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Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue

A NEW way to teach PHRASAL VERBS so that your students understand and remember them

Started by Andromeda Jones in Teaching and Methodology Dec 31, 2018. 0 Replies

Phrasal verbs are a verb + preposition, adverb or particle. Teaching…Continue

Tags: prepositions, teach, verbs, phrasal


I don't read any blogs religiously, even my daughter's. Mostly I prefer the discussion forums I read on my nings. I like that feeling of communicating directly with the posters, and I like how the discussion expands and sometimes takes unexpected turns. I need to be reminded to read blogs. Sometimes this comes from something that is mentioned in a discussion (oh yeah, I haven't read that blog in awhile) and sometimes it comes when there seems to be nothing new going on in the nings, people are just talking about the same things over and over (this can be as much from my state of mind as from the actual content.) Then I'll think, oh yeah, I can read some blogs and check out the ones on my RSS feed (another source I need a reminder to check) or I'll browse the blogs of note in the sidebars of my nings.

But there is one blog I subscribe to through email, and I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful that it's only one, that he doesn't write every day, and that I can read the entire post without leaving my tab, and decide from the 'comfort of home' if I want to go visit his site.

That blog is dy/dan. He's a high school math teacher. I ran across some geometry curriculum he had developed, and I was jealous. I admire and adore as I read through peoples posts, but only once in awhile do I get that feeling of jealousy. This person has created something that I would want to create, and I'm not sure if I could. So of course I clicked over to his blog, and his tag line was, "I'm as disappointed as you are." :D Simpatico nature, at least in that moment! (He has since changed his tag line, he changes it once in awhile.)

He starts off his post today with a graph that he has removed most identifying labels from, and then presented to his students, for them to intuit what it's all about:

Link to original graph

And he leaves the questions the students can't answer, unanswered and moves on. But he is not so cruel to his blog readers (that really would have pissed me off, as I can't even see the details of the graph he has posted). First I click on the link that says, patient with irresolution, and then I click onto a series of articles in the San Francisco Chronicle about the Golden Gate bridge. I can't help myself; it's the most interesting thing I've read in awhile.

I'd like to regularly read about 5 blogs, which is why I'm asking the question, what blogs do you read, and why?

Going down a side street, Dan has changed his blog's tag line to "Teaching Every Year Like It's My Last"... this reminds me of a book I just read, "The Girl with the Brown Crayon" by Vivian Paley, written by a kindergarten teacher about her last year in the classroom- I deduced from references in the book that she is about 65. For those whose interest is sparked by a book's pedigree, the book is published by Harvard University Press and won their annual prize for an outstanding publication about education and society.

But it is not an academic book about educational theory. It is an honest, personal book where she shows her need for her students, just as they need her. They work through a series of life questions and where we fit in the world through studying Leo Lionni books. The choice surprises her- it is predicated by the passionate love one of her students, Remy, develops for the Frederick character, and she takes us through what happened.

Here is a quote from the book that is as close as she gets to preaching educational theory:

"I too require passion in the classroom. I need the intense preoccupation of a group of children and teachers inventing new worlds as they learn to know each other's dreams. To invent is to come alive. Even more than the unexamined classroom, I resist the uninvented classroom."

I need this too. And I need my students. This is an aspect of teaching that isn't often talked about : ).

So, what blogs are you reading, and what does it make you think of?

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Dear Maija,

Whew, I know I can't reply to all that! I'm laughing and impressed. Let me start with my response to one of your statements, I note the way you position yourself as a knowledge barer in conversation, Ellen.. I gave a little laugh and thought, uh-oh at the same time- I am sure you are right, and who likes a know-it-all? :D In my defense, I say it comes, at least in part, by being 50 years old and wishing someone would just listen to me once in awhile! It's also in my nature, the one I don't examine much... Again, in my defense, I think I can honestly say there is not one child or dog on earth that feels intimidated by me once they get to know me even a little bit. In so many ways, I am just a big kid, and it is all puppy-bows, come play with me.

I'm tired, Maija, I mean life-tired, I don't have the energy for theoretical arguments. That's where the raw nerve comes in, somehow it drives me nuts, people separating themselves from experience with theory. And that's what I find dangerous, that's one place I believe unconscionable behavior can be and sometimes is derived. You say you are sure I have the kindest heart, and I can feel about how you value that- you value it, it is good and nice, but... it is not intellectual, does not have objective validity, perhaps. (And let's not forget, anyone can do it!) But for me, Maija, that is the point of experience, to develop the kindest heart. This conviction comes from a deeply felt and deeply examined life. Theory does not protect us from group think or a second holocaust... I think only deep kindness can do that. How do you develop kindness? With children, I think a lot of it can be done through literature, and of course from being shown kindness by the adults in their lives. As we grow up, I think it's often forged through suffering, or rather, through how we interpret and examine and respond to our suffering. I don't know, that's what I try to do. I try hard! It is not an unthinking way of being.

As far as the raw nerve being about defending social networks, it truly isn't. You could say, Social networks smell like shit! and I would laugh and say, Why do you think that, Maija? Ok, I am going to work on the know-it-all business. It will be hard, I don't know if I can do it- it annoys my daughter too, but she still loves me. I'll try, and I honestly appreciate you taking the time to bring that up. I needed it : )

As far as the rest of your post goes, I will explore it later... it's going to take some concentration, and it's time for Poker After Dark :D

Ciao for now,

Maija, I have watched The Falling Woman story, and again, I am left to guess what your concerns are. I can take a few guesses, but that's all it would be. You need to spell out your concerns plainly to me for me to understand.
Hi Ellen,

I've just been reading 'The Weblog of David (a) Jones who is doing a PhD on e-learning: - - He refers to Convery (2009) The pedagogy of the impressed: how teachers become victims of technology vision, Teachers and teaching 15 (1) 25-41. I quote - Convery (2009)

"Perhaps the most important step we could take in researching technology so that it enables rather than oppressess teacher's practises and professional identities is to avoid engaging with - and thus endorsing - the simplistic rhetoric of makeover politics, and such discourse is frequently apparent in explanations about how ICT can 'transform' education.Casual use of the term 'transformation' ensures any discussion becomes irrationally polarised, as it incites a totalising vision of the ICT - enriched world, offering technology as a simple solution and immediate remedy for current inadequate practise. It is the duty of researchers to be sceptical, and informed criticism is the basis for recognising how technology can make a significant contribution to a learning experience. Thus, one must resist subscribing to the easy refrain that ICT can 'transform' education as this simply creates a dualistic framework, in which writers simplistically link manifest problems with hypothesised solutions, and invite readers to see ICT as providing 'the answer'. There are many practical methodological steps to be taken in ensuring the quality of educational ICT research, and rejecting seductive but disabling rhetoric is fundamental to ensuring improved research findings are considered in their human context and educational complexity (Convery, 2009).

The reason I was talking about rhetoric in education relates to an experience I had in previous though recent years - relating to studying transformational learning - I prefer not to go into the details here. It doesn't relate to my current studies though.

Bye for now and best wishes,

Thank you, Maija, I think I understand your concerns better now. For the ages I have been involved with, grades K-8, I think I see computer technologies more as a curriculum enhancement tool than as a replacement (at all) for the face-to-face relationships in a traditional, four wall classroom. It's like a really cool, accessible file cabinet- a pretty basic view and use of the technology. (see Library in a Box for a personal example). I also think blogs and social networking shared within the classroom community (other students, classrooms and teachers, parents, grandparents) can be a powerful motivator for student-created work- essays, stories, poems, research projects, student-made videos and other creative endeavors- because it provides an audience for student work beyond the teacher. But I haven't used these technologies with students beyond the 'activity in a file cabinet' or the 'this is a good research tool' stage.

For the ages I teach, I would not want to see a technology-only learning environment. On the other hand, if that is the only access that child has to education, then I would like to be a real teacher at the other end who offers guidance, perspective, and what protection and companionship I can to that student. I started a ning with this intention, Pennies Free School, but it's really not useful at the present time, and I have stopped working on it. The students I would like to reach do not have access to computers and high speed internet yet.

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