Quick Hits, September 30
* Visited today at the new site of San Francisco Friends School, where they have renovated an enormous 100 year old Levi Strauss factory. High ceilings, natural light, and a sense of history blended with modern retrofit construction make for a wonderful school setting. Head of School Cathy Hunter invited me to visit and "shadowblog" for a day, which I am eager to do in the weeks to come.
* Nice piece in today's NYTimes in their "lesson plans" blog about publishing student stories online. Doug Noon, an Alaska teacher, wants his sixth grade students to understand that "global citizenship begins with local knowledge. " Using a web platform creates a reading audience larger than the teacher; now we can "tell our stories to anyone who cares to pay attention." Publishing on-line also helps forge a medium for cross cultural exchange; students in Australia have contacted Doug's students for expert local information on Alaska. Doug's own blog is here; for samples of his students' on-line work, click here.
* Excellent new Lego robotics product newly on the market, called Lego WeDO. Only $120, it belongs in every elementary school program, to stimulate our kids to be future engineers and creative problemsolvers. Click here for the EdWeek article about the product.
*Intrigued by the possibility of teachers using twitter with students-- for assignments, reminders, quick messaging. Twitter however is an entirely open platform, lacking in the confidentiality schools require. Here comes a privacy controlled twitter equivalent, intentionally designed for educational purposes, Edmodo. Love to experiment with it when I get the chance. Here is a blogger's take on Edmodo.
* I have written already several times about the importance of what Marzano calls non-linguistic representation in teaching and learning, and it is something I look for regularly as I visit schools. Here is a link to a website dedicated to the proposition we need to cultivate and utilize visual literacy; and they have a very cool "periodic table" of visualization techniques. Really interesting and valuable. I am indebted to my blog buddy at Poughkeepsie Day School, Josie Holford, for pointing the way to this at her blog, The Compass Point.