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http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/6806

This article, by , discusses his school’s approach to grading.  It specifically targets standards and the use of assessments (formative and summative) in determining a student’s comprehension.  Their commitment to rolling grades (no quarter averages…either you can demonstrate knowledge or you are put on a plan) shows how invested they are in students gaining a real understanding of the material.

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Amazon Kindle HD for Kids

For anyone you know looking to get their child a tablet, this is a great deal.  It allows you to declare a Kindle Fire HD a child’s, letting them know the child’s gender and age, and Amazon instantly creates a library of apps, books, and movies that are age appropriate (There’s content here from Disney, Nickeloden, PBS, Marvel, etc.).  This way, you don’t have to try out apps first to see if they’re safe.  If you have Amazon Prime (which is worth it for the free shipping), it’s $3/month, otherwise it’s $5 (and there are bulk rates).
Yes, it’s one more monthly fee, but if you’re willing to let your kid use (and possible break) your (expensive) tablet, what’s $3 more?

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When the Most Personal Secrets Get Outed on Facebook

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/when-the-most-personal-secrets-get-outed-on-facebook.html?page=1

This Yahoo article, written for the Wall Street Journal by Geoffrey A. Fowler, sums up just some of the fears that I have about Facebook.  As much as people think that they are in control of their online identity, even the most tech-savvy, it’s just impossible.  Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is quoted in the article saying,  “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.”  It’s easy for him to have this view, he’s making money off the fact.  It’s not so great for young people trying to find their way in the world or work their way up in an environment that they’re being judged about every decision that they make.  Having that distinction between work and home, or between friends and family, is what saves a lot of people.  It’s sad to see that taken away.

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More Mindset Than Skill Set

 states what so many “computer people” people hold true.  ”Playing around and actually finding enjoyment and satisfaction in problem solving is something that many “techies” have.”  It’s not about intuitively knowing how to fix things, it’s about looking for patterns and WANTING to know how to do it.  People don’t just run a marathon or speak a foreign language.  It’s got to be something that you’re willing to dedicate some of your day towards (more of your day if you want to be great at it).  It’s about not giving up at the first sign of trouble.  If something goes wrong, sure you can take a break, but go back and try again.  Also, everyone needs a coach or a support person once in a while, so I’m not saying to not ask questions.  I just truly believe that anyone can learn how to problem solve their own technology problems, but, unfortunately, only a few are willing to put forth the effort.

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Resources for Designing a Political Ad Campaign Project

I learned that you can lie and people will believe you. — Greg, an eleventh grade student.

What happens when you have your students focus on how a campaign is run and not about who to vote for?  They realize that, like most media, it’s designed for a specific audience, for a specific purpose.  Bob Lenz (CEO and Co-Founder, Envision Schools, San Francisco, CA) writes about a campaign project done at the Metropolitan Arts and Technology High School in San Francisco that focuses on the Essential Question, “What is the most effective persuasive technique used by the media to “tip” voters’ minds?”  I love the idea and the implementation and am looking forward to the finished results.

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Principal evaluation systems – do they help us grow?

This article, (via Connected Principals) by Lyn Hilt, speaks to the evaluation process of administrators.  With the current push for the new evaluation process of teachers, it’s amazing that there’s such a lack of emphasis on evaluating administration.  Teachers can influence the students in their classrooms, possibly more if they’re involved in extra-curricular activities, but administrators influence the entire school (or district). Continue reading