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Showing posts from June, 2010

The Toy Story Generation

The family and I just got back from viewing Toy Story 3 at the Cinema Grill – and it was incredible. By far it was the best of the three films, but mostly because of the first two. Which got me to thinking:Art Imitates Life - Buzz Lightyear looked more like the toy version sold at Walmart than in the original movie. Maybe it was his movements or just the proportions but Buzz seemed more “marketable”. That’s ok. Even Mickey has aged gracefully.Characters Drive StoriesPixar has an amazing knack for cranking out quality movies. But what allowed Toy Story to last and brings us back? It’s the quality of the characters. We don’t really care what trouble they get into, we want to see THEM work through it. Great point for any aspiring writers. Plot is important but characters really drive the story.The Toy Story Generation – I know many kids/students (including my own) who grew up with Buzz and Woody. We’ve even seen Riders in the Sky perform You’ve Got A Friend In Me live. Together, the t…

Teaching From Memory

Last night a coworker called with a question about advanced formatting features in Microsoft Word 2007. She was combining two different documents but needed the header to be different between them. The trouble came when the second section header started numbering at 2 instead of 1.The entire process was quickly and easily rectified. My coworker was ecstatic to have the “problem” resolved and I thought it was great that she had checked the Help section and even viewed tutorial clips before calling me. But what fascinated me the most was my ability to resolve the issue OVER THE PHONE WITHOUT LOOKING AT WORD.

What's the Point?

Do you ever wrestle with the BIG questions: why am I here (teaching at THIS school)? What is my rationale? Why do I send my kids here? What do I want my kids and my students to do, achieve, think or believe? That's the peril in having a CHOICE in your education.
Sometimes you just find someone else has said it better than you could have. Check out Greg Herrick's analysis of modern psychology's relationship to an evangelical bibliology. Then temper his academic observations with A.Y. “Fred” Ramirez's critique. Reminds me of something one of my professors said, "theology must be practical."

Book Review: Horace's School

Written in 1992, Theodore Sizer's book, Horace's School, Redesigning the American High School presents an amazingly prophetic call for changes to the overall structure of American education. Written in a style that reminded me of Gordon MacDonald's Who Stole My Church?Sizer presents his observations and arguments within a framework of fictional dialog.

The book was easy to read and did not become bogged down with overly scientific observations. There is an intention to the casual, interactive format designed to draw the reader into the argument. It is as if we join the fictional Horace on his professional journey to improve the mediocrity so prevalent in his suburban school.

At the time Sizer wrote, the internet did not exist, but today's increase in online schools appear to be the manifestation of several of Sizer's postulations. Modern technology is poised, indeed has already begun, to address the need of individualized instruction with better cost/benefit ratios…

My Padawan

This picture was taken almost a year ago and their still getting mileage out of it. I love it. My geeky padawan learns quickly.

Foundational Definitions

This summer our school is requiring staff to attend a week of training through The Architecture of Learning by Kevin Washburn. These are simply my personal thoughts and observations as I read the book. The text was required reading for the course.

Introduction: THE FOUNDATION
Defining Teacher and Designing Instruction

The fundamental concept driving this book is that learning is completely dependent on the quality of instruction. Washburn defines learning as "the brain's ways of constructing understanding and forming memories." As teachers, we are responsible to craft or design effective learning opportunities.

How can teachers accomplish this? By better understanding the ways students learn. Through an exploration of neurocognitive research, teachers (and presumably I) will obtain the tools necessary for students to achieve "long-term retention and flexible recall." This is only the introduction, so perhaps the book will answer some of my initial skepticism and …