Friday, February 29, 2008

Adult Ed Project Learning at Sanford

I spent Wednesday afternoon with Margie Genereux and her advanced applications adult education class. Students had already developed skills in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, Paint, and a number of other applications. In this advanced class, they were collaboratively working on developing the groundwork for a Sports Bar/Recreation Facility, making use of the tools they had learned, sharing and helping one another in pushing those skills to a higher level using the project as a focus. The motivation, energy and enthusiasm that comes through working in real-world projects was obvious. Love it!

We will be publishing their work here when it is completed. It involves floor plans, brochures, award certificates, emergency information, buying spreadsheets, job applications, menus, schedules, daycare information, a website, etc.

Margie explained that the adult ed teachers at SCAE (Sanford Community Adult Education) were involved in a PLC that is focusing on a more constructivist approach in working with adult learners. She introduced me to Best Practice: Standards for Teaching and Learning in America's Schools by Zemelman, Daniels and Hyde. The book is now on my must-buy list. It is about education in general, not just applying to adult education needs. I highly recommend it for groups involved in this kind of work.

Margie expertly introduced new possibilies to the class as the need occurred. Optional tools for those who could not afford Office: StarOffice, OpenOffice, Google Apps.

I loved one of Margie's quotes regarding using instructivism alone: "It's like following someone to a wedding . . . you'll never be able to get there again!"

Related links:

Constructivism vs Instructivism
Project-based Learning
Inquiry Learning
Essential Questions
Jim Moulton's Wiki on Project-based Learning
Educational Games Research: Constructivism vs Instructivism

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Keeping Up with the News

At Humanities in Maine there is a post on using news resources on the web called "Keeping Up with the News."

Related Resources

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Growing Up Online

This way to FRONTLINE episodes ---->

Monday, February 25, 2008

Telstar Wiki Session

Today we will:

Review Smartboards and sharing tools & uses.

Focus on adding a favorite topic/theme/lesson/link to the LIM Resources Wiki (come with a topic in mind . . . perhaps something that you've used over the years). Create our own wiki sites.

Continue ongoing work on individual projects of interest.

Related Resources:

More Info about wikis
Jim Moulton's wiki at Wikispaces on project-based learning.
Gulf of Maine Activities at Wikispaces
NNELL (National Network for Early Language Learning) at Wikispaces
Blue Algebra Wikispace (Lewiston)

Smartboard 2-Minute Tutorials
Smartboard Information
More on Smartboards

Essential Questions
Bloom's Taxonomy
Universal Design

Arts, Innovation & Creativity

Saturday, February 23, 2008


"Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."

~W.B. Yeats
Apathy in schools is often an unspoken subject during discussions of curriculum or analysis of AYP, but let's admit that it's very real. How do we go about engaging students whose favorite phrase is "This is dumb!"?

Jeff Bailey addresses the issue on Maine Ideas in Education:

"Learning: A Risky Business"

Jim Moulton addresses the issue in Spiral Notebook at Edutopia:

Part One: "Should Teachers Care about Student apathy?"
Part Two: "Motivate Students with Class Action."
Part Three: "Take It To the Streets."

Related Links:

An Interview with Maurice Elias of CASEL on Emotional Intelligence.

CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning)

"Student Apathy, Lack of Self-Responsibility and False Self-esteem Are Failing American Schools" by Yong G. Hwang.

"Student Apathy = Teacher Apathy"
How to Engage Students in Learning

Essential Question: How do we connect with students emotionally to get them fired up about learning?

Friday, February 22, 2008

MVYDC Laptop Lunch Group

Wikispaces is an easy and convenient place to set up a digital learning space to complement face-to-face staff development. It's free and straightforward . . . . without layers of bureaucracy to work through when dealing with limited time and energy.

Check out the WVYDC Laptop Lunch Group right here in the State of Maine as an excellent example.

Who could ask for anything more?

More Info about wikis
Jim Moulton's wiki at Wikispaces on project-based learning.
Gulf of Maine Activities at Wikispaces
NNELL (National Network for Early Language Learning) at Wikispaces
Blue Algebra Wikispace (Lewiston)

You are invited to join and contribute to the LIM Resources Wiki.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Arts, Innovation and Creativity

April 6 - 7, 2008 at Samoset

The price is certainly right . . . the location ideal . . . and the offerings unique and diverse. The MLTI Arts, Innovation and Creativity Spring Institute looks to be outstanding. It will be a great opportunity to share, learn and network with others throughout the state . . . with a focus on the arts.

Tim Sample
will be the featured speaker at Monday's lunch. Here's a classic Sample piece on technology . . . done 23 years ago . . . before much had happened in the digital world.

Hope to see you there!

Registration Information

Monday, February 18, 2008

On Making Mistakes

Persistence is a simple process:

1. What's the next step?
2. What's in the way of taking that step?
3. Remove, disregard, or ignore the obstacle.
4. Take the step
5. Go to #1

~ source unknown

At The Learning Curve, Kern Kelley speaks of working/playing with his young son on putting puzzles together. The question is: When do we assist versus allowing others to learn from their mistakes? Where do we strike the balance?

A related question might be: How do we grow life-long learners who are able to persevere in solving problems and feel empowered by this ability?

Related Post

Perseverance Resources at LIM Resources Wiki

Friday, February 15, 2008

Universal Design in Maine

Highly Recommended:

Cynthia Curry offers UD in ME. She is known statewide as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable evangelist for ways of expediting learning for all students. Check out Universal Design in Maine as your connection to the Universal Design scene in our state.

Related Resources

PD Opportunity for Maine Educators

Web 2.0 - Tools and Strategies for Learning and Teaching with the Read/ Write Web: An online professional development opportunity for Maine educators . . .

Info at MaineLearns

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Technology Professional Development Brainstorming

I thought this was an excellent post on Maine Ideas in Education. Jeff Bailey and Mary Gamble are developing professional training for their staff, given some days during "late arrival" time at Mountain Valley High School. Their work presents issues we all have in trying to approach technology integration in an optimum manner. I particularly like Jeff's adaptation of Puentedura's Transformation model.

Technology Professional Development Brainstorming at Mountain Valley

How is professional development handled in your system?

Do you have any of the same questions as the Bailey/Gamble team?

Smarter Than Us???

by Becky Ranks

Well, here's a new one that I heard today at the high school that I work in. MosquitoRingtones Students can go to this site, download ringtones for their cell phones that cannot be heard by people 30 years old and older. They are actually receiving calls in class, excusing themselves and answering their messages. A perfect example of the ingenuity of teenagers getting around the system. What do you think? Go to the site and try it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"It takes a village . . . "

Essential Question: How am I responsible for the communities that I am a part of?

Paul Houston of AASA speaks of acting locally:

"Every educator is familiar with the African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child.” It is a nice but inadequate sentiment for modern America.

I have visited African villages and seen their focus on children. In Kenya, the Masai greet each other with the question, “How are the children?” America would be better off if we could say that to each other with meaning. But we don’t and we can’t rely on the village to raise our children because we no longer have even a sense of village.

Educators must find a way to become village builders, and I think that starts with helping our children see that as their role. We have to build character in our children so they become their 'brother’s keepers.'" More . . .

How are the Children?

Character Resources
Process Resources
Citizenship Resources
The Maine Council for the Social Studies

Daniel Pink Interviews Thomas Friedman

Essential Question: What is the function of parents and schools in the 21st Century?

Excellent article in February 2008 issue of the School Administrator combining the ideas of Daniel Pink and Thomas Friedman.

"Pink: Does this call into question the concept of the “school” as we typically think of it? In a world where information was scarce, schools operated as kind of a repository of that precious resource. But now information is abundant. A school doesn’t have to harvest and distribute this scarce resource. It has to serve some other kind of function.

Friedman: Right. When information is really abundant, when we can literally pluck it out of the air, you need people to sift it, sort it and connect it.

Pink: Sifters, sorters, connectors, “yes but-ers.” That’s a nice way to describe a teacher’s role today. Now let me ask you a question that’s tinged a little bit with politics. Neither one of us are educators. But we’ve both had the good fortune to talk to lots of teachers, principals and superintendents over the last year. I suspect that being a sifter, a sorter and a yes but-er in a world of No Child Left Behind is pretty difficult." More . . .


Steve Jobs Speech

Free Technology for Teachers

Western Maine teacher, Richard Byrne, presents daily reviews of free technology resources and how teachers can use them. Need a free web tool to meet some need in your classroom? Richard most likely can help you out. This is a great Maine site for keeping up with developments and possibilities.

Free Technology for Teachers

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

If I Knew Then What I Know Now Podcast
Wicked Decent Learning

Western Maine teachers, Jeff and Dan, continue their excellent Maine podcasts on issues in the classroom. Good stuff . . . delightfully presented!

Monday, February 11, 2008


by Harold Shaw, Jr.

Well back at it today...I basically took the weekend off...I didn't respond to any Blogs or Email. I finished our taxes, used the snowblower and shovel both days and played a lot NWN-2. I just needed a break from everything. It seemed to work...I feel fresher today than I have in a while.

It seems to me as though with everything that you can do on the web and life, that we can quickly become overwhelmed and overloaded if you focus too much time at any one thing. Sometimes we just need down time, to watch the snow coming down and the birds coming to the feeder.

I notice that since January I have spent waaaaaaay too much time on the internet, researching education related material, reading blogs, RSS Feeds, and haven't spent enough time getting away from the "job". That is a worry for me...I tend to go full speed ahead for a period of time and then crash, then I don't keep an interest in the things I was going full speed ahead on. Which in this case is integrating technology into my professional life as a teacher. I enjoy using the computer, but feel that the computer is beginning to rule me???

When do we decide when enough is enough and turn it off? We are creating all these online relationships, but at what cost? Are we ignoring our "real" relationships, the ones that count? Are we still involved in our local communities or have we become too involved in our online communities? Is it easier to maintain online relationships than face-to-face relationships with others?

I know these are big picture questions and I certainly don't claim to have the answers, but I believe that many have these same questions and thought that I would put them out there and see if anyone responds

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Educating a Democracy

"A distinguishing characteristic of our nation — and a great strength — is the development of our institutions within the concept of individual worth and dignity. Our schools are among the guardians of that principle. Consequently . . . and deliberately their control and support throughout our history have been — and are — a state and local responsibility. . . . Thus was established a fundamental element of the American public school system — local direction by boards of education responsible immediately to the parents of children. Diffusion of authority among tens of thousands of school districts is a safeguard against centralized control and abuse of the educational system that must be maintained. We believe that to take away the responsibility of communities and states in educating our children is to undermine not only a basic element of our freedoms but a basic right of our citizens. "

~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower

"We have been awash in accountability and standardization for a very long time. What we are missing is precisely the qualities that the last big wave of reform was intended to respond to: teachers, kids, and families who don’t know each other or each other’s work and don’t take responsibility for it. We are missing communities built around their own articulated and public standards and ready to show them off to others."

~ Deborah Meier - Education a Democracy - Standards & the Future of Public Education

Meier's Six Alternative Assumptions to High Stakes Testing

Deborah Meier Homepage

Agree or disagree with Meier?

iBook G3 Resurrection

David Saltmarsh at SAD # 60 shows how to bring back dead G3's that have ailing video cards with a very cost-effective method: Video How-To

Related Link

Saturday, February 9, 2008

K12 Station

Web 2.0 is all the rage these days, but I'll admit that as an old "digital immigrant" I'm still enthusiastic about the availability of content through good old web 1.0. The revolution that has taken place during the past dozen years or so still has me totally amazed.

We no longer have to worry about having information resources available for our classrooms. Instead, the issue is having the time and energy to sort through and select what will best meet our needs for a specific objective. Distractions abound in our present reality. What tools are available to cut through the clutter to find what we need for our classrooms?

K12 Station is one free directory that gives us a very handy way of finding quality content sites quickly that zero in on the concepts and skills that we are teaching.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

MARVEL! Maine's Virtual Library

It is time to re-investigate the incredible resource Mainers have in MARVEL!

What would be the best way to promote it, encouraging our citizens to discover the wealth of authoritative resources that is at our fingertips?

Questions: Have the local TV stations done any features on it? Has it been promoted in Maine's newspapers? Do schools have it listed on their websites?

Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Snow Days and Block Scheduling

Written by Richard Byrne.

I'm looking at my calendar right now during SAD 17's second consecutive snow day and realizing that, as a result of snow days combined with block scheduling, when I finally see some of my kids on Friday it will have been ten days since I last saw them. Now I'm not complaining about snow days, but I am wondering what to do when I finally do see my students again. I'll have lost all momentum by Friday so I'll probably just spend the day reviewing and refreshing. This is definitely not ideal, but what else can I do?

How do those of you teaching in a block scheduled school maintain momentum when snow days create large gaps between classes? Any tricks or tips?

Monday, February 4, 2008

There Ought to Be a Law

I had the opportunity to talk with Laura Richter today and learned of her latest powerful project. You might recall that I posted her notebook on doing local/oral history last week. If you think that was great, you must see this latest work:

There Ought to Be a Law

Educational Tools for the Movie

The Noteshare Notebook for the Movie

There Ought to Be a Law is an award-winning documentary by Anita Clearfield, Shoshana Hoose and Geoffrey Leighton on the theme of average citizen versus the government.

Anna Marshall - Artwork
Skowhegan Area Middle School

Related Noteshare Posts

Reporting Out: Today's Telstar eMINTS Session

Share what you have discovered at Telstar's eMINTS session (3:30 - 7:00) today.

Any recipes to share? :)

Thanks so much for collaborating during my absence. Appreciated.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Competition in the Classroom

Jeff n' Dan are at it again with Episode 5 Competition in the Classroom at Wicked Good Learning. Check it out here.

The show's essential question: When and in what ways does a sense of competition harm/help?

Piggybacking . . ..

Competition at LIM Resources Wiki

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What Is Your Dream for Public Education?

Ernie Easter left a link at the Seedlings Ning to Deborah White's column in the Bangor Daily News title "Same Product, But Less Packaging."

Ernie's Question:
What will the future of education bring under Maine's School Rationalization Law?
Deborah's Questions:
. . . what would a new model of public education look like? We all have ideas. What are your ideas for a new model of public education?

New Special Education Forms - Feeling a bit Frustrated

by Harold Shaw, Jr.

I just got caught up on my Special Education Paperwork this week - what a great feeling. The Special Education Director had nice things to say about the IEP, that I submitted, but I feel we are still running a bit blind when preparing the new State DOE Special Education forms.

Maine DOE has mandated the use of certain forms, formats and language to be used on the forms. But it seems as though what is expected is still actually a bit of a moving target? They have provided sample IEPs, but these seem very basic to me?? and don't seem to give enough information regarding the criteria to create a quality IEP that is actually useable by others. Maybe I am just a bit anal about this, but...I am the one held accountable if they are not done correctly (legally and professionally).

My Special Education Director is an outstanding administrator and yet sometimes she too, has many questions. But I guess that I have to be patient (not something I am good at) the first year of any new system there are bound to be modifications and changes as people actually use and discuss the issues with those forms. But it still is frustrating to try to create a quality product (IEP) that actually is useful to the classroom teacher (for those that will read them) without trying to play "pin the tale on the donkey". I just hope DOE is understanding when they come in for a Special Education Records site review regarding these first year IEPs or what happens if the IEP becomes one of those being reviewed at hearing.

Has anyone else had similar questions or concerns about the new Special Education Forms and Formats. I guess I am just feeling a little cynical and frustrated today.

Thanks Harold

Information Literacy: Guiding Student Research

"Education should begin in research and end in research….An education which does not begin by evoking initiative and end by encouraging it must be wrong. For its whole aim is the production of active wisdom."

~ Alfred North Whitehead

Barbara Greenstone presented at FETC 2008 last week. She has kindly shared with the rest of us here in Maine the materials of that session on the research process . . . in multiple formats at MLTI Maine Learns.

Related Resources:


Essential Questions
Bloom's Taxonomy
MLR Guiding Principles

DropBox to upload and download files on this topic. Password: learning

Friday, February 1, 2008

"Teacher Workload" at Wicked Decent Learning

Propaganda Study in Maine

"The first information survival skill we will all need is the ability to decode propaganda and demythologize the highly commercialized and entertainment-based U.S. culture. Psychologists politely call it 'resistance to enculturation.' Writer Ernest Hemingway had a less elegant term: 'crap detecting.'"
~ Karl Albrecht

Helping students to evaluate information should be high on the list of what schools need to impart. Sarah Sutter of Wiscasset High School has designed a resource and process-rich Propaganda Webquest to help address this need as part of her Media Literacy course.

Related Resources
Logical Fallacies

Free Reading

Just came across an incredible online resource for teachers of early readers.

It is an open source wiki that is developing a wealth of information and resources on methods for teaching reading. You really owe it to yourself to see it. You may also sign up to be an editor . . . to help develop it.

Literacy for the 21st Century in Canada

Want some great resources for teaching media literacy? Check out the Center for Media Literacy.

The CML MediaLit Kit has a wealth of suggestions.

Regional Forums: Commissioner Gendron's Introduction

Video: Commissioner Gendron's Introduction for the Regional Forums

Note that it was produced by Nokomis Warrior Broadcasting and located on Google Pages.

Find it here as well.

Informational Letter #74
Twenty-first Century Skills Website

Maine Local History Handbook

Interested in doing local/oral history with your students? Need a model to get you started? Check out Laura Richter's notebook for rich suggestions, templates and examples. This is a gem created in the MLTI Noteshare application and saved as web files. Laura is an expert in working with children in investigating local history as demonstrated at Our Town Skowhegan Maine.

Related Resources:

Oral History
Video Interviewing
iMovie Workshop
Maine Studies