My Favorite Ted Talk Ever (so far)

click here for What We Learned from 5 million Books by Harvard researchers Jean-Baptiste Michel and Erez Lieberman Aiden

Culturomics is a form of computational lexicology that studies human behavior and cultural trends through the quantitative analysis of digitized texts– presented here by 

The guys are charming and funny and the results of their research, in charts, are revelatory– in the possibiliities they illumine. Play with the tool at V awesome.

Will the new Common Core Standards Subjugate Literature to Information Texts?

   Teachers are worried as many districts respond to Common Core Standards reducing focus on poetry and novels. But the Common Core specifies literary work and includes poetry and fiction in its standards objectives and exemplar lists. Fiction is falling off the Scope and Sequence due to a lack of time to accommodate given non-fiction works, comprehension and reflection skills required.  Perhaps we simply need more time for language arts? Longer school days? A new way of scheduling?
Here is one of the actual lists so that you can evaluate the emphasis for yourself:

Common Core Grades 6–8 Text Exemplars


Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time
Cooper, Susan. The Dark Is Rising
Yep, Laurence. Dragonwings.
Taylor, Mildred D. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Hamilton, Virginia. “The People Could Fly”
Paterson, Katherine. The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks
Cisneros, Sandra. “Eleven”
Sutcliff, Rosemary. Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad


Fletcher, Louise. Sorry, Wrong Number
Goodrich, Frances and Albert Hackett. The Diary of Anne Frank: A Play


Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “Paul Revere’s Ride”
Whitman, Walt. “O Captain! My Captain!”
Carroll, Lewis. “Jabberwocky”
Navajo tradition. “Twelfth Song of Thunder”
Dickinson, Emily. “The Railway Train”
Yeats, William Butler. “The Song of Wandering Aengus”
Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken”
Sandburg, Carl. “Chicago”
Hughes, Langston. “I, Too, Sing America”
Neruda, Pablo. “The Book of Questions”
Soto, Gary. “Oranges”
Giovanni, Nikki. “A Poem for My Librarian, Mrs. Long”

Informational texts: English Language Arts 

Adams, John. “Letter on Thomas Jefferson”
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
an American Slave, Written by Himself

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

Churchill, Winston. “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: Address to Parliament on May 13th, 1940”
Petry, Ann. Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad
Steinbeck, John. Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Informational Texts: History/Social Studies 

United States. Preamble and First Amendment to the United States Constitution. (1787, 1791)
Lord, Walter. A Night to Remember
Isaacson, Phillip. A Short Walk through the Pyramids and through the World of Art
Murphy, Jim. The Great Fire
Greenberg, Jan, and Sandra Jordan. Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist
Partridge, Elizabeth. This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie
Monk, Linda R. Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution
Freedman, Russell. Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Informational Texts: Science, Mathematics, and Technical Subjects 

Macaulay, David. Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction
Mackay, Donald. The Building of Manhattan
Enzensberger, Hans Magnus. The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure
Peterson, Ivars and Nancy Henderson. Math Trek: Adventures in the Math Zone
Katz, John. Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet out of Idaho
Petroski, Henry. “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag”
“Geology.” U*X*L Encyclopedia of Science
“Space Probe.” Astronomy & Space: From the Big Bang to the Big Crunch
“Elementary Particles.” New Book of Popular Science
California Invasive Plant Council. Invasive Plant Inventory











Learning Is Delightful

…if we don’t spoil it with clumsy efforts to control it, if we use a light, caring, skilled, technologically and psychometrically advanced touch to orchestrate learning. Leveraging exemplary resources, honoring teachers, adding our talent, expertise, and concern to that of professional educators, we can support individualized learning for each learner.  All humans deserve to learn and to develop their skills and talents. Now we have the capability to support learning for all and we can work to measure learning in less primitive and limited ways. Here are some of the strategies we hope to see more of in 2011 and beyond.

  1. Know what each learner knows and what grabs their interest in order to provide the most engaging and effective lesson.
  2. Individualize learning– providing support for each learner keyed to their interest, knowledge, and skill.
  3. Use our current technology and knowledge to develop engaging cross-curricular learning.
  4. Support learning programs that address real world problems and yield real world work.
  5. Utilize cooperative learning strategies for students to learn from each other in groups and to learn to listen, speak, and cooperate effectively.
  6. Assess student skiils and knowledge while they learn, integrated in learning, rather than in year-end tests.
  7. Leverage media, news, and social media in learning to connect students with history, the real world, and each other, around the world.
  8. Integrate all subjects in learning — as all subjects integrate in life and work.
  9. Provide year-round, day and night blended* learning opportunities to all, extending the school day and the school year.
  10. Share great lectures and lessons across classrooms, schools, districts, and states.
  11. Hire more art, music, dance, PE teachers and integrate their teaching in core subject learning.
  12. Enable all students to be taught by master teachers for at least a class a week.
  13. Increase hands-on science, engineering, art, music, math and project-based learning opportunities.

* Blended learning=live in-person coaching or instruction blended with asynchronous and synchronous online lessons and resources.