3-Step Curriculum Design for Control Freaks

It's a scary thing to imagine managing your child's entire education for a year, two years, twelve years. There is so much to teach them and how will you ever cover everything they need to know in enough time before they're off making their own lives without you to guide them? (The real answer: never. They'll always need your guidance. Maybe not on what caused the French Revolution in 1789, but they'll still need you.)...

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Connecting School to Real Life

These schools are havens for public school students who have struggled in conventional classrooms. There is a waiting list to get in and once they do, not only do they have one of the highest attendance rates, but there is also a 98% college acceptance rate. What’s more, unlike many graduates of traditional schools, Big Picture graduates say they feel prepared for college and career success.

What’s their secret?
Connect school life to real life by doing things differently.
 

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The Overwhelming Burden of Choice

When I first returned from teaching abroad for a few years, I remember standing in the cereal aisle at Target, paralyzed by the unbelievable number of boxes with cartoon characters, healthy families in puffer vests, and neon-colored O's that claimed to lower my cholesterol. In Japan, I had two options: Cheerios (the regular kind) and a local brand that looked like Kashi. That was it. In Target that day, I looked up and down the aisle, or rather walked up and down the aisle, and eventually said, "Forget it." I grabbed some granola bars and got the heck out of there. 

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International Day of the Girl

It is International Day of the Girl! What would you tell your 15-year old self? It's important for young girls to have strong female role models, both in their families and in their lives. Here are some words of wisdom from a few notable women. Who would you add to this list? 

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Rigor or Just Busy Work?

Though this article is about UK education, it hits on similar points that are under discussion in the US and other countries of the world. The UK is trying to provide a national curriculum, while avoiding the tracking system of Germany that tags a certain demographic as low-achieving before they've had a chance to begin. Similarly, this quest for a national curriculum that sets high standards for everyone (and the path to meet them) surrounds one challenge: metrics. We can only demonstrate a successful education if we provide numbers. SAT scores. Grades on a 4.0 scale. Number of AP classes or college credits achieved.

What is the metric for success when every child learns differently, has different professional aspirations, and comes from a different background? 

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Funday Friday: Install New Software

Share this post Twitter Facebook Email Posted October 05, 2012 in cartoon, reading

Reading: the original software update. Have a good weekend!...

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Homeschooling and Illiterate?

Homeschooling isn't easy. As Michael Douglas said in The American President, "You gotta want it bad."

Amidst the flurry of Republican candidate Rick Santorum and homeschooling a few months ago, a writer commented on the poor education homeschoolers were getting. More so, that it was hard to even evaluate since "many home-schooling families choose not to comply with the law by submitting to state home-school regulations, or even report their home-school activity to the state."

 

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Learning Happens in a School. Period.

Not for the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon...

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Happy Monday!

Teenagers of the future find a book. Funny or sad or both? From the folks at Grammarly, a proofreader and grammar checker with sass. Have a good one!...

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Thoughts on Chicago Teacher Strike

A teaching veteran from Chicago wrote an interesting blog on how everyone loses in this strike. Having spent time on both sides of this industry, as a teacher and later in the corporate world, I can see how easy it is to get sucked into the delusion that teaching is an entirely different industry from others. Every organization has (or should have) evaluation, accountability, and performance standards. Bad employees get fired; good employees contribute to the organization. 

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Why bother leaving the house?

Cool TED Talk from Ben Saunders on the value of getting out of the house. With so much of the world being streamed to our iPads and TVs, it may feel like there's nothing left to discover. Ben reminds his viewers to get out in the world and get your hands dirty, even if it's been done before. Why, you ask?

"To experience, to engage, to endeavor, rather than to watch and to wonder — that's where the real meat of life is to be found."

Recess matters? Of course!

While this should come as no surprise to anyone, a recent policy has come out from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that confirms the importance of recess.

Unstructured playtime gives children a break from routine tasks and allows them to rest, play, imagine, think and move, according to AAP. Children are more likely to perform better at cognitive tasks after recess.

Homeschool: The Original Flipped Classroom

  Wikipedia describes the flipped classroom as "a form of blended learning which encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing." Homeschoolers, while...

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