Things People Out There Need to Invent

November 22, 2012

Tribune/Nathan Orme – Kenny Method, a 14-year-old eighth grader at Clayton Middle School in Reno, jokingly demonstrates where this human brain would be located if it were still with its original owner and not in a plastic bag for research purposes.

  1. An abbreviation equivalent to the Latin e.g., that can be used after a phrase where you’d tack on “for example.” As it is, “e.g.” is limited to use before the example. For now, I’ll use the actual abbreviation of “for example,” f.e.
  2. Facebook app that filters swear words out of the status updates of, let’s face it, mainly teenagers, replacing them with either asterisks or other pre-chosen words; i.e. “SHE’S A PENGUIN POMEGRANATE!!!!!!!” “I’m so LEDERHOSEN bored!!” and “I HATE PROSTATE HOMEWORK!” Read the rest of this entry »

How Differentiated Instruction Misses the Point

September 28, 2011

The groundbreaking developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky described a zone of proximal development where children can learn best. It is a place between that which is too easy and that which is too hard; a productive space where the guidance of a person more competent in a task can help a learner to reach his or her potential. The most effective teachers work to create these zones to meet the learning needs of individual students.

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June 15, 2010

After teaching in classrooms of children from 7 to 15 years old, an understanding has finally gelled. At very young ages, children see important adults such as teachers in sharp focus, while their friends are somewhat fuzzy. As they grow older, adults become blurry while their friends come into greater focus.  Thus, in 2nd grade, the teacher is the center of attention and children only half-way listen to their friends. They talk to their friends but are likely to interrupt or walk away while their friends talk to them. But, if a teacher enters a large crowd of young teenagers, that teacher is nearly invisible to them, while their friends occupy all of their attention. Perfectly nice 13-year-olds will generally not respond or even grant eye contact to teachers who greet them in the hallway. This process continues so that any object that is not an 18-year-old’s friend, or a device with which to contact a friend, fades out completely. That is why college students will walk across the street completely oblivious to traffic, which has become invisible to them (unless the cars are driven by their friends).

Other factors predictably determine how we perceive the world. For example: Read the rest of this entry »

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