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


No Scapegoats for Bullies

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.  I am revisiting something I wrote a while back on another one of my sites.  Not surprisingly, the amount of bullying that takes place in schools still strikes a chord with me.  As a teacher of computer literacy, I focus on cyber-bullying, but still take time to point out that face-to-face bullying is the larger issue at hand. Continue reading

Banned Books Week

(I apologize for the delay in posts…it’ll be more timely.  I promise)

September 30 to October 6th is Banned Books Week.  As an English teacher, I frequently taught books that have been challenged or banned (in other places…I wasn’t that brazen).  I came to realize that people would often have an opinion about something that they really knew nothing about.  An example I’ll use is Huck Finn.  It’s been challenged for its use of the N-Word.  People used that word.  It’s historical fact.  So instead of trying to ban history, let’s look at the story itself.  Jim, the slave and Huck’s friend, is the most likable character in the whole story.  So let’s ban a story that makes the racist characters look stupid, the slave likable, and the main character coming to terms that a slave is a person too…all because the novel contains a word that was common-place at the time it was written.  We’re here to educate people.  You don’t educate people by sticking your head in the sand anytime something uncomfortable comes up.  Have an honest conversation and move forward.  

For more on Banned Books Week:


Virginia auto shop fixes bullied gay teen’s car for free (VIDEO)

I’ve got to love and spread the word when the community steps in to support a bullied student.  Cyber-bullying is getting a lot of attention these days, but most of what I’ve read shows that bullying is still primarily a face-to-face or traditional-style bullying.  In this case, it was the repeated keying of his car because he’s gay.  Schools, parents, students, the community need to do more to promote acceptance and fight bullying.  Again, it’s nice to see a show of support.  Good job guys!

Microsoft Office

There are still people that are switching over from Office 2000 to Office 2007 and are having a hard time with the ribbon.  Don’t go buying books to learn what you can learn for free from Microsoft themselves.  They have great video tutorials (if the Help inside the program doesn’t answer your questions for you).

Here are some of the tutorials that I’ve found particularly useful: Continue reading


Students as Experts

This is a Google Site that I developed as a proposal for the creation of a Student Help Desk.  The idea is one that I first learned about while attending the 2011 BLC conference in Boston (see Kern Kelley’s presentation description here).  I read about further success in Burlington, MA and decided to formulate a proposal of my own.  There are many students that like and understand technology (better than some of us), and are willing to help (sometimes just to show off what they know).  We shouldn’t just ask students to be proud of what they know, we should take advantage of it.


    Copyright protection is important.  We need to make sure that we’re consistently adhering to the laws, not just enforcing them.  Teachers can be the biggest hypocrites when it comes to this…being quick to fail a student due to plagiarism while handing out worksheets that they’ve illegally photocopied.  We also need to make sure that students are properly citing all of their used works.  I’ve heard a few times that, “We’re not doing a works cited page with this project.”  What I hear is, “On this project, we’re going to follow the law and on this one, we’re not.”  It’s hardly a consistent message.  Also, teachers showing whole movies in class can be considered an infringement of copyright that’s not covered by “Fair Use” unless the school has a Public Performance Site License (which is worth investing in).  Continue reading