Play BlogBall!

by Robert Pondiscio
April 15th, 2009

The Hirschy Bears, the official rotisserie baseball team of the Core Knowledge Blog, are off to a flying 10-o start, all alone in first place in Blog Ball, a rotisserie baseball league made up of edubloggers.  As if we needed an excuse to spend even more time online, Scott McLeod of Dangerously Irrelevant made the mistake of inviting us to join his league, no doubt assuming we’d lack the 21st century skills to acquit ourselves and mistaking us for raw meat.   Clearly, he underestimates our vast reserves of baseball background knowledge.  Steven Spielberg might not be able to manage the Yankees, but we’re doing just fine, thanks.

Jim Dornberg of EdTech Update is the defending champion.  Other bloggers in the hunt for glory include Auburn Public Schools Ed. Tech Blog, Raised Digital, Bill Ferriter’s The Tempered Radical, Future of Education, The Hump in the Bus, Mr. Higgins’ Blog, Philosophy Without a Home, Roosevelt Elementary, and Dave Sherman’s The Principal and Interest, who found themselves at the business end of the Bears’ mighty offense last week.

Eduwonk has Friday Fish Porn and Jay Greene regularly holds forth on ABC’s Lost.  Readers of this blog can rest assured, however, I will not be providing regular BlogBall updates.  Unless of course, the Bears continue to dominate.  Then I will be unable to resist.

Horses and Carts

by Robert Pondiscio
April 15th, 2009

Over at Public School Insights, Claus von Zastrow wonders why Eli Broad, in a Detroit Free Press op-ed piece, lists Washington, DC among urban school districts that “have successfully turned around after producing abysmal student outcomes.”  Broad is “confusing the implementation of his favored reforms with their success,” Claus writes.   Perhaps we should chalk it up to the power of advertising

“Rhee herself argued quite reasonably that it would take a few years for her reforms to show results,” Claus notes.   Indeed.  How is claiming victory prematurely different than being happy with the status quo?

Library of Congress on YouTube

by Robert Pondiscio
April 15th, 2009

The Library of Congress has begun putting portions of its vast audio and video collections on YouTube.  So far there are fewer than 100 videos–an eclectic collection including Thomas Edison kinetoscopic movies, oral histories of Pearl Harbor, and a documentary on the poetry of Langston Hughes.  But the potential certainly exists for this to be a terrific teaching resource.

 

The Library of Congress also makes historic photographs available on Flickr.  Good stuff.

Britain Prepares a Crackdown on Student Discipline

by Robert Pondiscio
April 15th, 2009

A British government study into classroom behavior calls for holding parents accountable for their child’s classroom behavior, including fines for condoning truancy.  “More schools will also be encouraged to use traditional methods such as detentions, suspensions, isolation rooms and lunchtime curfews to punish badly behaved pupils,” London’s Telegraph reports.  ”They will be told to order pupils to remove caps and confiscate mobile phones. Guidance also calls on schools to punish rowdy behavior, bullying and fighting outside the school gates, including incidents on public transport, to stop poor behavior spilling onto the streets.”

The conclusions are presented in a major review by Sir Alan Steer, the Government’s leading behaviour expert. They came as teachers warned that existing methods were failing as a “reward culture” seen in banks was spreading to schools. Jules Donaldson, from the NASUWT teachers’ union, claimed some headteachers were fuelling the problem by handing out prizes if children promise to behave instead of setting proper boundaries.

“Children can’t learn if classes are disrupted by bad behaviour,” said Ed Balls, Britain’s Schools Secretary. ”That’s why parents tell me they want tough and fair discipline in every school. That means we must all play our part and back our teachers when they use their powers to keep good order.  Everyone needs to share the responsibility of maintaining discipline, including governing bodies and parents. Where parents are unable to do this, it’s right that local authorities should consistently use parenting contracts as a way to support and help parents face up to their responsibilities.”

A teacher’s union survey of 10,000 teachers in Britain shows an average of 50 minutes of lost classroom each day due to misbehavior.

The Kid Whisperer

by Robert Pondiscio
April 15th, 2009

Kelly Peña is so talented at pinpointing the interests, wants and needs of boys, she’s earned the nickname “the kid whisperer.”   Her specialty is finding the “emotional hooks” that allow adults to connect with children.  She leads a team of 18, all with backgrounds in anthropology and psychology.  She regularly rifles through her research subjects’ bedrooms, drawers and closets for insights into how to interest and engage them.  Her main purpose is to help the people she works for create “cultural resonance” with boys.  She is not an academic researcher or educator. 

She works for Disney.