Tag Archive for professionaldevelopment

Faculty Summer Reads

The faculty summer read promotes the sharing of fresh perspectives on education among us when we are away from classes and students. U Prep purchases these books and provides them to all faculty members and those staff members who would like to participate. During opening faculty meetings, the three authors will join the U Prep faculty via Skype for a question and answer session about the readings.

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Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age (William Powers, 2011)

A crisp, passionately argued answer to the question that everyone who’s grown dependent on digital devices is asking: Where’s the rest of my life? Hamlet’s BlackBerry challenges the widely held assumption that the more we connect through technology, the better. It’s time to strike a new balance, William Powers argues, and discover why it’s also important to disconnect. Part memoir, part intellectual journey, the book draws on the technological past and great thinkers such as Shakespeare and Thoreau. “Connectedness” has been hconsidered from an organizational and economic standpoint—from Here Comes Everybody to Wikinomics—but Powers examines it on a deep interpersonal, psychological, and emotional level. Readers of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Outliers will relish Hamlet’s BlackBerry.

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Cathy Davidson, 2012)

A brilliant combination of science and its real-world application, Now You See It sheds light on one of the greatest problems of our historical moment: our schools and businesses are designed for the last century, not for a world in which technology has reshaped the way we think and learn. In this informed and optimistic work, Cathy N. Davidson takes us on a tour of the future of work and education, introducing us to visionaries whose groundbreaking ideas will soon affect every arena of our lives, from schools with curriculums built around video games to workplaces that use virtual environments to train employees.

Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World (Heidi Hayes Jacobs, 2010)

If you believe that an essential role of schooling is to prepare students to be successful in today’s world, then here is a must-read book that makes a powerful case for why and how schools must overhaul, update, and breathe new life into the K–12 curriculum. World-renowned curriculum designer Heidi Hayes Jacobs leads an all-star cast of education thought leaders who explain:
– Why K–12 curriculum has to change to reflect new technologies and a globalized world.
– What to keep, what to cut, and what to create to reflect 21st century learning skills.
– Where portfolios and new kinds of assessments fit into accountability mandates.
– How to improve your use of time and space and groupings of students and staff.
– What steps to take to help students gain a global perspective and develop the habits of mind they need to succeed in school, work, and life.
– How to re-engineer schools and teaching to engage and improve students’ media literacy.

Summer Curriculum Development

Our teachers are hard at work this summer revising and developing curriculum for next year’s courses. Themes include interdisciplinary coordination, uses of technology, and team teaching. Here is a project list. Let no one imagine that teachers rest quietly during summer vacation!

Develop grades 6-7 English scope and sequence
Coordinate 7th grade course projects
Coordinate English 8/History 8 units
Coordinate US Musical and Stagecraft
Align French curriculum, develop French 6 curriculum, develop new uses of tech
Coordinate U.S. History Topics and Survey courses
Revise Art & Social Change course
Coordinate MS and US Chinese
Coordinate Calculus I instruction
Coordinate music theory instruction among music courses
Overhaul Algebra I
Revise Early World History curriculum
Set up Mastering Physics online activities
Share flipped classroom techniques
Develop new Intro to Statistics course
Coordinate grades 7-8 Integrated Science courses
Coordinate Physics and Quantitative Physics courses
Transfer knowledge of 6th grade math
Develop integrated 6th-7th math sequence
Revise Modern to Contemporary World History course
Develop tech methods for data collection, lab notebook, assignment submission, differentiated instruction
Revise MS and US Spanish curricula with new electronic texts
Coordinate 6th and 7th grades ecology and river systems instruction

The Faculty Unmeeting

Can the unconference model work for a school faculty meeting? If so, it would provide real relief from the typical model, in which a series of administrators make announcements and attendee participation is minimal. The U Prep faculty gave the model a try last week, with positive results. Faculty members proposed sessions in advance and described them at the start of the meeting. Most of the topics evolved from summer conferences and classes that faculty members had attended. Faculty members chose what sessions to attend and held unmoderated, highly participatory and engaging discussions. During the debrief, a number of teachers expressed enthusiasm for the model and hoped that we would do it again.

The model does have a few inherent contradictions. People choose to attend an unconference, but faculty members are required to attend a faculty meeting. A planning group determined the parameters of the un-meeting, but many unconferences have little to no planning besides providing space, food, and sticky notes. An unconference does not attempt to reach specific end points, but we may want to see tangible results emerge from faculty meetings. Will these contradictions cause problems further down the line?