Replied to Are You a YouTube Recommendation Engine for Your Students?

Long story short:  Our kids are already spending tons of time in YouTube.  If we can influence what they are watching there — a process that starts by carefully curating high-interest content connected to our curriculum — we can have a long-term impact on the role that one of the most popular digital spaces can play in their learning lives.

I love your idea and endeavour Bill. I remember trying this with my media class a few years ago. It reminds me of Silvia Rosenthal Talisano’s curation challenge.
Replied to Why This? Why Now? Why Bother? The PLC Edition. by an author (The Tempered Radicals)

The people drawn to teaching are deeply creative and reflective by nature. The work of high-functioning teams feeds those traits and will leave you professionally jazzed in a way that teaching alone could never do.

This is a useful provocation Bill. I look forward to reading the rest of your series.
Replied to Digital Lessons Teens Can Learn from the Covington Catholic Confrontation by an author (The Tempered Radical)

Find a teenager who is important to you and remind them that their private lives begin only after they walk away from their devices.  Until then, they need to be on their best behavior.

Just teenagers?
Liked Implicit Bias is Real (and Sneaky). Here’s Proof. by an author (The Tempered Radical)

I want you to realize that when equity advocates talk about the impact that bias has on students, they aren’t talking about the overt actions of openly racist people that are easy to spot. They are talking about the unconscious actions of good people like me and you.

Replied to Be Someone’s Conversational Follower. by an author (The Tempered Radical)

My goal is to both to add and to find more intellectual value from the time that I spend in social spaces.

More information doesn’t really help anyone to improve. It’s deeper reflection and conversation that matters most. I can encourage those behaviors in others and feed them in myself by becoming a conversational follower and reinvesting in blogs as a forum for extended interactions.

Personally, one of the changes that has made a difference to me is to keep a copy of the comments I make around the web. This is a part of the IndieWeb. Some sites accept comments in the form of webmentions, however those that do not (like your own) I simply cut and paste. I find that this extra effort has made the exercise more meaningful. Someone who might have something to add to this is Chris Aldrich.
Replied to A Note to My Child’s Teacher (Tempered Radical)

I guess what I am saying is that I want my kid — a kid who has never really felt appreciated by a teacher — to walk away from your room each day convinced that you care about her as a person.  If you can pull that off, you will change her life for the better — and in the end, that’s our primary responsibility as classroom teachers.

I love this post Bill. It has me thinking about my own daughter’s teachers. I was wondering though about a different response, celebrating the successes or strengths of the teachers?

When I think about the teachers my daughter has had, there are a number of things that have stood out? For me, it has been relationships and a focus on strengths.

Originally posted at Read Write Collect

Bookmarked We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised | George Monbiot by George Monbiot (the Guardian)

It’s not that we’re eating more, that we exercise less, or that we lack willpower. The shaming of overweight people has to stop, says Guardian columnist George Monbiot

George Monbiot explains that the reasons given for our current increase in obesity are often wrong. Rather than issues over portions or exercise, the real issue are the increase of diary and sugary foods in our diet:

So what has happened? The light begins to dawn when you look at the nutrition figures in more detail. Yes, we ate more in 1976, but differently. Today, we buy half as much fresh milk per person, but five times more yoghurt, three times more ice cream and – wait for it – 39 times as many dairy desserts. We buy half as many eggs as in 1976, but a third more breakfast cereals and twice the cereal snacks; half the total potatoes, but three times the crisps. While our direct purchases of sugar have sharply declined, the sugar we consume in drinks and confectionery is likely to have rocketed

This reminds me of Bill Ferriter’s classroom blog #SugarKills, a careful look at the not-so sweet side of tastes we love.

One of the things I like about George Monbiot’s work is the focus on systems and society. Although we could stop eating fast food or get off Facebook, but these decisions are often decided for us. This is captured in his closing remarks.

Just as jobless people are blamed for structural unemployment, and indebted people are blamed for impossible housing costs, fat people are blamed for a societal problem. But yes, willpower needs to be exercised – by governments. Yes, we need personal responsibility – on the part of policymakers. And yes, control needs to be exerted – over those who have discovered our weaknesses and ruthlessly exploit them.

Replied to A Simple Plan to Make My Love of Reading Transparent to My Students (The Tempered Radical)

To make my love of reading even more transparent this year, I’m stealing an idea from my friend Pete Caggia: I’ve created a space on my board where I’m sharing the covers of the books that I’ve already read this year AND the cover of the book that I’m currently reading.

Bill, I am assuming that you only teach in the one classroom?
Liked Lead Smarter, Not Harder Tip 2: Start Asking Better Interview Questions (Tempered Radical)

The goal for interviews in a professional learning community ISN’T to spot candidates who already have “all the answers” to questions about technology use or differentiation or classroom management.

The goal for interviews in a professional learning community is to spot candidates who are reflective, who have a growth mindset about their own practice, and who realize that personal growth is a function of collective study with capable peers.

Replied to Lead Smarter, Not Harder Tip One: Understand Teacher Approaches to Change (Tempered Radical)

Leading smarter, not harder depends on having a clear understanding of who the Trailblazers, Pioneers, Settlers, Stay-at-Homes and Saboteurs are in your building because each group is going to need different kinds of support in order to move forward. 

This is interesting Bill. I think that the hard thing is that we do not always choose who we work with.
Liked How Much SHOULD a Public School Teacher Make? (The Tempered Radical)

Long story short:  I’m a realist.  Teachers are never going to make a fortune.  It’s not fiscally responsible — and the fact of the matter is that we HAVE to be fiscally responsible.  

But let’s quit pretending that teachers who are using their voices to draw attention to the sad state of funding in our public schools and to the impact those funding choices are having on kids are bad people trying to fleece America.

Liked Want to Drive Change? Find Your California Roll (The Tempered Radical)

Just because Japanese restaurants wanted to serve exotic recipes to American customers from day one doesn’t mean that American patrons were ready to eat them. Instead, attracting interest and long term commitment meant creating recipes that introduced change incrementally, one new and interesting ingredient at a time.

Bookmarked Simple Truth: Technology Changes. The Skills We Believe in Don’t (Tempered Radical)

People passionately argue that there ARE no “wrong answers” when it comes to using technology in teaching and learning. Or they passionately argue that you CAN’T do any of the tasks in the right hand column without the tools listed in the left hand column. Or they passionately argue that by labeling the actions in the left hand column “wrong answers,” I’m hurting people’s feelings and alienating teachers who aren’t quite ready to take kids towards the behaviors listed in the right hand column.

But like it or not, I’ve chosen those words deliberately.

Bill Ferriter revisits his image of right and wrong use of technology.

Image - Technology is a Tool - V3

“Image – Technology is a Tool – V3” by William M Ferriter is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

In support of this, he provides three reasons why he stands by his assertion of ‘wrong’:

  1. It provides a starting points for conversations about the use of technology
  2. If teachers aren’t looking beyond tools when making instructional choices their decision-making really is flawed
  3. Not buying the alienation argument

This comes back to his argument that technology makes learning more ‘doable‘.

Replied to Teaching Critical Thinking? These Mythbusters Activities Will Help (The Tempered Radical)

Our goal is to help students recognize that gaps in thinking aren’t something to be afraid of.  They are something to be openly acknowledged and then addressed through deliberate attempts to gather more information.

Bill this is fantastic idea. I like the use of a graphic organiser to scaffold the thinking. It reminds me of the Zoom In routine, where it is impossible to ‘know’ what the image is, therefore forcing student to justify their interpretations.
Listened Microcast #001: Publish > Polish from Tempered Radical

Have we gotten to the point where “blogging” no longer means messy reflection in the minds of most people? Is there now an expectation that blogs have to be filled with content that has been carefully created and “spit-shined?”And if so, does that discourage new bloggers from ever getting started?

Bookmarked More on the Role of Audience in Social Spaces

We’ve got to stop telling people who are new to social spaces about the “power of audience” because the truth is that most of today’s audiences are muted at best, choosing consumption over participation in nine conversations out of ten.

Bill Ferriter questions the story that we keep on telling about audience and instead suggests three approaches that should be encouraged:

(1). Bring Your OWN Audience

Instead of trying to build a huge audience of strangers, concentrate on building a small audience of peers

(2). Be a Participating Member of Someone Else’s Audience

Start commenting on the work of others.  Start responding to people’s posts in Twitter.  Let people know that you are listening and learning from them.  Show gratitude for the time that they put into thinking and sharing transparently with others.  Provide challenge to their core ideas — and then push those ideas out through your networks.

(3). Draw attention to the ideas of your audience

I want you to think about my buddy Bob for a minute.  He took his own time to read my original bit on audience.  Then, he took even more of his own time to craft a reply that challenged my thinking and articulated concepts that I hadn’t considered. Instead of spending that same time on his own growth, he was making an investment in me and in our intellectual relationship. That matters, y’all — and I need to respect that investment in some way.


Ferriter has been writing a lot recently about reflection, audiences and comments. Personally, I have taken to being more intentional with my comments by sending comments from my own site. This has had its hiccups, but I think that it offers an alternative future and positive possibility.

Replied to Audience Doesn’t Matter

Audience is a function of the content that you create, the consistency of your creation patterns, the length of time that you’ve been creating, the opportunities that you have to be in front of audiences in the real world, the relationships that you have with people who have audiences larger than you do — and, as frustrating as it may seem, serendipity.

Great reflection Bill. I think that it is easy to be distracted by clicks and likes. I remember when I first started blogging, I thought that I was going to get inundated. The shock was that I almost had to beg for my first comment. I think that in part the Blogger user interface encourages a focus on statistics. I find that the fact you have make a choice to setup Jetpack means that at the very least users are more mindful of the impact and choice. When I moved to WordPress I also made the decision to stop checking the stats. I think that I have only randomly checked Jetpack a handful of time in the last few years.

In regards to “hits’ and ‘likes’, you might enjoy reading this post from danah boyd (although I assume that you have probably stumbled upon it before). She provides a different perspective on data and numbers:

Stats have this terrible way of turning you — or, at least, me — into a zombie. I know that they don’t say anything. I know that huge chunks of my Twitter followers are bots, that I could’ve bought my way to a higher Amazon ranking, that my Medium stats say nothing about the quality of my work, and that I should not treat any number out there as a mechanism for self-evaluation of my worth as a human being.

The only thing that I am unsure about is that by my nature of ‘responding’ I often have someone in mind associated with my writing and reflection, is this though a different sort of ‘audience’?

via collect.readwriterespond.com

Replied to Is Your School a “Rules First” or a “Relationships First” Community?

My priority was obedience first and relationships later, not realizing that obedience — or the lack thereof — was a direct reflection of the state of the relationship that I had with each individual student. The kids who misbehaved the most were the ones that I’d done nothing to get to know and appreciate and value and celebrate.

Although I wonder if it is more complicated than this dialectic, I agree that an approach on rules and discipline misses the point. I wrote about this a few years back. One of the interesting point that was made to me was the place of rules and discipline within learning, the structures associated with the way things are done. At the very least, this is a question that all teachers should reflect upon as it often raises so many questions to consider.