Monthly Archives: February 2010

GEO Data Portal Posters – Free!

Check these United Nations Environment Program posters out if you get the chance:

http://geodata.grid.unep.ch/extras/posters.php#basic_facts_posters

Some pretty amazing posters that schools can download (for free!) and use in the classroom.

Very well done.  And free is always good too.  🙂

Steve

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging

Quebec has no money?

Monique Gagnon-Tremblay is quoted in the Gazette today as saying that she expects to reduce the typical annual increase in our budget spending to 3.2%.

Ok – we have to reign in spending.  It’s agreed.  But let’s do so with a good hard look at the long term.  Let’s look at where we spend money; let’s look at where we invest money.

Investing in education is not “spending”.  It’s investing.  With a fantastic return.  Are we spending our education money in all the right places?  Well, I think there is still work to be done there.  So let’s do that work.  But at the same time, let’s make sure that we continue to invest in a guaranteed return:  an educated society is a more productive society, in every way.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging

Participating in a conference right now – virtually, and for free!

HP is running a conference right now called the 2010 HP Innovations in Education Worldwide Summit.

You too can “attend” by signing up here:

http://www.hpiie.org/page/virtual-summit

A really smart little snippet from it, I thought:

Water, uncontrolled, is a flood.  Controlled, it is irrigation.

Fire, uncontrolled destroys your home.  Controlled, it heats your home.

Data, uncontrolled is noise.  Controlled, it is knowledge.

In our quest for accountability, measures and data, let’s hope we develop knowledge, and not noise.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries

It’s good to see what people are saying…

… even when you don’t fully agree with them.

This former student chose to drop out.  He’s really bright, that’s obvious – but his choice to drop out?  Not the brightest choice.  But it’s symbolic of his age – good reasoning, but he’s not thinking it all the way through to the end.  You still need that piece of paper, and the full context of the education.

Anyway – watch his Rick Mercer style rant about education and I think you will hear some of the thoughts that are in the minds of many students.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries, Education

To censure, or not to censure?

An interesting story comes out of Toronto this morning on the role of a school board trustee…

Constitutional lawyers told the Star the board has no right to stop Matlow from speaking out.

“I think Matlow is doing exactly what we want school trustees to do,” said Ed Morgan, a law professor at the University of Toronto. “He’s speaking his mind and speaking in criticism of board decisions. That’s why we elect independent thinkers.”

The Toronto District School Board is considering a motion of censure for the trustee in question.

The issue relates to a professional development event in their district – the cost of which seems to be $345,00 for the singe day conference.  That price tag does sound quite high, especially in the all-too-familiar context of school closures, support-staff cuts and the abolishing of some at-risk programs for youths.

The ACDSA article can be found here.

No one should go off tossing garbage just for the sake of tossing garbage around.  But, offering a reasoned critique of a public body?  Yes, that’s why people are elected.  Not to just go along for the ride.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries, Education

What does a teacher make?

I’ve been stuck on a whole lot of educational news, blogs and so much more.

This one struck a cord. I hope you are struck too.  🙂

————–

He says the problem with teachers is, “What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”
He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about
teachers:

Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite company.

“I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor,” he says.
“Be honest. What do you make?”

And I wish he hadn’t done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you get a drink of water?
Because you’re not thirsty, you’re bored, that’s why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
beautiful
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:

I make a difference! What about you?

————

So – the next time you hear the words, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” ?

I hope you think of the bottom line:  What do (great) teachers make?

Truly,

Steve

1 Comment

Filed under Commentaries

Lewkowicz is back!

Freda Lewkowicz is one of our teachers at Rosemere High School.  We’ve been lucky enough to have her teach one of our children.  My son echoes my thoughts when he says, “She is a Great Teacher”.

How sad then, at the end of Teacher Appreciation week to read her article today.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Quebecers+care+about+education+news/2584438/story.html

The Arcand interview was interesting.  His style in interviewing is a lot of fun – he really doesn’t give the Minister any wiggle room.

But, his focus on, “what’s the deal with those Jewish schools” and, “why are you capitulating to those Jewish schools” was a reminder of just how lost a lot of Quebec is when it comes to this core bigotry. It’s embarrassing.  And I don’t even think he knows it.

Lewkowicz goes on to write about integration without resources.  Burnout.  Stress beyond stress.  Reform being reformed?

Have we lost 10 years to this experiment?  My kids are in grades 8 & 9 – so reform is all we know.  Luckily, implementation of reform hasn’t taken all teaching off the table.  We’re actually doing quite well, despite the reform.  Because we have lucked into teachers like Mrs. Lewkowicz – teachers who love to teach, and who manage to do so despite the situation that surrounds them.

On this last day of teacher appreciation week, I’ll just say THANK YOU to Mrs. Lewkowicz and to all of our teachers who continue to make a difference, despite the world around them.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries