Credential the kids

I just started a reading, writing, making club at school based on the idea of shifting from a writer’s workshop to a maker’s workshop. Two students attended our first meeting – they represent 1/18 of our school. At a school of 1800 kids, I would have had 100 attend, right? I’m confident attendance will increase ...

New strangers & the newer-fangled 4

I think EduCon holds a lot of promise. I think it aspires to be more than it is – a conference – and I think it can indeed become what it seems to want to be – a organizing force for change in public education. Right now it’s too bound by traditional spaces and schedules ...

Gamification in the classroom 5

School is a lot like a board game, but today’s best games aren’t like school. Game designers have found ways to embed mastery learning in flow-inducing experiences that offer learners increasingly self-directed opportunities for goal-setting and problem solving. Moreover, game designers have found ways to provide near constant feedback to learners. Customization is another hallmark ...

Truer portraits 2

On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, ...

Dare what you see. 1

In public education, we face self-imposed obstacles to change. We also face a fiscal apocalypse – one time moneys are disappearing just as local revenue has. We’re not electing politicians likely to raise taxes. We’re electing politicians likely to cut muscle and bone. Moreover, we’re going to experience confusion as a country about what it ...

“You should play the time you want to play….” 13

I asked my 7-year old son a simple #blog4reform question: If you could change school so that you’d love to be there, what would you do? Here’s what he said before going back to drawing: Don’t tell people how long they should write their sentences. Let them pick out what they want to write so ...

School dev story

Last year I spent Winter Break reading two wildly disparate books about child-parent relationships gone bad. This year I played Kairosoft’s Game Dev Story on my iPad – and read #blog4reform (you should, too). Game Dev Story puts you in charge of a game development company. You develop games and fulfill contracts in pursuit of ...

The vaccine & the lab

I am heartsick waiting for a national educational vision, leader, professional organization, and administration that can think outside the bubble and break the 8 1/2 x 11″ margins of school learning. In response to Michelle Rhee’s new studentsfirts.org initiative, I’d like to offer the following convictions: My mission is to defend the safety, dignity, independence, ...

The Third Union 1

I would like a third union to represent me. The union would be solely focused on protecting students’ rights to innovative, humane, experiential pedagogy, and teachers would be certified and placed by that union as representatives of its mission. It would be like a mash-up of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ISTE, the ...

Imagining the games-based classroom 5

If we can teach kids to make fun learning games (fun can indeed be measured, and learning can indeed be fun), then we’ll be helping them create experiential learning opportunities for others that have characteristics of narrative (plot, characterization) and informational texts (GUI, games manuals), as well as scripted expository texts that rely heavily on ...