Odds & Ends

I’ve taken some time off from the Odds & Ends posts, as well as with reading my RSS feeds. Hey, I deserve some time off for summer vacation, too! However, I’m ready to get back to sharing. Here are some articles and blog posts I’ve found interesting:

Washington Post – “Travelers’ Laptops May Be Detained At Border” – “Big Brother Is Watching”. Just another reason to ensure our students are reading 1984, and discussing the implications of these types of policies to the average citizen. “No, Mr. Smith, I don’t have to give you a reason why I’m taking your laptop/cellphone/iPod. Nor do I have to give it back anytime soon or at all. Just another way we’re stomping all over your civil liberties keeping America safe from terrorists.”

Endgadget – “Local public school students get assigned Zunes” – Students in Missouri are getting Zunes to assist them with their learning. It will be interesting to see the results of the study.

NYT.com – “Holding Back Young Students: Is Program a Gift or a Stigma?” – Thoughts anyone? Getting students up to grade level is important, but at what cost? What concerned me is this statement: “The special classes, which are limited to 15 students and follow a pared-down curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic, are called the Gift of Time and come with extras like tutoring and field trips to a local farm.” Eliminating arts (again!) as a sacrifice to “the basics” – what student would look forward to that every day?

Washington Post – “The Odd World of E-School Teachers” – an interesting article about virtual schools and teachers who teach them. I’m all for providing opportunities for students to learn at their own pace and environment, but what is the cost to their education? If all of the “classes” are via computers, you’ve lost that face to face interaction that, for me, seem vital to connecting with your students. Maybe they do some Skype type interaction?

Steve Dembo – Teach42 blog – “Aaahhh, the joys of being a teacher” – Just for fun, take a look at these examples of student answers on tests. Boy, I wish I was as creative as these kids when I was in school – who am I kidding, I wish I was this creative now!