Learning

Know Before You Go: The Power of Formative Assessments

By on January 14th, 2014

signA few years ago, not long after I first learned to drive, a family friend allowed me the opportunity to borrow his car.

The rule of the road was “if it has two digits, it goes around the city in a circle and you can’t get lost, it’ll always bring you back.”

When I began driving with my friend, I noticed I was a bit lost, but was fortunate enough to see the I-95 sign. It had two digits, the 9 and 5, so that must have meant it would loop around and I’d be back in no time. An hour later, I pulled off at an exit to ask for directions, to find I was now an hour and a half away from home.

Continue reading


Multitasking: Technically Impossible

By on November 1st, 2013

These days it seems like everyone is always trying to multitask.

It’s certainly possible to fold laundry while talking on the phone, or ride a bike while listening to music, but it just doesn’t work well to attempt two tasks that involve brain power at once.

Why? Our brains can hold only five to nine things in their short-term memories, so when someone’s trying to accomplish two dissimilar tasks that both require some level of thought and attention, that’s where the “multitasking” ends and the switching from one task to another begins. And when information doesn’t make it into the short-term memory, it can’t make it into long-term memory to be recalled later. Continue reading


The Promise of Prescription in Education

By on July 8th, 2013

Prescriptive LearningI see many requests from school districts looking to find the magic pill to make learning tailored to the student. Prescription of learning tends to be a common first step that schools are willing to make into the world of personalized learning environments. In prescriptive learning, a path through the learning content is prescribed for each learner based on a criterion-reference pre-test, and sometimes performance on a post-test. This is a common answer to remediating students who need to make up credits, exempting items they know and remediating on items where mastery has not been gained. Continue reading


The Call Center Classroom

By on July 2nd, 2013

Call Center Classroom CelebrationHave you ever been inside a call center where sales are involved? It is one of the most energetic, exciting, goal-driven environments I have ever experienced. One of my first jobs was selling telephone products over the phone and it was an experience that has shaped who I am and how I view the world.

In a call center, you often have what are called “clappers.” Every time you make a sale, people run up and down the aisle clapping devices to celebrate your success. If you continued to sell, you not only got the noisemakers, but also streamers, balloons, cupcakes, and enough attention to make a billboard blush. Continue reading


Road Trip to the Next Exit!

By on June 24th, 2013

Photo Credit: Next Exit History App

Photo Credit: Next Exit History App

About four years ago, Apple launched the iTunes App Store and a little word that never existed in the Dictionary is something you now hear people of many generations saying…“there’s an app for that.”

If your family is like mine, your children are using the iPad (or a similar tablet) more and more each day. My now 5-year-old son was about 3 years old when he first picked up the iPad; it amazed me how he could not read, but could figure out how to play. I am always looking for fun apps that help my children learn without them realizing that they are learning. If you are like me, you are going to love this new app! Continue reading


I’ve Got the Magic in Me

By on June 13th, 2013

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Corp.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Corp.

We could all use a little more pixie dust in our lives, right? Have you ever had someone go the extra mile to make your day a million times better than it was before? If not, take a trip down to the most magical place on Earth…Walt Disney World. Employees, known as “cast members,” are trained to do nothing but make your experience one you will never forget. When you arrive at their hotels, you are greeted with “Welcome Home” because they want you to feel comfortable in your environment. Everyone seems to say hello with a smile on their face and if you need something, then they will take care of it…even before you ask. Continue reading


Firewalls and Willy Wonka

By on May 28th, 2013

Cereal

Let me start with a disclaimer:  I’m a teacher, but I’m not a parent.  I love kids, but I don’t keep any in the house.  My favorite role in life is Aunt, and yes, I love to sugar them up and send them home.  (I have one niece pushing 14, and three nephews between 11 and 6, if you’re curious.)

Taboos are alluring.  They make you all that more curious about why you can’t have whatever it is, and they make you want it all the more.  I believe that when you deny kids something, you create a taboo.

As a kid, I felt that way about sugary cereal.  There was none allowed in our house.  Continue reading


Integrity

By on May 20th, 2013

Fender BenderI was in a fender-bender last week. A young driver with obviously little experience put his car in reverse without thinking and backed up right into my car – doing a small amount of damage. He pulled over, got out, and apologized. He was shaken, and I calmed him down using my best teacher tactics. We exchanged information and we were on our way.

Well, now he is being dishonest and telling everyone I hit him. Of course that is to be expected – he was in another accident just two weeks earlier, and mentioned his mother would be very upset (not exactly his words).

Continue reading


FLVS Joins Forces with the University of Florida’s CAMP Gator

By on May 2nd, 2013

Photo Credit: University of Florida

Photo Credit: University of Florida

This year, Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is piloting a program in collaboration with the Collegiate Achievement Mentoring Program (CAMP Gator) at the University of Florida (UF). Students from UF serve as virtual leadership mentors to FLVS students enrolled in the Leadership & Skills Development course.

Each week, mentors and mentees meet online to complete activities and lessons related to leadership development, goal setting, and ways to achieve current and future successes. Continue reading


Home Education

By on April 18th, 2013

Home Education
The term “homeschooling” continues to raise the eyebrows or evoke comments of skepticism from the mainstream. Even though homeschooling has been in practice since the 18th century, for some it still feels novel and new.

As we look at the evolution of homeschooling, we find that some of our most accomplished athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders were homeschooled. The list may surprise you. Continue reading