Monday, October 8, 2012

Higher Order Thinking Skills Not Taught?

While the ranking of higher order thinking skills can be a bit arbitrary, it definitely encourages teachers to think about how they are structuring their lessons.  I try and use these different thinking skills to make sure that I am providing a varied learning environment for my students.  However, it seems that that is not the case in all places.  Check out this study that found little evidence of higher order thinking skills being taught and used in classrooms.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reason 405 why Math Is Cool

Check out this video for hexaflexagons.  Really cool shape you can make with paper.  I'll be trying this after the MCA tests with my students.

A Galaxy Far, Far From Literacy?

A common concern for most teachers is that students are reading less and less each year.  With all the electronics that sap a child's time, sometimes I wonder why they read books at all.  Just joking, but only kind of.

Now, over at, they have looked into the literacy rates in the most famous republic in a galaxy far, far away.  What they found, may be shocking.  The republic is a post-literacy world.  Everything is recording in video/hologram form, and most things have an icon or picture showing what they do.  I'd recommend reading that article, particularly if you are someone who appreciates the holy trilogy.

What I find interesting about it is how the lack of literacy causes a lack of ability for the general populace to defend against tyranny, according to the article.  While we might feel that we need to share with our students some level of media awareness, perhaps the greatest reason to support literacy is that a illiterate society can be controlled much easier.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Using iPads with Students: What I've learned so far

I have a iPad to use with students, and I'm still not convinced of it's usefulness, mainly because on it's own the iPad is not a great tool. Instead, it is the apps that will make the tool valuable, and I just don't have a good sense on a lot of good tools right now.

What my students currently use it for:

We primarily use the iPad for three main uses: Qwiki for research, kidblog for student publication, and IXL, a website for math practice. The students will also use a dictionary app and safari for research. I haven't found many apps yet that seem to be that useful for 4th grade, particularly when I only have one.

What I'd like to get more of:

I'd like to get an app for grammar practice, concept mapping and reading support. I'm sure they are out there, I just haven't found anything yet.

Issues so far:

I have had issues with students playing around with the settings of the iPad, which is unfortunate. I should have spent a little time discussing what they could and couldn't edit. I'd love a way to lock certain apps, like photobooth, as when students should be practicing math, they are playing around with photobooth. Next year, I plan on being much more careful with how I present the iPad to my students.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Great Article about Racism in Sports

Just read a great article about racism in sports, specifically related to the commentary around Jeremy Lin. What was interesting is, without knowing the language used in academia, the author found the difference between institutionalized racism and the insidious form of racism known as societal racism. It is refreshing to see some one outside the field of academia and education have a reasoned, intelligent conversation about race.



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Detroit Public Schools Improving Parent Involvement

A great news report from NPR reporting on the parent programs Detroit Public Schools has created to engage parents.  Some of these ideas sounded great, like a dedicated homework corner in a home.

Monday, January 16, 2012


An interesting, and free iOS app to help parents keep all the information from an IEP meeting straight.  Rather interesting.  I'm going to recommend it to parents in my class with students with IEPs.

My IEP Meeting

from Free Technology for Teachers.

-Bill Stenross

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Study Aids

As a teacher in 4th grade in a high stakes testing school, I've had to learn new ways to help prepare families and students for test taking.  This is a good website with resources that I'll be sharing with parents and students to help them help prepare for tests if they have an iPad.

Study Aids