Monday, September 12, 2011

BFTP: Stone Soup: A Classroom Parable

 by Olga LaPlante

As schools are adopting new technologies, flying or struggling with others, technology remains what has always been – including all technology, starting with a simple stick – an extension of human capacities. I can't even begin to steal Doug's thunder here, so just enjoy his post, and the simple way to illustrate the ongoing battle.

BFTP: Stone Soup: A Classroom Parable

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bill Gates taking on state budgets and education

 by Olga LaPlante

This is an interesting talk by Bill Gates. Of course, his main point we need to spend money on education, and disallow state level cuts to school budgets, including universities. He believes that this problem is solvable but – and this I like – we need to draw people in this discussion and search for solutions.

It's certainly a divisive topic. It seems that Bill Gates takes certain things at their face value without questioning them (for instance, the fact that in a failing economy and general price suppression, the tuition has defied the trend like helium balloons, and is so high in the sky you can't see the tuition rates from here). He also promotes the idea that teachers need to be effective and need to be incentivized (the implication is money) in order to work well. While I agree that compensation must be appropriate, this alone is not the incentive to work well with kids. And to be effective, how does one define effectiveness (it sounds like we are back to standardized test results, oh boy!).

Anyway, check this out and tell us what you think.

Bill Gates TED Talk

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sit Still

 "You really need to look at the range of issues, because if a 5-year-old can’t sit still, it is unlikely that they can do well in a kindergarten class, and it has to be the whole range of issues that go into healthy child development." ~ Kathleen Sebelius

Forbes - E.D. Kain, American Times

Essential Question:  Should five-year-olds be expected to sit still in class?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another perspective on school improvement

 by Olga LaPlante

Right now, school budgets all around the state, if not the country, are being considered, discussed, laid out, revisited, and whatnot in pursuit of pleasing the fiscal gods and making ends meet somehow. If your district is not planning to make cuts, you are a lucky exception.
There are public debates held over the proposals, and mostly if not solely it's  adults' business. Why? Because we foot the bill and of course we know better.
I found this blog post this morning and I believe that kids should be a little – or maybe much – more involved in the process. They may not understand politics, but they definitely are capable – maybe not willing – to articulate what works for them and what doesn't. I think that as leaders and administrators, adults do end up making the decisions regardless of preceding procedures. What is truly important is that the adults take the chance to listen to what students have to say, leverage their talents and take the risk of believing that students do know a little about their own learning, and it's not all top-down as usual that is going to solve this mess. What do you think?

Friday, March 18, 2011

An interesting perspective: Do you have a hand in this?

 by Olga LaPlante

I am a dy/dan blog reader, and recently there has been a post about bloggers – especially the successful ones – who unknowingly become part of a game to improve money flow to certain institutions. If you are a blogger and don't want to improve the third party's bottom line in this way, you may be interested in learning more:
I would love to hear other people's thoughts about this one!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Collaborative Problem Solving

by Olga LaPlante

I am a convert. Last summer, I took a class (for my teacher certification renewal) in addressing the needs of exceptional students in the regular classroom. It was amazing. One of the things that came out of it was finding a book about problematic behavior, "Lost in School" by Ross Greene, PhD.

I am now a big believer in the CPS approach.

I have just discovered this site and noticed some of our own Maine schools practicing this approach to helping students develop skills they lack to deal with problems and demands appropriately. Check out this testimony from Kittery and in Sanford.

This approach is very down-to-earth, no-nonsense, and practical. The administrators in the videos talk about the implementation, and the success – and challenges, of course! – they have had in their buildings.

Monday, March 7, 2011


It's been a very long time since I've posted to this blog, but now it's time to return. I've joined an online learning community called iFacilitate2011 which is all about learning the basics of facilitating online learning, a skill that I'm very interested in learning.  You can join, as well, right here.

Right away I was impressed with iFaciliate because it is making using of Google Sites and Wikispaces, two of my favorite tools.  Added to this was Elluminate, a synchronous meeting place.

I'll be using this blog to reflect on resources and discussions within the free online iFacilitate course.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 is the International Year of Chemistry!

Do you want to be part of it?
To learn more visit this site: