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Sandy Merz

May 30, 2016

Virtual Learning Communities and the Adjacent Possible

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When I started teaching in 1987, many colleagues had an "EZ-Grader" - a cardboard device they used to calculate a student's percent on an assignment by matching up the number of correct answers with the total number of problems. And by-golly, you can still buy an EZ-Grader for under $2.00.

Then came the 90s and as the world moved from atoms to bits, electronic grade books became one of about a billion adjacent possibles, and most teachers trashed their EZ-Graders. (Seriously, who actually buys an EZ-Grader in 2016?)

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Renee Moore

May 29, 2016

A Memorial Day Lesson


My father, a sergeant in the Army, often talked of how he returned from two tours of duty in Korea only to be told by Bell Telephone in Michigan that they weren’t hiring colored people.

Daddy was very proud of his service and loved this country. He raised and lowered the American flag on his front porch every day until his death. But when he talked about his time in the Army, the two events that stayed with him, were how he was treated when he came home, and the racism he endured while training in Georgia.

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Jeff Austin

May 26, 2016

Teacher-powered innovation: The value of and opportunity for teacher leadership in schools and policy.


This blog was originally posted on HomeRoom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.

When we do everything right in schools, our students move closer to that peak on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – self-actualization. It sounds pretty awesome. I’d like to achieve self-actualization too. But when you’re a student facing poverty, racism, family trouble, or just life as a kid growing up, that peak starts looking like K2.

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Jessica Keigan

May 24, 2016

VLCs: How Connection and Collaboration Creates Healthy Vulnerability in Education

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This spring, CTQ bloggers are exploring the theme: How do VLC’s (virtual learning communities) impact our profession? We invite you to join us here in our own VLC, the Collaboratory, with your thoughts and comments, and share ideas using the hashtag #CTQCollab. If you like this post, check out more VLC wisdom here.

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Marcia Powell

May 17, 2016

Sorry, Not Sorry



I received a great email a few weeks ago.  It called me out, questioned why I was doing something, and told me in no uncertain terms that my efforts were not appreciated.  The frustration was evident, because it was from a 12 year old who did not understand why a designation (gifted, in this case) of a student gave them 'special treatment.' I responded to him and addressed the frustration.  My mistake was in copying another adult.

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Jessica Cuthbertson

May 15, 2016

What About Authentic Appreciation All Year Long?


What would it feel like to be part of a profession that is authentically appreciated not one week a year, but all year long? I imagine this space exists somewhere between free burritos and invitations to the White House. What if authentic appreciation permeated the culture of all schools and the communities they serve? What if it moved the students we teach today to join our profession, so that they might be a part of something universally respected and valued? 

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Brianna Crowley

May 11, 2016

Building VLCs? Start with the why.


People aren’t convinced by what you do in a virtual space (i.e. moderate Twitter chats, participate in online discussion threads, write blogs); they are convinced by why you do it. The goal is not to build a virtual learning community with everybody who has something to offer you; the goal is to build a virtual learning community with people who believe what you believe.

How does this shift your paradigm about virtual learning communities?

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