David Wees's blog

Understanding nature

My wife and son went to Cathedral grove today. It's one of the only first growth forests left in BC, and it is amazing. The trees here are spectacular! What I realized when I saw the photos my wife sent me, you cannot understand nature without standing in (literally) her most majestic works.

My son standing inside a tree

Manufacturing Demand

Thanks to @rmbyrne and his Free Technology for Teachers website, I just saw Annie Lenox's "The Story of Bottled Water" video which is recommended viewing, but chances are those of you coming to this blog know the story she's telling already.

15,000 tweets

15000 tweets

I hit a milestone quietly today. I posted my 15,000 tweet. It's not  a milestone I'm going to celebrate, nor will anyone else, but it got me to thinking. What if we had students with 15,000 tweets?

"Crucial part of our learning"

So today I returned a laptop that a student had forgotten at school to a student during our homeroom. Two of his friends were standing nearby and expressed their shock that he would be so careless with his laptop.

Student 1: "How could you be so careless with your laptop? It's a crucial part of our learning!"

Student 2: "It's our main tool for school!"

The students obviously recognize the value of the laptops for their education. Why don't more educators?

Topic: 

Remixing Schools

I had an idea tonight for a project that would be cool if we could implement it. The basic idea is, we submit complete information about a bunch of schools which are known to work, and then we break those schools down into their component pieces, such as assessment policy or their science curriculum. We then provide an interface so that people can remix these schools.

The (Nearly) Paperless Classroom

I've been reading about people trying to implement a paperless classroom, and it occurred to me that there are plenty of things you can do to implement this type of classroom, without using a lot of technology. You don't need a 1 to 1 laptop program at your school to make it a (nearly) paperless classroom.

First buy some whiteboard material from your local carpentry supply store. Cut it up and make pieces about this big. 

Student's working on a whiteboard

Story telling in mathematics

I tell a lot of stories when I teach, but not generally stories about my life or past stories of students. I use story-telling as a vehicle for explaining concepts that are difficult to understand when abstracted in symbols. 

For example, when I talk about sums of arithmetic sequences, I start with the story of the legendary mathematical genius Gauss as a kid.

What if we treated grades like leveling up?

So I was responding to comment on this blog about student retention, and the person used the word "level" and it made me think of "leveling up" which is this process by which your fantasy character becomes more powerful as a result of the experience they gained. This video below describes the process of leveling up in World of Warcraft (an online fantasy role-playing game).

Retaining students? Not a good idea.

We had a silly ceremony when I was in first grade. It was called "the first grade graduation ceremony." We all stood around and our families all came out and we celebrated our graduation from first grade. We were even given little certificates to hold onto to remind us of the experience. I have no idea if my mom still has mine, but I doubt it.

Improvement, not Innovation, is the Key to Greater Equity

Here is an excellent presentation by Ben Levin.

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