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Bill Ferriter
Interests: professional wrestling., reading, quilting
Recent Activity
Matt wrote: Looking at PLCs, flexibility is also key- the refusal (or inability) to change can lead to extinction...just a thought- Matt - - - - - - Youre definitely right, Matt: Adaptability matters and survival in the natural world has depended on that adaptability for the history of time. But the hitch is that we sometimes suggest that adaptability means putting people with incredibly different ideas together and then cross our fingers and hope that professional evolution will change practices. Thats not how change in nature occurs. Instead, change happens slowly and logically. Steven Johnson calls this responding to the adjacent possible. Frogs wont grow wings in a generation, but their shading in response to the foliage around them might change in a generation. Thats what we need to keep in mind when structuring learning teams: We need to make sure that people ARE exposed to new ideas, but those ideas cant be SO far removed from who they currently are to make change seem implausible. Does this make any sense? Diversity matters -- but introducing an exotic species to a learning team will have little real impact on practice. Rock on, Bill
Kristen wrote: I can stay the course knowing that others are out there fighting on as individuals in their buildings, but part of a greater whole that will slowly change the path of education. - - - - - - - Thanks, Kristen -- glad to know that there are people out there who share my experiences, thats for sure. Makes it less painful in a way. But I am almost hopeless. Sure, the trend towards opting-out of exams that weve seen in many communities has the potential to force legislators to think differently about how teachers and students are held accountable, but Im not sure theres ENOUGH momentum to drive change -- and I KNOW that there are millions of reasons (in the form of cold hard cash earned by testing, tutoring and charter school companies) for legislators to hold on to the bitter end. My guess is that change will come. Im just not sure that I have the professional stamina to wait for it anymore. Does this make sense? Bill
Toggle Commented May 1, 2013 on What Do You Want From Me? at The Tempered Radical
Hey Elicia, Id recommend looking at what Nick Provenzano is doing with Evernote for student portfolios. You might find some good advice there: And the #ipaded Twitterstream is always a source for good contacts and ideas on how to make all things iPad work in your classroom. Hope this helps, Bill
Michelle wrote: I constructed a dialogue with my colleagues this year about what our students could create using technology, rather than what we wanted them to do. - - - - - - - This is a great strategy, Michelle -- and Id recommend taking it a step further too: Instead of saying what do we want kids to create with technology, just pinpoint, what do we want kids to create. Its a subtle change, but it puts the emphasis on learning and takes the focus off of technology. Of course youll use technology to create most of what your teachers dream up -- its just the most efficient way to do most anything -- but saying technology can sometimes distract teachers from the real reason for these kinds of projects. Hope youre well, Bill
Hey All Yall, Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you for the kind comments and commiseration that youve left for me on this post. Believe me: I do understand why I bother -- I know that I have the responsibility to do right by the kids in my classroom every day, and that work still drives me. But Im not joking when I say that Im just not convinced anymore that change will come from inside of schools. I honestly think that teachers and principals have little to no control over what is happening in our buildings, and until parents start to demand something more -- and something different -- from policymakers, we will be constantly picking up the pieces of a broken system. Bill
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2013 on What Do You Want From Me? at The Tempered Radical
Should be, Dan. Click the link in the the middle of the post and I think the Word doc will launch in a new window. Hope this helps, Bill
Eric wrote: I think this the change you mention, in RSS feeders and technology changing quickly is something that the newer generation finds normal and as teachers we find difficult - - - - - - This is a really good point, Eric -- I think kids are completely unintimidated with new tools and services. Heres the thing, though: I dont think theyre spending a ton of time learning to use any tool in deep and meaningful ways yet. I think if they were, theyd be a bit more invested in individual products. Does that sound right to you? Bill
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2013 on Technology Will Kill at The Tempered Radical
Scott wrote: That said, I had a soft spot in my heart for Google Reader, particularly because it integrates so well with other software/apps. - - - - - - - Good point, Scott -- and one that Ive heard from a ton of other people. Another point I hadnt considered is how Google almost single-handedly chased away other companies that were working on similar integration plans, but didnt want to mess with Google -- and now, none of those companies is around to move us forward again. Someone I read classified it as rewinding RSS by a decade. I think thats why Im so sour on Google right now. Theyre the WalMart of the Internet, chasing local businesses out of business and leaving us with whatever they decide to offer. #techdesert Anyway...hope youre well, Bill
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2013 on Technology Will Kill at The Tempered Radical
Philip wrote: The only reason I now have to use Google is Gmail, YouTube, Chrome. (I use Google+, but hate it.) I was once a Google fanboy, but slowly but surely they are losing me. - - - - - - - Me too, Philip. Theres no excuse for creating products and then killing them off with such regularity. I think what Google misses is that the people they are turning off are their power users and early adopters. Thats hardly a group of people that you want to lose the support of. But in the end, I guess thats the story of life in our world today. Not only do tools and services come and go, but Google can do whatever it wants. Is this one of those Keep Calm and Carry On moments?! Bill
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2013 on Technology Will Kill at The Tempered Radical
Ciara wrote: We tend to grow dependent on these things because we make them into a ritual of our every day lives, but it is our job as educators to try our best to stay posted on new ways to use the web - - - - - - Thats just it, Ciara -- no matter how comfortable we get with technology, something better is GOING to come along. Holding on to what we loved just wont get us very far no matter how frustrating it is. I used to love my Walkman too -- but Im not sad that its gone. Does that make sense? Bill
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2013 on Technology Will Kill at The Tempered Radical
Curt wrote: It may allow a parent to better support the childs learning, but it is also a way for teachers to promote all the good that happens in a classroom. - - - - - - - - I like it, Curt. Our blogs can become, in a way, our own PR machines, cant they? When parents can look inside a classroom through the lens of the blogs that their kids are creating, they are more likely to be supportive and encouraging. And schools need all the support and encouragement that they can get! Hope youre well, BTW. Bill
Mr. Mac wrote: I may borrow, share, reproduce this in the near future. Thank you. - - - - - - Please do, Pal! Borrowing, sharing and reproducing is the whole point of jumping in the stream, right? Together we all grow stronger! Looking forward to seeing how you improve on the idea, Bill
John wrote: Ive found similar success with multiple blogs on different topics and setting up blogging cadres. But even that takes awhile to evolve. - - - - - - Johns on to something here, yall: Blogging projects take patience -- for teachers AND for students. Ive seen kids and teachers get really discouraged when they dont get a ton of visitors from day one. Thats unrealistic thinking. Building an audience takes time for everyone. I think Id make that another suggestion: Be patient. Be persistent. Youll get an audience -- just not from day one. Bill
Bryan Training wrote: Eating healthy food is just part of making a healthy body. It doesnt show the whole picture. Even eating healthy food can lead you to obesity. Combine it with exercise. Something will change. Let the children play outside and let them sweat. - - - - - - - - - - Youre definitely right, Bryan Training. As a guy who has lost over 70 pounds, I know only too well how important it is to pair healthy eating and exercise together in order to make a healthy body. That being said, Id argue that our blog has had a REMARKABLE impact on my kids simply because it is making them more aware of the foods that they put into their bodies than ever before. Not a day goes by without seeing kids coming up to me and saying things like, Holy cow, Mr. Ferriter: Do you know how much sugar is in my _______?! Theyre looking at packages. Theyre finding better options. Theyre beginning to recognize that food IS a choice -- and that if they make better choices, theyll lead a healthier life. Ive taught for 20 years -- most of them in sixth grade -- and Ive NEVER heard a kid asking those kinds of questions and making those kinds of discoveries. Thats got to be worth SOMETHING, dont you think? Bill
Hey Jessica, I do a two-day workshop on teaching in the 21st Century based on my book -- Teaching the iGeneration. Ive got two workshops coming up in the near future: One is in San Diego and the other is in St. Paul Minnesota! Hope this helps, Bill
No sweat, Tom... Glad that the content resonates with you. When you find those teachers, feel free to put them in touch with me. Im definitely convinced that this work is doable and productive -- and Id be more than happy to share what Ive learned with your peoples. Rock on, Bill
Hey Brad, What you REALLY need to share with your students is how thankful I am that they are so willing to share their thinking in such an incredibly articulate manner. I literally use their words all the time in presentations. If you ever want me to Skype in to tell them that in person, let me know. Im willing. And if I can ever help in any way, let me know! I owe yall one. Bill
Thanks for the kind words, Stu. Glad that my content looks useful to you. Thats always rewarding to me! Rock right on, Bill
Kristen wrote: I wonder if it is worthwhile to have one decoy group who includes distractors as a way of determining students abilities to accurately provide feedback against criteria - - - - - - - - First, thanks for stopping by, Pal. Youre one of the people who I enjoy learning from the most, so anytime that I get a visit from you, Im jazzed! And I love this idea. I really DO want there to be content that is out of place on purpose to see whether or not kids can pick that content out. I think the one change I still want to make to my packet of materials for the kids is to add more distractors. I put that lesson together in one night -- which was a bit of an overwhelming grind -- so I cut the creation process short. With a bit more time, Id add more distractors to the collection to force kids to make more choices. Anyway, glad this looks right to you! Bill
Steve wrote: I will begin planning with with one of our teachers ASAP. I would love to see the finished products! - - - - - - - - - - - Thanks a ton for the kind words, Steve! Looking forward to seeing what you guys do with the lesson too. Ill definitely share final products when our kids do the activity. Not sure when that will be -- theyre going to do that in the language arts class -- but when they do, Ill get a few pictures and post them here. Rock right on, Bill
All, Thanks a ton for your kind words on this post! That definitely wasnt my intention in writing, but it feels good anyway. What I REALLY wanted people to notice in this post -- and in all my TWIT posts -- is that teachers add value in ways that #edpolicymakers refuse to recognize and/or respect. Did I help Bindhu to learn more content? Probably -- but thats not what she remembers. More importantly, that content was probably far less important than the other takeaways that she speaks of here. Why cant we see that? Why is it that when we speak about a teachers value add score, we automatically mean scores on standardized tests? Bill
Halie, Thanks for joining the conversation. There are SO many things in your comment that I want to reply to, but I just wont have the time. What I will say is that Ive answered most of them in the follow up posts and in the comment sections that I wrote about this topic. Use the search bar in the side bar to find the posts. I will push back at two of your points, though. The first is when you wrote: - - - - - - - - - - - - I would like to remind you that from what I understand, youre all talking about middle school students! Did you or any of your friends really like to read in middle school? From what I remember, not really! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Ive taught middle school for 20 years now and yes: There are TONS of kids who really DO like to read. In fact, this year, almost ALL of my 120 students are in to reading -- and few if any are reading graphic novels. We read novels together. We talk about our favorites. Weve got an active community of kids who are sharing recommendations with each other and encouraging each other to read. So the answer to your question is kids CAN love reading -- and if they dont, my job as a teacher is to put them in touch with texts that resonate, not to put them in touch with texts that vaguely resemble reading in the hopes that they can pretend like theyre capable readers. When teachers look at kids who read thousands of pages of graphic novels and celebrate the fact that they are readers, were fooling ourselves because the VAST majority of those same students never voluntarily pick up a text-driven text on their own -- and the simple fact of the matter is that text-driven texts are still the norm in professional fields beyond schools. The second point that I wanted to push back against was this one: - - - - - - - - - - - - And if you *really* discredit graphic novels as a teaching tool because a *middle schooler* said they dont have to think when reading them, I think you need re-evaluate your opinion on the genre. - - - - - - - - - - Cant you see the disconnect in your thinking? On the one hand, you say that graphic novels turned you into this sophisticated reader as a middle schooler. You were following plot lines and drawing conclusions over thousands of pages and hundreds of chapters. You were learning to pick out clues from visual text. You were interacting with a genre and a theme over long, long periods of time. And on the other hand, you argue that those same middle schoolers are incapable of giving an accurate reflection of their own reasons for reading a genre. Those points dont connect, do they? If graphic novels result in the kinds of literary wonderkids you describe, wouldnt they be the FIRST people that we should ask for opinions about the genre? I guess I just have more faith in the ability of my kids to give me accurate feedback about what they are reading and/or learning. Any of this make sense? Bill
Mr. Chips wrote: Hmmm ... not too smart of your bright-minded friend to post students feeds under their full names. Nothing wrong with the tweets quoted, but students identities should be protected. - - - - - - - - First, Chips, when commenting here on the Radical, please keep your snark to yourself. Thats not the kind of community that I want to build -- or the kind of comments that I want to have. Youre always free to disagree and/or push back against anything you see here, but you need to do it in a way that is respectful to others. Arent those the lessons that we should be teaching -- and modeling for -- our kids? And if so, shouldnt we hold ourselves to those standards at all times? Its difficult to imagine someone who is willing to post snark under a pseudonym turning around and teaching their students more responsible patterns of participation in online spaces and conversations. Second, Im going to send your comment on to my bright-minded friend and ask him to explain his rationale to you. My bet is that his choice to have his high school students participate in online spaces under their real names is intentional and carefully considered. Many experts in the #edtech world regularly argue that it is just as important to teach students to build a positive presence online as it is to keep them hidden behind a pseudonym. Will Richardson calls this making sure that your students are Well Googled on the day that they graduate. While it wouldnt be appropriate for elementary students, Brads students are high schoolers. Shouldnt they be taught to craft thoughtful online content that others can find? Wouldnt that kind of positive content help them when they are going through the interview process for university or when they are applying for jobs in the future? Isnt a part of preparing our kids for tomorrows world helping them to understand the impact -- both positive and negative -- of their digital footprints? And wouldnt it be easier to teach those lessons if we actually give kids the chance to experiment openly in public places? Bill
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2013 on Digital Immigrants Unite! at The Tempered Radical
Hey Dwight, First, thanks for stopping by -- definitely good to see you here! And Netsmart is a GREAT read for parents, staff and students. A real eye opener about what kinds of skills students need in order to be prepared for tomorrows world. Give it a look -- you wont be disappointed! Bill
Cool stuff, Laurie! I really do hope to hear more about the work youre doing to help adult learners track their progress. Honestly, I think any learner does better when theyre aware of the targets that they are supposed to be meeting. I know that applies for me! Be well, Bill