August 26 - September 2, 2018

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Perhaps appropriate for this week: 4-day school weeks have been cropping up over the country.  It appears the decision to do this has been made for financial reasons -- districts save money on substitute teachers, in particular -- but it also appears to be having positive repercussions on pace and pedagogy.  Still, it raises challenges.  The PBS piece in Workplace is the fullest discussion yet that I've seen.

Play is back in the news again.  See two articles about it in the pedagogy section.

And if you ever loved LEGOs, you'll love the article at the end in which LEGO made a drivable Bugatti out of its Technic pieces.  Do yourself a favor and watch the video embedded in it.  (And there's another post about LEGOs in sustainability, too.)

These and others -- great reading before starting back in.




"Science Of Adolescent Learning" Alliance for Excellent Education
"The report recommends ways education practitioners and policymakers can support adolescent learning for all students, including historically underserved populations."
[Link to PDF]

"Skim Reading Is The New Normal. The Effect On Society Is Profound."  Guardian
"Many readers now use an F or Z pattern when reading in which they sample the first line and then word-spot through the rest of the text. When the reading brain skims like this, it reduces time allocated to deep reading processes. In other words, we don't have time to grasp complexity, to understand another's feelings, to perceive beauty, and to create thoughts of the reader's own."


"A Surprisingly Simple Way To Help Level The Playing Field In... Admissions"  NYTimes

"Underrepresented students are less likely to take college admission tests more than once. Encouraging them to retake tests -- as many of their high-income, white and Asian-American peers do -- could close a substantial portion of the income and racial gap in enrollment at four-year colleges. That's the conclusion of a working paper released on Monday."


"Kids Turn To Screens To Cope With A Chaotic World"  Futurity

"The study also outlines a new theory, called sensory curation theory, that posits people use media devices to construct temporary 'environments within environments' to create a comfortable sensory space for themselves... 'Children for the most part do not get to choose where they eat sleep, play, or learn.  These are some of the only tools they have to modify sensory input,' says lead author Kristen Harrison."


"Review: 'America To Me' Is A Searing Lesson In School Inequity"  New York Times
"The school has a faculty conscious of diversity and reflective about bias. But for all the good intentions, students of different races find themselves on different tracks, in different classes, with different outcomes... 'America to Me' is full of moments like this, where you see how racial imbalances are perpetrated by people who don't see themselves as perpetrating them. It just somehow happens, they believe... The film, however, is more empathetic than damning."

3 Lessons From Riding The Public Bus To School  New York Times
"I used to be ashamed about what it took for me to get to school every morning. Now I realize it was an education of its own."

Do We Need An AP Ethnic Studies Class?  Education Dive


How "Patterning" In Preschool Can Help Prepare For Math  Vanderbilt


Extraordinary Visualization Of How America Uses Its Land  Bloomberg

"The data can't be pinpointed to a city block -- each square on the map represents 250,000 acres of land. But piecing the data together state-by-state can give a general sense of how U.S. land is used."

In Defense Of The Romance Novel  LA Review of Books

J. R. R. Tolkein's Final Novel (Really, This Time): "The Fall Of Gondolin"  Smithsonian


"The Mystery Of People Who Speak Dozens Of Languages"  New Yorker

Classics Instruction: What Colleges Can Learn From High Schools  Eidolon


"The Best Experts Sometimes Make The Worst Educators"  New York Times
"It wasn't that they didn't care about teaching. It was that they knew too much about their subject, and had mastered it too long ago, to relate to my ignorance about it."

One Method For Convening Class Discussions Of A Text  Cult of Pedagogy
"When they arrive in class, students get into small groups, where they have 15 minutes to share thoughts, lingering questions, and epiphanies (TQEs) they have about the reading... By the time the 15 minutes is up, each group needs to choose their top 2 TQEs from the group and write them on the board... Thompson then moderates a whole-class discussion of the reading, using TQEs that have been written on the board. This take about 40 minutes of class time."

Is Free Play In Childhood The Solution To Our Partisan Politics?  New York Times
"The constant presence of adults is intended to keep children safe, but what are its likely effects? How might kids deprived of opportunities for free play, risk-taking and self-governance differ from previous generations when they leave the nest? We would expect two main areas of difficulty."

"5 Proven Benefits Of Play"  NPR


How To Write Well (Laden With F-Bombs, Interjections, And Shade)  Medium
"You want credentials, I ain't got 'em. If you want an MFA program or an editor or a publishing house, you'll have to look elsewhere. But: I write. And, if I may be so bold, I do it halfway okay."

"Reading With A Pencil" -- A Tribute To Marginalia  Austin Kleon


"Female, Minority Students Took AP Comp Sci In Record Number" USA Today
"This year, 135,992 students took advanced placement (AP) computer science exams, a 31 percent increase from last year... females and under-represented minorities were among the fastest growing groups. African-American students taking AP computer science courses rose 44 percent to 7,301, Hispanic and Latino participation gained 41 percent to 20,954 and female participation rose 39 percent to 38,195."

Deep Dive: The Mars Rovers  Quartz

"Silicon Valley Takes A (Careful) Step Toward Autonomous Flying" New York Times


LEGO Wants to Remake Its Bricks Out Of Sustainable Materials  New York Times

"It wants to eliminate its dependence on petroleum-based plastics, and build its toys entirely from plant-based or recycled materials by 2030."


More On 4-Day Weeks: Schools Save money, And Pedagogy Changes  PBS
"It's great for teachers. They love it. And why wouldn't they? But I see a lot of grandparents and relatives seemingly a little overwhelmed and burdened."

A Brief Look At The Benefits And Costs Of Block Scheduling  Larry Cuban

A Reminder That Pixar Got The Office Plan Right (Closed, But Connected)  Inc.


Select National Statistics For The 2018-19 School Year  US Department of Education

LEGO Built A Life-Size, Drivable Bugatti Made Of Its Technic Pieces  Brothers-Brick