Archive for May, 2009


May 29th, 2009

Is it a reference to 1984? Is it a book about tax codes? Whatever it is, it’s a book that’s selling out in Japan before it hits the shelves – no one knows what it’s about, except that they want it.

3R for Student/Staff/School Improvement

May 28th, 2009

3R is not new.

Sure, it has the makings of an educational trend, but as I’m sitting through the training, I’m realizing how much ICLE has incorporated other successful ideas from educational theory that we’ve been doing. (Like using Bloom’s Taxonomy to graph out the level of thinking skills. If you use something else other than Bloom’s (like Marzano’s) as a district, put that as your Y axis.)

Rigor (Level of Critical Thinking) as the Y Axis, Relevance (Level of Application Outside of the Discipline) as the X Axis:

Image used from the International Center for Leadership in Education.

3R (Rigor+Relevance+Relationships) is a way to reflect on your lessons. It creates a shared language so that you can measure how deep the critical thinking goes compared to how applicable to real-life the lesson is.

That’s tough because sometimes we teachers have a hard time evaluating ourselves.

But the important thing to realize is that just because a lesson falls in quadrant A doesn’t mean that it’s a bad lesson. We just need to spread out the learning opportunities (and look for ways to tweak our lessons).

How does rigor and relevance impact students?
Rigor and relevance lets the student know that what we’re doing is worth the time they’ve invested. School is something that they need, not just something they’re supposed to do. Through lessons that have real-life meaning, students develop higher level thinking skills that can be applied in all content areas. It creates better understanding, retention, and student success.

When you’re operating educational transactions at higher level thinking, it’s a lot easier to tackle more performance objectives in one fell swoop.

Think about your own learning. Where you’ve been involved and taken more ownership, you remember what you’ve done and perhaps, dare I say, enjoyed what you did.

Relevance makes rigor possible.

Dick Jones dropped some resource names in his presentation (I’ve chimed in with some of the places I look at, as well).

How Technology is Affecting Culture:
What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis (If you don’t want to buy the book, check out his blog at
Growing Up Digital by Don Tapscott (He also wrote Wikinomics)
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Tom Friedman
(By the same guy who wrote The World is Flat.)

The Effect of Letting Standardized Testing Drive Instruction
Not on the Test by Tom Chapin
(Yes. He’s related to that Chapin. That explains the song.)

For more resources from the workshop, check out

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Prediction

May 27th, 2009

Prediction, not so much prophecy. (The Oracle doesn’t return my calls.)

Language Arts teachers and students have asked me if there are going to be any more Percy Jackson books in the series.

I figure that people have had enough time to read book five. I won’t give too many spoilers.

Just one. If you haven’t read it yet, stop here. If you want to hear more, join me after the book cover.

There is a new prophecy towards the middle of the book. Even Percy comments on how Camp Half-Blood is going to have to be around for a new group of heroes. Also, if you read the acknowledgments at the end of the book, Riordan mentions the end of the first series.

Meaning it’s a good bet that a new series will be coming out. My prediction is that it will be something along the lines of what DiTerlizzi did with Spiderwick and Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles.

I really liked book five of Percy. It may even be my favorite (I love it when authors are gutsy enough to kill off characters – it’s something that John Flanagan stressed to our students about his decision with Morgarath…don’t just drag out a series to drag out a series.).

Right now I’m trying to make it through Forest of Hands and Teeth. I want to like it, I really do. I’m not done yet, so I’m reserving judgment.

Future Professionals games for this year

May 20th, 2009

Check out the games created by this year’s Future Professionals crew.

I set up a new area. You can get there by going to

Telkhine Wikipedia Entry

May 14th, 2009

I’m reading through The Last Olympian and I decided to see if I could find a picture of a telkhine, one of the water monsters.

When I went to the Wikipedia article, it had some funny style/wording errors (and a little bit of bias from Atlantis).

Research suggests they were the original gods of Rhodes, before the advent of Greek monoculture. In the classical records of the post-catastrophe period…

No citations needed, I guess. Just trust that they’re right. They did research. They say they did. But where?

Clearly, the Telchines apparently lost one of the titanomachias. Alternatively, there were nine Telchines, children of Thalassa and Pontus. They had flippers instead of hands and dogs’ heads; they were known as fish children.

Is it clear? Apparent? And I don’t think “alternatively” is the transition word you’re looking for.

They were skilled metal workers in brass and iron, and made a trident for Poseidon and a Sickle for Cronus, both ceremonial weapons. It is this ability to cast metal that would make them appear magical to early societies, and may have been a real, but advanced race of people.

Sickle: so important, you can’t help but capitalize it. You also probably want to cite some sources when claiming water monsters are actually an advanced ancient culture from Atlantis.

Here’s the original article. I hope someone makes some edits.

22 year-old college student beats most of the media

May 12th, 2009

Shane Fitzgerald, a college student in Ireland, posted a fake quote on a French composer’s Wikipedia page. Before Wikipedia could take the fake quote down, many news companies took the quote and ran with it as truth.

The fake quote:

Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head that only I can hear.

Beautiful quote and beautifully fake.

When Fitzgerald e-mailed the major news agencies to reveal his hoax/experiment, only a few admitted their mistake. This quote from the Associated Press article echoes my sentiments:

He said the Guardian was the only publication to respond to him in detail and with remorse at its own editorial failing. Others, he said, treated him as a vandal.

“The moral of this story is not that journalists should avoid Wikipedia, but that they shouldn’t use information they find there if it can’t be traced back to a reliable primary source,” said the readers’ editor at the Guardian, Siobhain Butterworth, in the May 4 column that revealed Fitzgerald as the quote author.

Catching Fire, Shiver, and a Ghost in the Machine

May 8th, 2009

Check out some new releases for the fall, as listed by Phoenix Book Company.

Hunger Games is no longer on hold – and the Catching Fire synopsis

May 7th, 2009

I booktalked Hunger Games on October 7 of this year. Today is the first day that it has not been on hold, today being May 7.

Check out the summary for book two, Catching Fire from Amazon:

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

September 1 is too far away. Thanks to Standhart for keeping me informed.


May 6th, 2009

I’m officially judging a book by its cover. I want to read this.

Fact: Vampires Love Cinco de Mayo

May 5th, 2009

I never knew.