February 2013 archive

Leonhard Dicta on the Human Condition in Professional Life

By Kristina

From my boyfriend’s mom. So interesting when considering the leadership/administration aspect of teaching.

Charles Leonhard was a central figure in the music education development of hundreds of teachers directly at the University of Illinois, and thousands by extension. He believed in Comprehensive Musicianship as a focus for teaching and learning. These dicta reflect his pragmatic view of professional work (and aren’t restricted to music education).

1. The human condition is dichotomous:
• Good and evil
• Confidence and insecurity
• Charity and meanness
• Altruism and selfishness
• Humaneness and cruelty

2. The territorial imperative dominates people as well as cats.
3. When cornered, people react like tigers.
4. Every person in an organization develops a power base over a period of years.
5. Power and status are interactive.
6. Identification of the seats of power is essential.
7. People talk. There is no such thing as confidentiality.
8. People resent the success of others.
9. People crave attention and positive reinforcement.
10. People react positively to being asked for advice; they resent receiving gratuitous advice.
11. Efforts to develop social relationships with superiors are fruitless.
12. Expect the best from people; be prepared for the worst.
13. Slowly develop relationships with people at your own level on the basis of common interests and values.
14. If threatened or abused, don’t get mad; get even.
15. If in a position of power, find a place for the incompetents with tenure where they can gain some satisfaction and do the least harm.
16. If in a position of power, ask the right question:
Is someone good enough to keep?
Is someone bad enough to fire?

unexpected windfall

By Kristina

I got an unexpected windfall this week–a $500 donation to my Adopt-a-Classroom site from the Kitchen Window Foundation! My students and I are so thankful for their generosity–when budgets keep getting tighter, teachers have to scramble for ways to do hands-on projects and incorporate technology into the classroom.

jawboneThe first thing I bought was a Jawbone Jambox. A colleague donated some computer speakers to me a few years ago, but they broke a few months ago. Thus, it’s been hard to show video clips to students during lessons. The Contagion clip that I showed during this lesson was so hard to understand. It’ll be easier to show 3Acts videos a la Dan Meyer!

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 4.01.32 PM

The second thing I bought was a laminator. This will be great for creating a class set of IB Math Studies formula sheet and for creating more math games (especially in our upcoming probability unit).

Thanks again, Kitchen Window Foundation!



LearnLaunch Conference

By Kristina

I had an awesome time presenting and participating at the first-ever LearnLaunch conference this past weekend. Our panel’s focus was “targeting underserved populations to help them improve learning outcomes.” Our moderator was Melissa Dodd (CIO of Boston Public Schools) and my fellow panelists were John Maycock (Co-Founder and President of the Achievement Network) and John Werner (Managing Director and Chief Mobilizing Officer, Citizen Schools and Founder, TEDxBeaconStreet). I felt honored to sit on a panel with folks who have so much experience serving underserved populations…and enjoyed seeing their perspectives. It is easy to think only at the classroom-level and about the day-to-day issues in one’s schools, and to focus on how much we still have to overcome with targeting underserved populations, so it’s important to reflect on successes and to think at a systemic level.

Our questions were:

1. When you survey the landscape of education reform, and look at how data and assessment are being used to try to accelerate student performance, what are some of the most promising practices that you see? What obstacles do districts or schools face in adopting these practices? What conditions need to be in place for them to used successfully?

2. With the focus on data, have people’s beliefs about student learning and capacity for learning been altered and if so, in what ways? And how do you think practices have shifted as a result of the focus on data-informed decision making?- BPS – data warehouse, using ATI (assessment technology)

3. What is the experience of students? Are they part of the conversation around how we make sense of their learning data and inform what/how they are learning?- Not as much as they should be. They’re often unaware of how things like showing up tardy to school and studying for standardized tests affect their performance — wondering why they’re not doing well in 1st period English or haven’t improved at the SAT between junior and senior year. Some of my students are getting better at tracking their scores with my standards-based grading, but the majority of them forget to log in and check what their grades are.

4. In education, we place significant emphasis on collecting, analyzing and understanding data. But then what? What are some of the most innovative practices you have seen, by teachers, students, and/or administrators in schools in response to data and assessment?- Use that data for interventions

5. For the participants here, what is one thing that you’d like them to know about how educational technology can best support the learning needs of students?

let them eat cake

By Kristina

The world is serendipitous. I ran into Hannah Lesk (grad student from HGSE who worked on Radix for a bit) at the LearnLaunch conference yesterday, and she gave me a cool idea for surface area and volume from Wayne Thiebaud’s Cakes.


Now pondering my design of problems relating to icing, pricing, and packaging. I’m thinking of having them calculate the cost of icing all the cakes in the picture (based on surface area), and then figuring out how many cakes they could store in a school store pantry before selling them for prom fundraising (using the cake caddy).


I’m also thinking of doing some pan conversions.