Podcast 77: Wasting Money, Effective Teachers and Google Docs Fu

A school teacher injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. He wore it under his shirt and it was not noticeable at all. On the first day of the term, still with the cast under his shirt, he found himself assigned to the toughest class in the school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with desk work. The classroom became a bit unruly and he admonished them. This happened several times. While working at his desk, the strong breeze from the window made his tie flap annoyingly. He kept rearranging and rearranging the tie as the class become more and more unmanageable. Finally, becoming disgusted with the wayward tie, he stood up and took a big stapler off his desk and stapled the tie to his chest in several places. Discipline was not a problem from that day forth.

Advisory! Advisory! Advisory!

A New Zealand man fled with his girlfriend after receiving millions of dollars in a banking error.

From the Twitterverse:

* AngelaMaiers RT@cristama…this year has transformed me (and my teaching) in so many ways. (I feel the same- so much I owe to PLN!)
* shareski Kramer on Openness and Transparency. @courosa you should use this in a presentation http://bit.ly/lV1Bo
* AngelaMaiers RT @Zweibz7 @problogger: if there’s one lesson I’ve learned this week it is – ‘build your network before you need it’.
* paulallison Looking for stories about resilient students in your classroom: First a request, then an invitation. (If you’ve .. http://tinyurl.com/nmvh8f
* AngelaMaiers RT @education_com @BNBuzz – giving free book 2 kids who complete summer reading program http://bit.ly/bU2pj

Shout Outs:
Thanks to our Robert Jackson in Kiev for the link to the Aspire One as Kindle.

Report: Costly plan failed to improve schools
A $100 million investment in Miami-Dade County’s lowest performing public schools failed to boost student achievement, according to the school district’s final report on the program. The School Improvement Zone was a three-year push at 39 elementary, middle and senior high schools throughout the county. Students participated in a specialized reading program and had a longer school day than students at other schools. They also had a longer school year. ”The zone program exhibited at best an inconsistent impact that was limited to the elementary grades,” program evaluators wrote. The report also noted that the extended school year — starting a week early and tacking extra days onto the end — was ineffective.

New CEO: Gates Foundation learns from experiments
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent billions of dollars exploring the idea that smaller high schools might result in higher graduation rates and better test scores. Instead, it found that the key to better education is not necessarily smaller schools but more effective teachers.

Senate bill supports 21st-century skills
Shelley Pasnik, director of the Education Development Center’s Center for Children and Technology, said she is pleased to see the bill addresses more than simply putting more technology into schools. “Students need to go beyond just learning today’s academic context to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, communications skills, creativity and innovation skills, collaboration skills, contextual learning skills, and information and media literacy skills,” the bill reads.

School counselors face big workload in Illinois
Bartlett High School counselor Stephanie Fullhart has been keeping track of nearly 340 students this year, an overwhelming caseload in the eyes of many counselors. Of the 10 states with the largest school populations, Illinois’s ratio was second only to California, which had 966 students per counselor in 2006-07. The ratios are calculated by dividing a state’s prekindergarten-to-Grade 12 enrollment by the number of guidance counselors reported to the federal government. There is little public pressure to add counselors. Parents usually pay more attention to the number of students per teacher. “We need to start getting the word out about who professional school counselors are, so administrators see them as pivotal in making school change,” said Christina Nolan, president of the Illinois School Counselor Association and an assistant professor at National-Louis University.

Human anatomy for everyone!
You don’t have to leave home to take an interesting class. You don’t even have to pay. By Linda K. Wertheimer

Not all higher education costs a pretty penny. You can peek into some college classrooms around the world, experience lectures in text, audio, or video at any time, and, in some cases, take the final, all without leaving home — and all for free.

Teaching Ideas:
Using Google Docs Spreadsheet for Education:
1. Flash Cards
2. Word Study
3. Word Search

Twenty Interesting Ways* to use Google Docs in the Classroom(*and Tips)


1. The National Middle School Association is looking for an editor for their Research in Middle Level Education Journal (RMLE).
2. NMSA’s Annual Conference: NMSA ‘08 Technology Focus Video. NMSA ‘09 Invitation Video: Indianapolis, IN Conference November 5-7, 2009. Individual Registration is now open.
3. ATTENTION Michigan Association of Middle School Educators & Friends: MAMSE is putting together a bus for the trip to the National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis, IN this fall. Ride down to the conference in a luxury bus. With all the conversations with middle school teachers on the bus, I wonder if we could call this a mini-MAMSE conference? There’s nothing like getting together with people who love the people we love: our students. Getting together with folks like that is energizing and priceless. Email Teresa Sutherland for information and details. Don’t forget to mention you heard about it on Middle School Matters.
4. NMSA 09 Conference Connection: Stay connected before, during, and after the conference! Start your packing lists for the conference using packwhiz.com!
5. Keynote speakers for NMSA ’09 have been announced: Daniel Pink (political connections) opens and Rick Wormeli closes.
6. NMSA has a new publication on the role of middle grades in drop-out prevention. You can download it as a pdf file.
7. Schools to Watch Conference June 25-27, Washington D.C. Conference registration info.
8. Educational Technology Leadership Conference, June 24th at Holt High School, Holt, MI. Register for the event.
9. ISTE Eduverse Talks are the recorded sessions held on ISTE Island every week. Join ISTE in their Second Life conference location for their weekly talks on education.
10. The Michigan Association of Middle School Educators Annual Conference is coming up March 4-5, 2010 in Dexter, MI. MAMSE will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary!
11. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
12. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog: This week’s discussion is on “Student Web Radio Broadcasts” for Teachers. Archived content is available.
13. Second Life:
* No Events specified. Regular Tuesday meetings are scheduled. See the board on the ISTE Island for up to the minute details.
* Video: Educational Uses of Second Life