Is it really 2015 already?


Friday 4: Another year to get better

I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions since I am not good at keeping them. I do, however, take time at the beginning of a new year to reflect on the year past and set some personal and professional goals for the upcoming year. I like the word “goals” rather than “resolutions” because, in my mind, goals can evolve and change as the circumstances change as opposed to resolutions that seem so rigid and unforgiving. Goals are also a desirable destination unlike many resolutions which are simply a laundry list of bad habits that one resolves to not do during the new year…too negative for me. I certainly hope that you have taken some time in these first few weeks of 2015 and thought about some personal professional goals that you are working towards. As teachers, we should all have things that we are working to improve or add to our educator toolbox. If you have not yet committed to some goals for 2015, perhaps this week’s Friday 4 will give you a few ideas to consider. Enjoy.

  • Using video to improve practice is a piece that appeared recently on the Teaching Channel website that makes a good case for why you should routinely videotape yourself in class. I am a huge believer of the power of videotaping and would encourage everyone to try it at least once in the coming year.
  • Top 10 Evidence Based Teaching Strategies is a piece from the Pinnacle Education website that I ran across that is spot on when it comes to impactful teaching strategies.
  • Why Understanding Obstacles is Essential to Achieving Goals is a piece from the Mind/Shift website that may be helpful when working with students or advisees who are in need of some motivation.
  • The Power of a Teacher is a piece from the Center for Teaching Quality that is a good reminder of the incredible responsibility we have as teachers, coaches and dorm folks in the lives of adolescents.


Friday 4 – Catch-Up Day Edition

  • Do you ever have students watch YouTube or other web-hosted videos for class and want them to take notes on the videos? VideoNotes is a neat tool that allows you to split your screen and watch the video and take notes that can be automatically saved in your Google Drive at the same time. The notes even can be synched with the video so that you can click on your notes and jump to the exact location in the video when you took the note. Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) brought the tool to my attention in a post on his Free Technology for Teachers blog.
  • How Creativity Works” is a nice piece from NPR in which Johan Lehrer joins NPR’s Robert Siegel to talk about the creative process — where great ideas come from, how to foster them, and what to do when you inevitably get stuck.
  • Here is a post from one of the blogs I follow on the use of clickers in the classroom. “Should students vote individually, should you have a whole class discussion? (#clicker series)” The blog is written by Stephanie Chasteen (@sciencegeekgirl) whose Twitter handle alone got me to follow her on Twitter!
  • There is a thought-provoking series of posts on the website that explores the “purpose” of education. Regardless of your role in education, there is plenty to ponder and discuss in this series of posts. The first post in the series can be found here. The second piece can be found here.


Friday Four for May 4


The business of the spring term got the better of me lately and led me to miss the last two Friday posts…sorry to those who sit on the edge of their keyboards waiting for my end-of-the-week missive. While I did not post my regular piece, I have been accumulating a bunch of links to interesting items I have run across that I wanted to share. Here are a few of the items that are piling up in my Google Reader and Diigo account that you may find useful/interesting. Enjoy!

  • Crocodoc is a website that allows you to add comments, highlights, drawings, and other markups to documents and images. You can also invite others to collaborate in real-time or embed documents on your website or blog. For those of you looking for a way to correct/edit student work electronically, this may be the tool for you.
  • The second item this week is a FREE web-based plug-in for Chrome that allows users to create and edit videos right from their Google account. The plugin in called WeVideo. I am a Camtasia user and have not played around with WeVido yet, but do plan on giving it a test drive soon. For those looking to try out creating a video for a flipped classroom lesson, this may be an easy and cheap way to give it a go.
  • Recent piece from Daniel Willingham that looks at some commonly used reading comprehension strategies and their effectiveness/ineffectiveness. Their is a link to a more extensive piece he wrote on the topic that is worth a look as well.
  • Great TedxBozeman talk from Paul Anderson. He explains how he is using elements of game design to improve learning in his AP Biology classroom. If you have 10:56 to spare, I recommend watching this inspirational talk from a fellow educator.

First Friday Four of 2012


Friday Four – January 6, 2012


It is only 6 days in to 2012, but I am pretty proud of myself. I have not written 2011 on any document requiring a date thus far! Small victory to be certain, but hey, by this time I usually have committed the faux pas at least a half a dozen times. I have an eclectic mix of items for you this week. Some of the items I ran across as I was perusing the seemingly endless list of “Best of 2011” blog posts. I try and at least do a cursory review of these blogs since there is always one or two nuggets that I will have missed during the year. So here are four of my finds this week for your enjoyment.

  1. From the Innovative Educator, a listing of 100 video sites every educator should bookmark. This list includes professional development video sites as well as discipline specific content sites. I guarantee you will find at least one site you can use.
  2. Many of you already know that I am an Alfie Kohn fan so you will not be surprised by this next piece. This piece appeared in the English Journal in the fall of 2010 and looks at how to create nonreaders.
  3. This next piece is a blog post from a somewhat outspoken educator who I do not always agree with….hence why I read his pieces regularly! He challenges teachers to stop asking questions they already know the answers to.
  4. For my humanities colleagues, here is a thought provoking piece describing a 21st century English class. How do we stack up?

As always, I welcome you comments or feedback.