Happy New Year

The new year is here! 

2016 is an opportunity to implement and fine-tune new ideas and realize dreams.
I. Cannot. Wait! 



Blogging from my iPhone

With the first week of the new school year over, I would like to share that my  

 goal is to blog more and blog better by using my iPhone! My students deserve a reflective geometry teacher and in my world blogging is a piece of the process. Here’s to a great school year where a maker space is now part of our learning process! #staytuned 

My 200th Post – On Literacy Part 3

Granted, and...

Hard to believe I have written 200 posts – the equivalent of 2 books, for no pay, and with surprisingly little pain! Thanks for reading and commenting: the thoughtful back and forth in the comments makes this all worthwhile.

[Oops: I updated the post to provide the link to the graphics site.]

As part of my continuing writing on literacy, I offer a short post – some graphics with a few questions.

The graph below comes from a site that specializes in education data. Here we see a critical data set in the argument over schools and poverty – New York City 3rd grade scores by school vs. SES levels:

3rd grade reading vs. poverty - New York - 2013

The graph is actually interactive: by mousing over a dot you can see the name of each school. Here are a few of the important outliers to the somewhat general trend (the red dots equal charter schools):

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 8.48.18 AMScreen Shot 2015-03-20 at 8.48.28 AMScreen Shot 2015-03-20 at 8.48.40 AM

(You can see…

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PD: How do educators get to know what they don’t know?

My Island View

When it comes to education reform, there are in general two major camps, but there are also several variations of each. The first camp would like to blow up the system and start all over. The other camp wants to continue the status quo while working to change it in directions governed by whatever dominant force of change has the ear of the public at the time. I find my own inclinations falling somewhere between the two camps. I want to blow some stuff up while improving upon some existing stuff. Like most educators, or any people with a basic understanding of authentic assessment, I do want to blow up any notion or hint of compliance with high stakes, standardized testing. The area of improvement that I think will get us the biggest bang for the all-important, tax buck is professional development.

It has long been my position that to…

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Education Based on a Snapshot

My Island View

I often wonder how we can get an accurate picture of what and how educators are teaching today. We have more, and better technology than we have ever had to record and analyze data, and yet we still do not have a clue as to what is really going on in the average classroom. The pictures that we get, or the stories that are told, seem to focus on the best and the worst. Too often superintendents spin the best, and the media spins the worst. We need to remind ourselves that any story about what is going on in education is just a snapshot that is representing a very tiny portion of the big picture.

There are too many education leaders who when talking about their schools tend to focus on the best and most innovative representations their schools have to offer. Intentional or not, this creates an impression…

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Family Lenten Practices Calendar

Traci Smith


So excited to share this family Lenten Practices calendar! (PDF HERE)  Each day there is either a prayer [P], service/almsgiving [S] or fasting [F] activity. The activities aren’t terribly time consuming and can be adapted for a variety of different ages. On prayer days, a word is given that can be a prompt for a prayer (either written or drawn). On fasting days, simple things are abstained from for a day to give the experience of sacrificing something to focus on God. On service days, a simple service activity is featured.

Looking for a simple daily devotional for adults? I wrote one available for purchase from Chalice Press!

Pastors and educators, please feel free to download this calendar and include it in your newsletter or bulletin. Happy Lent!

Like this resource? Get more resources like this by subscribing to my newsletter, liking my author page on Facebook (don’t…

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Assertions and Assumptions Skew Perceptions

My Island View

This post is a direct result of a conference that I recently attended with some of the brightest minds in education. The attendees were education thought leaders all. I was humbled in their presence, which is not unusual for me. I was an education lightweight compared to many in attendance. What struck me about this group however was their lack of relevance in the world of EdTech education. They were not at all a part of the model we have all come to believe is now the EdTech-influenced model of education for the USA. I was asked by some what a Blog was. Others had never ever heard of a Professional Learning Network. Somehow the model of education portrayed by so many and being sold to America by the press through some vocal politicians and financial influencers, who probably don’t have a clue what goes on inside most classrooms today…

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