Monday, December 22, 2008

Change is Easy

Put One Foot In Front of the Other

We talk a lot in education about the need to change. People often have a difficult time with change. There are many reasons for it. But one thing is for sure. Change is a constant. So for those who are feeling a little stressed about the amount of change we are undergoing, here is a fun way to think about it. We are all where we are. We can only move forward from that point. So commit to taking one step forward!

Happy Holidays!


Video Credit: 1970, Bass/Rankin Productions, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ASCD Article on Creative Skills

ASCD's Education Update had a great article in their December issue on developing the creative skills in our students in order to prepare them for the 21st century. I was glad to see them recognize that creativity is interconnected with inventive thinking. The article talks about how many of the jobs our current students will hold in their future do not exist yet. Many of these jobs will require them to think creatively in order to solve problems that we haven't even identified yet. To do this, we must teach our students to be inventive, imaginative, and risk-taking. The article mentions three main ways to get started.

1. Model Creativity - Create cross-curricular units, give kids opportunities to use creative tools to solve problems and communicate learning.

2. Use Mistakes as an Opportunity to Learn- We need to encourage students to take risks. We need to send a clear message that mistakes are not a bad thing. Mistakes lead to new learning.

3. It doesn't have to take a lot of time- The article suggests you can do it in 5 minutes a day.

So, start thinking about your own classroom. Are you developing creative thinkers? What can you do to increase your students' opportunities to think imaginatively and problem solve creatively? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Image Credit:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TIES Conference

If you didn't get to the TIES Conference this year, touch base with someone who did. Our district sent many more people this year than in the past. It was really great to see the excitement of the classroom teachers as they learned from some really great presenters. If you want to see notes from some of the presentations go to to see what attendees thought of what they saw. If you want to see the presentations themselves, go to It's the next best thing to being there!

Here are a few highlights. Feel free to add to the list!

1. Daniel Pink's Opening Session - he really makes it all make sense!

2. Ben Friesen's presentation on his Middle School Elective Class based entirely on web-based tools. I left wishing I taught a class just like that!

3. Mark Garrison's presentation on Adding Images, Audio, and Video into Your Classroom. I need to learn more about Alice Isen's research!

4. Tim Wilson's presentation on where technology is going over the next 10 years. Scary, yet exciting, all at the same time!

5. So many great conversations. Thanks to Carl Anderson, Dave Eisenmann, Mark Garrison, Lisa DeRoy, Matt Robinson, the Wayzata staff who attended, and many others I was able to bounce ideas off of and listen to your great ideas. I wish we could do it more often!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

Thanks to Andrew Churches for this updated look at Bloom's Taxonomy. It really shows how many of the technological skills that we have been working on integrating fit into Bloom's Taxonomy.

I especially like how collaborating is interwoven with all levels of the taxonomy. If we are to teach our students to effectively colloaborate, they must have these opportunities at all levels, not just one or two.

I think the verbs that Andrew adds represent the kinds of opportunities our students need. It really demonstrates how many of these new skills really teach a broad range of thinking skills. If we really want our students thinking critically and deeply, these are activities that can really get us there. I'm curious if you have any other verbs that you think should be added to Andrew's list.

For more information on Bloom's Digital Taxonomy, visit to see Andrew Churches' analysis.