Friday, February 12, 2010

Migrating from Edublogs

Years ago, I began blogging. At that time, I favored Edublogs. I had a clear purpose then: To provide tips, tricks, resources, thoughts, and such about technology and education. I liked Edublogs because it was free; it still is, but now has seemingly non-sensical ads in the form of making some of the text of my articles into links to other websites that didn't have anything to do with the content of my articles.

I plan to bring several of the articles from that blog to this one. (Both blogs having the same name, which might or might not be a great idea... we'll see.)

In the last couple years, I have become a hard-core fan of Google and its tools. I even teach an online class called "All Things Google" through Fresno Pacific University. To briefly introduce/explain that course, I'll just say that I began developing that course by looking at the Google home page > more > even more. Then, from that page, I picked the Google tools that I felt had the most transformational potential for education. So far, it seems to be going well.

So, my re-entry into the blogosphere after an unintentional hiatus, might as well be with Blogger, rather than with Edublogs, given the disadvantage mentioned above. The downside of using Blogger, which kept me away years ago, is that at the top of each window is a link to other blogs.

I hope that I can be more consistent and continue contributing via this blog, and my other Blogger blog, "Stretching". This blog will be focused on education and technology, while Stretching will be where I blog about other areas of my life where I am learning, growing, and stretching (hence the name).

Teach 'Em How To Fish is (and was) named based on the idea of us wanting not just to feed our students for a day by giving them a "fish", but teaching them how to learn (how to "fish").

More later...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If you're green, you're growing!

"As long as you're green, you're growing. As soon as you're ripe, you start to rot.” - Ray Croc

My principal shared this with us in the context that we're all growing... He doesn't expect anyone to be perfect, and he doesn't ever put irrational or unkind pressure on any of us. He just wants us to continue to grow, as he, in fact, is doing, as well. A good place to be.

By the way, a few minutes earlier, our superintendent shared a version of this idea - a quote from one of his mentors: "If you think you're good, you're dead."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The LEARN Act - What really IS the best way to teach reading?

Here, Susan Ohanian quotes a letter sent by Stephan Krashen to the Congressional sponsors of the LEARN Act.
Conversations like this always make me wonder... What research really counts, and what "research" is merely opinion couched in authoritative-, academic-, and scholarly-sounding language?

Krashen says that the LEARN Act is "Reading First on steroids". He goes on to list lots of reasons why the money is misplaced. That we should instead be investing time and money in having kids READ instead of going overboard on direct instruction of phonics, etc. I was glad to see that he made a distinction between Intensive Systematic Phonics, Basic Phonics, and Zero Phonics. (He advocates Basic Phonics.)
INTENSIVE SYSTEMATIC PHONICS
phonics taught in sequence
all "major" rules
all rules consciously learned
reading = practice of learned rules

BASIC PHONICS
no optimal sequence
consciously learn only basic rules
most rules subconsciously acquired from reading
reading = source of most phonics knowledge

ZERO PHONICS
all rules subconsciously acquired
reading = source of all phonics knowledge

He says that the LEARN Act insists on Intensive Systematic Phonics, and most of what he says in the letter opposes this. However, he clarifies by saying that he is NOT in favor of Zero Phonics.

Interesting conversation, which I presume will not be over any time soon...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More YouTube tricks

Just ran across this website (via Twitter tweet) about more things you can do to use YouTube videos.
  1. View high quality videos
  2. Embed higher quality videos
  3. Cut to the chase and link to the interesting part
  4. Hide the search box
  5. Embed only part of a video
  6. Autoplay an embedded video
  7. Loop an embedded video
  8. Disable Related Videos
  9. Bypass YouTube Regional Filtering
  10. Download Video
I would add http://youtubekeep.com/ to their #10, as well as Zamzar.com