Saturday, October 30, 2010

5 Great Reads on Early Childhood Education

Why Early Childhood Education Matters [GOOD]

Toddlers Embrace iPhone Gaming Apps [Educational Games Research]

ABCs and 123s Apps Your Kids Will Actually Enjoy [Wired: GeekDad] - Side note: I've been reading this blog for over a year, and I can't figure out why they call it GeekDad.  There's really very little that could be considered Dad-specific.  It should be called GeekParent!

An Evolving Debate on Pre-K Quality? [Sara Mead's Policy Notebook]

Changing the Preschool Quality Debate [The Quick and the Ed] - A response/companion piece to the previous article.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finally, Somebody's Working on a Free Digital Textbook & More

Quick List of 50 Teaching Tips [So You Want To Teach?]

Next Gen Learning Challenges - Have a great idea for improving college readiness with technology?  There's grants of $250,000 to $750,000 available to fund it through this program.

Rhythm Rhyme Results - This company makes educational rap music that's not going to make you want to gouge your eyes out.  They do sell their music, but there's quite a few free resources to download and/or access through their site.

Nonprofit At Work On Free Digital Science Textbook [The Consumerist] - This needs to be done for every subject and grade level, whether it be by a nonprofit or a university.  Perhaps you can tie this to the second link above?

Review: LEGO Mindstorms Education Kit [Wired: GeekDad] - Expensive, but worth every penny.  This should be in math and science classrooms across the country!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ultimate Teacher Discount List, What Teachers Really Need & More

82 Stores Offering Discounts for Teachers [Brad's Deals] - The fine folks at this coupon/deal-sharing blog did their homework and compiled a huge list of discounts to offset all of the out-of-pocket spending teachers do.  Absolutely needs to be bookmarked for quick reference!

Speechless. [Look at my happy rainbow!] - Mr. Halpern attempts to teach the difference between fiction and non-fiction, with hilarious results.

Study: Principal Leadership Improves Student Learning [edReformer] - Now, how do we replicate this kind of program across the country?

Chess Helps Troubled Kids in School [Educational Games Research] - Board and card games are not obsolete yet; in fact, I think they're more interesting for the "digital native" generation because for them, it's such a novel concept that something so simple can be so powerful.

What Can We Give to Teachers to Make Them Better Teachers? [GOOD] - Spot on infographic that visualizes the responses of 40,000 teachers.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Get a Youth Volunteer the Recognition They Deserve

Do you know a middle or high school student who's already an amazing, dedicated volunteer? If so, Prudential is offering a great chance to recognize them:
The Spirit of Community Awards has been honoring tens of thousands of middle and high school students for their volunteer work over the past 15 years. And now is the chance to get your students involved! On behalf of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, I invite you to encourage a young person in your life to apply today!

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is the largest youth recognition program in the country based exclusively on volunteer community service. And what better way to recognize our young heroes and inspire others to follow their lead than honoring them with these prestigious awards? If your students are from grades 5-12 and have demonstrated outstanding volunteerism over the past year, then encourage them to complete an online application at State and national honorees will receive a cash prize, a trip to Washington, D.C., and an engraved medallion to thank them for the great work they have done.

To find out more, please view this special PSA video:
Please spread the word to your neighbors, colleagues, friends and family!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Teaching is Not a Four Letter Word now available on Amazon!

My second book, Teaching is Not a Four Letter Word: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Job, is finally available on

Find out all about the book here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How Online Courses Help Teachers Professionally and Personally

Online courses are gaining in popularity by the day; they’re sought after not just by adults who want to go back to school after a gap, but also by professionals who are looking to advance their careers and augment their earning potential. Today, the quality of education provided online is as good as that provided at any regular university; so if you do your research carefully and choose your school and course accordingly, there’s much to gain in the process.

If you’re in the teaching field and are looking for ways to develop professionally and grow personally, online courses are tailor-made to help you achieve these two goals.

Professional development happens through online courses because:
  • You improve your qualifications and academic credentials. This allows you to apply for positions higher up than the one you hold and provides you with the skills and knowledge required to climb up the career ladder.
  • You learn much more than you know now, and your enhanced knowledge and growing skill set allow you to compete with the best in the industry and still hold your own comfortably.
  • If you want to switch careers – say if you feel like moving to teaching at college from teaching at school – online courses are the best way to achieve your goal. They allow you to stay at your current job even as they prepare you for the one you’re aspiring for.
You also achieve personal growth when you choose to study online because:
  • You learn how to manage time better – your plate is full what with studying, attending classes, handling your responsibilities at the workplace, and taking care of familial and social duties, so unless you’re good at allocating time for each and balancing them all, you’re not likely to succeed.
  • You cultivate the discipline required to concentrate all your energies on the job at hand (be it studying or working) so that you can get it done in the shortest possible time and in the most effective manner.
  • You learn how to multi-task effectively without compromising the quality of the work you’re doing on all those tasks.
  • Earning a degree gives you a sense of personal achievement, especially if you’ve done it against all odds or at a time in your life when people have written you off for various reasons. The older you are, the more you appreciate completing a degree.
Remember however, that the benefits of online education are realized only if you make the effort to choose the right school and the right course – they must be accredited and serve to enhance your job skills and provide you with a means to move up professionally. Also, because you’re most likely going to be studying and working simultaneously, you must have excellent time management skills and also possess the required discipline and dedication to devote your energies to both tasks without shirking one for the other.

This guest post is contributed by Carrie Oakley, who writes on the topic of online colleges. Carrie welcomes your comments at her email id: carrie.oakley1983(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Everything I Ever Knew About Teaching I Learned From Twitter

Every link in this week's Five for Friday came from my personal learning network on Twitter (you can find me here).  Recently, I launched a Twitter account for IDEA Public Schools, the charter management organization I work for.  I'm well aware that very few people in the organization (and the wider educator community) understand that it's for far more than checking in on what celebrities had for breakfast.  It is without a doubt the most powerful professional development tool I've accessed since starting this blog in 2007.  If you haven't looked into it, I think you should.

Google's Improved Apps Help Educators [School Library Journal] - Quick and dirty overview of how educators can use recently improved Google Apps to help their students.

Philly Teacher - Awesome teacher blog focusing on technology integration in the classroom.  Just added it to my RSS reader.  You can find the blogger, Mary Beth Hertz, on Twitter.

How to Help Your Child Deal With Big Feelings [My Mommy Manual] - Might I also suggest the Wild Ride to the Heart board game?

10 Ways to Play and Learn with Building blocks [Quirky Momma] - I think you could adapt a lot of these ideas no matter what kind of blocks you're using (from foam/cardboard boxes to Legos and beyond), which is certainly a good thing.

5 Ways to Build a Better Teacher [Developing Education] - Not just for administrators-- mentors and other veterans should take note.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How NOT to Engage Me With Your Presentation

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cultivate Young Musicians, NYT Parenting Classes & More

Free and Inexpensive Ways to Teach Children About Music [Parenting Squad]

Math Teachers At Play #30 - Lots of great ideas for teachers in any subject.

Life's a Carnival - The Education Buzz Edition #4 [Bellringers]

50 Excellent Open Courses on Teaching With Technology [Online Colleges & Universities] - Don't get overwhelmed; as you would with any resource, pick and choose what makes sense for you.

Two courses for parents from the New York Times - The Grey Lady is offering a course on the college admissions process and another on teaching teens about money.  They're not free, but reasonable.