Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to school means back to...homework. Gulp.

Unlike some schools, we are already a few weeks into the school year, and what does that mean? Kids have had tests and projects and plenty of homework.

Homework is often discussed, seldom celebrated, emotional, visceral, and now, studied and quantified by experts around the globe. Cognitive scientists, professors in schools of education, economists and world thought leaders have complied a mountain of data on what homework does to a young person emotionally and physically, what type of homework is of value, and whether or not there is any correlation with academic achievement.

I thought I would share one perspective from author/educator Rick Wormeli, who has a great deal of experience in this area. In the video clip, Rick discussed his take on how much homework should count:

There is no shortage of opinions on the issue, and I will do my best to share with you some important studies and viewpoints, including my own. As always, let me know what you think.


Friday, August 17, 2012

First day of school assembly: something new

Thought I would share here a really successful assembly idea I tried yesterday to kick off the school year. No long speech about rules, no talking at kids telling them what to do and when to do it, no monotony, canned program, or trite rituals. I wanted to start fresh, start new, use a medium they would understand, and show the students I understand their world and value what they think.

So I used a short video to help spark a conversation about what it means to dream and what it takes to reach those dreams. Here is the clip:

It's called "TC Bank Dream Rangers," and it is from Taiwan. The clip has resonated with millions around the world for many different reasons - it's inspiring, beautiful, funny, foreign, curious, unusual, yet common to us all. I particularly liked the fact that characters were old - we are so used to seeing the young and the beautiful in the media. I asked the kids to look for themes and ways to relate the ad's message to their lives as they watched, and they came up with some great comments which they shared at the assembly. I sent the clip home to parents too, and got some wonderful feedback.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Could this be a reason why we need algebra?

I have had some great conversations about algebra and math since my last post. Interestingly, I also came across a rebuttal to the Times piece on my Twitter feed on why we should teach algebra. Here is the link:

As always, I love to read your comments.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is math the root cause of so many kids dropping out?

NYT: Is Algebra Necessary?

I found this to be a very interesting read. For the past two days, I have come back to the author's thesis, thought about how we design schools in the 21st Century, and wondered why we keep doing what we do in schools today. Well worth a look.