Completely simplifies and demystifies how our teachers should be teaching core subjects so that our students are ready for college and careers upon grCompletely simplifies and demystifies how our teachers should be teaching core subjects so that our students are ready for college and careers upon graduation.
1) Agree upon a viable core curriculum 2) Teach well-crafted lessons (Activate prior knowledge; I do, we do, you do delivery loop, with plenty of formative assessment throughout...) 3) Ensure that authentic literacy (close reading and writing) permeates everything we do at school, including in History, Science, and Math.
That's it. The data proves that all the arcane and minuscule standards will take care of themselves.
Thanks, Mr. Schmoker! You've just framed my work with teachers for the next school year and beyond.
If you are layperson reading this, you're probably wondering how steps 1 through 3 aren't the status quo already, considering we've known these steps for 100 years. Let's just say that innovation for its own sake is often celebrated, providing a wanted distraction from the hard work that needs to get done. ...more
I usually give five stars to a movie or book only if it moves me, or changes my life in some way. The latter is true for Outliers. Sonia and I might dI usually give five stars to a movie or book only if it moves me, or changes my life in some way. The latter is true for Outliers. Sonia and I might delay our boys entry into Kindergarten by one school year because of this book.
It's data, baby. Students (and athletes) who are older are, naturally, more mature than those in the same grade who are younger. This maturity is often construed as talent by teachers and coaches, for example, and thus they provide more attention and guidance to these older kids. For example, studies show that older kids score roughly 12 percentage points higher on standardized testing, which could allow for added advantages year after year. If our boys enter public school when they are first eligible, they'd be on the young side due to their respective birth dates in relation to the December cut-off date. If we simply wait until the following school year, they'll be on the mature side, which gives them a built in advantage all the way until adulthood (studies also show that the advantages are indeed lasting and won't simply "even out" over time). When I play black jack in Vegas, I play the strategy that provides the best odds for success. It doesn't guarantee anything, of course. But why wouldn't I apply the same theory to my own kids?
The main premise of the book is to dispense the myth of "rags to riches" success. People become successful because of, not in spite of, there humble upbringings. See the chapter on Jewish immigrants working in the garment industry during the beginning of the 20th century. They were poor, but engaged in meaningful work that taught them marketing, business, salesmanship, etc. Talk about ahead of one's time! We should stop wondering why so many Jews are financially successful. Their ancestral trades naturally led them into positions of professional prominence here in America.
Speaking of Jews, I also admire Gladwell's contention concerning cultural differences. Why are we so afraid to speak about them? Groups of people can be observably different from one another. There is no judgment here, just observation. Take his brilliant chapter about Korean airlines. Why was their accident rate umpteen times higher than that of airlines in America? All were equally trained and flying similar routes... The difference was cultural! The Korean language shows seven layers of deference. So, when a tired pilot flying through bad weather makes errors during his landing, his co-pilot(s) will not speak directly about vital information that could save the plane. It wouldn't be polite! (Korean Airlines has since fixed this problem by forcing pilots to use English, the primary language of aviation around the world, and one that doesn't have seven layers of deference built into it).
Speaking of Asians, how about that myth that they are simply better at math? Such a stereotype, right? Well, it happens to be...TRUE! They are not born innately smarter at it than their English counterparts. But look at all the built in cultural advantages Asians have.
#1 - Their language makes number sense SO much easier. Americans say Four hundred seventeen thousand, six hundred ninety nine. Asians say "Sho pun tay" (I made that up, but my point is it's WAY shorter (and more logical)).
I have to get back to my family, but read the book for other built-in advantages successful people have that helped them become successful. Awesome read. P...more
This was one of those books hovering over me for years.
A quick read, but groundbreaking in its discussion of the hidden rules of poverty, the middle cThis was one of those books hovering over me for years.
A quick read, but groundbreaking in its discussion of the hidden rules of poverty, the middle class, and the wealthy class. Teachers typically operate from their own middle class rules, realizing that not all student share their same values, but admittedly not understanding why. Teachers should value the rules of poverty at the same time explicitly teaching the hidden rules of the middle class. This is imperative if students of poverty ever wish to migrate upward to succeed in school, the workforce, and beyond. The same can be said for middle class people wishing to become a member of the wealthy class. The hidden rules must be internalized.
To pass on my learning, I xeroxed the chapter on discipline and sent it to a teacher in need.
I didn't understand the section on reading students' eye movements, btw. ...more
Excellent story telling by McCourt. The scattered nature of this memoir has a fluidity to it, not an easy feat. I enjoyed reading it.
The context of myExcellent story telling by McCourt. The scattered nature of this memoir has a fluidity to it, not an easy feat. I enjoyed reading it.
The context of my current career, collaborative coach, provides a different prospective on McCourt's, one of disappointment. Not on him, mind you. His ability to engage inner-city high school kids using mainly his wits is beyond praiseworthy. No, my disappointment is in the system which abandoned him in those classrooms, forcing him to constantly create something out of nothing, to be a hero day in, day out. This pressure, of course, caused him guilt and constant self-doubt, so often the plight of isolated educators.
During his 30 year tenure, where was his training? Where was his professional development? Where was the collaboration with his peers? Of course, asking these questions is like asking why Robin Hood didn't use laser beams to fight for the poor. These concepts simply didn't exist in McCourt's world, the 20th century American education system. English teachers were to teach the classics, how to diagram sentences, and make students "ready for the world," whatever that could possibly mean. Sadly, now in the 20th century, this is still largely the case, but for a different reason. Many of today's teachers (usually the vocal minority) hold on to McCourt's paradigm like barnacles to a barge post. It's the system, not these teacher, that is evolving towards research, training, and collaboration, espousing common core standards that, if instructed with fidelity, ensure students are prepared for careers or college. However, many stalwarts, forced early on to create their own world just like McCourt did, insist upon protecting it at all costs, research (and student achievement) be damned.
Anyway, it's my job to try and change all that... Now, where are my lasers......more
Having never one of these before (but I dabbled in comics as a teen), I'm glad I started with this one. Dark, seedy, cryptic, multi-layered, hopeful,Having never one of these before (but I dabbled in comics as a teen), I'm glad I started with this one. Dark, seedy, cryptic, multi-layered, hopeful, desolate, with a true surpise ending. I didn't see that coming AT ALL. Moore's writing touches on the incredible at times, especially within the interchapters and the parallel story of the Black Freighter. I want more of that!...more
Some touching moments (see the Leaf story), some very unusual settings, and some poignant twists. At other times, however, the reader can see his tradSome touching moments (see the Leaf story), some very unusual settings, and some poignant twists. At other times, however, the reader can see his trademark twist coming a mile away. Maybe he's a victim of his posterity. Like when you go to watch Spaceballs because it was so awesome when you saw it 20-something years ago, but the humor has been redone so many times since then the movie is innefective. It's not Mel Brooks's fault! Or maybe Spaceballs is just lame, and you were only 12 so the lameness was mistaken for awesomeness...
In any case, I liked, but didn't love O. Henry's stories as a whole....more
I've read this twice and continue to refer to it. Common sense, some uncommon sense, and many practical ideas a parent can implement IMMEDIATELY. In fI've read this twice and continue to refer to it. Common sense, some uncommon sense, and many practical ideas a parent can implement IMMEDIATELY. In fact, I think I'll go pick it up again......more
The Pike fish market video served as a better introduction to Fish Philosophy than this book does. I guess viewing the former first made me yearn forThe Pike fish market video served as a better introduction to Fish Philosophy than this book does. I guess viewing the former first made me yearn for an action plan from the latter. Instead, it was a few hundred pages of inspirational tales of specific and narrow implementation. Not really the book's fault, but I was hoping for general systems for implementation....more