Sunday, January 03, 2016

Today's Reads, Views, and Links

A very interesting read here - 5 Common Teaching Practices I'm Kicking to the Curb.

What I like about this article is how the author sets it up.   Under each practice she identifies what the practice is.  Then she explains why she does it.  Next, and this is my favorite part, she focuses on what the research says when it comes to the teaching practice.  Finally, she offers what she will do instead.

I love this format.  What if we all thought about what we do in class in such a way?

For the record, here are the practices she will cease doing

1.  Popcorn reading.
2.  Giving students prepared notes.
3.  Whole-class punishments.
4.  Using learning styles to plan instruction.
5.  "Differentiating" by having advanced students help struggling students.

So what teaching practices are you kicking to the curb?


How to best address and cultivate these characteristics in our students?


Here is another interesting read about criticizing others with kindness.  Let me tell you, we call all learn from this.  The author outlines four steps to help us argue more intelligently.

1.  Before you argue or criticize, make sure you state your opponent's argument so clearly and thoughtfully that they think to themselves, I wish I would thought of putting it that way.

Why?  This begins the argument letting your opponent know that you have listened to them and understood them.  It's hard to be critical at someone like that.

2.  List points of agreement.

Why?  What a great way to work toward researching a compromise.

3.  Mention what you learned from them.

Why?  Again, it's hard to be critical of someone who understands you and wants to not just discredit your argument but have an actual thoughtful discussion.

4.  Only after all of the three steps are done, then can you criticize.


I love this one.


Obligatory, Star Wars: The Force Awakens post: it is about to become the largest grossing movie of all time.  

And is it really a surprise? Maybe the most beloved film series of all time in American history, this is no shocker.

Then you throw in the amazing direction of JJ Abrams?  It's a no-brainer.

I know some have been critical of Abrams' rehashing the original Star Wars a bit too much (a young protagonist isolated on a desert world, Starkiller base replaces the Death Star, and the ultimate goal is to destroy the enemy's big weapon).  But still . . . it's light years ahead of those god-awful prequels.

I know George Lucas has been openly critical of how Disney bought his beloved Star Wars franchise, took his ideas, said, "no thank you," and kicked Lucas to the curb.

But his ideas (at least for the prequels anyway) were crap.

I think he got insanely lucky with Star Wars.  Hit the ball out of the state with The Empire Strikes Back.  Faded some with Return of the Jedi.  And totally spoiled the franchise with the wretched Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.

Lucas should be thanking Abrams and Disney for reviving his franchise.

What I love most about The Force Awakens:

1.  Everything looks real.  The effects are old school.  You don't get a sense that you're watching actors in front of a blue screen, which was how I felt every moment I watched the awful prequels.

2.  The humor.  The Force Awakens is hilarious.  

3.  Rey.  She is phenomenal.  I don't car if she is Han and Leiah's daughter, Luke's daughter, or Obi Wan's daughter.  She is amazing.

4.  BB-8.  Maybe my favorite character.  He is hilarious and presented in a far more impactful way than Lucas ever presented R2 or C3PO.

5.  The music.  John Williams, as always, kills it.  The theme he creates for Rey is exceptional.


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