Bullying Behaviors and School Dances

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GSD LogoUpcoming Important Dates

Sep 21 & 22 – Maine Boys to Men and Hardy Girls Healthy Women
Sep 24 – 28 – Moving Naturally Week (see info below)
Sep 26 – Civil Rights Team Training – Portland
Sep 26 – Parent Summit on Bullying 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Sep 29 – End of STAR 360 testing
Sep 28 & 29 – Maine Boys to Men and Hardy Girls Healthy Women
Sep 29 – Announced Lockdown Drill 12:30 pm
Oct 5 – Maine Boys to Men and Hardy Girls, Healthy Women
Oct 6 – Teacher Workshop Day – No School for Students
Oct 10 – Columbus Day Holiday, No School
Oct 13 – School Dance sponsored by the 7th Grade

Addressing Bullying Behaviors

We are taking several steps to address the behaviors of our students toward each other that has created issues within the school culture for the past few years.

We are engaged several organizations to help us address the manner in which our students deal effectively and positively with each other:

  • Rand Corporation –We are involved in a multi-school, multi year long study on the role of Restorative Practices in reducing the incidences of bullying behaviors. Our students have taken surveys, our faculty has been and will continue to be trained in the Restorative Practices.
  • Maine Boys to Men – Boys to Men is a non-profit organization in Maine. They have been operating for almost 20 years with middle and high schools across the state. The goal of the program is to help boys understand the stereotypical nature our culture can apply to the genders and help the students better understand their role.
  • Hardy Girls, Healthy Women – Another Maine non-profit that works with young women in middle and high schools to help them understand and come to grips with the cultural expectations of being a women today.
  • Opportunity Alliance – A Community Action Agency for Cumberland County serving more than 20,000 people. The have access to services and resources to aid in our goals to reduce the negative behaviors of our students.
  • Gorham Action Team for Youth (GATY) – GATY is a group organized within Gorham to work to provide positive alternative activities for our youth of Gorham.
  • Civil Rights Team – Team of GMS Students who are passionate about making GMS a safe and welcoming environment for all students at GMS.

To begin, we have Maine Boys to Men and Hardy Girls, Healthy Women meeting with our students for 4 sessions over the next four weeks. This will help give us a common language to use with our students. These meetings begin this week and run until the first week in October.

We have schedule a Parent Evening on Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00 pm in the GMS Auditorium. You will meet several of the people we will be working with over the course of the coming year. At this meeting, we will also begin to map out a community plan for addressing these behaviors as a community.

We will be holding several of the evening events throughout the school year to address these behaviors among our students. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Moving Naturally Week

Happy Heathy Gorham (HHG) is a group formed last year with the aim of making Gorham the “happiest and healthiest town in Maine. Over the course of the school year, HHG will be sponsoring four weeks of activities aimed to provide healthy and happy citizens of Gorham. The four themed weeks will be Moving Naturally Week in September, Kindling Kindness in November, Growing Gratitude in February, Eating Well in April.

The week of September 24 will be Moving Naturally week and Gorham Middle School will be joining in the activities. All week long students will count their steps for the day and we will record our progress each day. We are looking to track our progress toward one million steps for the week on our web page, so that the community can watch our progress.

We are also planning a “Walking School Bus” for Wednesday where students will get off the bus at the high school and we will have several teacher and parent volunteers along the path through the neighborhood as the students walk to the middle school.

Finally, during our advisory periods each day students will engage in activities organized by our Health and Physical Education Teachers to provide for movement during the day.

If you would like to volunteer with the walking school bus, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Heidi McGouldrick at GMS.

Lock Down Drill

We will conduct an announced Lock Down Drill on Friday, September 29. We announce this first drill so that we can make sure that all of our school community is ready to execute all of the protocols we have set up for the safety of the school. We will hold at least one more drill during the school year, which will be unannounced. We will send out a blackboard message at the beginning and at the end of the drill to let all families know of the drill.

School Dances

Each month, we hold school dances for the students of Gorham Middle School. Many of our students look forward to these dances as a great way to enjoy the company of their fellow students. Adam Parvanta, our resident (well now at GHS!) DJ keeps the music upbeat (and G Rated) and works the dance with precision and with engaging activities for all of the students.

These dances have also allowed the middle school to forgo many of the extra fundraising activities that we have done in the past. It is very rare when your child will come home from the middle school asking you to buy wrapping paper or magazine subscriptions. All of the money raised at the dances goes to each of the grade level teams to help pay for field trips and other activities.

One thing that I have noticed in the most recent dances, the end of last year and the beginning of the year, is the idea that the dance is somehow a place to dress up and to have a “date” for the dance. While I can’t tell anyone who they can come to the dance with, I do want to encourage all parents that “going with someone” or “dating” at the middle school level is strongly discouraged. This sort of behavior is not developmentally appropriate for students at middle school and, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia could lead to higher dropout rates.

Beside the longer term negative effects of “dating” in middle school, the shorter term impact is that our students are not ready for the responsibilities of “dating” and  it creates all sorts of drama in school, which creates conflict between and among student. I know that most parents may not even be aware that their child is “dating” in middle school, but I would ask that all parents have a conversation with their child about this. I would also suggest that reading this article first may help.

Circle These Dates

In an attempt to give you a “heads up” on important dates a little further out in the future:

October 25 & 26 – Parent Teacher Conferences
November 6 – Parent Night on “How to Read My Child’s Report Card 6:00 PM

I’ll Finish with a Short Video

This video is just a part of a longer TED talk by Sugata Mitra given in 2013 at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. It truly will pique your interest and if you’d like to see the entire talk (23 minutes long) you can see it at TED.com

Here is just the first 5 minutes of the video from Youtube:

We Have So Much

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Upcoming Important Dates

May 9 – GMS Night at the Sea Dogs
May 9 – Progress Reports available on Infinite Campus Portal
May 14 & 15 – Model UN at University of Southern Maine
May 14 Early Release Day, Students dismissed at 11:10 am
May 16 – Physics Day at Funtown
May 16 – School Dance Sponsored by the 8th grade 6:00 – 8:00 pm
May 19 – What is this Proficiency Based Education? 10:00 am GMS Library
May 22 – What is this Proficiency Based Education? 6:00 pm GMS Library
May 26 – Memorial Day, No School

GMS Night at the Portland Sea Dogs

There is still time to order your tickets, at a reduced rate, for the annual GMS night at the Portland Sea Dogs. The game begins at 6:00 pm and our very well traveled GMS Chorus will be performing the National Anthem to begin the game. Please join us for a great night of baseball and see some of the future Boston Red Sox. Did I mention that the Red Sox are the World Series Champions? I wasn’t sure!

For tickets, please call Kristen at 222-1220

NWEA Testing Administration

If it’s May, we must be testing! And, indeed, we are.

The Northwest Education Assessment (NWEA) will be administered to all of our students during the month of May. The assessment is an adaptive, computer based measure of student progress toward standards. It really is an individual measure of a student’s progress from year to year, and, most importantly, it tells us what we need to do as educators to help the student continue their progress forward.

This assessment will be done during class time and the results will be available to us almost immediately. We will get this information uploaded on to the Infinite Campus Portal soon after the close of school. If you would like your child’ results sooner than that, please give me a call and I will try to get them to as quickly as I can.

 The Weather is Getting Warmer

I have said this many times before, but I am now convinced (mostly because my lawn needs to be mown) that Spring has finally arrived. The warm weather brings out all of the warm weather fashions, and it also makes Principals begin to think about our dress code! Here is a reprise of our funny video about our dress code that will hopefully remind parents about what is expected of our students.

Save the Date

This item is way out of order, but since I was showing you the Dress Code Deputies, which was a winner of the film festival two years ago, I thought I may as well tell you about our Annual GMS Film Festival. The quest for the coveted Ramsies Awards will end on the evening of Saturday, June 14th beginning at 5:30 pm. There will be Limos and red carpets. There will even be paparazzi and popping flash bulbs (do any of you remember flash bulbs!?) capturing every glamorous moment.

I will give you much more information in the coming weeks, but I can tell you that all of our film makers are busy as bees getting their projects “in the can” for the judging and the evening on the 14th.

Please circle this date!

School Security Updates

Throughout the year, we have conducted all sorts of drills to practice our safety protocols for different possible events. In fact, we even had an actual event when students and parents were present in the building, and everyone performed wonderfully!

We will be conducting another lockdown drill during the week of May 12. We are not going to publicize the actual day or time that we will perform this, but I wanted you all to be aware of the drill so when your kids come home and tell you about the surprise drill, you will already know about it.

Proficiency Based Education in Gorham Schools

We had a meeting last week to plan for the 8th grade celebration at the end of the school year. As the meeting was wrapping up, I asked those present if they had heard about the new legislation that will require this year’s 8th graders to demonstrate proficiency in all 8 content areas of the Maine Learning Results and not just acquire 22 Carnegie Units, as we have always done. Many of the mothers who were present said that they had heard about the new law and that they were very concerned about what this would mean for their child’s chances at attending a top ranked college.

Here is a link to the Maine Department of Education’s web site: Maine DOE, for more information. Additionally, here is a link to an Education Week article about Competency Based Education that has links to other resources at the end of the article. Ed Week CBE article

We will be holding a couple of informational meeting at GMS on Monday, May 19 at 10:00am in the Library and On Thursday Eveing, May 22nd at 6:00 pm, also in our Library, to discuss what this will look like in Gorham and also to answer any questions you may have…Hopefully!

I hope you can join us on either of these dates.

 

 

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Important Upcoming Dates

December 20 – Awarding of the James Madison Writing Contest Winners
December 20 – Annual Faculty/Student Basketball Game 1:00
December 20 – Christmas Break Begins at 2:30 pm
January 2 – Students return from Christmas Break
January 9 – Practice Lock Down Drill

Education News

pisaThere aren’t many days that pass where the education of our children doesn’t find its way onto the front pages of our newspapers and as a topic for discussion on the evening news. Most recently, the news was about the “dismal results” of American 15 year olds on the most recent administration of the PISA assessment. PISA stands for the Programme for International Student Assessment and it is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy.

The truth is that the United States falls someplace in the middle on this assessment. We have not demonstrated an appreciable change in our overall scores in each content area since the first assessment in 2000. However, many countries have gone up and down during that time. Case in point, Finland was the darling of the education world for the past 3 years because they ranked, as Jimmy Cagney said in White Heat, top of the world, fell in the most recent administration of the assessment. Unlike we in America, Finland continues to carry on and care for their children. Unfortunately, we in America are gnashing our teeth and wringing our hands at our “mediocre” results.

But what does this mean for us at Gorham Middle School? Are we going to scrap everything that we do in response to these results? I don’t think so!

We will continue to work with our students to get them ready for their world. Our test results on our state assessments (NECAP) are ranked among the best in the state and our students perform very well on the nationally normed NWEA assessments. We will continue to use the reality of these assessments to help us make decisions about what we need to do next for our students. In our collective minds here at GMS, that is and should be the purpose of assessments. They should not be used to rank our students against our neighbors, nor should they be used to incentivize our work. They are snapshots on a given day that help us uncover our strengths and, also the areas were we need to improve.

For what it is worth, we were not included in the PISA assessment in this most recent iteration!

Common Core Work at the Middle School

We continue to work on aligning our curriculum to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). I would love to tell you this is easy work, but it really isn’t, it is hard, grueling work thatCommon-Core-logo test all of our levels of patience, endurance and skill. To further compound the work that we must do, we now have the state Department of Education coming to us and requiring schools to be “Proficiency Based” in our teaching and learning. (I thought we already were!)

This will have an impact on how we operate, for sure. We have all become accustom to receiving grades in the form of a letter. In a proficiency based environment, letter grades will have less meaning and actual student learning will take center-stage. Students will need to be able to demonstrate, in multiple ways, what they have learned. time will not be important, the learning will!

The state has done an excellent job putting together a link on their website that does a good job of explaining what a “Proficiency Based Education ” looks like and what it will mean for our students and our schools. In the meantime, we will keep you informed of how these new changes will impact your child and their education in the coming months.

Proficiency Based Learning Site

School Security

securityIt is at this time of the year, when our thoughts turn to family and friends and all of the festivities that are in keeping with the holiday season. I then began to think back just a mere 12 months ago and all that occurred in the tiny town of Newtown, Connecticut and my thoughts then turned to all that we have done during that time to improve our security. No sooner had I begun to write these words and my Twitter feed began to “light up” with the news of Aurora, Colorado and the students and faculty of Arapahoe High School. The horror of one year ago began to be conjured up in my mind far more vividly and in much greater detail because of these events.

Planning for an event such as those in Connecticut and Colorado are not the reason for which any of us went to school! We entered the education field because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of our students, we wanted to touch the future, leave a larger footprint, and make a difference! And, yet, here we are planning for things unspeakable.

We have planned, lots of hours and many people. We are fortunate to have a very professional police department and fire department. Many hours have been spent around tables planning and practicing for any such unspeakable act. We have collaborated with all of our ideas and concerns, each concerned with keeping our community safe.

Many of you who have come to the Middle School since the start of the school year have already noticed our most visible changes with entry to the building, but, believe me wham I say this, there are many more changes in how we do what we do that are unseen but have an impact in making our school safe.

James Madison Writing Contest Winners to be Announced

James MadisonJust prior to our annual student/faculty basketball game on Friday, December 20, the winners of the first annual James Madison Writing Contest will be announced. The three winning students will be presented with their awards in front of the entire school community. Their winning essays will be read to the whole school and they will be awarded their cash prizes. Newly elected School Committee member, John Doyle will be announcing the winning essays.

This event is open to the public and all are invited to attend.

Riley Perkins Returns to Address 8th Graders

Former Gorham Middle School student (and GHS Graduate) returned to Gorham on Tuesday, November 26 to address the 8th grade students about his trip to Riley PerkinsChina as part of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). Riley presented to the students all of the adventures he experienced during his summer in China. He told stories of how he lived with a host family and learned about the culture of the Chinese family direct from the source, by living it! He regaled students with the many different sights, sounds, smells and tastes that he experienced.

The students were treated to many glorious pictures and some of the “real” stories about life as a Chinese teenager. Our students were very engaged as Riley spun the tales of his journey and he encouraged our students to look beyond the boundaries of Gorham and to follow their dreams.

Riley supplied our students with many surprises during his 90 minute talk, but about 10 of our 8th graders surprised him when they told him they were taking Mandarin Language and Chinese Culture this year as students at GMS.

Thank you to Riley for sharing his knowledge and experiences with our students.

Wishing You All The Merriest of Christmas and Happiest of Holidays

From the Gorham Middle School community to our whole community, we wish you all the joy, peace and happiness that this time of year brings to our world.

Alas, Time to Look Forward

topperMiddle 01Important Upcoming Dates

August 26 – First Teacher Day, GMS Auditorium 8:00 am
August 27 – Workshop Day, schedule will be forthcoming
August 28 – First Student Day (6th Graders only)August 29 – All students return
August 30 – No School ( Long Labor Day Weekend)
September 2 – Labor Day (No School)
September 3 – School Pictures (Schedule will be forth coming)
September 3 – GMS Open House 6:00 – 7:00 pm
September 4 – Faculty Meeting 2:30 in GMS Library
September 10 – 8th Grade Parent Meeting GMS Library 6:00 pm

Teacher Days Schedule

At this time, I haven’t received the finalized schedule about District activities on this day. If the past is any measure, however, I would expect that the whole district activities will be completed by 10:00 am and we will then have to conduct all of our Federal and State mandated announcements. You know, things like Harassment Policy, Privacy Policies, and the like.

We will provide lunch for the faculty on Monday in the cafeteria beginning at 12:00. While I am not sure what the menu will offer, I am thinking about cold cuts and salads, perhaps pizza. If you would like to promote a preference, send me an email.

The afternoon will be focused on GMS related issues (Common Core, Advisory, Learning Team work, District initiatives, Security changes, EICAL, schedule changes), most of which are very minor (with the exception of Common Core), but we should review them for consistency.

Tuesday morning will again focus on GMS needs. I hope that we can complete all of these very quickly, so that all with have more time in your classrooms.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Moving to the Common Core

I realize that this is no secret to any of you, but it does require some thought and some real discussion as a faculty.Common-Core-logo

Beginning in the spring of 2015, all schools will be measured by an adaptive assessment to determine levels of student proficiency in the content areas of math and English/Language Arts. These assessments, we have been told, will be very similar to the current NWEA in structure. It is expected that they will be administered by computer and, as students answer questions correctly, or incorrectly, the test will adapt to the student.

We have done some considerable work to this point to get ready for this shift in how we do our business, but there is still quite a bit more to do in the coming months. The CCSS requires that our students be able to logically reason, support our arguments with facts, and then transfer our learning to a new set of challenges. They will no longer be asked to regurgitate, or memorize the answers. The learning expected of our students will need to last longer inside the student than the test. It will be required to support all additional learning and exploration.

So our math teachers and ELA teachers will work with students in developing these skill sets, but it will be required of our science teachers and social studies teachers to also support these skill sets. As a faculty, we will need to uncover more, and better, reading materials for our students. Materials that will both inform and engage our students to levels far greater that we have seen or expected. Variety of text, variety of interests and opinions will need to be exposed to our students in order to pique their strengths.

More on this later…

Changes in Security

When you return to school, you will notice several changes in our security plan. Over the summer, Norm and our Maintenance Crew have been very busy improving how we keep our students and staff safe from anyone wishing to do us harm.

We will spend some time during those first two days discussing these changes and how it will all work for us.

New Laptop Devices

Since I have been away on vacation I haven’t been checking my emails (now, that IS a realimages vacation!), so I haven’t heard anything about the new devices and when they will be ready of distribution. I have spoken to Mike Nash about the devices, however, and it appears that there will be some changes in the method of distribution and in how we control them. He expects to have the devices ready soon and we’ll get out notice when you can pick up your new MacBook Air.

Grade Level Parent Meetings

CLIPART_OF_15182_SM_2We are attempting to get our parents more positively involved in our school this year. This is not to say that our parents feel left out, I do think they all know that they can reach each of us at anytime through phone calls, emails or snail mail and we are always very responsive. No, this isn’t in response to any criticism or shortcoming, it is a real attempt to bring our community closer together for our singular purpose, educating our young!

During September and October, we will run a series of evening Grade Level Parent meetings, complete with an agenda, to work on how we all can do our jobs better and more efficiently.

If you have any ideas for agenda items, please forward them to Susie or me.

GMS Open House

As we have in all the past years, we will hold our annual Open House on Tuesday evening, September 3rd beginning at 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm. At this time you will all have an opportunity to meet our teachers and get a “peek” at the classrooms your child will inhabit for the coming year. You can also ask questions about the supplies lists, field trips planned, or that are being considered, how to volunteer in your child’s classroom or for other activities at the school.

On this evening, we hope that your children will come along with you, introduce you to their teachers and show you around their classrooms. I would love to tell you that we will have all of the children’s names indelibly etched in our brains, but, that would not be true! So, it really is important that the students help the teachers by being the “formal introducers” for this evening.

In our Lobby, we will have lots of information about clubs and activities, health services provided by the School Nurse, information on the Food Services available for families, you know, things like sample menus, how to replenish student accounts and other expectations. We will also have information about volunteering at the Middle School and what is required of parents to get them eligible, as well as other information that will be helpful in making this school year successful for all.

We look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday, September 3rd, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.

Another Clip from Ken Robinson

This clip starts out kind of slow, at least for me, but really finishes with some powerful messages about ourselves and our students.

Each year, when I address the students at the beginning of the year, I try to emphasize possible future paths for our students to see for themselves. I talk about how “in this room today may be the person who will build your house, or deliver your babies”. This one usually gets a “gross” response from the kids (that’s when they end their listening!), I do mention that there may be a Supreme Court Justice in this room, or an astronaut, plumbers and electricians or, even, the person who discovers the cure for cancer.

I try to get the kids to think that there is much that is possible and that they must help each other through this journey, or as Ken Robinson calls it a “Quest”. To hear Sir Ken talk about this idea of a “Quest”, it really makes sense when out into the context of education in general, and the education of these adolescents. Also, I have been doing this long enough to know that each of these statements holds some truth to it. I would bet that each of you have experienced this in your careers, if you’ve been around long enough.

Now, I am not totally delusional enough to think that the students hang on my every word. In fact, I expect that if you asked students about this part of my remarks, their response would be blank stares and an occasional “Huh?”.

In any event, I hope you enjoy this next installment of this conversations between friends:

A Full Week of School…What a Novel Idea!

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Upcoming Important Dates

  • January 9 – Faculty Meeting in the Library at 2:30
    Agenda

    • Review of School Security
      Lock down and Hold in Place
      Fire Drills
      Code Blue
    • Learning Team Breakout sessions
      Please Check your team’s Wiki for new items for your review
  • January 10 – Curriculum Committees for VPA and Health/PE will be meeting. You should have been contacted by your Chairperson with information on meeting times and places.
  • January 10 – PIE Meeting in the GMS Library beginning at 6:00 pm. All are welcome to attend, we will be discussing school security in the wake of the events in Connecticut and in the days prior to school vacation. Lt. Chris Sanborn of the Gorham Police Department will join us to answer and questions.
  • January 16 – Leadership Team meeting in Melanie’s room beginning at 2:30 pm. Discussion of Learning Team work, FY14budget and the implications of the state’s curtailment will be on the agenda.
  • January 18 – School Dance sponsored by the Stroudwater team and the Eagle Team in the GMS Gym from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Sorry folks, no fog machine!
  • January 21 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day no school.

Something We’ve Talked About, but…

Over the past couple of years, we have discussed the idea of having 8th grade teachers spend a day shadowing some of the High School teachers, New Ideasseeing how our “old” 8th graders are faring in their new environment. The opportunity for our 8th grade teachers to witness, first-hand, the workings of the new Academy system that our former students experience could bring some new ideas and concepts to our level regarding a smooth transition to high school life.

Between now, and February vacation, I would like to have some volunteers who would like to spend at least a half day with one of the High School Academies. If you would like to be first on the list, please let Susie or me know.

Regarding Fear

It would not be much of a stretch to make the statement that the last few days of school, just before the Christmas Break, were filled with considerable anxiety for many of us. With the echos of those terrible reports from Connecticut still ringing in our ears, we, schools in York and Cumberland County, were forced to deal with baseless reports being transmitted through social media outlets, of possible events in our schools.

Fortunately, we have a very professional police force who investigated these reports thoroughly and found that there were no threats of nefarious action by anyone toward any school in Maine. It is unfortunate, however, that we expended considerable human resources in essence, chasing air.

I am sure that psychology has a name for this. You know, the condition where we heighten our senses to every creek or noise and think that there is someone, or something, waiting to pounce on us and do evil. Given those horrific events, it is very understandable that we all would react in that manner. None of us ever want to experience that kind of pain.

I came across a video by Karen Thompson, author of a novel called The Age of Miracles. In this TED video, she uses the story of the whaling vessel Essex to talk about how humans relate to fear. I found this extremely interesting, I hope you do as well.

Common Sense Media

badge_school_webI am so happy to report to you that Gorham Middle School is now a Common Sense Media School! Thanks to Terri Dawson, we have completed all of the requirements to receive this very special certification.

For those of you who have visited this site in the past, you know that I refer to Common Sense Media often for reviews to new movie releases, reviews of new video games and some great tips for keeping our kids safe while they are online. The fact the we have completed the necessary requirements to achieve this certification is a statement to our commitment to our community. We are very proud to be able to put the Common Sense Media certification on our web page.

The Homework Debate

I can never remember my parents making comments on my homework (except when I didn’t get done, which was often). Homework was assigned and then it was completed and turned in to teachers. What happened after that, I don’t really remember. I guess I could have received feedback than help me adjust my thinking and learning, but I can’t remember This not remembering seems to be a theme with me!).

Today, and for the last 25  years or so, the debate rages on about homework. Do we assign too much or not enough? Do we grade the homework and have it count in the students’ final grade? How do we tech students to be organized and “take care of business”? Students, today, are so busy with after school activities, jobs, sports, chores and they already spend six and one half hours in school, when do they get their “down time”?

I am going to reference several different folks, all of whom have weighed in on the Homework Debate, from both sides, through professional articles, blogs and other types of media.

Dan Meyer is a Doctoral Fellow at Stanford and in 2007 he offered his take on the homework debate. In 2007, Dan was teaching HS math. His blog entry is entitled “Why I Don’t Assign Homework”.

Patrick Larkin, Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Burlington, Massachusetts and a former Principal of Burlington High School offered this blog post, perhaps more of an observation as a parent, entitled “How Necessary is Homework?” . This post also offers several other voices that provide a very balanced approach to the debate.

Joe Bower is a teacher from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and writes a blog entitled “For the Love of Learning”. He openly professes to “challenge traditional schooling while exploring more progressive forms of education”. Joe offers a true “table of contents” for articles about homework that can be interesting.

Did You Call Me a MOOC?

openculture_bannerI am old enough to remember that if someone in your neighborhood called you a MOOC, that is was not good and could lead to fisticuffs to defend your honor. Today a MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course that makes learning, at a very high level, or not, available to almost everyone who has a desire to learn. Open Culture is a website that makes so much learning possible to so many people, at no cost!

Want to learn a foreign language? You’ll find lost of languages available at Open Culture. How about free audio books? There are more than 500 of the classics available at the click of a mouse. You can find college level courses taught by highly respected experts and college professors. Check out the  Open Culture Website