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Bill Ferriter

September 30, 2011

Tired of being the nation's punching bag

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So I’m completely hacked off tonight.

You see, I’ve spent a few hours wrapped in the criticisms of public schools found in the first pages of The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner’s bit on how schools need to change if our kids are ever going to survive in tomorrow’s world.

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Dan Brown

September 29, 2011

Moving beyond September: First month discoveries for first-year teachers

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T. S. Eliot had it wrong— for new teachers it’s Septemberthat’s the cruelest month. This is my fourth year at my school and each year my classroom is more stable and the bar is higher for what my students and I can accomplish together. But I remember my formative first September in the classroom and I’m seeing similar patterns play out with new colleagues.

Based on my experience and recent conversations with the newbies, here are the discoveries of September:

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Barnett Berry

September 29, 2011

Reimagining school as we know it

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Another innovative approach is also taking root in Colorado: the teacher-led school without a principal. With support from the Ford Foundation (which has made significant investments in extended learning opportunities for students and their teachers), we have been able to document the emergence of the Math and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA).

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Bill Ferriter

September 24, 2011

60 second book hooks [Activity]

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A few weeks back, the language arts teacher on my sixth grade team and I whipped up an enrichment activity for our top performing students.

Called 60 Second Book Hooks, we've asked our students to generate short, persuasive metaphorical reviews of the books that they are reading. 

The rules are pretty simple:  Students have to compare the books that they are reading to unlike concepts, ideas or items.  Both supportive and critical reviews are encouraged.

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Bill Ferriter

September 21, 2011

Exploring blogs during silent reading [Activity]

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I don't have a ton of time to write tonight, but I wanted to fill you in on something I'm planning on rolling out on my academic team in the next few months. 

We do a daily sustained silent reading period----30 minutes that rotates from classroom to classroom depending on the day---and we love it.  Our kids fall into a comfortable routine over the course of the year and develop a reading-for-pleasure vibe that is just plain cool.

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Bill Ferriter

September 19, 2011

PLC tip: Finding time for collaboration

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An interesting email landed in my inbox this week from a private school teacher—we’ll call him Jim—who attended one of my sessions at this summer’s Solution Tree PLC Institutes.

Jim wrote:

One of the main messages I picked up on [at the Institute] was that you need to have the school schedule designed in such a way so that teachers have time to collaborate with one another in order to do this right.

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Bill Ferriter

September 17, 2011

Google's redesigned related searches feature

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I haven't hidden the fact that I was a HUGE fan of Google's Wonder Wheel---a quirky feature hidden under the More Search Tools link that took broad topics and broke them down into visual webs highlighting related subtopics for researchers.

In fact, I dedicated an entire section of my tech book---Teaching the iGeneration---to the tool, figuring that it was SO good, Google would never get rid of it. 

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