Blogs on High (9-12)

Blogs on High (9-12)RSS
Shani LeaderJanuary 15, 2014

Through a multidisciplinary project, students at High Tech High North County explored and addressed an issue of concern in their community of San Marcos, California -- the prevalence of tagging and graffiti. By the end, they had integrated the study of fine arts, social science, language arts and technology.

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David CutlerJanuary 14, 2014

It's high time for more English and history teachers to set aside their literary purism, and to embrace superhero comics as effective and legitimate teaching and learning tools.

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Mark PhillipsJanuary 13, 2014

I think that one of the greatest challenges for teachers, including many of the best, is being frequently frustrated and self-critical because of personal expectations that they can never fully meet.

In his book Compassion and Self-Hate, the psychologist Theodore Rubin presents what he describes as indirect forms of self-hate. These are illusions we have about who we are supposed to be and unrealistic expectations of what we can accomplish. He includes, as one example, the illusion that if you have enough money, you'll be happy. Another is the illusion that physical beauty insures relational happiness. Each illusion he describes results in unrealistic expectations that make us self-critical and unhappy.

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Judy Willis MDJanuary 10, 2014

The shift toward applying more executive function (EF) within learning and assessment will cause some discomfort in teachers and students. The transition will not eliminate the need for memorization, as automatic use of foundational knowledge is the toolkit for the executive functions. Memorization, however, will not be adequate as meaningful learning becomes more about applying, communicating and supporting what one knows.

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Donna DeGennaroJanuary 10, 2014

Discovering Self-Direction

"We don't get it. One day she says we should do one thing, and then the next day she says something different." This statement is felt by all but spoken by Carmen, a student from one of the two communities involved in the project. The Maya youth in the Guatemalan pueblos of Chirijox and San Juan La Laguna speak Spanish and their indigenous language. My language limitations leave me temporarily in the dark. I do not completely comprehend her words, but the anxiety is evident. My coworker Marisol explains the tension.

I have encountered this "problem" many times while working with youth. Students expect teachers to direct them what to do, when and how. This educational custom is present in Guatemala, especially for indigenous youth. Learning is scripted and disconnected from culture and community. There is little room for creativity or critical thinking. As a result, students are not used to having a say in their own learning, let alone directing it. However, during their participation in Unlocking Silent Histories, they are in charge, not me.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronJanuary 9, 2014

Since being asked to pilot my school's first iPad 1:1 classroom, I've been working through a paperless project-based learning unit with my eighth graders. It had been going on since the first day of school. And just before winter break, at the end of the quarter, it culminated in classroom presentations.

However, that didn't mean that the audience got to kick back and let their mind drift. Heck no. Instead, the audience of students arguably developed more brain sweat then the actual student presenter.

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Jennifer SayreJanuary 8, 2014

Online education programs are growing at a startling rate. In 2009, there were 4.5 million college students enrolled in online courses. This year, that number will hit 19 million. So it is no surprise that school districts are tackling the daunting task of building their own online programs. In The One World Schoolhouse, Salman Khan writes, "It is time -- past time -- for education to evolve again." It is no longer an option but a necessity for high schools to offer courses online -- not only to retain students but to ensure that they are college‐ready.

It is time to embrace the moment, because online education is here to stay.

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Joshua BlockJanuary 7, 2014

Learning is a messy process -- and authentic, project-based learning immerses us in unique parts of this mess. There are days when my check-ins with students reveal that many young people are lost or unclear about how to proceed with the early stages of a project.

"What topic are you going to focus on?" I ask Keith as I kneel down next him.

"I can’t decide. I’m stuck," he mumbles, leaning forward and staring straight into his computer screen as he talks.

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Todd FinleyJanuary 2, 2014

"Change your language and you change your thoughts." -- Karl Albrecht

Understanding Academic Language

Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields.

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Lori DesautelsDecember 19, 2013

Walking into the kitchen, she spots the community college acceptance letter on top of a stack of mail. Early in December, the Marine Corps notifies him that basic training starts in six months. She's dreamed about attending her mom's alma mater for the last few years, and admissions has responded positively. The auto shop where he's had an afterschool job since junior year has just promised full-time employment beginning two weeks after graduation.

Now what?

This question concerns me as an educator of K-12 and higher education.

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