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Showing posts from January, 2009

Wanted: Principals Blogging

My boss asked me to find powerful examples of blogs done by principals as a way not only to get announcements out to families, but also to provide a site for resources that families could use to assist their child, as well as ways to supplement the learning going on and build connections between home and school. What a wonderful use for the blog! How forward thinking and, dare I say LOGICAL. I was excited. That's an assignment that's right up my alley. I promised I'd find at least 5 good ones and report back to him on what made the blog so powerful and how it could be tweaked for our families.

My problem: I'm having a hard time finding what I'm looking for. HELP. If you have/know of an administrator that's doing a fabulous job of blogging for parents as their primary audience, please let me know. I found a lot of fabulous edtech blogs, but they're writing to other edtechs or other teachers. I'll keep looking, but here's some good ones that I found.


News and Twitter

I got to hear Will Rich speak at the Kukulu Kaiaulu ed tech conference in Honolulu this summer and he has so much to share on technology and education. This is one of his videos on the example of Twitter as a tool for the news.
The original video is shared from bliptv by WillRich45

FREE Webinar Series starts Jan. 28th

I got an email from Classroom 2.0(an educator's networking site)that announced that they're partnering with PBS to offer a series of free online web seminars (webinars) for teachers.

Webinars are a great way to do quick (usually one hour) online classes with an opportunity to participate in the running discussion as well as an opportunity to ask questions of the speakers. Another perk is that by signing up you are sent a link of the archive so that you can take your time to digest and synthesize the information outside of the timed parameters of participating live. P.S. For the Hawaii educators, the webinars are usually listed in Easter Standard time, so take off 5 hours and I'll meet you in the seminar room at 3 pm Hawaii Standard Time on the 28th.

Here's the webinar information from the email:
A message to all members of Classroom 2.0- PBS Teachers® and Classroom 2.0 are partnering on a series of free monthly webinars designed to help preK-12 educators learn new ways to…

Resources for African American History Month

February is African American History Month so let me help with some resources.
The Underground Railroad: An Interactive History Adventure by Allison Lassieur
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 112 pagesPublisher: Capstone Press; 1st edition (January 1, 2008)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 1429611839ISBN-13: 978-1429611831Describes the people and events of the Underground Railroad in the 1850s after the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. The reader's choices reveal the historical details from the perspectives of a runaway slave, a slave catcher, and an abolitionist. It's $6.95 retail, but has it for $5.00 in their January TAB flyer (T50600).

Also from Scholastic, Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell FreedmanReading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 114 pagesPublisher: Holiday House (November 4, 2008)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 0823421953ISBN-13: 978-0823421954In Freedman's clear prose, relive the protest that changed America. This book is packe…

Using Media as a Classroom Resource

Today as I turned on the television at 5 am to watch the inauguration, I couldn't help but compare it to the other inaugurations I've seen (Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush). I woke my children up and we watched until we had to leave for school and on our way to school, we listened to Obama's speech on the AM radio. But what is so different about this inauguration is the way that everyday citizens like me, not professional journalists, but people like me who woke up and turned on the tv, or the radio, or the computer, can be directly involved in this historic day through Facebook or Twitter, or online comments, blogs, vlogs, etc.

What a wonderful day to be a teacher in America. With so many opportunities to bring the world into our classroom, to join in the voices of the nation and the world, it's a great day to be in education. It's a wonderful time to be in this profession, and more than any other time in history, the world really is at our fingertips.

For those that ar…

Home Reading Support that Makes the Biggest Difference

In the December 2008 Review of Educational Research (Vol. 78, #4, pp. 880-907), researchers Monique Senechal and Laura Young report on their study of different ways for parents to support their K-3 children's reading development. The authors looked at 16 intervention studies involving 1,340 families, and found that overall, the effects of parent involvement were positive. They do, however, see a marked difference among three different approaches:
Parents reading to their children - First, remember that they don't say this is not a good thing. This is a good thing. However, the studies showed very little impact on children's reading achievement -- an effect size of 0.18.Parents listening to their children read books - The impact of this had an effect size of 0.52. There does need to be some parent training on the basics of listening to children reading, like how to model thinking, making connections as they read, modeling word attack skills as they read. . .Parents tutoring…

Google Reader as a PD tool

Have you noticed this logo either next to your URL address or on a website like a blog or news site? This is the RSS logo (really simple syndication) that basically allows you to subscribe to a site (like this blog), and every time there is a new post on the site, the new post title shows up on your RSS reader, or aggregator. Your blog has an RSS logo too so I could "subscribe" to your blog and be notified when you have a new posting. You are not obligated to read every post unless the title of the post is something that you want to read about. The object here is to be in the know, not to be overwhelmed with information. One of the better RSS readers is Google Reader (although I personally use Flock, Flock is not for everyone). To make Google Reader easier to use, Webware has just posted online videos and links to more that give tutorials on how to use Google Reader.Using RSS is probably one of the first things those new to Web 2.0 will want to learn, and this video incorpo…

"Off with their heads!"

This Sunday's Star Bulletin ran an article on Hawaii State superintendent of schools, Patricia Hamamoto's push for the legislature to give the DOE more power to replace teachers, principals and staff at some campuses that have been failing the No Child Left Behind law despite extra support to help them raise student achievement over the years.

The plan would allow Hamamoto to replace staff if the school was in restructuring for at least three years. The proposal would allow Hamamoto to replace workers at schools that have been under restructuring for three years or longer. It also could change membership of school community councils and control of the campus could be handed over to private companies.

Harsh? I thought so, but the most interesting thing about this topic is that the comments to this article are not really all that harsh. In fact, I was intrigued by the number of posts that think that this idea sounds pretty logical, and despite the all or nothing nature of this pro…

English Teacher's Companion Ning

If one of your new year's resolutions is to be a more reflective and FABULOUS English teacher, then join the English Companion ning right now. This ning (social website with a specific focus) was started by Jim Burke, prolific author (English Teacher's Companion, The Teacher's Daybook, Reading Reminders, Writing Reminders, Tools for Thought: Graphic Organizers in the Classroom, etc.) webmaster, and guru for secondary English teachers. English teachers can join groups, start discussions, participate in discussions, blog and meet other English teachers from around the country and around the world. Within less than one month of starting this ning, there are already 600+ educators learning from each other.
I think I joined two weeks ago, and everyday that I go on and read the discussions, join in, and hear mana'o from other educators, I learn and am inspired again. The passion for teaching is contagious. People have great forum topics and it is as beneficial for the new…

Signing OFF

Now that we have our family website up and running, I've decided that this is a good time to sign off on this blog and recreate it into something else. There's no need for two personal blogs, so I'm going to take the rest of this week to recreate this one into its own niche.

Blogging is about writing about your passion and finding your niche so that you can hook up with like minded people and learn and share, so I've got to really hone in on what passion I want to explore for this manao blog. Some passions on the family blog: food, family, fun, books. That's already there and mom can still share her mana'o and memories on that blog for all of us to savor.

My other passion is my work. I love being an English teacher, a literacy resource teacher and an advocate of using local culture and local literature to raise the educational bar for local students. My passion is to use technology to enhance literacy. Really, it still comes down to a simple formula that's no…