What happens when you get to the bottom of a slippery slope? You end up attempting to optimize a system that has no high point. It began simply: someone, somewhere, said that they knew a few things that they were sure everyone needed to know, probably on East Coast around 1910. The list grew exponentially.… Read more Mu of Zero
She picked back up flippantly, as if she hadn’t known that I was a physics teacher, “…and then we did this thing, you know, with like a, turning balance thing, and I have to use some equation, and, oh, I’m screwed, something with period or time.” I immediately flew into whiteboard mode, “Like this?!” I drew… Read more That Study Never Happened
This begins a series of posts about how one might start a totally project-based, competency-driven, asynchronous schooling environment with a Creative Commons Licensed pedagogical model. We call ourselves Iowa BIG, and yes we know that sounds a bit pretentious, but hey, my official title is Headmaster Cornally, so, deal. Through our initiatives, we deliver core… Read more How to Run an Iowa BIG: Our Space #gowhalephants
A quick primer on what we do at Iowa BIG: It’s been slow, especially because I’m used to running my own little kingdom of a classroom, but Iowa BIG is bearing the fruit of a community-focused, project-based model. The dream was to create a schooling experience with a seamless connection and sometimes blurred difference between… Read more The Overflowing Froth of Realness: Iowa BIG
You wanna know what keeps me up at night? Not climate change. Not the fact that Ke$ha makes more in a minute than I make in a decade. Not the fact that Iowa is slowly but surely wasting the prairie’s soil and everyone’s fresh water so it can produce Pepsi, ethanol, and beef. No, it’s… Read more [Tyranny of the Curriculum] What is Extra in Education?
Humans are Built to Walk: Not run. Not jump. Not swim. Walk. We have arched feet and an astonishingly efficient walking gait. We think better when we walk, and our happiness and sense of purpose may be tied to the simple act of wandering about. It’s not that we’re good at walking; it’s that we… Read more Designing Schools for Humans
The issue here is that most assessment of students is inbred. Having just spent my first (and last) visit at the r/education sub-reddit, I was left with a tinny taste in my mouth; it’s a lot of complaining. I suppose the Internet was built for complaining, and cats, and, oh, maybe communicating. What really got… Read more What I Learned at ACT
I started with optimization this year. Namely, Dan’s taco cart problem. Why? Because if you have to cut off learning when the semester ends, then you’ve got to present the most important stuff first. Why? So they have time to actually processes it. No one cares until it’s a story, and the text-book order is… Read more How I Teach Calculus: A Comedy (L’amuse Bouche)
I was sitting in my office at BIG grading the 3-4 page papers from a cookie cutter assignment on the history of Isaac Newton and planning out which stickers to use in my next toy-economy sticker chart, when I realized I was having a nightmare. Har Har. Actually, I was in a 1:1 session with… Read more How I *Know* Things Aren’t Alright – A Hack-a-Thon Story
I was in Missouri this week working with an amazing group of teachers just outside of St. Louis. They were interested in grading, and you could tell their administration had really raked the coals on some smoldering issues with assessment (like my favorite question) And that’s all this is, isn’t it? I mean, I got… Read more Standards-Based Grading: Why Now?