Saturday, June 12, 2010


I finished the book "Outliers" this week by Malcolm Gladwell. This was my first Gladwell book and I loved it! A friend who was with us in Korea sent Husband and I a whole batch of great books including this one.
The education lesson I learned from this book was simple, but profound: Our past dictates our future. The way we learn, behave with others, become successful/unsuccessful is not only based on the way we are brought up as children, but also in the way our ancestors (generations and generations) arrived to where our families are today.
At first I was frustrated (and validated) because I feel my biggest obstacle in teaching is not the student, but the family and environment they are raised in as children. The students who have parents that are interested in their education soar in the classroom.
Gladwell gave me hope though in the example of KIPP schools. KIPP schools focus on Math and Science for longer periods of time (hour and a half per day), work on Saturdays and have shorter summer breaks. The schools are in tough areas around the country, the kids are picked through lottery and it works. These kids are getting into top colleges in spite of their backgrounds...which is where I my hope lies. If I can keep my kids working in and out of class they can make differences in their lives in spite of their culture at home. There were no college graduates in my house growing up and I did it. I always tell my students and will continue to do so: You either let your past define you forever or you move on and become the person you want to be in life! I know it's not that are up against much more than I ever was growing up, but sometimes their past becomes an excuse. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Clicker Training

A colleague I work with called me today and asked if I wanted to go to "Clicker Training" with her at the end of the month. First thing that came to mind was the clicker training I did with Pawky (dog) a few years ago. I instantly imagined clicking a hand held remote and having my students answering questions, speaking and sitting when I wanted them to...a Pavlovian dream! I was close...apparently each student receives a clicker, the teacher asks them multiple-choice questions (test, practice, etc.) and then the student clicks their response. The teacher and the student do not know if they are correct, but the information is sent to the computer and both class and teacher see the results. I think it's sort of polling the audience. I use white boards to ask test questions usually, but I can definitely see the potential in these clickers. The kids will like the upgraded technology and they will be a lot less messy. Their about $2,000 a set and free (to me) if I attend the training, so I can't really lose. I will let you know how it goes! Here's a link to a video on the bottom I found explaining the clickers a little better. College professors are using these because they are lecture based and are realizing the new undergraduates need more interaction. It's about time colleges started to reform their education! Most students do not learn by lecture alone!
Here's the link:
A little boring, but good information!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Work outfit!?

I love this jacket from Ruche. It could definitely work as a jacket for school. Okay, I admit I'm spending more time on the internet looking at clothes than doing anything productive. Oh well, it's summer vacation...and it's a beautiful jacket.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Vacation

Today feels like the official first day of summer vacation even though it's really the fourth or fifth. Husband and I went to Boston right after I finished with the school year for our anniversary/vacation. I love being on vacation, but there's something about being home while not working. I slept until 10 a.m. this morning because we got in so late last night from quite the ordeal at the airport. I'm still exhausted, but thankful to be home safely on the ground.
Before I left for Boston I cleaned out my classroom a bit and took some pictures. I want to redo the seating chart and the decorations for next fall, so any input will be helpful!

This summer I want to sew some organizers for my papers, find a new way to display student work, maybe make some curtains for the windows and do something with the cabinets/counter that will make it look nicer! Suggestions?! Please!