Thursday, July 31, 2014

Steve McCrea: Short Biography -- key websites by a math and "test prep" teacher


Steve McCrea is certified to teach ESOL, English, Middle school Science (grades 5-9), Math, and Social Studies. He recommends books and websites related to BigPicture.org and looks for opportunities to use the teaching methods of Enrique Gonzalez (Highland Park High School in Los Angeles) in his classes.  
WORKSHOPS by Steve  
"The Integrated Curriculum and the two-teacher school"
Free Chapter 1  www.tinyURL.com/littkychapter1
Free Chapter 4  
Part 1 of the Big Picture video
Part 2 of the Big Picture video

He uses the digital portfolio system of High Tech High (San Diego) and the project system of Matt Blazek (www.TinyURL.com/mattblazek) and Dennis Yuzenas (WhatDoYaKnow.com).  
Steve has taught ESOL since 1997 and he encourages his teenage students to reach out through www.BIBPenpals.com (a volunteer program with Skype).  

He leads test prep classes at Broward College and encourages people to visit www.FloridaTestPrep.com and his youtube channel for free tips  youtube.com/MisterMath.   He looks forward to assisting students to build their careers at iGeneration Empowerment Academy.


Dr. Fischler's book to train teachers using quotations and commentaries

Testimonial about Littky's book


List of books available by Mario Llorente
Books by Matt Blazek
WhatDoYaKnow.com by Dennis Yuzenas

A project that lives on the web: a visit to major baseball fields

One of the benefits of keeping an open channel to my students and former students is the random email message that crawls into the in-box.  I remind my students to SEND ME A TEXT MESSAGE that reads "Look at your email messages.  I sent something about xxxx"... but I happened to see the following anyway:

Mr. Steve: I met a very interesting young man at work he is currently doing a project called the American baseball journey where he goes to all the different baseball park during summer look it up the website is http://www.americanbaseballjournal.com


So let's look at a well-organized project.  I'd like to see more reflection (in addition to the photos)...


Professional Development: Improve our penalties and grading

http://www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/Grading-Smarter-Not-Harder.aspx?utm_source=eblast&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=gradingsmarter-email-73014

there are some tips about grading

see the videos at the bottom of the page

http://bcove.me/z2pq8stb   "supply an explanation for why you choose two questions."

Penalties and brushing your teeth...
1. does the student care about the penalty? 
2.  does the penalty fit the aim?
3.  how often are you using the penalty?
4.  is the penalized person in control of the variables?  Is he in the best position to make a decision?   Teachers give out zeros....  
I want to grade learning instead of compliance.
5.  How do you professionally apply a penalty to a student who works until midnight to help his family meet the rent?   Or the student who has his utilities cut off?  The penalty needs to fit those students who have difficulties outside the school.   How do we build systems that are robust and work for everyone?

Penalties for the learner
we blend things that are not related to learning into different measurements of learning... in one test.
late by one day, 10% penalty.
late paying your parking ticket at the hospital, we get a lower blood pressure score.    It's okay to talk about dismantling practices that are not effective.

Check the link

Let's learn more about single-gender programs: Focus on Franklin Academy in cooper City, Florida

Here are some links that might catch your attention:
a school that is based on Ben Franklin's teachings
a school that includes chess in the curriculum
a school that separates students by gender

Here are some interesting quotes from the website.




See links about Single-Gender classrooms
particularly the work of Michael Gurian


As an optional enrichment program, chess allows students to develop a broad array of critical reasoning and problem solving skills. Chess provides a creative environment for students to practice analytical and logic puzzles using strategy, geometric spatial relationships, combined resource utilization and time management all in a game the students enjoy. Our program accommodates all levels of students from the first-time beginner to the seasoned tournament player. Students can continue to develop as players by joining the after school chess club or participating on the school tournament chess team.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Procedure in Test Prep Classes: What to do when the instructor is late

Traffic, car problems, mobile phone is uncharged, loss of phone...

There are a number of reasons why an instructor might be late.  Students can use the time in class to build their skills.

a) Go to MajorTests.com and look for difficult problems
Work together to solve difficult problems and develop the skill of collaboration
Learn more about Tony Wagner's Seven Survival Skills

In short, if an instructor is late, or has not shown within 45 minutes, you can still stay and get benefit from your classmates.   Look at the aims of the class and the study materials.  What would you teach if you were the instructor?  Then stand up and offer some problems, ask for suggestions about the approach to take to solve the problem and ask how the three main questions can be applied:

What is the pattern?  www.LookForPatterns.com
How can we rewrite this information (flexibility)
What can we do to increase our Brain Resilience?  www.AmenClinics.com and the 12 Prescriptions for Brain Health

For additional comments about "what to do when the instructor is late to class," please call  (954) 646 8246 or send email messages to VisualAndActive@gmail.com


TINYURL.com/stevemccreatips2000

Advice for an owner of a small business about Office 365

TIPS for small business owners.

If you want to manage your own website, why not use these tips from my student Lutz:

ADVICE TO AN OWNER OF A SMALL BUSINESS


I'm convinced that it makes sense to keep your business IT infrastructure as simple as possible. In practical terms, that means you should avoid using different platforms and technologies for all kind of communication (email, calendaring, conferencing, web, social). This will lead to a affordable, stable and easy to maintain solution for you.

Check out Microsoft Office 365. The Office 365 Small Business Premium plan might be the right one for you.

Best, Lutz


Leaders (and we are all leaders) might explain WHY we need to work together

Start with WHY  (a book)
Teachers might be attracted to this title...  Instead of starting with "What we need to study this week...", we could start with "Here's WHY we need to study."









Start here

Monday, July 14, 2014

One of my students recommended a video about Yugoslavia from 1969

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW2VySx-KoA

Look at this road starting at minute 5:11





there is a remarkable winding road starting in minute 5

From one country, Yugoslavia, there are now six countries

Slovenia             Serbia                  Montenegro

Bosnia               Croatia                Macedonia










Gordon Dryden supports an innovative method of learning with iPads

Gordon Dryden, author of books about "the learning revolution," has given his support to a method of using iPads to delver educational materials to students.

Here is his letter of support for iGeneration Academy in Lauderhill, Florida.

Click here to get the free AHA game


To Principal Latoya Robinson 

Dear Latoya 

Best wishes for planning approval for your academy.  The biggest single problem in the word of education right now is simple but appalling: 75 million youth unemployed between ages 15 and 24; many of them with advanced university 
degrees.

One of the big solutions is what you are proposing:a school with a 21st-century program to combine great learning methods with an allied program to for students to share hands-on jobs in 21st-century industries in the same area.

My new iBooks (one for the Apple iPad, based around the Apple model for the future; the other for Google-Android, based around their open-source model) should be completed by the end of this year.  The format for both is covered in the enclosed attachment.

Both are based on a completely updatedconcept of the original AHA GAME I invented to teach entrepreneurship and innovation at middle, high school and college level (copy of the original board game attached).  You'll notice the 144 new examples, around which booth the books and digital-visual games are based, have been completely updated.  But the same rte aching and learning principle applies: for each student to begin with his or her own talent, strength or passion – and to then throw two dice twice in each of the 12 numbered sub-sections; then to use the resulting examples as the basis for personal innovation programs.

More importantly (to link in with your new schools) this provides the opportunities for every strident to:

1. Start with each one's individual talent, strengths and passion.

2. Link that together with other students into multi-talented teams.  And then

3.     Use new technologies and templates to provide true principles of imagination, ideas and innovation to reinvent every aspect of society.

Feel free to use the concepts free of charge.

Best wishes.

Gordon Dryden

Gordon Dryden
The Learning Web Ltd
thelearningweb.net
gordon@learningweb.co.nz
P O Box 16384
Bethlehem, Tauranga
New Zealand 3147


ATTACHMENTS      Touch The Future                AHA Game

===============  


Many thanks, Gordon!


With Appreciation, Steve

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What does Dennis Littky write about

One of the points that the Planning and Zoning Division writes about is the issue of "incompatible" land use.  

(1) a school is better located near residential zones
(2)  a school for 200 students should have adequate space (31 acres) and the proposed school has only 2 acres.
(3) a light industrial zone will be adversely affected by the presence of students
These points are addressed below by looking at what Dennis Littky writes about ...  See his book  The Big Picture



(a) Students benefit from the participation of mentors from the local economy.


(b) 




You can see the link to the PLanning and Zoning Division's report here
More points from the report are addressed here

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Testimony to the Lauderhill City Commission about support for a charter school in a Warehouse / Light Industrial zoning district


If you support alternatives to the traditional "big box" high school, please come to the Lauderhill City Commission meeting on July 14 at 7 p.m. to stand in support of iGe
neration Academy's request for approval.

5581 W Oakland Park Blvd, Lauderhill, FL 33313
(954) 730-3010
Commission address:  5581 West Oakland Park Blvd.

Agenda Item

In 1995, Dennis Littky opened a school in Providence, Rhode Island, with the idea of matching high school student with local businesses.   The school's mission is described in a book by Littky in 2004  CLICK HERE
tinyurl.com/LittkyChapter1  << The goals of education
tinyurl.com/LittkyChapter4  << Teach one student at a time

iGeneration Academy goes one step closer to this mission:  The students are in a Light Industrial zone so that they can easily find their own mentors and businesses where they can find internships.   Some students at the Littky school travel 35 or 40 minutes across the city to get to their internships;  iGeneration Academy students can walk to nearby businesses.

The Academy gives teachers the opportunity to link real world problems to the academic work.  Students can bring information from their internships into the classroom.

Here are some screenshots from Littky's school website
http://www.bigpicture.org/2008/11/learning-in-the-real-world-lti/



Other web links:  Real World Learning


Work/Study programs:  
Switzerland and Germany

A special system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung allows pupils on vocational courses to do in-service training in a company as well as at a state school.[3]

From an article about academic links to work in German schools

The well-documented report from the Planning and Zoning Division of Lauderhill focuses on issues that aim to separate education from commercial and economic work.  The Euclidean goal of planners is to separate land uses so that residential areas don't have smells and noises of industrial zones.  (Euclid, Ohio, was one of the first examples of separating land uses into zones that resulted in litigation)

NOTE:  Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926), more commonly Euclid v. Ambler, was a United States Supreme Court landmark case[1]argued in 1926. It was the first significant case regarding the relatively new practice of zoning, and served to substantially bolster zoning ordinances in towns nationwide in the United States and in other countries of the world including Canada.

LOCAL BUSINESSES = TEACHING POINTS
This "zone" approach leads to creating schools that are isolated from the economic world.  One of the principal benefits of teaching at Mavericks charter school (454 West Sunrise Blvd.) was the workshops across the street (in the 500 block of West Sunrise Blvd.).  Such "incompatible" uses (education and light industrial work) led to discussions in my classes of how to measure materials that needed to be cut and assembled.   

Bullying:  "The way to handle bullies is to keep the bullies away from the potential victims."  This appears to be the standard way of preventing incidents.   The mentality of the bully remains untouched.

Alternative:  Make "safe schools for all" the watchword of the school's culture.   an article about anti-bullying programs


From an anti-bullying article
In short:  The school's teachers can create a 
climate with the students for non-bullying.

A Poster in my classroom:  Trust. Truth. No putdowns.
Active Listening.  Personal Best

From NewCitySchool.org in St. Louis, Mo.
Link to the report

"We don't do that here" is how Littky's schools operate.    There is evidence that older students can be near-peer mentors to younger students.

A report about High School students as mentors for "littles" (elementary school students)

=========== 

LINK TO THE AGENDA

THE REPORT FROM THE PLANNING AND ZONING DIVISION
Here are selected excerpts  from the Planning and Zoning Division's report to the City Commission.   CLICK HERE to see the full collection of excerpts that I selected for comments.


RESPONSE:  A charter school has been here before.  
Why not let the school operate?



RESPONSE:  (1) MIXED USE:  There are 
educational advantages to allowing students to 
conveniently observe the cycles of local businesses. 
(2) SPACE:  A charter school does not need 30 acres to deliver services.  The shorter school day 
means that recreation takes place after 
school or before school.    
Why not let the school operate?






RESPONSE:  A five-foot or a four-foot sidewalk?   Is that difference enough to stop the transformation of education? Can we find a creative solution?    Perhaps by creating a pathway called "step on the painted squares"?

A popular smartphone app is called "Don't Tap the White Tile"
What if the school has a coordination test painted on the side walk to encourage students to walk single-file, each taking turns to step on the painted squares?





RESPONSE: 
(5) Loss of Real Estate Taxes:  perhaps this
"economic loss" can be thought of as 
"investment in our future" with the
valuable curriculum of the Global Studies program and
free SAT / ACT / PERT test prep that will be offered. 
(6)  Police:  The argument is that 200 students 
will create the need for police response. 
An alternative:  The culture of the school might
be built where police presence is not required.  






RESPONSE:  (7)  Bullies need to be kept away from middle school students.   
This concern is addressed by having separate entrances at opposite ends of the school building.
In Littky schools, the people who provide catering, transportation and janitorial services also participate in  mentoring of students.  





Do you really want to keep janitors away from the students?



If you support alternatives to the traditional "big box" high school, please come to the Commission meeting on July 14 at 7 p.m. to stand in support of iGeneration Academy's request for approval (item number 18 on the Agenda).  5581 West Oakland Park Blvd.





This is the action that the
Planning and Zoning Division recommends

To grant a special exemption, four out of five votes are needed.  Here are the participants:






Mayor Kaplan, Vice Mayor Bates, Commissioners Benson, Thurston, and Berger



Here are some letters of support that have been received so far

Gordon Dryden Sun, Jul 13, 2014 at 6:41 PM
To: ddb3410@yahoo.com
Cc: visual active
To Principal Latoya Robinson 

Dear Latoya 

Best wishes for planning approval for your academy.

The biggest single problem in the word of education right now is simple but appalling: 75 million youth unemployed between ages 15 and 24; many of them with advanced university degrees.

One of the big solutions is what you are proposing: a school with a 21st-century program to combine great learning methods with an allied program to for students to share hands-on jobs in 21st-century industries in the same area.

My new iBooks (one for the Apple iPad, based around the Apple model for the future; the other for Google-Android, based around their open-source model), should be completed by the end of this year.  The format for both is covered in the enclosed attachment.

Both are based on a completely updated concept of the original Aha game I invented to teach entrepreneurship and innovation at middle, high school and college level (copy of the original board game attached).  You'll notice the 144 new examples, around which booth the books and digital-visual games are based, have been completely updated.  But the same rte aching and learning principle applies: for each student to begin with his or her own talent, strength or passion – and to then throw two dice twice in each of the 12 numbered sub-sections; then to use the resulting examples as the basis for personal innovation programs.

More importantly (to link in with your new schools) this provides the opportunities for every strident to:

1. Start with each one's individual talent, strengths and passion.

2. Link that together with other students into multi-talented teams.  And then

3.     Use new technologies and templates to provide true principles of imagination, ideas and innovation to reinvent every aspect of society.

Feel free to use the concepts free of charge.

Best wishes.

Gordon Dryden

Gordon Dryden
The Learning Web Ltd
P O Box 16384
Bethlehem, Tauranga
New Zealand 3147

========  

To Whom It May Concern
Agenda Item #18
City of Lauderhill
In support of iGeneration Academy


Dear Ms. Robinson:

My name is Mario Llorente, and I have heard, through Steve McCrea, of your efforts to gain a special exemption from the City Commission to open your school.

I absolutely support  small schools. I believe they are the only foreseeable future to our children's needs. Such settings offer a  strength that can outdo any other weaknesses.

I plan to attend the meeting on Monday at 7.00. It will be a pleasure to get to meet you in person,

Mario LLorente