My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (February 9, 2014)

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

In an attempt to reflect back upon the numerous blogs and articles that I peruse online each week, I have decided to autopost the items that I bookmark on Diigo each week. Below are all of the links that I compiled last week in my Diigo account, with a few of my favorites highlighted in more detail at the top.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (February 2, 2014)

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

In an attempt to reflect back upon the numerous blogs and articles that I peruse online each week, I have decided to autopost the items that I bookmark on Diigo each week. Below are all of the links that I compiled last week in my Diigo account, with a few of my favorites highlighted in more detail at the top.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

A Typical Day At Pine Glen

Today I had the privilege of filling in for Mr. Lyons at Pine Glen. As is normally the case, there were too many fun things happening to keep up.  Below are a few of the pictures from my time in various classrooms. Thanks to the staff and students for being so welcoming and taking the time to fill me in on all of the exciting learning activities that they are involved in. I look forward to filling in again on Friday, February 7!
When I arrived in Ms. Hayes’ classroom, she and her students were on a train ride through New Hampshire.   
The second graders are involved in a research project on famous people from Massachusetts. It was great to talk to them and hear how much they know about their historical figures.  A couple of the girls told me that they are excited to make a visit to Oxford, MA to see Clara Barton’s House. I am impressed with how excited and committed these students are about their research.  I am excited to see visit their wax museum at the end of February when each student will take on the persona of their historical figure.
It was neat to see the different methods students utilized to go about their work. Some with iPads, some with Chromebooks, and some with pencil and paper.
More research from Mrs. Lynch’s class.

They were also working hard in Mrs. Cunha’s room.
Mrs. Cunha’s class doing their research.


Some great art work of the banks of the Merrimack River through history.

#Rhizo14 Week Two – Enforcing Independence

My second post for the open course that I am participating in called Rhizomatic Learning that is being offered through Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU).  The course is being facilitated by Dave Cormier, Manager of Web Communications and Innovation at the University of Prince Edward Island.

I absolutely love this week’s theme of Enforcing Independence! The oxymoronic nature of the theme is clear like so many of the other contradictions we see daily in the world of education. However, it is equally clear that one of our primary goals in schools is (or should be) to help students develop the skills to be independent learners. In order to help support students in the development of these skills, we need to ensure that the educators in our schools have learning experiences where choice and learning with others are the norm and not the exception.

As someone who has a significant voice in the Professional Development offerings in my district, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to provide educators in our district with a greater degree of flexibility in leading their own learning.  While we have had fleeting success with some learner-led days, we have not developed a formal structure where educators are able to create individualized plans that are flexible based on their needs.

Thinking about what our students need to be prepared for a world where things are changing at a speed that is sometimes incomprehensible makes it clear that our educational model needs an overhaul. We are educating our children and attempting to equip them with the skills that will allow them to be able to compete for a jobs that have yet to be created. The problem for me (and I’m guessing other who were educated in a traditional setting) is that I sometimes lack the vision for what is possible.  My own experiences as a learner are a severe impediment to my thinking when it comes to preparing meaningful learning opportunities for staff members.

I agree with Dave’s description of what the end result will be if we are successful in designing learning opportunities for our staff members:

“People need to self-assess and self-remediate. They need to be able to say that they don’t understand something and then be able to figure it out. There is no freedom until people can do this(unfortunately) we have crushed it out of our education system.”

With this in mind, I have been reading a lot about the professional learning of adults and I have seen some models which I think could help give us a start on the right path. Shelly Blake-Plock was spot on in his post last month regarding PD fore teachers:

“The point of professional development shouldn’t be in having teachers check off a box that they attended a session or watched a video or took on a project. And it surely shouldn’t be in having an administrator check off a box for them. The point of professional development should be in helping human beings–who in this case happen to be educators–become more fully engaged and connected with their peers and fellow professionals. The goal should be helping them to develop the profession themselves.”

One of the more concrete examples of this comes from Albermarle, VA where the district is making teachers the architects of their own learning.   Their Seven Pathways to Ensuring Life Long Learning Capacities for Every Child is a great model for other school communities to employ to ensure a greater degree of independence for learners.  As we plan our PD opportunities for next year, I look forward to the challenge of providing our staff with these types of learning experiences.

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (January 26, 2014)

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

In an attempt to reflect back upon the numerous blogs and articles that I peruse online each week, I have decided to autopost the items that I bookmark on Diigo each week. Below are all of the links that I compiled last week in my Diigo account, with a few of my favorites highlighted in more detail at the top.

  • Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
Enhanced by Zemanta

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (January 19, 2014)

In an attempt to reflect back upon the numerous blogs and articles that I peruse online each week, I have decided to autopost the items that I bookmark on Diigo each week. Below are all of the links that I compiled last week in my Diigo account, with a few highlighted in more detail at the top.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Someone Gave Me Homework…Now It’s My Turn

So my friend Tony Baldasaro tagged me in a chain-blogging task which obligates me to share 11 random facts about myself and then to answer 11 questions that Tony has asked. As much as I dislike chain letters and things of that nature, I am excited to do some writing in this space. My blogging has been limited during the first half of the school year, so I want to thank Tony for what I hope will be a kickstart for my resolution to blog more frequently in 2015!

My 11 Random Facts

  1. I grew up in the “Little Town of Mendon (MA)”
  2. I was a sports writer out of college and covered the Bruins.
  3. I got to attend game six of the 2013 World Series with my son Tim #priceless!
  4. My dad was at game six of the 1975 World Series at Fenway.
  5. My brother Jim was a minor league baseball player and is now the golf pro for Vice President Biden.
  6. I hold the world record for whiffle ball home runs and stink at golf.
  7. I enjoy hyperbole.
  8. I will go out of my way to get Starbucks coffee.
  9. My top two take-out restaurants are Las Olas in (NH) and Sammy’s Deli (Burlington)
  10. I completed a Tough Mudder in 2012. 
  11. I was a drummer in high school and still annoy my children by drumming on the steering wheel when a good song is on the radio.
My responses to Tony’s Questions
  1. Have you ever been to New Hampshire? Yes, I lived there for a few years.
  2. What item could you not live without? For this task, my laptop 😉
  3. What’s the highest peak you have ever climbed? Mt. Monadnock
  4. If you could live anywhere else for one year, where would it be? Ireland
  5. How many TV’s do you have in your house? two
  6. At what age do you think it’s appropriate for a child to own their first cellphone? sixth grade
  7. Who was your third grade teacher? I moved in third grade so I had two…Mrs. Vignone and Mrs. Grady
  8. When is the last time you posted a picture publicly? Today
  9. Other than the birth of your children and/or the day you were married or met your soulmate, what was the best day of your life? The day I became a teacher
  10. What is your most artistic skill? Playing the drums
  11. Who has been the most influential person in your life (non family version)? This is a tough question because I have been fortunate to have a lot of great mentors. I will go with my first Principal, Paul Daigle, who hired me for my first teaching position and then my first administrative position a few years later.
Now for the fun part. I have to find 11 more bloggers to keep this thing going and ask them 11 questions (hoping they have not been tagged previously).
  1. George Couros 
  2. Jennifer Scheffer
  3. Michael Podraza
  4. Brad Gustafson
  5. Daisy Dyer Duerr
  6. Dave Meister
  7. Cale Birk
  8. Dawn Casey-Rowe
  9. Jessica Johnson
  10. Dwight Carter
  11. Anyone who wants to play along! (Just follow the guidelines below)

Here are your questions
  1. Have you ever been to Massachusetts?
  2. What is your favorite sports team (college or pro)?
  3. Besides you, name a blogger that you would recommend to others.
  4. When you were little, what did you dream of becoming?
  5. How far away do you live from where you grew up?
  6. What is your favorite meal?
  7. If you were offered a free trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  8. Do you prefer Macs or PC’s?
  9. Other than the birth of your children and/or the day you were married or met your soulmate, what was the best day of your life?
  10. What is the best movie you’ve seen in the last year?
  11. What is the last live concert that you’ve attended?


The Guidelines for your Homework…

    1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
    2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
    3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
    4. List 11 bloggers.
    5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
    6. Post back here (in the comment section) with a link to your finished assignment. Go on, you have homework to do.


How To Follow Your Child (or Anyone) On Twitter Without Joining Twitter

So I recently had to make a call to a relative regarding his son’s Twitter account because I had come across some pretty disturbing material on the 15-year old’s feed. When my relative answered the phone I asked, “Have you ever checked (his) Twitter feed?”  Not surprisingly, my relative responded, “never.”

image via – https://www.expertbail.com
At this point, I went on to describe a few of the things that I had seen and told my relative about an easy way to monitor his son on Twitter without having to go through the process of signing up for an account.  In fact, you can use this trick whether you have the newest smartphone or an old-school flip phone. Just text on followed by the Twitter name of the account you want to follow to the number 40404 (See the example below). If you ever want to stop getting the messages you can text off followed by the Twitter name to 40404.