Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Do you have what it takes to start your own public school?

Ever wish you could do something to change lives and change a community? Well now you can. Actualize your vision by creating the school of your dreams! Transform the lives of students, families and a community by opening a new school.  If you’re willing to work in one of the greatest cities in the world (NYC), and can act fast, then you can take advantage of an unprecedented opportunity offered by the Office of New Schools. They are offering a level of support (i.e. paid planning time and expert help) to talented educators (if not you, this is the form to nominatie someone) to open new district schools in September 2014. These are not charter schools, but rather public schools, and they have a significant focus on career-tech and innovative schools as well.

The strongest candidates possess:

  1. Experience in leading, motivating, and developing a staff
  2. A deep commitment to providing amazing opportunities to the hardest-to-serve youth
  3. A clear instructional model and vision for what a successful school looks like

For inspiration, check out this PowerPoint from a school leader who tells about his experience with starting a school.

Eligibility requirements:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

6 Principals of Secondary Education

Cover of: Principles of secondary education by Inglis, Alexander James
Alexander Inglis's 1918 book, Principles of Secondary Education  makes it clear that compulsory schooling in America was intended to be what it had been for Prussia in the 1820s. John Taylor Gatto explains that the work of Inglis's, who was a Harvard professor with a Teachers College Ph.D., positions school as a fifth column into the burgeoning democratic movement that threatened to give the peasants and the proletarians a voice at the bargaining table. Modern, industrialized, compulsory schooling was to make a sort of surgical incision into the prospective unity of these underclasses. Divide children by subject, by age-grading, by constant rankings on tests, and by many other more subtle means, and it was unlikely that the ignorant mass of mankind, separated in childhood, would ever reintegrate into a dangerous whole. 

In his essay Against School and book The Underground History of American Education, Gatto explains the six basic functions of school outlined by Inglis.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Students Respond to State of the Union

CaptureOn Monday night at 9pm EST, a half hour later than the regularly scheduled #StuVoice Twitter chats, the Student Voice will be hosting a Google Hangout to provide students from across the United States with the opportunity to respond to President Obama’s education policy proposals in his State of the Union. 

Join in on the conversation by using and following the #StuVoice hashtag. 30 minutes before the event, they will provide information with the hashtag informing those interested how they can participate. 

Whether you are a student, a student voice supporter, or simply interested in hearing from various student perspectives, this is something you want want to miss.

Visit this link to learn more about the weekly #StuVoice Twitter chats. 

Key hashtags for this week: #StuVoice#DoMoreEdu#SOTU #edSOTUKey 
Twitter handles for this week: @Stu_Voice @DellEDU

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An unscholarly professor comes out swinging at #StuVoice

Co-authored by Lisa Nielsen and Lisa Cooley

Shaun Johnson came out swinging this weekend, taking a jab at Nikhil Goyal the teen author of “One Size Does Not Fit All” who is getting a lot of airplay these days. 

Most recently Goyal was asked to write about a teacher prep program and that pissed Johnson off.  

From Johnson:

I found this student activist’s comments to be rather, how should I say it, naive and unsophisticated. Look, I’m not trying to sound like a killjoy here. But this person is making broad and ill-conceived pronouncements about teacher preparation and they are being asked to write thousands of words on the topic for a mainstream publication. I’m sorry, but I’m just going to have to pull rank here: I didn’t spend over a decade in this business to sit idly by.

Pull rank?

What rank?

Johnson can pull whatever he wants but no one cares or gives him authority to do so. 

Could it be that Johnson is upset that Goyal is receiving the attention he wants for himself?

Well, of course! But that is not really the problem.

5 reasons less is more when it comes to STEM

This post was original featured on Smartblogs on Education in Inspiring OthersPublic Policy

Schools are missing the boat when it comes to addressing the problem of preparing students to recapture America’s leadership in producing scientists, inventors, engineers, programmers and more through STEM initiatives. The answer has little to do with more teachers, more common graduation requirements, more tests or more school as our policymakers and corporations who stand to profit off this have suggested.
Instead, if we listen to what the experts in these fields are telling us we discover that when it comes to producing successful STEM graduates, the key lies in the adage “less is more.”
Five lessons from STEM experts

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The hottest posts everyone is reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog this week. Below you’ll see the top weekly posts along with the number of pageviews. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired, share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Feb 16, 2013, 8 comments
Feb 19, 2013
Jul 8, 2012, 18 comments
Aug 24, 2010, 57 comments
Feb 15, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Think twice before limiting screentime

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting a child's screentime to no more than one or two hours a day because, they say too much screen time has been linked to the following issues: Obesity. Irregular sleep (see #7). Behavioral problems. Impaired academic performance. Violence. Less time for play.

This begs the questions:
How much does this century-old academy really know about screen time? It seems not much. This out-of-touch Academy confuses passive television watching with interactive screen time which makes it a flawed study to begin with. Next up: Why don’t they address the research that supports that sitting in school all day leads to many of these problems as well? 

If the AAP really wanted to help address these issues, instead of focusing on parents and screens, they’d be making recommendations to schools about things like getting kids up and out of their seats.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Five ways to connect with parents using Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere provides a terrific way to capture the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of parents. Simply set up a multiple choice or free response poll, text parents the code, and have them text in their answers like they do on shows like American Idol.

Poll Everywhere provides a quick and easy way to give parents a voice and a vote.  Some ideas for using it include the following.

  • 1) Back-to-School engagement
  • Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in New Jersey suggests using Poll Everywhere during back to school nights. He says it’s a great way to elicit feedback during budget presentations, or to secure real-time input on school initiatives.
  • 2) Quizzes Laura Spencer, an instructional technology coordinator for a K-8 school district in San Diego suggests using Poll Everywhere to 'quiz' parents on topics taught in school. Students enjoy comparing their responses to their parents.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Five Ways to Build Lifelong Readers

Guest post by Maddie Witter

The new Common Core State Standards list skills to prepare American young people on the path toward the college and careers of their choice.  Yet as students are on their journey to and through college, and ultimately through life, I also hope they are lifelong learners with an insatiable thirst for knowledge driven by their unique passions.  It’s that self-driven desire for knowledge that will empower students to grow and reach their potential beyond the reach of our classrooms.  Building love of learning is a top priority in my classroom.

Where do lifelong learners often turn to get their knowledge? Books!  Below are five ways you can help build lifelong readers.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Finally! Research-based proof that students use cell phones for LEARNING

A new study conducted by TRU provides a body of research which supports the idea that students use cell phones to learn, and also that schools are not acknowledging or supporting them fully, yet. This research supports the work of  innovative educators who are guiding today’s generation text and will help in the effort of getting more schools to stop fighting and start embracing student use of mobile devices for learning in school. Rather than banning, the study highlights the fact that if we meet children where they are we can leverage their use of mobile devices for powerful lear


The research supports the fact that mobile technology can inspire and engage students by letting them lead their learning and supporting them in choosing and using the devices they know, love, and prefer. The study reveals that whether allowed to use their devices in school or not, students are moving forward and using them for learning even if their school is lagging behind in embracing student-owned devices.

The hottest posts everyone's reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog this week. Below you’ll see the top weekly posts along with the number of pageviews. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired, share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Feb 10, 2013, 3 comments
Feb 3, 2013, 2 comments
May 10, 2010, 39 comments
Feb 8, 2013
Feb 13, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Strengthen the home-school connection right from your phone with

School guidance counselor Willyn Webb says that has made a positive improvement for her school’s Parent Accountability Committee (PAC) which meets once per month.

Celly is a free, mobile social network that works via group texting.  It is instant, private, and secure. There is never an exchange of personal cell phone numbers, yet everyone is connected in the ways that work best depending on the need.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 ways to help your students know how special they are this Valentine's Day

How are you helping your students know how special they are this Valentine's Day? 

Here's some ideas from Angela Maiers. 

  1. Know their significance.
  2. Let them know why they matter.
  3. Help them choose to matter.
  4. Let them do work that is not held hostage in a test, notebook, or binder, but rather work that is worthy of the world.
  5. Let your students know that you see their genius and help empower them to give the world their contributions. 

Watch the video below and listen as our students tell us that not only do they want this from us, but for many it is their greatest wish. As explained by one such student in the video:
"I wish our teachers would treat us as geniuses, not as numbers."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's in your feed? 3 ideas to manage content on Facebook, Twitter, & Google+

Guest post by Josh Birdwell | 19-year-old Co-founder of Skillstarter

For some, social media is a place to announce or read every thought or post pictures of the weekend's regrets.

Not for me.

I am a targeted user of social media who knows how to customize platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to work for me.

Here’s how.

1) Facebook
I use Facebook groups, which are a big part of my browsing time, with Uncollege Network and the Under 20 Network taking a front seat. I have attended events connected to both of them in San Francisco and New York City. As a result, Facebook has become a place of empowerment and connectivity to invaluable communities.  

To make Facebook as efficient as possible, I unsubscribe to “friends” who post random or senseless updates. I also eliminate boring Farmville feed updates by turning off all senseless notifications and hide pointless updates.

As a result, every I visit my homepage I end up opening articles or connecting with friends globally. I chat with my friends from the UK to Sweden on a regular basis. Befriending self-driven people allows me to receive advice and support in my life. I thought I was alone in some areas, but boy was I wrong; I am finding more people who are in the same boat.

It doesn’t end with Facebook.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Creating avatars and icons instead of photographs

By Susan Ettenheim |  High School art/media/library/technology teacher


We've found that the whole problem of students posting personal photographic representations is gone when we teach them about making avatars or icons as personal representations. Here is the lesson we use for Youth Voices for building Avators / Icons. You will see that this lesson is in the context of our site, Youth Voices, but it certainly can be used in any context.


Building Avatars/Icons

Introduce yourself by putting an avatar/icon in your user posts. Have your avatar/icon appear next to your posts in Youth Voices. You can then make different avatars/icons for different kinds of posts. An avatar is a representation of the essence of you.

Essential Questions

  • What is special to you and about you?
  • What is important to you?
  • How can these things come together as a visual representation of you?
  • How will creating and using a visual representation of yourself help a young person at another school relate to your life and get to know you?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

5 ideas to make the most of teacher evaluation

There’s been a lot of news about the Gates Foundation recently released guiding principles to policymakers and practitioners who plan to implement new teacher evaluation models. If your school or district is turning toward such an evaluation model you'll want to consider some ideas to keep in mind to best support your professional growth. 

But, before we get to that, If you haven't read it or need a refresher, here's a summary of their findings about teacher evaluation models. If you have read it and don't need a refresher, then skip past the summary and check out the ideas.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The hottest posts everyone's reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog this week. Below you’ll see the top weekly posts along with the number of page views. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired, share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Feb 1, 2013, 6 comments
Feb 3, 2013, 2 comments
Feb 4, 2013
May 12, 2010, 70 comments
May 10, 2010, 39 comments