Monday, August 25, 2014

"Our Stories Matter" (a new book by Hans Hickler) can help students see that writing is a skill used throughout life.

Dan Pink has been writing for nearly a decade about the power of stories in advertising and persuasion.

I did a search on "the power of stories to persuade" and the list of articles confirms Pink's claim that stories often connect more than "facts."

A school mate Hans Hickler (a former CEO) sent me his book called Our Stories Matter.  These are 20 profiles of people whose "soulfulness impacted me and remained with me."

I recommend this book for classrooms.  I want to show students how adults take time to capture memories and share the stories that matter to us.  Hans has served educators by showing that adults other than writers and teachers (who both write for a living) can take time to capture thoughts and memories.  He took time to give value to his thoughts. 
The book was produced at McNally Jackson in New York.  

The process of writing a book takes time.  I like the phrase that Hans uses in the cover letter that he sent with the book.  He wrote that the book is part of his journey to create "the awareness that people need to lead with passion, strength and transparency."

Monday, August 4, 2014

How do we inspire students to adopt the "Insanely Early" procedure?


If you get up early, would you agree to be a mentor to one of my students?  Would you let that student call you and talk through the issue of "giving up late night TV and computer games" to prepare for the next morning?

The Paul Dejoe article

Who was John Venn? Who was responsible for the Venn Diagram? Is there a place in education for "random episodes of learning?\"?

Random episodes of learning take place when Google changes its logo to celebrate the lives of "obscure" people.

John VennFRS[2][3] (4 August 1834 – 4 April 1923) was an English logician and philosopher. He is famous for introducing the Venn diagram, which is used in many fields, including set theoryprobability, logic, statistics, and computer science.

This demonstrates the need for "short learning moents" as long as we have time to integrate the bits into our current database.

A link to the WIKI page

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This article shows the challenge for distance education: Can we offer services to students in war-torn areas and in neighborhoods that are cut off from schools?

Here is an example of distance education and hands-on learning.

Leaders in Distance Education can use this example to build programs for children who are not able to attend a traditional school or for students who need additional courses.   See the mission of

Learn more at and and


a project in Turkey could reshape education in Eastern Europe, West Asia and North Africa... Learn about UDE EE WA NA

He deserves an education, too
I'm a fan of Ugur Demiray's project called UDE EE WA NA.

Here is a description.

You can learn more at

Distance education includes delivering school through TV and the Internet, to primary, secondary and higher education...
Why not use distance education to serve students in war zones?  

What regional association currently exists that can embrace the needs of students who are displaced by war or famine or economic disruption? provides a collection of experts who can help school directors meet the needs of children and young adults who want to learn new skills.



Globalization has affected many areas of society and will continue to shape the future of formal and distance education and content delivery indefinitely. The impact of globalization has led to higher enrollments for many universities and colleges. It has become increasingly apparent that individuals need to consistently learn new skills in order to remain employed and competitive in a knowledge and digital economy. Distance education institutions have always managed to teach students beyond the frontiers of the jurisdiction within which they exist as physical entities. The development of Information and Communication Technologies has greatly expanded the number of institutions offering programmes on a regional or global basis. The developments of modern Information and Communication Technologies have greatly helped the emergence of global distance education systems.

Leaders in distance learning must constantly be aware of how to adjust, evaluate, and assess the validity of programs, content, and emerging technologies to remain competitive and viable in this new society. Educational leaders will benefit from collaboration with business and industry leaders and vice versa. Education has benefited from insight and inquiry and might benefit from adopting practices from business and industry. In addition, faculty and administrators (in all levels of education) should work collaboratively in the practice and theory of online delivery methods.

With the increasing changes happening throughout the world, education leaders (in primary and secondary education and in universities) need to be aware of these mutable circumstances and influence their schools, colleges and universities to be able to adapt and transform accordingly. Leaders create and convey compelling images of how our reach is much less than our potential grasp; they redefine people's paradigms about what is possible. In contrast, competent managers are adept at organizing operations so that an institution's efficiency in accomplishing plans is optimized. This is a vital task often neglected by leaders who do not understand management, to their later regret, for good administration involves both envisioning and operationalizing. Leadership requires developing both instruction-oriented technologies and technology-intensive “learning-by-doing” approaches; applying this combination of pedagogical strategies necessitates numerous assumption-breaking changes in the organizational context of the classroom and the roles of teachers, parents, and students. Creating and conveying technological visions powerful enough to displace traditional educational models is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership.

In conclusion, leadership is a role fraught with difficulties, requiring both wisdom and maturity. Leaders need to encourage everyone to lead, always. If each of us were to act in the ways described above – every day, however imperfectly -- educational technology and distance education application could be the driveshaft for restructuring education and shaping a bright future for our society.

The key phrase: Education for children will build a better future for everyone. Children growing up in difficult neighborhoods can benefit from distance education.

Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey has experience with open and distance education for more than 30 years. From cultural, economic, and socio-political viewpoints, Anadolu can be a leader and a role-model for neighboring countries in the region of North Africa, Eastern Europe and West Asia. The next step is to support a new distance education association (the suggested name is UDEEEWANA) to organize state/private open and distance Education institutions/units in the countries of such as Eastern Europe, including Scandinavian and Baltic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Russia, Ukraine), Turkey and the Caucasian area; the Middle East (West Asia), including the Arab Peninsula, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan; and North Africa (countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, and so on).

UDEEEWANA = United Distance Education for Eastern Europe, West Asia and North Africa.

See the article

SEE THIS ARTICLE to learn more about how education can proceed in war-torn regions.

Read below about how a small project is helping students ...

See the LINK

Friday, August 1, 2014

SOUND CLOUD: It's like YouTube for audio files. Share what you record

For years I  have wondered how to share audio files easily with others.  I have some excellent auido files from my teachers and I want to share them with others.   I usually place the audio track on a distracting video or slide show.  See my interview with David Lloyd (mentor) about the Coast Guard.

But now there is SOUND CLOUD where we can share items that we record...

Search Results

  1. Posters of Quotes with David LloydMentor - YouTube
    Jun 11, 2014 - Uploaded by visual active
    These posters are associated with the European Leadership School in St. Malo, France. David Lloyd is a ...
    Missing: lizards
  2. Mentor on Video Quick Download David Lloyd: a ... - YouTube
    Jun 9, 2014 - Uploaded by visual active
    This video is lower quality to allow you to watch it quickly. Iguanas and David Lloyd:
Here is a delightful interview with Ken Robinson about \\\\

VISIT the search page for "Ken Robinson"

This is a draft of the Two-Teacher School idea (the integrated curriculum, two teachers teach 30 kids all of the subjects for four years)

This is a draft 
The book is evolving at this location

Central idea: The integrated curriculum asks one teacher to teach all five or six subjects (like the elementary school teacher)

Two Teachers Split the Work: If you don’t feel confident about teaching the entire curriculum to a group of studnets, what if you split the curriculum with another teacher? Each teacher would have three subjects and this will let the teacher see 50 or 60 students per week instead of the typical 150 to 180 students.

That’s the core of the “Two-Teacher School.” If we limit the number of students that a teacher is asked to face and evaluate, then the teacher can learn more about each student.



Part 1: The Integrated Curriculum and Littky

Part 2: How does Littky’s system fit in with the transformation of education?

Part 1: The Integrated Curriculum and Littky

Part 2: How does Littky’s system fit in with the transformation of education?

Here are six important books, each with a part to play in giving advice to teachers who want to use the integrated curriculum.

The Big Picture by Dennis Littky gives stories to inspire people

Personalizing the High School by Clarke and DiMartino give procedures for teachers to use.

One Kid at a Time by Eliot Levine gives specific projects

Leaving to Learn by Eliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski gives an endgame view for principals and administrators to see how the Big Picture can be applied.

Building More Responsive Schools, Dr. Fischler's book of commentaries. places the computer and other technology in the context of the discussions and projects that come with implementing a portfolio system.

Projects Matt Blazek's collection of projects for digital portfolios helps teachers and students see how a portfolio might be used in a class.

The videos by Dennis Yuzenas show how to arrange a classroom around projects and at least one computer per two students.

the missing ingredient: a small book with photos and large quotes that will reach students, -- and then the students can reach out to parents, principals, teachers, taxpayers and potential mentors.
a) STUDENTS: give students examples of what a two-teacher classroom looks like and what behavior is expected in the room.

b) PARENTS: help parents get over their memories of school and their internal standard of what "good school work" looks like and what "a classroom show look like." These images can prevent a parent from seeing herself as a member of the volunteer faculty that a two-teacher classroom needs.

c) PRINCIPALS: how can a principal train teachers to consider getting the multiple certifications? This simple book starts the conversation. When teachers can be shown the joy of teaching 50 kids instead of 120 kids, then it becomes clear that more time can be given to those students. The principal needs a second book (the large format TWO-Teacher Class workbook with posters") that provides support and training for staff to adapt to the

d) TEACHERS: Even a teacher who has certification in only one area can become part f the two-teacher classroom, since the lesson plans can be performed by the other multi-certified teacher. For example, Steve is certified in math, history (social studies), middle school science 5-9, math, ESOL and English, so a Spanish teacher could teach some of the other subjects under Steve's guidance until the Spanish teacher passes the alternative certification of


f) MENTORS business owners, managers of officers, waitresses in restaurant workers, they all have a place in the two-teacher classroom. This book is aimed at showing that they, too, have a role to play in making the two-teacher classroom function better.

Students can start the conversation with questions
One of the key parts of this book are a list of questions and statements and quotations that the student can use to start the conversation

How to persuade a parent to support an innovative approach
Mother, have you ever wondered what it must be like to be a teacher who has to see five groups of kids every week? Imagine seeing 120 kids and having to memorize their names and the names of their families."

How to get a mentor to adopt the school
Excuse me, sir, I know that you are a client of my father. He helps you when you need your car fixed. I wonder what is your profession? I think you are a lawyer, do you think you can come to our class. One of my classmates wants to be a lawyer someday and it will really help him if he can write to you or send you some questions. Can you gie me your email address?”

Approaching a principal
Mr. Principal, I heard about the two-teacher classroom. Do you think you can put me in this kind of classroom? Is it possible? I really like these features of the classroom. I want to be able to study with the same teacher at least three subjects so I can see the math in physics and history... and then when we study literature the same teacher can show us art and perhaps Spanish.”

Teacher, have you considered asking the principal of the school to let you teach two subjects or perhaps three subjects together? I see that your ipad has a picture of Italy. You could teach geography as well as your primary subject, English literature. I am sure that you also could show us how art connects with literature, so that could be three subjects together (Geography, English Literature and Art). I heard that it is possible for teachers to get two or three certifications using the FTCE process. It would really be nice if you could be my teacher next year and follow me and also if you could teach at least one more subject so we can blend the classes together.”

Students, if you practice these short speeches, you will capture the attention of adults.

first many adults assume that you are still a child and that you don't have much ability to think about the future.

second they remember when they were children and how they were expected to be passive and accept the ideas of the their teachers. "The teacher knows the best way for your to learn" was the sentence that many adults heard 40 years ago. So it might surprise them if you ask for their help to shape your learning experience.

third, you could even use parts of this book and make your own book or powerpoint. if you want to use a powerpoint, you can download it at XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.ppt and then you can make your own version.


steve mccrea

954 646 8246

“I love math but I don’t understand physics.”

If a teacher can teach something abstract and another teacher teaches something physical and concrete, the connection can be lost.

If the same teacher can show something physical and connect it to the abstract idea of math, then the student can see the connection.

If a teacher teaches English Literature and the grammar of writing, then the abstract and the concrete can be connected. “I enjoy writing but literature is boring.”

If I’m the writing teacher for this student, I know what appeals to him. I can find literature that he will enjoy -- and suddenly literature class is interesting.

If you can write and use math, you have the tools to go farther.

You only have to see the connection. If you have one teacher who teaches you both science and math

if the same teacher teachers you literature and writing, then you connect the abstract to the concrete.

It is easy to understand math as connection to natural sciences.

A message to the teacher
Of course you are an expert in one area of the corpus of knowledge. But you also know some connections between your special area and every other special area. What is the link between spanish and math? Between history and math? Between chemistry and history? between Literature and art? Between physics and literature? Every teacher went through high school. WE’ve been where the student is, we have suffered through the illusion that math is separate from the other subjects. We can learn different points of view from diffrent teachers. The skill of the two-teacher classroom is to bring in separate views while keeping the connections.

If teacher A and Teacher B share the subjects, they can bring in the lesson plans of Teacher C, D and E. They can ask these other teachers to visit the class and give a ten minute lecture or lesson, which the students can video record. Then the job of the students is to present the information to Teachers A and B and show how the viewpoints of Teachers C, D and E connect with the subjects that A and B are teaching.

The two-teacher classroom does not limit points of view. The two-teacher classroom brings in other teachers with lectures. The purpose of having only two teachers is to make sure the connections are kept.

we want students to understand the integration of the information.

Up to grade 6, there is usually one teacher who in elementary schools around the world shows the connections. That one teacher knows each student very well, their moods at different times of the day, their potential best time to soar and shine, when they need time to rest and what subjects inspire them.

The teacher creates the integration of learning.

“I hated algebra when I was your age.”
-- An 8th grade teacher of English, who said this sentence in front of six students.

As a math teacher, when I heard this statement, I was annoyed. But then I decided to use this to my advantage. i asked the teacher to sit with the students and just listen to them describe the problem. Maybe my students could teach the English teacher to enjoy algebra.

Why? Algebra might be best explained by an English teacher. Algebra is really a study of relationships.

this is the challenge of integration. Math and grammar follow rules. So why can’t a teacher of English rise above her fear of math and show the parallel systems of rules in grammar and math?

We think that the best teacher is the most accomplished. We look for the best person to learn from and we often try to find the most accomplished person. We need to find the person who can connect the subject to what we know. we need to find teachers who can connect the information to other information.

“There is so much more to learn today than in the 1940s.”

this is the danger of focusing on content. We need to focus on skills. I greatly admire my uncles, people who were trained in the 1940s and 1950s. the content was less, many of them studied only pre-algebra, algebra and geometry, then didn’t learn trigonometry, calculus or statistics. They are very practical and they can describe the world around them very well without calculators. “What if this field were 1/8th bigger? How much more would we need to plant?”

Today we try to teach too much. We present material that will not be learned permanently.

fifty years ago, the teachers trained and retrained the students.

Today we present trigonometry and equations with three variables. What is the practical use?

Of course, let the material be available if the student wants to pursue it or shows interest or ability, but let’s not make everyone take so much content. If you have decided to become an engineer, you can prepare for those classes or you can take the classes when you get to university. in the meantime you will have ethics, extra languages and a strong ability to communicate and collaborate. These skills are more important than derivative and integration of a formula.

If you want to become an editor of a magazine, why do you need to know about calculus? it is better that you study the history of printing.

-- This section of this book comes from a discussion between Mario and Steve
25 June, 2013.

There’s a school in Providence, Rhode Island, where one teacher teaches all six subjects to the same group of 15 students for four years. The “integrated curriculum” is presented through projects, which allows the student to explore math, science, history, literature and ethics through

The students’ interests and passions are further developed and explored with internships with local businesses.

Putting Littky’s advice into practice

If you don’t feel confident about teaching the entire curriculum to a group of students, what if you split the curriculum with another teacher? Each teacher would have three subjects and this will let the teacher see 50 or 60 students per week instead of the typical 150 to 180 students.

That’s the core of the “Two-Teacher School.” If we limit the number of students that a teacher is asked to face and evaluate, then the teacher can learn more about each student.