Friday 4 – October 12

A Fall Cornucopia

This week’s Friday 4 is an eclectic collection of items from a busy week here at Loomis Chaffee. While there is no single theme that connects the items, I am hopeful that at least one of the threads will be of interest to you.

  • Given the fact that it is midterm time here, I have had many discussions with colleagues about grades and how we assess and evaluate students and their work. Ever since I heard Rick Wormeli (@RickWormeli) speak at an ASCD meeting a few years ago and read his book “Fair Isn’t Always Equal”, I have thought quite differently about my grading philosophy and policies. Fortunately, you can read several pieces from Rick and see several videos from him at the the Stenhouse publishing site dedicated to Free Assessment and Grading Resources from Rick Wormeli. (You will have to register for a free account in order to access some of the info.)
  • I referenced Daniel Willingham’s (@DTWillingham) blog and latest book  in a recent post and was pleased to see the Fall edition of the American Educator magazine feature an excerpt from his book. You can download the piece here in which Willingham explains how to analyze and dissect educational research.
  • Followers of the Friday 4 will know that I am a regular reader of Tom Whitby’s (@tomwhitby) blog “My Island View.” Tom recently wrote about his thoughts on the current state of professional development in education and the need to change the model and make PD “evolving and continuous.”
  • Jut over a month ago in the Sept 14 Friday 4, I encouraged people to join me in the Power Searching with Google MOOC.  Well, I can report today that I was able to successfully finish the course and received my certificate of completion via e-mail yesterday. While there was a great deal in the course that I was already familiar with, I did learn a whole bunch of neat tricks and tips for searching with Google that will make me a more efficient and powerful searcher. The course is officially over now, but you will be able to access the videos and course materials beginning Monday, Oct 15 at this link. The ability to locate quality, reliable information on the internet is a critical skill these days that we need to know how to do both for ourselves and so that we can help our students navigate the increasingly information dense world we live in.

Enjoy and as always, please do not hesitate to leave comments or suggestions for future Friday 4 editions.

Friday Four – 9/23/2011

Here are this week’s “Friday Four” blog posts or interesting articles that I came across that you might find interesting.

  1. National Geographic piece on the teenage brain. Ever wondered why teenagers do what they do?? Join the group. Excellent read for teenagers, parents and teachers.
  2. Article from NYT Today online “The Trouble with Homework” by Annie Murphy Paul.
  3. Provocative blog post about our responsibility as educators to be media literate. The comments are as interesting as the post itself.
  4. “Ten Alternative Tips for New Teachers” blog post that contains good advice for new AND veteran teachers.

The Friday Four

In a recent conversation with my Head of School, Sheila Culbert (@loomissheila), we came up with what I think is a good idea. Hopefully, you will agree! As the director of the Kravis Center for Excellence in Teaching, I am responsible for a significant portion of the ongoing professional development at my school and am always looking for ways to get interesting blog posts or articles about education out to our faculty. Not all of them are avid Twitter users (not yet at least!) so they do not see many of the resources that I tweet out on a fairly regular basis.

What if I composed a brief weekly missive every Friday that included four of the most interesting items that I ran across during the past week? Sounded like a good idea to me. In addition to e-mailing my weekly “Friday Four” to my colleagues, I plan on posting them here on my blog in case there are others out there who might be interested. So here is my first installment of the “Friday Four”.

  1. Recent blog post by Grant Wiggins about what constitutes effective feedback. Some of you may know Grant from his work with Jay McTighe on Understanding by Design.
  2. NYT piece by Paul Tough “What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?” Very interesting piece on the topic of “character” and predictors of long-term student success.
  3. Blog post at Connected Principles on homework. A favorite topic of discussion these days!
  4. Review of one of my favorite reads from this past summer. Daniel Willingham’s book “Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom”

I hope you will take a few moments to check out these items and pass them along to any of your colleagues.