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Monday
Oct172005

Excuses, excuses

miles.jpgWhy I haven’t gotten much written lately: Miles Benjamin Roberts. Striking resemblance to his grandfather, yes?

Tell me what it is exactly about these small creatures with the wise, bright eyes that so completely capture one’s heart on the first touch? How do they get that commitment that no effort is too great, no cost too high, no sacrifice too hard to protect and nourish such a little soul?

I want to say to everyone, please make the world a nicer place for my grandchildren and yours. One little smile (possibly gas) and Miles has a grandfather who would move the world for him.

Saturday
Oct152005

Reading Truths, Keynotes and More Books

One of the big anxiety producers for conference planners is picking keynote speakers. They are a big financial outlay, and more importantly, a speaker can set the tone of the entire conference. Imagine my dismay on opening an e-mail from one our local media specialists just after I had announced that Dr. Jeff McQuillan was one of our keynoters for this fall’s conference:

Doug - I hear you are going to get this speaker for the 2005 Memo Conference in lieu of Krashen–Jeff McQuillan. Have you lost your mind!!

My heart dropped. But then I read on…

This man is spoiled little brat!! Well–I might be a little biased –he is my youngest brother. Hmmm, I could provide some very interesting details on that speaker — maybe even get people to stay for the Saturday session……. He is a native Minnesotan, but because he grew up in the inner-city of St. Paul among exclusively Irish Catholics, he won’t understand all your outstate Scandahoovian schtick!! I have tried to enlighten him among other family members over my last 21 years living here–but they are so provincial!! His biggest fear is that his 10 siblings will all show up and heckle him from the front row…..oh that would be sad……but most of them are too cheap to spend the gas money to travel to Mankato! Seriously, any dirt–I’m the one to turn to!! - Kathy

As it turned out, Dr. MQuillan was introduced by his sister this morning (dirt and all) and none of the other siblings showed. Dr. McQuillan was terrific - presenting a refreshing view of the so called “literacy crisis,” why test scores rise and fall, and the importance of good libraries to reading achievement. A great opener for our “reading” day.

After two weeks of what seems like constant conferences, (AASL and MEMO), I now have nearly a bookshelf full of professional “must-reads.”

The first is Dr. McQuillan’s book The Literacy Crisis; False Claims, Real, Solutions in which he elaborates on this morning’s themes.

The second, of course, is yesterday’s keynote speaker David Warlick’s book Raw Materials for the Mind: A Teacher’s Guide to Digital Literacy.

The third, is Frances Harris’s I Found It On the Internet: Coming of Age On-line. .

I’m looking forward to reading all of them. Book reports to follow…

What are the educational “must-reads” that should be on our book shelves?

May all your keynoters be as informative, entertaining and inspiring as Mr. Warlick and Dr. McQuillan. And don’t believe everything that their sisters may have to say.

Friday
Oct142005

Do We Become the Kids We Teach?

Taking a moment to just catch my breath after hearing David (2 Cents Worth blog) Warlick deliver his keynote “Riding the Wave of Change” at our fall MEMO conference. Compelling ideas about the role of technology in students lives and what it means to be literate in the 21st Century. Folks here at the conference are raving about the opening - an auspicious start! Hope the rest of the conference keeps to this high standard.

But it started me thinking (and that is dangerous…)

Olinger and Olinger in Educause’s Educating the Net Generation ask readers who work with Net Genners to take this simple questionnaire:

  1. Do you write in longhand or online?
  2. Have you turned over remembering to a device?
  3. Do you go to meetings with a laptop or PDA
  4. Are you constantly connected? Internet always on? Cell phone always with you?
  5. Do you multi-task?
  6. Do you play video or computer games?

Well, I had to say yes to 5 out of 6 (I’m not a video gamer, I’m afraid.)

I’ve long observed teachers react to school administration in many cases like kids react to them.

  • Elementary teachers want a parent.
  • Secondary teachers need somebody against who to rebel.
  • Middle school teachers, well are confused, and on any given day can react like either elementary or secondary students. (I was a middle school teacher.)

So are you becoming more like the kids you teach? Is that good thing?