Monday, December 21, 2009

21 Things that became Obsolete this Decade

I love lists, they keep you better organized or provoke thought, this is the latter of the two.

21 Things that became Obsolete this Decade:
1. Palm Pilots
2. Email you pay for
3. Dial-up
4. Getting film developed
5. Movie rental stores
6. Maps
7. Newspaper classified
8. Landlines
9. Long Distance Charges
10. Public Pay Phones
11. VCR's
12. Fax machines
13. Phone books, dictionaries, encyclopedias
14. Calling 411
15. CD's
16. Backing up data on a CD or Floppy disk
17. Getting bills in the mail
18. Buttons
19. Losing touch with people
20. Boundaries
21. Record stores

Great Planning

When great lesson planning gets translated into great lessons, a strong teacher is essential. They make the difference between the student never quite getting it and the lesson being a success. But when lousy lesson planning gets translated into lousy lessons, even the greatest teacher can't help. The lesson is the product, and a great product needs a great sales person, in this case a teacher, to make it a success. It's a partnership of well crafted lessons and instructional sequences, and the teacher that makes it all go.

In most instances student do not just accept they need to learn what the teacher is teaching. They learn because of the benefits to them. A great lesson is more than the sum of its parts. It needs to connect to the student's life. These benefits are not usually obvious to the naked eye, but it is up to the teacher to demonstrate these benefits.

Students still need to know why they should want to learn what you're teaching. They need to be told, explained, and demonstrated what it will do for them. At our desks we make standards based data driven lessons. In front of the students, we sell hope, that is education innovation. The more I learn HOW kids learn, not what they learn, the less I have in common with teachers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


As we all heard last week President Obama committed another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan at a cost of $1 million per year for every soldier, according to Robert Gibbs.

We spend $47,780 per year to keep 1 Kansas senator in the state legislature in Topeka, according to

We spend $35,632 per year to keep 1 inmate in Kansas prisons, according to PBS.

But our legislative leadership thinks that $4100 is too much money to spend per year to keep 1 Kansas school child educated. They are quick to point out the money crunch in the state, however, it was known we were heading in this direction in 2005 and nothing was done, plus there was no recession going on at that time. The legislature has put schools exactly where they wanted them, thanks for your help. I'm not sure we can stand much more of their priority spending.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun Facts About Technology

In 1810, the population of the United States was just over 7 million. That is 4.3 per square mile
In 1910, the population of the United States was just shy of 100 million. That is 26 per square mile.
In 2010, the population of the United States will be greater than 300 million. It will be at least 80 per square mile.

There are over 270 million cellphones in use in the United States. That is almost double the number of landlines.

Now if the average cellphone is 4 inches long, then if we set all 270 million in a straight line, they'd measure out at 1,080,000,000 inches, or 90,000,000 feet, or 17,045 miles. That is more than half of the circumference of the earth at the equator.

And that's just the cellphones in the US. There's another 634 million in China. And 427 million in India. And Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia sport numbers well above the 100 million each.

As for the Internet, there are 231 million users in the US (on a good day).

In other words, there are more than double as many folks online in the US today as there were people in the US a hundred years ago.

Now I know that these sorts of stats get cited and bandied about all the time; yet no matter how often I look at them they nonetheless give me shivers.

Because 2110 is going to make 2010 look like 1910. And we've already produced children who will live to see that day. What are we preparing them for?

Fun Facts to Know and Tell.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Are We Thankful For?

Now that Thanksgiving is over with and all of got to spend time with family and friends it gives us a chance to reflect on what we are truly thankful for. We all celebrate the usual things, children, health, and our families. We should be thankful for them year round not just on one day.

I thought of writing what I am thankful for in the profession I work in. In a leadership position I realize most we hear about schools revolve around funding but I am choosing not to be negative because there is so much more to this profession.

1. Working with people that enjoy their jobs and have positive attitudes.

2. Connecting with kids. I would rather be around kids than work with adults all day every day.

3. Parents who are supportive and don't leave us alone in the village to raise their child.

4. Creative and collaborative thinking that solves problems.

5. People that make me laugh, and I mean really laugh. I couldn't be at a job where humor was prohibited.