Fall CUE: Take a Peek at the New SBAC/CCSS Computer-Based Assessments


This presentation will take place Friday at 2:30 p.m. More information can be found here.

This was an intimate presentation, but it was a great discussion. I really appreciate the participants candor and willingness to share their thoughts. I’ve added some more links below.

Links for Presentation

SBAC – Alice Mercer on Diigo
Education Week: Adaptive Testing Evolves to Assess Common-Core Skills
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Sample Items and Performance Tasks | Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
dy/dan » Blog Archive » These Horrible Adaptive Math Systems

Fall CUE: Creating Movies to do English Language Development in ELs and Other Students


This presentation will take place Saturday October 27 at 1:30 pm at the Fall CUE conference (more info here)

Thanks to my small but loyal group of participants.  I’ve updated the links to include those from a session that Cheryl Sawyer did earlier on Digital Storytelling.

Links for Presentation:

The Best Places Where Students Can Create Online Learning/Teaching Objects For An “Authentic Audience” | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…
Mathtrain.TV student math videos screencast education learn kids teach marcos
BlogWalker – A Case for Filmmaking in the Classroom – 5 years later
Video in the Classroom.com

MORE links to story-making sites via Cheryl Sawyer:








and some I’ve used:

Scholastic Stacks Make a Goosebumps Graphix

Scholastic Stacks Make a Capt. Underpants Graphic

 Scholastic Stacks Dog’s Life Story Builder

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Unions and Professional Development


One of the perks of getting a press pass to ISTE was that I was sent press releases from vendor. One of the more interesting ones was about a venture, Share My Lesson being supported by AFT, the American Federation of Teachers. I wanted to find out more about this, so I chatted with the folks at the booth to find out why AFT decided to do this:

Here is one of the teachers who was involved in reviewing materials on Share My Lesson on what he gets from the service:

My thoughts, this shows that unions are about more than just labor representation, but also about improving the profession and individual teachers, something I’ve known from my own experience. My ed tech friends may wondering why the big deal about a lesson plan sharing site. It is free, rather than being a money generating site, where you pay for lesson plans, but there’s more than that. IF Share My Lesson can leverage the AFT membership, it could become a go-to resource. None of these is a given, but it’s a venture worth taking on. I’ll be looking at the lessons as I begin the process of planning for a new grade-level and will report back on how it works then.

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Final Reflections on ISTE 2012


Conversations are critical

I’ve said it before, and so have most bloggers who were there, the conversations in the hallway and at the end of the day are as critical to what you will learn at a conference as the sessions. Sometimes they are more important, because as much as we are all intrigued by shiny new tools, its our personal relationships that make them work best. This blog would be nothing without the ongoing support I get from readers. My practice relies on my relationships with students and parents (however imperfect those may sometimes be). Conversations I had outside of Brian Bridge’s session with Brian and others, helped contextualize his presentation. My conversations with others about Common Core, were my first indication of a disconnect between the implementation timeline, and fiscal reality.

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We need to be willing to commit ritualized suicide…


Now that I have your attention, I wanted to share something that I found more disturbing than the Promethean guys in orange spandex bodysuits. It was a quote that I heard not once, but on twiceat the ISTE conference:

“We need to be willing to drink the koolaid” –presenter appearing on a video feed at ISTE

You might have used this quote yourself in trying to extol others to join the bandwagon of ed tech (or some other innovation). There is a school in my area that that has used this phrase to exhort teachers to “get with the program” on the school reform being implemented. People seemed to have completely forgotten the original context of the phrase and have decided that drinking koolaid is a good thing.

I find this puzzling, but unsurprising in a culture that practices unintentional irony on a periodic basis, but it’s disturbing nonetheless as my husband grew up with folks  who were members of the Peoples Temple, and participated (willingly or not) in the ritualized suicide that coined this phrase. I like koolaid and have used it to color home-made playdough (it gives it a great scent), and if no other choices are available at a party, I will drink it. But please do not ask me, or others in my presence, to take a metaphorical drink of koolaid, as I’m likely to give a negative response.

Some other phrases suitable for this use:
You need to be willing to dive in
You need to get outside your comfort zone
You need to commit yourself…
…heart and soul
…with blood, sweat, and tears
You need to take the risk

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