Interesting Finds, Vol. 1

I'm going to attempt to post interesting bits I've found recently, both as a way to share with the community things I've found, and as a way to reflect upon items I've found. I won't go as far to guarantee I'll do this weekly (I'd like to), but whenever I get together 5-10 interesting items, I'll be sure to throw them out there. Let me know what you think!

1. Practical Theory: Teaching and Shortcuts

  • Chris Lehmann, inspired by Dan Meyer's 8th episode of his dy/av series, asks that if "Herculean" effort is needed for teachers to be truly effective and great- are there things new teachers can do to help prevent burn-out and reduce the high attrition rate common among new teachers? The comments also contain some good ideas on how to keep good, hard working teachers in the profession. As a teacher that was hired one week before his first teaching job to teach brand new classes with no set curriculum, the humongous work load on new teachers strikes a chord with me, as does the problem of teachers who take too many "shortcuts."
    • Penelope of Where's the Teacher? adds to this thread as well as part of her critique of Hollywood teacher movies. Check it out.

2. The entire dy/av series

  • Dan Meyer decided to create a summer series of short videos on planning, working, management, and more. The series is probably more effective than 95% of new teacher orientation programs (in my opinion). Each week I've looked forward to the next episode, and will miss it when it's gone. Follow this link to the 10th and final episode, which includes links to the other 9.

3. Google Reader Preview Extension for Firefox

  • In Will Richardson's post on the new improved delicious, he quickly notes he's been using this preview extension for Google Reader which allows you to view the actual webpage in the reader window by clicking on a preview button. Why is that cool? It's cool because it means you can read and leave comments directly through Google Reader. No more having 25 tabs of articles whose comments you want to read and where you want to leave comments. I've been looking for something to allow this functionability through GR for awhile!! NOTE: You do need to install the Greasemonkey User Script Add-on to install the GR Preview Extension.

4. Science Teacher: A blog

  • I've been keeping my eyes out for them for awhile, and have just now found my first good one. I've been interested in reading another science teacher who blogs primarily on the teaching of science (as opposed to just edu-tech stuff). Michael Doyle's blog Science Teacher does just that. I'm hoping to do a little more science specific blogging, and I'm grateful for the model that I've found. Thanks to Clay for pointing him out.

5. World War Z

  • Maybe this goes better on a summer reading list, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Max Brooks' zombie novel, World War Z. It's written as a series of interviews with individuals from around the world recounting the days leading up to and during the "dark years," or their wars with "Zack." Besides being just a good read, it also has some very subtle (but existent) social commentary on consumerism and our service based economy. One of the more interesting parts was the description of job training courses occurring in the midst of the Zombie War. The teachers were all former illegal immigrants, because 80% of the legal population was in the service economy, and didn't actually know how to do anything. Definitely a good read, even if you're not into social commentaries.