November’s Worthwhile Reads

The Learning Pond, “Template for Faculty Poster Conference via St. Andrew’s, Potomac”
“Poster sessions have been a cornerstone of academic conferences in many disciplines for decades – but not education. And this is strange because it is a perfect forum to share, examine and reflect on the work we do. This event not only professionalizes our pedagogy, but it also encourages an informal, creative space and time for conversations among colleagues to happen. This event is a beacon and a forum. It inspires us to keep rigorously and enthusiastically addressing that fundamental question, ‘what is great teaching?'”

Granted, but…, “On Feedback: 13 practical examples per your requests”
“As readers may know, my article on feedback in the September edition of Educational Leadership has been one of the most widely read and downloaded articles of the year, according to ASCD data. That’s gratifying feedback! . . . But numerous people have also written saying that while they liked the piece, they wished that I had provided more specific examples of how to design in such feedback, how it all works in practice. So: Voila! Below, find thirteen examples of how teachers have made feedback (as opposed to advice and evaluation) more central to their work with students.”

New York Times, “Regrets of an Accomplished Child”
“I was one of the middling sort, endowed with a reasonable amount of natural ability. But, I figured, if all went according to my carefully hatched plan, I could graduate with all my “to do” boxes neatly checked off, my teachers impressed if not wowed, and the ultimate achievement: an acceptance letter from the Ivy League college of my choice. It all went as planned. I didn’t learn much of anything.”

The Historical Society, “San Francisco, the 1906 Earthquake, the Progressive Era”
“San Francisco has become for me the quintessential Progressive Era city for another reason, too. In 1905, a photographer attached a camera to a trolley car traveling along Market Street. The result was a nine-minute recording of urban life before the reforms of the Progressive Era. There are no stop signs, no traffic lights. Children are playing in the streets and running in front of the cars. People are walking, horses are pulling carts, and automobiles are in a free-for-all on undivided roads. It makes you realize how many of the world we take for granted today was, in fact, a product of the efforts of reformers to draw up some rules to make the modern world safer.”

The New York Times, “A School Distanced from Technology Faces Its Intrusion”
“Past the chicken coop and up a hill, in a spot on campus where the wooden buildings of the Mountain School can seem farther away than the mountains of western New Hampshire, there sometimes can be found a single bar, sometimes two, of cellphone reception. The spot, between the potato patch and a llama named Nigel, is something of an open secret at the school in this remote corner of Vermont where simplicity is valued over technology. ‘We’re at the periphery of civilization here,’ said Doug Austin, a teacher. But that is about to change.”

Blogg-ed Indetermination, “Left to Their Own Devices”
“But schools are foremost places of learning and teaching and the role of IT is to facilitate rather than to encumber these ends. Given the role that technology plays in the lives of teachers and students it therefore makes sense that IT departments provide a safe haven in which its users to become self-sufficient, confident managers of digital devices. Yes, some users may screw up their computers. Some may inadvertently download a computer virus. And I can practically guarantee that many users will store personal data on their computers. But I also know that if you treat people with respect and given them responsibility that the vast majority will demonstrate that they deserve your trust.”

Education Rethink, “Post-Election Thought”
“What if the other side isn’t heartless or lazy or even misinformed? What if they simply see the world differently and cannot fathom the notion that you have the same end in mind: a healthy, strong, free, safe nation? This isn’t a call to put aside our differences. If anything, I think it might be a time to clarify the big questions about the role of government in our lives and what that means in both social and economic terms. Howeevr, this is a call to recognize that the differences in worldview do not mean the other side is inherently evil.”

it’s about learning, “Gijs van Wulfen’s map for innovation”

The History Channel This Is Not…, “Historical Haikus – Final Exam Edition”
“So, I just finished administering my Fall Trimester final exams and am now in the midst of grinding through the grading in order to maximize my holiday merriment. However, I stole an extra credit idea from one of my colleagues who had offered a few additional points on the exam for writing pertinent historical haikus. This idea turned out great, as a number of students wrote very entertaining and some pretty insightful haikus. I’ve posted a number of them below, and for the sake of haiku fidelity, I omitted any that veered from the syllable pattern in spite of the fact that some of those were really good. . . .

Sparta and Athens,
Fighting over their power,
Caused damage to both.

Away with the knights
And down with Feudalism
Renaissance begins.”

The Historical Society, “Christmas Creep and Other Joyous Holiday Traditions”
“Remember the time when Christmas was simple and less commercial, when you could step out of your door into a Currier and Ives print.  No?  How about a $29 Thomas Kinkade ‘Memories of Christmas’ print?  Precisely.  One of the greatest of all holiday traditions is recalling a holiday seasonhistorian Stephen Nissenbaum reminds us in his superb book, The Battle For Christmas—that never existed at all.”

John Fea’s Virtual Office Hours

it’s about learning, “Brain Food: Education @Unboundary”
“We also enter this challenge offering Brain Food: a proven approach for shifting the din of idea-sharing into a useful design-thinking discussion. Brain Food is curated provocation. It is both question and answer. It is both perspective and focus. We welcome you to Volume One, Number One of Unboundary’s Education Brain Food. And we look forward to the discussion it opens among us.”

Seth’s Blog, “Non-profits have a charter to be innovators”
“The biggest, best-funded non profits have an obligation to be leaders in innovation, but sometimes they hesitate. . . . The magic of their status is that no one is expecting a check back, or a quarterly dividend. They’re expecting a new, insightful method that will solve the problem once and for all. Go fail. And then fail again. Non-profit failure is too rare, which means that non-profit innovation is too rare as well. Innovators understand that their job is to fail, repeatedly, until they don’t.”

  1. boadams1 said:


    I love this collection of reads. Thank you for aggregating and providing teaser quotes. This represents a lot of work, and I appreciate your curation. I would feel this way even if It’s About Learning were not represented here, but I do appreciate that inclusion, as well.

    Thanks again!


    • Matt said:

      Thanks for the comment, Bo. I Don’t think I have many readers, so the “worthwhile reads” is mainly stuff that I’ve found interesting and may want to revisit someday. If I’m going to put all that together, why not share it?

      (I’m curious: did you see my post on pedagogical master planning?)

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