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Ariel Sacks

November 1, 2012

The language of "expectations" in education: Hope or control?

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I was writing a chapter for my Whole Novels book about setting up clear expectations, structures, and systems for accountability and support for students during the reading process. In this chapter, I found myself repeating the word "expectations," especially in subheadings. In effort to get away from that one word, I checked the thesaurus on my computer. What I found gave me pause, revealing a tension in the way the concept of expectations is often applied in education these days.

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Mark Sass

October 30, 2012

Go ahead. Survey my students.

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I have never been a fan of student surveys of their teachers. I always looked at the surveys as a way for teens to complain about their teachers. My assumption was that students always wanted the easy way out, that if pushed to challenge themselves, students would resist--and use surveys to blame me, the teacher. I figured students wanted “caring” teachers (read: nice adults who let students do what they want).

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Barnett Berry

October 29, 2012

Finnish education in 5 election memes

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Kristoffer Kohl, the author of this guest post, is a former classroom teacher and current CTQ staff member. This week, he's traveling in Finland, along with CTQ teacher leader Dave Orphal, who's been reflecting on the trip on his own transformED blog.

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Ariel Sacks

October 27, 2012

What's working: Hydration machines!

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Earlier this year I promised myself I would stay hydrated. I wrote about my reasons here

Little did I know that my school's new building would be outfitted with ... drumroll ... these cool hydration machines on every hallway! Talk about a 21st century facility improvement—this machine rocks!!! (The brand is ELKAY and the model is EZH20.)

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Bill Ferriter

October 27, 2012

Are current #edpolicies turning schools into "brainpower wastelands"?

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Quick question:  How many times have you heard a politician claim that "schools just need to learn to do more with less" in the past few years?

Bajillions, right? 

The simple truth is that most communities are flat broke, and EVERYONE -- including people working in private sector -- are being asked to do more with less.  Productivity just plain matters in an era when nobody has two nickels to rub together.

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Dave Orphal

October 26, 2012

Finns can't talk about their schools without using this word

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Trust. I've heard the word again and again here in Finland. It came up in conversations with members of the Finnish National Board of Education, but also when I visited a Helsinki high school and chatted with the teachers, students, and principal. 

The National Finnish Board of Education trusts schools and teachers.  And teachers? They trust their students. 

Schools Trusted

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Renee Moore

October 24, 2012

Teaching ourselves: k12 Online Conference

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If you haven't checked it out yet, it's not too late (actually it's never too late) to explore the great conversations going on at the k12Online Conference this year. 

The two-week event has teachers from around the world sharing with each other on how to improve the quality of our teaching and our students' learning through use of a wide variety of web and tech tools. The sessions (which are archived) range from the novice to experienced levels and all grade levels.

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Ariel Sacks

October 23, 2012

Random post-it note: Teachers resistant to change?

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So I found a random post-it note on my computer's "Stickies" function. I have no idea when or where this note was taken. I have a feeling it was during a webinar that happened sometime during Connected Educator month, but I'm really not sure! I think someone wrote the quote in the chat section and I composed my thoughts on this note before typing in tthe chat window of the webinar. It may have been a webinar moderated by Steve Hargadon? Anyway, it was interesting, so I thought I'd share. 

I typed it into this Powerpoint slide:

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Dave Orphal

October 23, 2012

What my students are plotting while I'm across the world...

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Greetings from Finland. I'm a Skyline High School teacher who's here to learn more about what is touted by many as one of the best school systems in the world.

Meanwhile, back in Oakland CA, my Introduction to Education class is following my trip, researching the Finnish education system, and preparing policy briefs for school reform.

A little bit about the course:

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