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Between Passion and Possibility: Creating My Dream School

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You never know when your possibilities will unveil themselves to you. I’ve told children that for 17 years. In January, I began to live my own.


An Opportunity to Share My Voice


Los Angeles high school student Maria Urquilla describes what a class trip to Washington D.C. taught her about the importance of student voice.


Why Every School Needs to Require Tandem Bike Riding


One of the major benefits of marrying a teacher is the fact that we share a summer schedule. This summer, our schedule found us on Sanibel Island, FL. My husband, Paul, had mentioned riding a tandem bike on several occasions, and given that the number of bikes matched the number of people on the island, we went with the “why-not-today” philosophy.

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Bill Ferriter

August 21, 2012

How guaranteed and viable is your curriculum? [Handouts]


Simple Curricula Truth #1: Curricula developed at the state and/or federal level are almost ALWAYS stuffed with far more content than any teacher can possibly get through in the course of one school year. 

Heck, one of my favorite Bob Marzano studies showed that it would take 23 years to adequately cover the standards in the K12 curricula. 


Simple Curricula Truth #2: Simple truth #1 causes pretty much EVERY teacher to gloss over individual standards in their curriculum. 

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Dave Orphal

August 20, 2012

Tired of the tyranny of data


Note: I originally wrote this post a month ago, but in the meantime lost my computer.

Last night, I woke up in my hotel room and I needed to use the bathroom.  I got out of bed and took a step, slamming my knee against the nightstand—Ouch!

With this important piece of data, I was able to decide that I should make a change.  Turning right, I began to walk.  Three steps later, I banged into the dresser—Whomp!

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Bill Ferriter

August 19, 2012

More on developing EVERY formative assessment together


Yesterday was a pretty terrific day of learning for me. 

After writing my bit answering a reader's question about whether or not learning teams should develop EVERY formative assessment together, I had a LONG conversation -- both on Twitter and in the comment section of the previous post -- about assessment with some of my favorite digital friends. 

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Mark Sass

August 19, 2012

Do unions benefit education?


This piece was originally published on EdNews Colorado.

I’ve been on strike twice in my life, both times when I was a truck mechanic and a member of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers. Each time I hit the picket lines, I knew what we were fighting for – wages and working conditions.

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Bill Ferriter

August 18, 2012

Should #atplc teams develop EVERY common formative assessment together?


After reading my bit on the role that common assessments should play in an #atplc school, KHC stopped by and asked:

Bill, by common assessments, do you mean ALL formative and ALL summative?

My Language Arts team of eleven teachers has been mandated to do so. It seems VERY restrictive to me that every single formative and summative has to be exactly the same for all eleven teachers.

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José Luis Vilson

August 15, 2012

If Sal Khan says he’s teaching, are students learning? [Achievement vs. Learning]


Hey John, Your last post on here where you discuss the intricacies of teaching and learning as a balance makes great sense. These days, the buzz around edu-techers centers around three topics: MOOCs (massive open online classroom), flipped classrooms, and Khan Academy. I’ll try to kill all three birds with one stone (hoping it boomerangs [...]

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Jessica Cuthbertson

August 14, 2012

A teacher's "night before the first day of school"


‘Twas the night before the first day of school, and all through the teacher’s head,
ran thoughts of last-minute planning and jitters as she prepared for bed.

The desks had been sanitized; the carpets had been cleaned,
a bright bulletin board announcing, “We are writers,” she had schemed.

As she snuggled under the covers she envisioned a year of learning,
all of the essays and projects she would grade, as ideas kept churning.

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