Everyone is Writing a Book


Ross Cooper wrote a post entitled, “Everyone is Writing a Book, or Everyone Has a Voice,” and I tried to write this comment [but was blocked as a bot]:

And I choose carefully the books that I read based on how it applies to me. I’m glad to have so many resources to help me think through and apply standards based grading — or no grading; quality formative assessment– and student self-assessment. This is important because no one magic bullet exists, so adding to my playlists and setting them to the melody of my classroom helps me write my own song.

So I’ve been thinking about the same thing– everyone I admire is writing a book, and what I say to myself is: I can do it too, and so can you!

Everybody is writing a book, because everybody has experiences and ideas that can help someone else. One little nugget in a book can set me on a new path of exploration for my teaching and learning, and I love that.

So your experience on a project, your example of professional development, or your strategies for student engagement— all of these and more could be a short book that just might help the movement towards more connected learners and more authentic learning closer to reality.

Besides, with all the information out there, as Steve Hargadon once said , “in order to cope, we must give a little bit of our own” [ITEC Keynote 10.18.11].

After years of innovating, modeling for others, and blogging, these authors are able to publish their experiences so we can all learn. The bloggers and authors are giving a “little bit of their own,” voicing their ideas, wonders, reflections, and successes, and I appreciate it.

Isn’t it wonderful that these opportunities are available to us- to hear the voice of others and add to our own– to read and to publish?

So, go forth, get reading and do your own writing.

PS: I am not a bot.

Image by mrsdkrebs

From Extend the Conversation

by Denise Krebs and Sheri Edwards

Connected Educator Month, 2012

#edblogaday test and time

Learning Is Hard Fun note

Day 3 topic: What’s your biggest concern about teaching and what can we do about it?

A student quoted me earlier this year, and posted the note by my phone as she left the room. Learning is hard fun: it’s a challenge that we choose to take and persevere until we succeed. And we have help along the way, from our teacher and our peers. We form a learning community that builds success through choices, teams, collaboration, lessons, and feedback. It feels good to succeed, and to have an authentic project to share with others.

My biggest concern is twofold: time and tests.

The focus on tests leads away from authentic projects and time for real learning, the kind that happens when you’re in the flow of something you are passionate about. Learning is hard fun, but testing has nothing to do with learning, and everything to do with labeling. Throughout all our project work, we set goals, timelines, and sharing; we provide feedback and revise; we revise our plans and adapt to each learner so that learner can succeed in his/her project. Those times — the sharing, peer and teacher review, feedback: those are the tests that matter and that promote learning. It’s a continuous and fluid process that required state and federal tests interrupt. For days. Sometimes Weeks. There’s something wrong about that.

What can we do about it?  Stop test prepping. Speak up. Teach the things that matter and learn with our students about the things that matter today. If students become engaged, inquisitive, and passionate learners that create for those wonders and passions, then they will have the skills needed for their future — to see and solve problems and issues collaboratively with others using clear communication and team skills with peers, the community, and in global connections.

deweysreLet’s do things in our classrooms, and share with each other. Let’s create and build. Because doing is learning, and learning is hard fun.


So much more could be said about tests and time, but I’ve got no more time today. I’ve been working this sunny weekend on projects that other school departments need this week. We’re a small school and every teacher has more to do than is possible to get done in the day; these were my extra duties. There’s no time for it to get done during the school day — I teach all day, and before / after school, I’m assessing, replanning, finding resources and interventions for the next day so students succeed. I don’t think most people understand this. Janelle Wilson and Pernille Ripp have written eloquently about this. Read their blogs and wonder, “How do teachers do it?”


Source: NCEE.org

What is the answer? First of all, there’s research that American teachers work far more hours with far less collaboration and planning time than in other countries. Search it out. Speak up.

Secondly, as Pernille says, A choice. Next weekend, I’m not. I’m not taking my weekends; if it needs to be done, somehow the time in the day must be found for it. I know; it won’t happen. A huge graduation project is coming and I won’t let the kids down. Still… where is my time? my family’s time? What have I missed? Think about it and please do thank a teacher. I just realized it’s National Teacher Week next week. Give one a hug.

learning is hard fun sre

In conclusion, time and tests are my biggest concern — they detract from the classroom and families in some way, either taking time away from learning, or taking time away from families.  What can we do? Keep up the good work to make “learning is hard fun,” and

Speak up.

Word Count 610


See sidebar and join the fun.

#140WC 2014 Videos and Stories

January 1st.

How could I start? After today, I wanted inspiration, so I checked my PLN and found Jackie Gerstein’s 2014 Best Videos List. These are inspirational. The one I will watch first is

Toxic Culture of Education: Joshua Katz

THOSE students are marginalized by what I call our “Toxic Culture of Education.” It doesn’t matter if a student is a gifted artist, a loving caretaker, a poetic writer, or a talented musician. THOSE students are the fish being measured on how they climb trees.  We need to start paying attention to our students. If a student fails Algebra 1 in the ninth grade, chances are it is not because they do not understand the material. Chances are it’s not because the teacher isn’t teaching. Chances are it’s not because of the school. Chances are it is because the student lacks some type of intangible characteristic (a “Non-Cognitive Behavior”) that enables them to succeed. Things like persistence, initiative, social skills, common sense, a full belly, or a good night’s sleep.

Today I read the post from this tweet:


That post includes current research from Gallup [Read the 2014 Gallup Purdue Index Report.] that adds the evidence for a change in our current educational focus that involves testing and numbers that negates our humanity.

Because it is our relationships and social interactions that matter, even and especially for learning:

But according to research cited in Gallup’s book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements (which I also recommend), employees who could answer “yes” to the question about whether their manager cares about them as a person, are “more likely to be top performers, produce higher quality work, are less likely to be sick, less likely to change jobs, and less likely to get injured on the job.” Also, people who love their jobs are more likely to both stay working longer and live longer.

So much more is needed than tests and skills to become an engaged learner, and every day teachers arrive at school ready to guide students to into their dreams and their futures. And one thing they do is what Steve Wyborney suggests: find the story behind the students. Ask parents, “What is the story of your child?”


So, we learn from videos that inspire us to change the story being told about education by those who do not live it, from research that shows what is truly important for learning and living successfully, and by working towards that by knowing each child. And by sharing this, we change the story of teaching and learning.

What will you share to change the stories?

Digital Learning as Digital Citizens

Net Gen Geek Loves Connectivity

Net Gen Geek Loves Connectivity

A debate brews today on digital learning, with many honored people sharing varied views on the convergence of technology with teaching and learning given the plethora of exciting resources available to and plucked up by kids.

I think we tip on the edge of a revolution, and I see both sides of the debate:

http://grownupdigital.com/ Don Tapscott — Suggests in part that digital natives demand participatory web; prefer text and image with lots of choice

http://netgennonsense.blogspot.com/ Mark Bullen — Asks: Is it generational? Are these valid traits?

As a geeky grandmother, my grandkids and I identify with many of Tapscott’s “digital natives;” We want participation, not passivity. We love learning with others and from others with the ability to find those others all over the world, although my grandkids simply connect mostly with those important peers around them, and maintaining those connections if the friend moves far away.

In my classroom of Title 1 students, access determines the traits. Once I started technology-infused lessons, students now prefer the interactivity and choice as well as the connections and sharing with other peers and teachers across the continent. As soon as they obtain cell phones, etc. they become the netgenners, but availability to connectivity is key.

Access and exposure builds the attributes and expectations, not necessarily the generational component.

The important issue is twofold: 1) that all of us can acquire access and 2) that educators fully engage students in responsible and ethical participation through authentic connections.

Once students encounter the power of networked participation and choice, they will demand it. Our connected world depends on our ability to wisely participate as global citizens in this fantastic resource.

But which kids will be connected? And schools (with or without walls) are the focal point from which the critical, creative, and ethical application of these tools will reach the most net citizens.

What do you think?