Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thank You Jeff Bliss, the Truth goes Viral

If you have not yet seen the video of high school student Jeff Bliss schooling his world history teacher, you should really check it out.

This video has over a million views and more importantly it has people talking about the importance of high engagement teaching.  

In the video Mr. Bliss is clearly frustrated but makes a really well-reasoned argument.  He makes it clear that when educators are excited about PBL, it doe not mean Packet Based Learning.

Jeff lays it out clearly, if you want kids to learn you have the "touch their heart."

The Washington post has an interview and more of the backstory.

Jeff's rant is a great reminder that students want to learn, students are ready to be inspired.  I didn't see his teacher's name in the news story and I wouldn't repeat it here any way.  The teacher doesn't appear in the video, just a form behind the desk urging Jeff to "just go."

Another odd thing in this video, there is NOTHING on anyone's desk, not even the objectionable "packets."

I wish I could open my classroom to Jeff.  Or invite his teacher into my colleague's history class.  The time we have with kids is so precious, and yes if you want them to learn you have to touch their heart.

Thank you Jeff Bliss, I hope you lead by example and join the ranks of hard working and inspirational teachers.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Research about Responding to Student Writing

Hello friends,

I end up talking about responding to student writing with so many people I thought I should collect some of my favorite links for responding to student writing.

May Day! Passion-Based Teaching and the End of the Year

Suddenly the end of the year seems upon me, the kids are almost gone and there is so much left to do. I have progress reports tomorrow (honestly they already feel like post-mortems on the year).
The Kids are Restless and so am I
What I am always on guard against during this part of the year is the idea that "There is so little time left, why not waste it." It can be a tough line to hod when the weather is great and we are wrapping up the second to last book of the year. The last big paper of the year has been assigned, and I am reminded we haven't had a good poetry unit yet this year (again).
I am already thinking about the digital infrastruture I want to build for next year. The students are running around getting course approvals for next year. Our attention is split between this moment and the next.
So how can I help my students focus on our class experience, to be present in their own learning, even in the last month of class time?
The first step is keeping my head in the game, keeping my focus on their class and their writing. This shouldn't be hard as it is work I love to do and believe in deeply.
There is so little time left, how could we possibly waste it. We still have sonnets, and Catcher in the Rye, and so many conversations about digital citizenship and so many other topics in the cue.
We all are a little restless, so let's turn that disruption on ourselves.