Instead of providing a list of rules, formulas and steps that new teachers need to follow, the author tells stories, makes observations and provides practical advice. In a style that is both deep and conversational, the author provides insights often neglected in books aimed for new teachers, including the role of shame in teacher identity, the use of professional learning networks for professional growth, the need for paradox, increasing a sense of awareness, the need for humility in classroom leadership and how to build a better relationship with students. The result is a book that is practical, philosophical and personal. It also includes a New Teacher Toolkit with 45 resources for teachers entering the classroom for the first time.
|American public education remains enamored with a system forged by industrialization. With the factory a the implicit metaphor, everything continues to be standardized - this despite the current contextual changes of the 21st Century. From the rigid discipline system to the kill-and-drill instructional style, students often feel trapped inside the edu-factory. What if the answer was a more authentic approach? What if answer wasn't found in creating a flashy new approach so much as recovering what we lost in factory education? What if we listened to the valid voices of the sages and lunatics of the past? This story is about a journey to discover what is lost under the industrial carpet. Blending a meandering personal narrative, a cutting sense of humor, and clear prosaic insight, Spencer engages the reader in an authentic dialogue about an artificial system of education. |
|The Hollywood prototype of Silverscreen Superteachers presents a mythology that the best teachers are those who go into rough areas, make a huge difference and tell their stories in the process. The goal is to make a difference and change the world. After awhile, it becomes a mask that teachers wear - a mask of professionalism, of authority, of knowledge and expertise. Unfortunately, masked crusaders are not what children need. They need alter-egos more than superheros - regular people doing great things when they stop trying so hard to do bigger things. What if more is not better? What if changing the world is not a better goal? What if the best way to teach content is by teaching less? What if the best way to lead a classroom is by serving it? What if the solution missing in most of educational reform is not "more" but "less?" This is the main premise of a paradox of humility. |
Pencil Me In: A Journey in the Fight for Graphite
Tom Johnson has a dream for his students. It begins with a goal of a one-to-one student to pencils ratio and eventually grows into a goal of completely redesigning school in light of the twentieth century. Over time, he experiences a chance to use telegraphs, photographs, cameras and other media to redefine his students' learning experience. Written as an allegory for educational technology, this book uses nineteenth century metaphors to make sense out of the most relevant issues facing teachers who want to integrate new technology into the curriculum.
|As an eighth grader at Cesar Chavez Middle School, Gabriel Dunn inhabits the invisible zone between the elite Us Tribe and the often-rejected Them Tribe. However, after a freak accident during a schoolyard fight, Gabriel ends up living with his Uncle Carl, where, along with his cousin and sister, he trains to be a superhero. It's a fresh start in an environment full of freedom - the freedom to drive, the freedom from grades and most importantly, the freedom to create his own story. However, Gabriel soon realizes that this will be harder than he had imagined. Between battling a bully, figuring out an enigmatic labyrinth and working with his friends on a complex mission to save the Superpower, Gabriel discovers what it means to find his own voice and form his own story.|
The blog is pretty much what the title explains: a place to rethink education. This is where I reflect, tell stories, provide resources, create "sketchy videos" and post podcasts. I've been blogging here in various ways for about six years and overtime it has grown in momentum and popularity.
Using 19th Century technology as a metaphor for educational technology, I engage in humor, allegory, satire and narrative in a fictional blog about pencil integration. While I don't update this as often, I still write here on occasion.
For forty days, my wife and I did Facebook in person through our Living Facebook Experience. This blog was the place where I reflected on the experience and what it meant for technology integration and digital citizenship.
The Cooperative Catalyst
I am part of a team of passionate educators who challenge one another to propose sustainable solutions and structures for re-imagining schools and education, supporting one another to enact and refine the ideas. While I might not always agree with everything that these reform-minded thinkers propose, I enjoy being a part of the dialogue.
|I am a frequent contributor to Shelly Blake-Plock's popular blog about innovation, reform and technology.TeachPaperless began in February 2009 as a blog detailing the experiences of one teacher in a paperless classroom. It has grown to be something much more than that. In January 2011, TeachPaperless became a collaboratively written blog dedicated to conversation and commentary about the intertwined worlds of digital technology, new media, and education.|