Archive for Blogging

The Busy UPrep Blog

The UPrep blog has been very active in the past week, thanks to the great work of student and staff authors and the Communications team. Check out these recent titles, including one by yours truly.

Please Comment!

Please do comment on this blog or reply to my Twitter posts! I enjoyed meeting a number of people at the NAIS Annual Conference who read this blog. I far prefer exchanging thoughts, however trivial, with you, as opposed to just writing. Thanks.

PLN Picks for the Week

The professional learning network comes through again. Here are some blog posts from around the web that piqued my interest this weekend.

The Multi-layered Curriculum: Why Change Is often Confused with Reform

… once states adopt curricular frameworks in science they will have only a passing similarity to the science content and skills that teachers will teach once they close their classroom doors. In the real world of age-graded schools, pedagogy, assessment, and professional development are thoroughly entangled while the official curriculum too often sails above the clouds loosely tethered to what happens in classrooms.

Larry Cuban finds four layers of curriculum in schools:

1. The “official,” state-mandated curriculum

2. What teachers teach

3. What students learn

4. What is assessed

Read more

What Can the U.S. Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

We should not ask whether Finnish educational model would work in the United States or anywhere else. The question should be: What can we learn from the Finnish experience as high performer and successful reformer?

Finnish lesson is that good policies and overall well-being of people, including poverty reduction, are the corner stones of sustainable educational success.

Pasi Sahlberg (by way of Larry Cuban) underscores the key lesson from Finland, that a demonstrated alternative exists to test-based school accountability systems. The Atlantic also wrote on the topic.

Read more

Study: Class size doesn’t matter

… we show that an index of five policies suggested by over forty years of qualitative research — frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations — explains approximately 50 percent of the variation in school effectiveness.

If this becomes the new conventional wisdom, then independent schools will need to update their marketing messages. Independent schools are generally well-positioned to speak to highlight teacher feedback, tutoring, and high expectations and perhaps less well-positioned for data-informed instruction and increased instructional time.

Read more

Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools

Teachers are resisting, saying that they prefer to employ technology as it suits their own teaching methods and styles.

Legislating computer use, especially if it results in teacher layoffs, would generate a strong reaction, wouldn’t it?

Read more

LiveBinders Comes to the iPad

Sorting Out an Avalanche of iPad Apps for the Best of 2011

Free Tech for Teachers and The New York Times offer some quality app selections that may work well for schools. I am especially interested in presentation tools for organizing content, whether for student portfolios or other, more short-term purposes.

LiveBinders  Best of 2011


Gone From Google Search!

If this blog is not in Google Search, does it still exist? As a result of a cloaking attack, Google has excluded Kassblog from its search index while my request for “reinstatement” waits in their queue.

Somehow, Google can remove my site immediately and without warning, but they require weeks to consider my request for reinstatement. Google has moved with equal speed on underage GMail accounts, but at least they provide a way for a credit card holder to quickly recover the account.

Paradoxically, I am enjoying life without Google Search. For one, this confirms the fallacy of stat watching. As much as half may have resulted from the cloaked content in the site. Many blog were from unrelated Google searches or automated indexing engines.  Now, my pageview stats reflect who actual humans who came to visit my site on purpose.

Am I worried about my personal identity disappearing from Search? My digital footprint stretches across multiple sites. It is still easy for people to find me. I also host this website myself, so if I never were able to rebuild this site’s Google reputation, I could copy all of the content to a new blog.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate that you are here.

Student Cellphone Photo Installation

In an elevator! I love the creativity and the public nature of the display. I only wish the elevator ride lasted longer!

Read the student’s reflection about the role of cellphone photos in his life.

In Botswana

This blog is on hiatus while I lead a school trip to Botswana. The students are blogging the trip. Kassblog will return July 9.

New Year’s Resolution

My New Year’s resolution for this blog is to write about instruction more explicitly. When talking about technology, let us describe in detail the instructional environment in which that technology is being used. What pedagogical strategies do the teachers use? What prior experiences and habits of mind do the students bring to the learning environment? How are the students demonstrating learning, and how are teachers assessing and documenting that? Discussions of instructional technology are more meaningful when embedded within specific instructional contexts.

Happy New Year to you!

Now I’m Caught Up

I picked up some nice nuggets from reading blogs today.

Teach Parents Tech
Short how-to videos for common home computing tasks

30 Years of Space Shuttle Launches

Seattle-area school to hold a TED event this summer

iOS Movie App Recommendations
Best iOS apps for digital storytelling

Sort Google Search results by readability
Should be really useful for elementary student research

Criterion Movies Now On Netflix
A great companion to our new AppleTV

Woz Goes Hands-on With Technology Relics
Preview of new Computer History Museum exhibits

Winter Solstice Lunar Elipse
Time-lapse video: five hours in two minutes

More student work online

Classes, global travel groups, and individuals are publishing on the Catlin Gabel website to share their work with the Catlin Gabel community or other specific audiences. Learning objectives vary on these blogs from building community awareness to communicating directly to specific stakeholders.

Any student, teacher, or staff member can maintain an individual blog or contribute to a group blog on the Catlin Gabel website. Some blogs are open to everyone visiting our website. Most blog posts require login.

You can always find blogs from the Quick Links menu on the Catlin Gabel website. Happy reading!

» Link to all blogs

Links to specific blogs

Nepal 2010
Japan 2010
Cuba 2010
Senior Projects

Urban Studies

Honors Art Seminar
Science Projects
Spanish V Honors
French 2

External blogs
Paul Monheimer in Israel
The Catlin Coverslip

Classroom pages
Middle and Lower School teachers use classroom pages more often than student blogs. The function is similar.
Second grade
Fourth grade

Fifth grade

Sixth grade
Lower School French

Seventh grade

Extending the learning community

Publication of student work on the website extends the learning community beyond the classroom to the entire school community. Key to this effort is a school website that includes a community publishing platform. Students and teachers choose whether to make the work viewable to the school community only (students, staff, parents, alumni) or the public, depending on the pedagogical goal of the work. Learning becomes a community endeavor rather than only a classroom pursuit, increasing authenticity and mutual understanding of the work that happens at school.

Click on each title to view the content at Catlin Gabel.

Urban Studies blog

Students tackle topics of sustainable development in Portland, “The City That Works.” During the school year, we offer a semester elective. The summer brings an intensive program with students from different schools.

Science Projects blog

Students report on their independent research plans, progress, and results. The teacher provides feedback in the form of comments. Only one of the students has made her blog public, so you won’t see the work of the others on this page.

The Catlin Coverslip

The science department invites all Catlin Gabel community members to contribute items of interest to this blog.

Nepal 2010 blog

Blogging about global trips increases the sense of community experience. The 15 lucky students who go on the trip become ambassadors for the rest of the school, no longer the sole beneficiaries of the experience.

Spanish V Honors blog

Students get out into the community to research the hispanic presence in Oregon. Through the blog, they report their findings back to the community and help educate us all. This project includes a lot of primary audio and video footage from Portland.

Honors Arts Projects portfolios

Students attach photo galleries to their blog posts to create a portfolio, in this case to support their  college applications.

Fifth grade Fractured Fairytales

Students create “alternate” versions of classic fairytales, then we publish them so that parents and others students may read them as well.

Sixth grade Language Arts Poetry Box

Students write poetry, but then the teacher publishes both the text and an audio version for parents and the rest of the community to enjoy.

Senior Project blogs

We have now collected two years’ worth of blog posts from seniors reporting and reflecting on their spring projects. Up until now, all of the posts have been for the Catlin Gabel community only. This year, students will make the public/community-only decision for each post. Watch this page in May 2010 to follow their progress.