Finland is winning the war on fake news. Other nations want the blueprint

Russia’s neighbor has developed a blueprint for countering misinformation. Can it be exported to the rest of the world?

Source: Finland is winning the war on fake news. Other nations want the blueprint


It’s great to have some attention paid to what is happening to combat misinformation. Media literacy and critical thinking are essential pieces of what we need to keep at the forefront of our thinking in K-12 education. The phrase “teaching them to be digital detectives” strikes me. Beyond misinformation, many other subtle messages are sent via media. How are we teaching students and our adult population to recognize, understand and be informed thinkers? Way to go Finland!

Trainings – River of Life

With all endings, come beginnings! Looking ahead to school year 2019-2020, comes the opportunity to start fresh again with known and unknown colleagues. One transformational inclusion activity that focuses on building relationships and community is the ‘River of Life.’ The time and number of people can all be adjusted to fit your time frame. The experience will connect you more deeply to your team members by building your understanding and empathy.

Source: Trainings – River of Life

What Adults Can Learn From Kids

Wow! This young lady has a message for adults about the potential of kids. The short TED Talk pushes our comfort zones and asks the adults to trust, listen and partner with our students/children to make the future better. One of my favorite quotes, ” It is imperative to create opportunities for children, so that we can grow up to blow you away!”

Is your lesson a “Grecian Urn?”

We all have favorite pet projects that have been around along time. We do them because we believe “the kids love them.” Jennifer Gonzalez challenges us to think about the true value for students and the use of time. In this article, Is Your Lesson A Grecian Urn, she challenges and encourages us to ask ourselves the tough question:

“Does it consume far more of a student’s time than is reasonable in relation to its academic impact?” And she shares… “If students spend more time on work that will not move them forward in the skill you think you are teaching, then it may be a Grecian Urn. And, it may need to go.”

Thanks, Jennifer, for the great reminder that all hands-on activities are not minds-on activities!

Smart Classroom-Tech Integration

Great article that supports thinking and shared strategies about utilizing tech most effectively in the classroom. In addition to reading it yourself, consider reading the article with your colleagues. This could be a good way to promote discussion and sharing of strategies used in class and new ideas that can be tried! Try a coding routine with a team to help share thinking and talk about new ideas.

STEM: Time to move from talking about it to doing it. 

With the exception of pockets of innovation, STEM and STEAM have become common vocabulary with little transfer into curriculum and daily practice. In K-12 education, this surface understanding it not serving our students. In many cases, STEM/STEAM are mentioned as a lab experience and maybe included as an elective opportunity… where it can fit in. And that is the disconnect… trying to squeeze it in without truly changing.

If you only have a surface knowledge about STEM/STEAM, read this article to help move your thinking along. Ryan does a sound job of touching on many critical issues that should have us all thinking about what changes we need to make now in our schools and within our practice. It is time to think about instituting real change. Change that will overhaul organizational structures dating back to the early 1900’s, support teacher opportunities for professional learning and raise awareness of all stakeholders.

We have taken a look down the road at the future needs of our current students. We can see that they will need to operate in a world that has yet to be invented. They will need the 4 C’s: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication backed with a foundation of strong reading/writing and STEM skills. Yet, we continue to deliver a program that hasn’t shifted educational practice and pedagogy to match. It is time to start preparing the students we have in class now for an uncertain future.

Couldn’t all adults use…”Life advice from teens who are changing the world.”

Calling all Middle Level Educators: Take a breeze through this BBC piece that spotlights some amazing kids who are changing the world. The quotes support progressive educational movements like growth mindset, empowered youth leadership and student agency. As the Parkland students movement demonstrated to the world, our kids can be poised, articulate and work to improve the world.

Good Leaders Make Good Schools

I’ve always believed that creating the best schools is about creating the right culture. In this NY Times Op-Ed, David Brooks, agrees that improving schools starts with the principal and “What do principals do? They build a culture.”

In Good Leaders Make Good Schools, Brooks highlights some recent successes in education and draws the connection to the whole school environment and “the liturgies of practice that govern the school day: the rituals for welcoming members into the community; the way you decorate walls to display school values; the distribution of power across the community; the celebrations of accomplishment and the quality of trusting relationships.”

And that begins with – shout out here- to excellent principalship! “Principals set the culture by their very behavior — the message is the person.”

Yet, this doesn’t happen alone. An outstanding leader will implement what we have known: “Research also suggests a collaborative power structure is the key. A lot of teachers want to be left alone and a lot of principals don’t want to give away power, but successful schools are truly collaborative.”

So, fellow leaders… think about what you represent everyday in how you communicate with all people, where you spend your time, and how you trust your team as leaders.

“When you learn about successful principals, you keep coming back to the character traits they embody and spread: energy, trustworthiness, honesty, optimism, determination.”

Social media disaster or golden learning opportunity?

1,000 Danes Accused of Child Pornography for Sharing Video of Teens” was a recent article in the NYTimes.

What? How did that happen? What is going on? If you have any opportunities to work with teens regarding privacy and social responsibility around digital citizenship or social media, here is a golden opportunity. Follow this lesson link to use that article and event as a jump in point for deconstructing what happened and helping teens make meaning out of this situation.