anne Knock's description on her blog.

I have a feeling that you've got a fine list of schools to visit, since you post on ConnectedPrincipals blog.  I would enjoy seeing what you have planned.

I've seen the following schools that might be worth your time when you visit the USA ... where possible, I've added a youtube video for you to see.  

Philadelphia:  CHAD, charter high for architecture and design.  student video about CHAD (53 seconds)
Student film about a charity at CHAD 

Denver School for Science and Tech
Moveable walls.

You might have heard of dennis Littky and his book Big Picture.
His partner Elliot Washor has a recent book

Washor's blog post on Huffington Post  2009 photos floor to ceiling showing the work of their graduates.  
a student's testimony... 

Look at the small photos on the corner of the wall in this photo.  each photo shows a student who has graduated.  It's their Wall of Fame.  Tour of Urban Academy New York  interview with Linda Nathan
Starting at 0:50 in this video
What is the teacher student relationship?  Can the teacher focus on more than 80 students at one time? No.   Small by itself doesn't do it.  
Teachers have got to be willing to think of themselves as advisors, what we might called "pastoral care of young people."  That's part of my job as a teacher.  I have to know my kids well.   -- Linda Nathan

pastoral care  ... The key seems to be an academy that is under 150 students.

Enrique Gonzalez is worth a visit.  
If you want to know where to visit in the USA, why not contact him?
big picture Enrique Gonzalez  
He's busy, but he has often given me ten minutes to update me on trends in California.

In fact, here he is on video:
Nightingale Middle School  Highland Park high School

Look at minute three. One student talks about "our principal is a man." a second student talks about Thanksgiving in the school. One of the most powerful moments in education on video. 

 Here is the program's web page

The New Learning Institute's work is worth seeing... I hope to visit their center later this

Film about learning centered on students

Eagle Rock School 

An important pair of organizations:

I hope this list has given you a bit of a virtual vision tour (VVT)... 

If you come to South Florida, there are two interesting people to meet
Abraham S. Fischler
Former head of Nova University    +1 954 262 5376 is his phone

I've enclosed his recent ebook, which is available for free distribution.      You can get the free ebook at  and

Dennis Yuzenas
He works at a school that is growing...  is in its second year and is dedicated to project based learning is Dennis' website.

There's, Boca Raton Prep International school (part of a network of 28 schools).  The headmaster is Stan Daniel  it is an IB school

There are other potential points to visit (innovative schools), but the highlights are certainly these two fellows.   

Note to International Viewer of this virtual tour:  There might be some people who don't know what a "charter school" is.   Here's a report by John Stoessel.

talk show  with Stoessel  

Here's a promo from a Charter school that is in Florida   (I worked as a substitute teacher here)

I'm looking for past cities that your Vision Tour has passed through.   I'm sure looking at videos posted on youtube related to those names is a useful exercise.

Thanks for reading this far...    If you have schools to recommend to add to this virtual list, send the links to

Net proceeds of the Ten-Ten-Ten book will go to support schools

Here's the opportunity... Let's get this list of ebooks, websites and videos out to parents.  The easy way to go is the ebook:

How about the purchase?  Here's how the pricing of the book reveals the money:

So, for every sale, $1.45 goes to a school.

I look forward to sharing the net proceeds.

If you want to create a book, go to

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Erik Erikson described the stage of "industry" and here are some ways for teenagers to participate in the economy

I'm ever on the lookout for ways that teenagers can participate in the economy.

Part of this effort is to address the "Industry" stage in the Erik Erikson model.  Can I Make It In The World Of People And Things?

Erikson viewed the elementary school years as critical for the development of self-confidence. Ideally, elementary school provides many opportunities for children to achieve the recognition of teachers, parents and peers by producing things- drawing pictures, solving addition problems, writing sentences, and so on. If children are encouraged to make and do things and are then praised for their accomplishments, they begin to demonstrate industry by being diligent, persevering at tasks until completed, and putting work before pleasure. If children are instead ridiculed or punished for their efforts or if they find they are incapable of meeting their teachers' and parents' expectations, they develop feelings of inferiority about their capabilities.[1]
At this age, children start recognizing their special talents and continue to discover interests as their education improves. They may begin to choose to do more activities to pursue that interest, such as joining a sport if they know they have athletic ability, or joining the band if they are good at music. If not allowed to discover own talents in their own time, they will develop a sense of lack of motivation, low self-esteem, and lethargy. They may become "couch potatoes" if they are not allowed to develop interests.

Learn more:'s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

Note that Erikson links this stage to kids under the age of 13.  I find that many teenagers don't have a sense that they are valuable or they feel that they have to wait before they can contribute significantly (especially in economic life and in life outside school).

What can teens do?
1.  Conversation Assistant:  Teenagers are often experts at the use of their native language.  See the suggestions at and
2. Digital native:  blog assistant, Facebook or social media consultant, web content provider.  Teenagers can participate in a "reverse internship" and mentor an older person.  See Jay Hendricks artiscle in Spirit magazine (the Southwest airline publication)
3.  Photographer:  Sell photos.

The rest of this blog is about how to use roaylty-free images -- which you need to pay for, but which you can use in many commercial situations.

I did a search for "free image bored student" and landed at, which might be "get your RF  royalty free very quickly, 1-2-3"
I came across a great photo for a poster...    and found out that  for $12.50 I can get a small version of the photo.   Since I'm not a complete pirate, I bought the photo for a poster...

Here's the photo:

Here's the poster.

Let's see how easy it is for a student to become a contributor...

Other potential photo-sharing sites include (where the photos can be offered for sale).
The next issue:  How does the teenager deal with disappointment when nobody buys the photos?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski describe the new normal in Leaving to Learn (review) -- This book is a report from 2040.

Perhaps someone will read this review 27 years from now and smile:  "Yes, Leaving to Learn is normal in 2040."

Here's the link to the book.

This book has vital material for teachers and principals in the fight for resources to deliver good programs to kids:  The key is to make school personal for students.  Build the programs around each student's interests.

From the "inside look" on Amazon

Yes, this is copyrighted material...  and the publisher will be glad that I shared it with you.


"Researchers have calculated the cost to society of dropouts but have missed the significantly larger cost of disengaged students who graduate from high school but are nonetheless unprepared for lifelong learning and whose talents and potential have been sadly ignored, often because those talents lie outside the traditional subject matter focus of a cognitive/abstract curriculum."
P. 120

Dennis Littky said the following in an interview in 2005 with National Public Radio

 I think my frustration with the world is that in many suburban districts where parents move to send their kids and the students come home with their As and Bs, the parents are satisfied, but they never look deeper, so they think those are good schools. They have the highest SAT scores, they have the most kids going to Ivy League colleges. 

Those kids are losing too. They are not dropping out because they are playing the game. When you ask them, "Have you made any decisions in school? Do you care about anything, are you passionate about anything that goes on during the day besides drama club or football after school?" They're getting the short end. They aren't allowed to get engaged with their work and go deeper. 

"My kid did well at that school." Yeah, but where could your kid really go if your kid got to work with a doctor in 9th grade, following her around, and really going in depth?

Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski have written the book that could aid those principals who are waiting for the right vocabulary to hit their desks.  This book is the sledgehammer that principals need to tear down walls separating the workplace from classrooms.  This book is the scissors needed to cut through red tape.

Parents can use this book to get the personalized school that will serve their children.

SUMMARY:  Leaving to Learn...
Great title.  

Excellent procedures (pages 108-116 plus policies 123-124)
Vocabulary for teachers and principals... just the right amount of documentation to persuade a superintendent to allow a change in procedures....

Hey, parents and students, 
School can be fun again -- and worth your time.  Find out how:  step one:  Photocopy pages 108-116 and pages 123-124.
step two:  deliver those copies to your principal.
step three:  get a petition started to support these programs.
step four:  deliver the signed petition to your principal's bosses.

The morning after flipping through Leaving to Learn, I saw this piece of good news:

Students at University of Miami are making ads in classes to help non-profit organizations.

but wait...  why is there an article about that?  What is so special about this program?  From the perspective of a person living in 2040, this is what all schools offer...

Here's the comment I left on the newspaper's website:

Thanks to (Dennis Yuzenas website)

Thanks to Frida Kahlo, the New Learning Institute and the work that Enrique Gonzalez showed me

… this type of active student work is normal.  

McCrea at 7:38 AM February 14, 2013
I applaud the editor of the newspaper for running this article...    let's also be aware that there is something amiss in our educational system and our low expectations for schools where this article is "news."  
why is this situation such a big deal?
Why is this situation not as common place as a classroom equipped with a whiteboard with dry erase markers?
Shouldn't "students making ads" be as normal as "students use powerpoint to present information in class."?
why is this worth an article in a newspaper?
Aren't students doing this kind of thing anyway?
I feel like we're stuck in the 1980s, that nobody has heard of computers for personal use.  why is this article in the newspaper?
it should not be news, it should be normal.
   well, here's a toast to innovation in universities and here's a hope that high school and middle school teachers and principals are watching.  Dennis Yuzenas has been doing this sort of thing since 1990   see 


In short, Washor and Mojkowski have compiled a 150-page book that describes problems with schools and offers easy-to-follow procedures for allowing kids to learn outside the classroom.

The book will help parents talk to principals, who might have heard of projects and digital portfolios and personal learning plans, but lacked an easy-to-read way of showing their teachers "Hey, let's do this."   

As a convert to the BigPicture mindset, I thank the authors for this book.  Elliot and Charles are expanding my vocabulary and making me more perplexed -- Isn't this what we should be doing now?  It's been nine years since Littky's book came out... Why does it take so long for the obvious to get into practice?

If you have read The Big Picture, you will know the "personalized" mindset (and imperative to "build the school around the student") and you can jump directly to the "Supporting Leaving to Learn" pages 108-116:   There's no need to reinvent the wheel or reverse engineer the procedures (teasing procedures out of the stories that are told in The Big Picture).  It's clear what we teachers, principals and parents should be doing.  

So I end this review with a wink to 2040:  About 5% of us are already living in the future.    We're with you, 2040.  We're ready to work with others to join us in the future.   

Leaving to Learn
Working outside the class is the new normal and anything less is just boring, lazy or uninformed.   Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski have shown us that we can make school fun again.

If you haven't read The Big Picture, you can read Leaving to Learn and find out what to do.   

The procedures in LEAVING TO LEARN will open doors in ways that prepping for a standardized test will not.
"Hey, students!  Bored with high school?  Here's the hack --  take pages 108 to 116 to your principal and ask how you can leave to learn."

 Thank you, Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, for the fast read:  Let's work on translations (Spanish first, then Turkish, Italian, Arabic and Romanian).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ken Robinson points out that "a teacher is the education system" (poster)

The aim with this post is to influence the Internet.  Sir Ken Richardson has over 14 million view of his "Do schools kill creativity?" video (as of Feb. 2013).

This is the description of "Bring on the learning revolution"

This is the RSA Animate session by Sir Ken

I'd like more people to take the time to hear the quote that Robinson gave on a sort of Skype call to a conference.

The link was  and the quote come from the end of the presentation.

47,000 or 4 million?  That's the 100x power of

Notice:  47,000 views in Feb. 2013

Richard E. Clark's observation "nothing has been learned" on a poster

Here's another attempt to "seed the Internet" with an image.  
The label is: 
poster nothing has been learned aim put working memory richard clark.jpg

Let's see if some readers of this blog can send me a better poster using these words.

The source is Richard E. Clark, American Educator, 2012, with Paul Kirschner and John Sweller.

Richard Clark's "Media are mere vehicles" and the delivery truck analogy in a poster

I did a search of "richard clark media delivery truck poster" and found these images:

So, what can we do?  Let's post a photo here with this name:
poster richard clark media delivery truck mere vehicles .jpg

Perhaps more people will hear about his observation.

The aim of this post is to place a poster in a prominent position to convey Dr. Clark's words.  

His article appeared in 1983.  Let's work on getting images to show this analogy.  You can download this poster from

The goal is for a search of "media are mere vehicles delivery truck" will reveal a link to this image.

If you post your poster, please send the link and we'll update this blog post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another way of looking at "Listen to a lecture at home and arrive ready to discuss it in class" -- a review of John Sowash's Flipping video

Here's a simple presentation about Flipping the Classroom

Presenter:  John Sowash

Here are some screenshots:

I bet you want to know what point number 3 is.... hmmm.   I hope you will look at his work.

What did Johnny Appleseed need? Needed in Italy, Turkey, France, Romania, ... Translations of excerpts into their languages

Something prepared the soil...
Johnny Appleseed walked through much of the USA dropping appleseeds (the story is more complicated, according to Wikipedia).  The key analogy is that the seeds ("new schools that use personalization") are falling on hard soil and not sprouting.   Johnny Appleseed would not have had a successful time in Arizona.  Something prepared the soil for him to show up.  (Glaciers deposited good soil for the seeds to land in.)

 Who is preparing the soil?  What is needed to prepare students, teachers, parents and principals to embrace transformation in schools?

Can you find the magic button?
MAIN IDEA:  I want to take "personalizing the classwork" to schools that are stuck in the traditional model (Lectures and Tests).  I find that people are more likely to embrace the ideas if they have been exposed in their native language to certain texts.

This blog post is a description of the International Network of Educators website and the reason why I am posting TED Talks translations.


The button is on the lower right
Why does it take so long to persuade teachers and students (parents and principals, too) to switch to the personalized classroom?  We're asking people (who have the old mindset) to change procedures without giving them the new mindset.
The revolutionary's friend

MAIN IDEA:  We who advocate change in classrooms need excerpts of important chapters of books that helped to build our mindsets.
Click here

I've been thinking about "what prepared me to make the shift from lecturing to projects?"
1.  I've been visiting with parents in Fort Lauderdale 
2.  I've talked with teachers by Skype in France, Brazil, Romania, Italy and India.  
There's a common theme:  They ask "What does personalizing the school work mean?"
They seem to focus on procedures but they "get it" after I tell stories from TED Talks and from key segments of books that have influenced me.

The theme of "personalizing the school work" drives innovation at many schools in the USA.

I used to focus on "How can we share the practices that help personalizing work?" when I talked with parents and teachers.

I found out that it's more than procedures and practices.  It's also about the mindset behind the procedures and practices.

What are the elements of the mindset that makes personalizing work in schools?
Dennis Littky puts it well in his 2004 book The Big Picture:  Education is Everybody's Business.  The end of his book has dozens of books that he suggests for additional reading. 

I visited the Met Center in 2005 but didn't start using portfolios and projects in the classroom until 2009.  I became a better teacher after I had read more of the books that Littky mentioned.

When I talk with teachers in other countries, they ask, "Do you have anything to read in [their native language]?"  They want to persuade their colleagues.  The easiest way is to get translations of the books that helped me make the shift.

The purpose of this post is to introduce you to the International Network of Educators (which is my collection of translations of works that I've found).

It's a non-profit effort.  I take things that I've found in one place of the internet and post it to draw attention to the 

1. I use EXCERPTS (not the full book)
2.  I include a link back to the source (and encourage people

Some people might interpret this activity as "using other people's content to build a website."  Hmmm.  I'm just trying to foment change in the minds of people (teachers and parents) who want to improve their schools, but they are stuck with the model in their heads of "Teacher talks, students take notes, test on Friday."  I have not monetized the site, so it really doesn't benefit me personally.  I'm bringing in one place a bunch of links (back to the sources in English) and aiding people with translations.

A valuable resource is TED TALKS.  
The transcripts are available to the public
I'm just putting the transcript in another format for readers to discover.
a) website
b) on text files on DVD data disks and USB flash drives (for easy transfer to computers)
c) printed on paper

The questions to ask are:  
1) What are the essential parts of a school's website or a book?
2)  What is the minimum that needs to be translated to get 80% of the readers to make the switch and shift their mindsets?

COST:  I ask volunteers to translate the articles and excerpts.  The translation work is not really free:  I'm asking people to give their time.   I don't want to ask for a translation of 200 pages when 40 pages will do most of the shifting.

TIME:  I hope to take this project of "shifting mindsets" to other languages.  A project can be delayed if we're waiting for translations.

The International Network of Educators

To expand the effort, I've asked authors to send me articles that they would like to give permission to translate.  Some authors tell me to deal with publishers, which turns into a discussion of finances.  A typical discussion with a publisher:
- $1000 permission to translate the entire book
- A guarantee of 2000 copies to be published.
- Publisher has the right to use the translation.
- Non-exclusive permission to distribute in the new language.
It's so much easier when the author simply grants permission to use the article or excerpts from the book.

Gordon Dryden's approach in China is an example:  The book sold 10 million copies and he didn't get a penny.  But look at the sensation it caused.

See the link

Visit the International Network of Educators to find some translations... and please send links to articles that you want to see translated ..... 

Special thanks to Nil Goksel, Isa Greppi, and the nice woman who did the Portuguese translations