Thursday, January 14, 2010

If you're green, you're growing!

"As long as you're green, you're growing. As soon as you're ripe, you start to rot.” - Ray Croc

My principal shared this with us in the context that we're all growing... He doesn't expect anyone to be perfect, and he doesn't ever put irrational or unkind pressure on any of us. He just wants us to continue to grow, as he, in fact, is doing, as well. A good place to be.

By the way, a few minutes earlier, our superintendent shared a version of this idea - a quote from one of his mentors: "If you think you're good, you're dead."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The LEARN Act - What really IS the best way to teach reading?

Here, Susan Ohanian quotes a letter sent by Stephan Krashen to the Congressional sponsors of the LEARN Act.
Conversations like this always make me wonder... What research really counts, and what "research" is merely opinion couched in authoritative-, academic-, and scholarly-sounding language?

Krashen says that the LEARN Act is "Reading First on steroids". He goes on to list lots of reasons why the money is misplaced. That we should instead be investing time and money in having kids READ instead of going overboard on direct instruction of phonics, etc. I was glad to see that he made a distinction between Intensive Systematic Phonics, Basic Phonics, and Zero Phonics. (He advocates Basic Phonics.)
phonics taught in sequence
all "major" rules
all rules consciously learned
reading = practice of learned rules

no optimal sequence
consciously learn only basic rules
most rules subconsciously acquired from reading
reading = source of most phonics knowledge

all rules subconsciously acquired
reading = source of all phonics knowledge

He says that the LEARN Act insists on Intensive Systematic Phonics, and most of what he says in the letter opposes this. However, he clarifies by saying that he is NOT in favor of Zero Phonics.

Interesting conversation, which I presume will not be over any time soon...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More YouTube tricks

Just ran across this website (via Twitter tweet) about more things you can do to use YouTube videos.
  1. View high quality videos
  2. Embed higher quality videos
  3. Cut to the chase and link to the interesting part
  4. Hide the search box
  5. Embed only part of a video
  6. Autoplay an embedded video
  7. Loop an embedded video
  8. Disable Related Videos
  9. Bypass YouTube Regional Filtering
  10. Download Video
I would add to their #10, as well as

Rubik's Cube Instructions in JavaScript

Can Rubik's Cubes fit in Computer Science or Math?  I say YES! Read on to find out why. This past summer, I learned how to solve several...