Thursday, February 3, 2011

High Tech version of Two Truths and a Lie

I love the icebreaker "Two Truths and Lie." Since I've been home for the last 3 days because of a little ice storm closing most of Dallas, I have had some think time. I've formulated a fun idea based on this game. All I need is a collaborative partner that is enthusiastic. I was thinking about doing this activity in May, sometime after the TAKS test. Here's the idea.

Students in 2 different schools will create online projects which could be about themselves as individuals, a historical personality or a topic. They could use any online tool to exhibit their work: Glogster, Fakewall, Google Sites, a Blog, just to name a few. All of the projects would be completely truthful and accurate with the exception of one detail. Obviously guidelines and standards for the students would be very critical.

When the projects are ready, the students from the other school would view some of the other projects and attempt to identify the false aspect of the project. The culminating activity would be a video conference where the students from different schools would meet to reveal the lies and meet the people behind the deception.

Particulars for this project would depend on class subject and grade level. The main objectives of the exercise would be to get students to become become more critical consumers of information and the understand effects of Web anonymity on how people portray themselves and others.

Any one that is interested, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Letter to the Texas Legislature

In these times of budget shortfall, it is reasonable to expect cuts to State services. However, it is another thing to cut so severely that it stymies progress on matters vital to the State's future. No one disputes that a first rate public education system is critical to our economy and our people, but progress in public education depends on vital people such as school librarians.

Cutting libraries and librarians during this budget crisis would be a huge mistake for countless reasons, but mostly it is about the librarians and the role in they play in school improvement and student outcomes.

Many studies conducted in States around the USA show a clear correlation between library funding and staffing and student achievement. Behind those numbers are talented, dedicated professionals that involve themselves in all aspects of the school including: staff development, classroom instruction and innovative programs that encourage student creativity and personal growth. Without librarians, classroom teachers would lack valuable partners that help them incorporate technology and critical thinking skills into their loaded curriculum.

I urge the Texas Legislature to avoid short-sighted budget cuts that will only hamper efforts to improve schools in the long run. Librarians are creative and resourceful. They can do more with less, but not without any support from the State. Please help assure a brighter future in public education by funding school library positions and resources as much as practically possible.