Wonder what those Waldorf schools are going to do?


After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses
via New York Times


Rich kids. If they are up-to-date, just the two encyclopedias on the shelves in the foreground cost more than a set of 20 tablets or netbooks, plus wireless access points, would have cost. (New York Times photo by Jim Wilson)

From Ira David Socol’s Class War at The New York Times

Week 19: New Horizons


LE 19

I’m trying to get back in a routine after being out of the classroom due to union business. In addition, I have gotten a student teacher in my classroom, so I’m trying to introduce and incorporate her into our classroom routines.

I’ll start with the bad and the ugly. There is a point you hit around January or February when the kids can lose it. Maybe they realize they’re only half-way through the year (or there-abouts), maybe with fifth graders they’re hitting some emotional intersection they’re having a a hard time negotiating, maybe this winter the weather has been too nice, and maybe I’ve been out of the classroom too much? Whatever the reason my class did not start the week well. It wasn’t just my class, but the entire school. It was frankly, a little embarrassing to introduce the student teacher to my class the way it was on Monday, and even Tuesday. On the other hand, having a new teacher in the room is a great excuse to review the rules and procedures.

Enough of the griping….What was good about this week? Well they settled down largely by Thursday (unfortunately I was out at a conference on Friday — I was really sad to be leaving them). What worked? We’ve had the Macbook cart come in each week to do activities, so that is part of our routine. I felt like it was time for something new. One of my gripes with the class is that when I show videos on science, etc. some of them ask/answer questions in the middle of the screening. So, I gave them the Macbooks, and told them to go to a chat room I had set up, and put comments and questions there. MUCH better! quieter, on topic, not missing what the narrator is saying because someone is shouting out something. Was it perfect? No, some random comments, but for 10 year olds doing this the first time, pretty darn good. I’ll be looking for more depth of commentary as time goes by…

Here is video:

Here is part some of the chat:

what kind of animal was that a camel
-stanford27 at 17:17 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web

pumas rock
-sean at 17:17 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web

oh like a puma and mattata
-bob6 at 17:17 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web
those are weird monkeys.
-A2 at 17:17 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web
-abc13abc at 17:17 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web
-call of duty guy18 at 17:17 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web
my favorite animal
-austin at 17:17 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web
-Jonathan at 17:18 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web
that lion looks tight
-ray/g 4 at 17:18 PM, 02 Feb 2012 via web

Photo credit: LE 19 by Leo Reynolds, on Flickr

Behind the curtain at Diane Ravitch in Sacramento


Set up

This post is more a personal behind the scenes reflection of Diane Ravitch’s recent speaking engagement in my town. For a more comprehensive look at that event, look here. I’ll be adding more posts at http://sacteachers.org/ over the next few days.

Part of mi vida loca lately has been taking over social media duties for my union local. Complicating my union work further, we are having our contract “opened” on wages and benefits, and there were threats to bring TFA to our district (now quashed, thankfully). Just to make life exciting, I’m doing this while teaching  full-time, and I also suffered through stomach flu, and one of the worst sinus allergy attacks of my life since coming back from Winter Break.

The capstone to the last few weeks, heck to the last month or two, was a visit from education historian and commentator Diane Ravitch,  in an event to which SCTA (my union local) was the main sponsor and organizer. Needless to say, when you are having the Queen of Education Twitterers visiting , you want a robust social media presence. I was happy to supply that ;-). What did I do? I put up Facebook and Twitter notices of the event, and got others (Larry Ferlazzo, other locals, etc.) do share and re-Tweet. For the event, I tweeted, perhaps excessively at points (blame it on the coca-cola I was drinking to get through a long night) during the actual event. I made some videos, and took some pictures. I even had an “intern” (a high school volunteer) who helped with coverage. Did it turn out perfect? No, but I got some great stuff, and some good responses. Could I have done more–maybe a live stream? Sure, but we managed (thank you intern JivAn Feliciano) to get some great audio of Diane Ravitch. The pictures, because of the dim lighting, were less than optimal, but others with better cameras were there, and I’m going to try to collect shots from them over the next few days.

Lessons learned? In the immortal words of Wes Fryer, it’s better to bring your own bandwidth. I’m now packing a 4G (LTE) hotspot on my new Moto Droid Bionic. That kept me online, and helped David Cohen earlier in the day, and Larry Ferlazzo at the event. Oh, and the reporter from the Stockton Record would have been “dead in the water” filing his story without “borrowing” from me. Having electrical will also help make you friends. Because I was with the folks putting the event on, I had the set up crew rig me up a cord, and a table, and brought my trusty 8 foot power strip. This helped the Stockton Record reporter, and the video crew from PBS who filming the event. That’s how you make friends! My take away, I think during live events, I need to edit my tweeting a bit more, and not flood the stream with every comment the speaker makes, but you as readers will have the final word on that.

ASCD Conference Day Three Live Blog


ASCD Conference Day Two Live Blog


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