Developing Effective Learning Behaviors

As I work towards the exam period with students at my new school, I am reminded of the importance of instilling consistent and diligent study habits while also deflecting focus away from grades and high stakes testing.

Beyond the Paperless Classroom

   There’s a lot we are responsible for when entrusted with the education of young people. In addition to the traditional academic priorities – knowledge and skill acquisition – we are also responsible for their physical, social, and ethical development. Our curricula, then, may include character education, service learning, as well as physical and health education.  Among all this, we also have a responsibility to help our students develop good work habits and behaviors.  However, with the tide of high-stakes testing, standards-based reforms, and the ever-increasing pressure to gain admission to elite colleges, there is a danger that ‘prepping for the test’ may eclipse our efforts to help students to develop productive work habits. Furthermore, research has shown that the increasing pressure on students to perform well on high stakes tests can increase the incidence of cheating or other unethical behaviors. On the other hand, there is evidence that the most…

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10 Reasons Why You Should Ditch Cable TV*

We (my wife, myself, and our two small children) are now almost 6 months into our no-cable TV experiment, and it has been a success.  There have been very few complaints from those who are late adopters (everyone except me).  This is my last post on this topic, and it has been an interesting journey!  So, the ten reasons:

  1. We are saving $145 a month.  I know I’ve made this point before, but it just feels so good to deprive Comcast/Verizon/Directv/Sky of this money!  However, we are still able to watch many of our network TV shows thanks to the purchase of a digital antenna.
  2. Since we are saving so much, we feel free to purchase some shows and movies from time to time which are then available not only at any time, but also anywhere by viewing them on an iPad.
  3. We watch virtually no commercials.  That means we are required to think less about erectile dysfunction, saving 15% on insurance, and cleaning products that are going to change our lives.
  4. We have discovered all kinds of interesting shows: Wallander, The Fall, Gavin and Stacey, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Shameless, and That Mitchell and Webb Look.  And of course, we have continued to watch our old favorites: The Daily Show, 30 Rock, and Parks and Rec.
  5. We have been able to binge watch shows we have really enjoyed.  This, of course, is a mixed blessing: going to bed at 1am on a school night after watching four murder mysteries in a row is not necessarily the best decision.
  6. We have still been able to watch plenty of sports, even the local baseball team in the World IMG_8242Series.
  7. We, or at least, I feel that we are already living the future, when there are no such things as DVRs, when I don’t need to subscribe to CNN for 60 cents/month, and where we either own our content or can stream it for one of our subscriptions.
  8. We can start a show/movie in one room and finish it in another/ on another day.
  9. Our children see less adds for plastic cr@p that they then ask us for Christmas or sooner (like, now).
  10. There are no hideous cables poorly tacked into our skirting boards/door frames plus holes drilled through walls and floors by someone who really doesn’t care if you are a bit OCD and really don’t like looking at sloppily installed wires all over your house.

So that’s it.  Getting rid of cable has been a highly positive experience, and we recommend it whole heartedly!  We’d be most interested in any and all comments!

*As long as you don’t follow a particular sports team.  If you do, you are still going to need cable.  However, if, like me, you just want to watch a football game/match (and OK, this might be a blasphemy to many people), then you can ditch cable.