Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another edition of Dan Pink's email newsletter. It's such a bonanza and it is not too long...

Continuing Education

One of the quotes that I posted in my classroom recently was

"The person who doesn't read is no better off than the person who can't read."

That's a reminder that we have so many opprotunities to move ahead through treading.

Here's what I look foward to... the infrequent letter from Dan Pink.

Here is his latest list of links to explore.  I encourage you to sign up for his email letter.

Welcome to the latest edition of our irregular and irreverent newsletter. In this issue, you’ll find: a brand new interview feature called “Four Questions For”;  the best piece of software I’ve downloaded in years; 4 books, movies, and podcasts I’ve recently discovered; and our usual collection of 7 must-read articles.

Let’s get started.


We’re introducing a new feature here at the newsletter. I call it “4 Questions 4” (hereinafter “4Q4”). In every newsletter, I’ll enlist a smart writer with a new non-fiction book — and I’ll ask that person four questions. Four questions that cut through the clutter and get to the heart of what the writer is trying to say and what it means for readers. The same four questions every time. 

We launch 4Q4 with one of my favorite books of the year, How to Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (Buy it at IndieBoundBarnes & Noble, or Amazon). Here are four questions for its author, former Stanford University Dean of Freshmen Julie Lythcott-Haims:
1. Julie, what’s the big idea?
We worry about neglectful parents, and rightly so. But there’s also harm at the opposite end of the spectrum: Overparenting. Whether via overprotection (think “bubble-wrapped kids”), overdirection (“tiger mom”), or too much hand-holding (“parent as concierge”) kids raised this way lack basic life skills, can’t think for themselves, don’t take the initiative, and suffer from alarming rates of anxiety and depression.
2. How do you know?
As Stanford’s freshman dean, I saw more students each year who needed a parent to tell them what to do, how to do it, or outright do it for them, and who couldn’t cope with even small setbacks. Colleagues nationwide saw the same. I realized overparenting was to blame when one night at dinner I began cutting my son’s meat (he was ten). I was already doing too much for him and was on track to be “that parent” who couldn’t let go of him at eighteen. 
3. Why should I care?
Parents: regardless of the short term “win” you achieve by overparenting (e.g. a higher grade), in the long term your kid will be mentally unwell, lack skills needed in the workplace, and be bewildered when you’re gone. Boomers and GenXers: we have to hand the mantle of leadership to these “kids” one day. If young adults increasingly lack the wherewithal to act and think like an “adult” – and lead our institutions and families one day – what’s to become of our society?
4. What should I do?
Teach kids to fend for themselves (e.g. wake themselves up, make a meal, keep track of their stuff, do their own work, meet deadlines, get places, talk to others, advocate for their needs, and bounce back from adversity). Here’s an easy four step method for teaching kids any skill: 1) do it for them; 2) do it with them; 3) watch them do it; 4) then they do it completely independently.
More: How to Raise an Adult


Ads on the web are kinda creepy, right?  

Say you visit a sports goods site looking for swim goggles, but don’t buy anything. For the next week, that jilted vendor will follow you to every other place you visit — your bank, your local newspaper, that dermatology site you checked when you had that weird rash — beckoning you with ads for goggles you’ve already decided you don’t want. If this happened in meatspace, you’d call the cops.

A few weeks ago, perhaps later than some of you, I found a solution. It’s called Adblock Plus - a browser extension that blocks ads. It’s free, open-source, and it works like a dream.

Now I’m no longer assaulted by ads (though I can whitelist certain sites from which I do want ads). And pages load much faster.

Of course, some argue that ad-blocking technology will kill certain web sites by denying them revenue. But my view is that these innovations will force publishers to create better, more useful, less annoying ads or figure out less creepy methods for paying their bills.

More: Adblock Plus 


Here’s some other stuff I’ve liked lately:

BOOK: The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. Barton Swaim’s vivid, funny, and often sad account of a few years writing speeches for a peculiar and persnickety southern Governor.

DOCUMENTARY: Going Clear. From HBO Films, a look inside the bizzaro world of Scientology. Riveting (and slightly terrifying). 

NEWSLETTER: Sunday New York Times Digest. Matt Thomas reads the Sunday Times so you don’t have to. No crossword help, though. 

PODCAST:   Hidden Brain. An amazing new show from NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. It launches next week, so be sure to subscribe now.  (Disclosure: I have a small role in this one). 

From my Instapaper account to your email inbox comes our most popular feature. Here are 7 articles that caught my eye and charged my brain: 

How to Graciously Say No to Anyone
The more time I spend on this planet, the more I realize that one secret to well-being is saying no. Austin Kleon explains how to do it with a touch of grace. 

How to Improve Your Writing: 5 Secrets From Hollywood
Structure, surprise, and the importance of being semi-miserable. More shrewd advice from Eric Barker.

What You Miss When You Take Notes on a Laptop
Shut the MacBook and take out a pen. You’ll be a better note-taker.

A World Without Work
Very thoughtful Atlantic article by Derek Thompson about automation, leisure, and the meaning of work.

The Coddling of the American Mind
Another great Atlantic piece, this one about the lunkheadedness of protecting college students from ideas they don’t like.

Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert? You May Be an Ambivert?
The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Bernstein on one of my favorite topics. 

Traffic signs with a heart ask you to stop - in the name of love
Luc Rinaldi at Macleans covers another topic near to my heart: Emotionally intelligent signage.

BONUS: If you’ve still got the time and the mental bandwidth, here is a short Wired story I wrote on the science of being happy at work. And here is a (not universally loved) PBS Newshour video essay I did explaining why parents, even nice ones, shouldn’t watch their kids' athletic events.

That’s all for this edition.  As always, thanks for reading our humble newsletter. 

Daniel Pink

Edmodo makes a mobile app to assist commuinication between teachers and parents

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Another way to introduce a person

"A beautiful young girl"
Why describe the person's exterior?  Why not say, "Here is an ethical person who volunteers twice a week at the hospital massaging the feet of old people."

The first minute contains the language that I'm describing.   Why can't we describe young women wihtout describing their physical attributes?

A discussion about Grades vs. "The Discussion Letter" (narratives)

A discussion about grades comes from pages 154-161 in The Big Picture.  Here's the essence:

At The Met, we use narratives not to rank students or compare them to each other, but to help each student understand what he or she must do to meet his or her own learning goals and needs. In other words, when a teacher reads a student’s paper, she is not reading it to mark the stu- dent’s progress in relation to a predetermined set of activities and goals, but to actually figure out what those activities and goals should be for that student. When you say you want to get rid of grades, some people think you want to get rid of standards altogether. It’s the exact opposite. Using narratives really forces schools to look more closely at each stu- dent’s accomplishments and gaps. The standards are determined in a really personalized way by developing an individualized learning plan, with goals and indicators of achievement for each student. Then it’s a matter of evaluating that student in a real-world way: assessing the student’s progress as it compares to what he or she will need in order to succeed in college and in life. When you think about it, you can’t hold students to any standard higher than that. 

Here are the screenshots.
Get the book (search terms)
"Big Picture 2004  Littky Amazon" 

See excerpts

 I want to wokr in a high school where these ideas are discussed.

Charter school in Brevard County (Palm Bay, Florida) has Aquaculture, Apps room and music in the cafeteria ... Proof that the teaching the ‘Whole Child’ is 21st Century Learning!

I was given a tour of Odyssey Charter School in Palm Bay by Dr. R. Harrison in September 2015.  Here are some highlights.
See the website 
Aquaculture in the front of the building
The school embraces projects -- and has a connection with agriculture. 

Apps room:  I saw pairs of students working with PLTW (Project Lead the Way) to design Apps, and other software using hi-tech coding and other gaming systems. The school has paired itself with Harris Technologies.

Sometimes the easiest way to learn about a good program that involves projects is to visit a school that found a good program.  Look at the PLTW website.

Music and Organic food in the cafeteria 
Food is prepared using organic and whenever possible, locally grown produce. Students enjoy the calming of a morning breakfast while various symphonic or jazz music plays in the background.
A parent posted this

The Farm at Odyssey
In front of the school, students engaged in the STEM program, collaborate with both their STEM Educator and an Organic Agricultural Specialist, in planning, designing, and building the school’s Aquaponics system. The Farm at Odyssey will eventually develop into a community program offering organic produce, and live fish (sold in buckets of water), which were born and raised in the Aquaponics system.

There is currently no Youtube account for the school because "there's no real need for marketing."  I hope that their best practices will soon be shown on YouTube so that my school might learn from watching how the Apps room is set up. 
Here is the webpage

The school does not have an active social media section because 'We have a waiting list.  It's not really a priority."  Well done.   Here is a link to the webpage.  Look at the Nutritional Guide

Here's the text that caught my attention:  I learned from these links.

This school raises the bar for all who teach ... 
And Dr. Harrison points out that schools in Connecticut go farther
Nutrition and Healthy Living Education

As a means to develop the full potential of every child, the school will offer nutrition education to all of its students. The student’s nutrition curriculum strand comes from Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment, written by the Center for Eco-literacy. Big Ideas offers key concepts drawn from the American Association for the Advancement of Science Benchmarks for Science Literacy. LIFE: Linking Food and the Environment is supporting curriculum published by Teachers College Columbia University. As described by LIFE curriculum, the modules increase scientific conceptual understanding in life science as well as improved attitudes toward personal health and nature. Positive behavioral changes in relation to personal and ecological health are encouraged.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Items in the public domain for students and teachers

The Public Domain Project
Download thousands of historic media files for your creative projects; completely free.

Need a sound for your video or audio marketing or creative project?

Content Topic Ideas Generator & Brainstorm Tool 
Type in a keyword and get topic ideas for your next blog post or content marketing piece.

This list was found by JK McCrea

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why not post quotes from Littky's 2004 book? Hang them where people linger... near the water cooler...

Search for 1 of 6 Posters and Quotes from Littky's Big Picture book 2004
Littky's book could be presented to students and parents in pieces.  How about delivering a quote on a sheet of paper and posting the paper in restrooms and on walls?

Here are some examples....


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fischler's vision about Transforming Schools is highlighted in a December 6 2014 event at Nova University called "|Time is a Variable," a workshop about Projects with schools from Miami, Palm Beach and Broward Counties

Here are some statements by speakers at this event (video recorded by Richard Peritz) about Dr. Fischler's impact on transforming education:

Mr. Rodriguez, Miami Arts Charter School
Dance Program,
and Jaime Torres (right), Math Department
The Importance of Projects:  a summary by a student in a Dance History class by Roberto Rodriguez

BY ORGANIZING THE dance history timeline, with my classmates, it has helped me to understand the dimensions of people and culture.
Since each of us got to research a country of our interest, it was easier to participate in this history class.
Matt Blazek, Boca Prep International
When we shared information with each other.  I gained a greater perspective about how the world shares common stories.  The dance time line shows not only  how dance began,   but also the purpsoe behind the movements.
for example, Vedic dancing began in India about

500 years before Christ using fertility dances as rituals.  Within ten centuries, the dances were more organized with the Slavic tribes moved to Russia and folk dances began.   Today dance is practiced with many of these influences.
The timeline helps me understand why people from different cultures move the way they do by taking elements from the variety of cultures.   The timeline motivates me to learn more about dance and dance history because I want to find the origins of my favorite styles.
When I do ballet now, I can think about the social evolution that ballet had to endure to be eventually recognized as an art form.
-- a statement written by one of the MAC students, read by Roberto Rodriguez

I'm Jaime Torres, I also work at Miami Art Charter School.  Now picture those dance kids coming into a math classroom.  Math is the last thing on their mind.  We teachers at MAC have to be creative.  In order to teach math to students who aren't interested in math is using the Time is a Variable method.  

Many students are absent from my class because they are going to competitions.  So we give them deadlines and although "time is a variable," time is not infinite.  Students need to take time to ask for help.  in classes, we have teams where they discuss things.   It's like one-on-one teaching, since I walk around and talk with students in small groups and individually.

Some of our students are more advanced so they can move ahead more quickly.  We work for mastery.  Students don't move to the next section until they show that they understand the topic.  They show their mastery not only on paper but also with projects.
Matt Blazek, Richard Rodriguez and Jaime Torres
 (students do projects in their classes)

They have to do presentations and videos.  That's how I assess that they are ready for the next level.  They have options based on what they are interested in.  If they are a dancer, they can design a set or a stage in geometry.  Give them time to work at their pace and let them follow their interests.   

Tammy Lara
SunEd High School
Margate and Oakland
Park, Florida

Tammy Lara
SunEd High School
We run a program that is online along with direct instruction and project based learning.    In today's society a lot of principals think that they cannot go beyond certain parameters.   

I tell teachers to get the training to teach the standards to the students.

I have friends who are principals ...  Many of us had mentors that told us to "teach to the test so we can get adequate scores."   
But if we don't teach kids how to express their own answers, that test and their scores will do nothing for them when they get into college and they don't know how to research and write papers.   When they can't write a paper and talk in their own words about a topic.   Teaching to the test is the wrong approach.

One of my students, Johnny Soto, has experienced project based learning first hand.   Many students are taking on this charge to use projects to find answers themselves.  
The video production was directed
by Richard Peritz

Johnny Soto
Before I came to Florida, I was a little nervous to be coming into schools.  I had my head down.  My teachers encouraged me to open up and to be talking here and not to be afraid.
A lot of people don't listen to rap music because of violence or they talk about doing drugs or doing bad things.  But I recommend Jadakiss, whose real name is Jason Philips.  I want to talk about him because in his songs, he talks about how a lot of kids are struggling.  
Jadakiss talked about Aliyah, one of his favorite singers.  
Why hate because some people have more than others.
Right here why do they gotta open your package and read your mail, why do they stop brothers from getting their degrees in jail.
Why do rappers lie in 80% of their rhymes?

Rap is about expressing your feelings.
Jadakiss has inspired me for 8 years.  
The song is called WHY?   That song will explain why kids do what they do.

Johnny Soto, student at SunEd High
I was excited to come and talk to you about this project.  Thank you for letting me share about my interest in Jadakiss.   -- statement by Johnny Soto

Ms Lara added:
Through projects, so many students are finding their voices, students who have struggled through several years of school.

Now they can stand up and express themselves to others 

See the video:  

NSU Fischler School of Education Event - part 2

Friday, February 6, 2015

Anonymous sites on the Internet

Here are some useful sites that I learned about from my students

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

One of my students pointed out that I have an awesome job because I get to meet people.... via Skype and gmail.....