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.

Drinking from the fire hose

I have always tried to expand my teaching repertoire by reading as many articles and resources as I could find and talking with colleagues at my school and at conferences. I have enjoyed presenting at numerous NABT and NSTA conferences for the past 20 years on a variety of topics.  In the past few years, I have joined a few list serves related to science teaching, followed a number of blogs regularly and continued to try and stay “current.” This past year I began a new phase of my career as the first Director of the Henry R. Kravis Center for Excellence in Teaching (KCET) at the Loomis Chaffee School. Essentially, I am responsible for a lion’s share of the on-campus professional development at the school. (more background on the 1st year of the KCET in future post) As a result of my new responsibilities, I stepped up my personal PD by becoming an active user of Twitter as part of my PLN. The explosion in my own professional development that has occurred has exceeded my expectations by orders of magnitude.  I have found myself taking part in many online chats such as #edchat #flipclass #apbio #scichat and following some incredibly interesting people and discovering some wonderful resources that will definitely help me and my colleagues at LC. My only worry is that it feels a little like drinking from a fire hose at this point. There is so much stuff coming at me that I can find myself overwhelmed at times. Good thing it is still the summer when I can spend an entire morning checking out people’s blogs and following links from Twitter. All things considered…not a bad problem to have I guess!