February 2009

Excited to be here for this session,  but trying to catch up from coming in several minutes late. Have to say it here: 30 minutes for lunch, and also for moving to lunch, and from lunch to the next session, is simply uncivilized.  IMHO, I’d suggest a schedule tweak for this problem next year. 

 This session was an easy choice for me, because I have spent the year trying to learn about and better understand 21st century learning, and in particular how to develop essential 21st c. skills, creative and critical thinking among them.    Our speaker is from the College Board; his presentation style is a bit dry, but he has important messages for us, with a valuable accompanying powerpoint.  (will the powerpoint be made available? If and when it does, I will try to link it back in.)     


Two great pieces in the Times in the past few days, both affirming what I think our great 21st c. schooling techniques.   First, the excellent piece on recess, which was atop the Most Emailed list yesterday. 


New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades… (more…)

Did I miss something? The program describes an intended panel on Global Curriculum chaired by Merry Merryfield, but somehow I missed this?  The booklet doesn’t seem to say when and where it was supposed to be.  Anybody know anything about this?

Now our keynote speaker, who begins with a video introduction.  I love video introductions; I think they are hugely effective uses of media to enhance any presentation; Pat Basset does a good job with this, and every speaker should try.  Doesn’t have to be long: 4-6 minutes is a fine length, 15 minutes is too long.  Teachers too, whom I observed when visiting 21 high schools this fall, greatly enhance their students’ learning by the use of short, youtube length, videos in their classroom. 

Luma’s reputation is for her organizing a soccer team for international refugee youth, near Atlanta. Luma’s speaking style is lovely: modest, personal, self-reflective.  And I agree we should honor those who are making global connections locally, in small but still very significant ways; Luma certainly has important lessons for us.  And yet, I will confess to feeling envious that Kwame Anthony Appiah was the speaker last year– and I feel a bit shortchanged here, not hearing someone of his prominence and his sophistication.  Is that a terrible thing to say?   Nice standing ovation for Luma; her work deserves that, certainly.

Kate Meenan-Waugh opens her presentation by proudly telling us about international learning at Washington International School, but also saying that they need to keep developing new programs.   She hands off to a journalism teacher from WIS, who tells us that it is unlike most student newspapers by being an global newspaper, called “the international dateline.”    

The paper has traditionally been published only in a print-version, which has its drawbacks, he explains– lack of timeliness, burden of typsesetting, waste of paper, lack of breadth of media tools such as video and audio.    But there is a new alternative: 

Student News Action Network


hands with globeA new diploma program at PDS, optional for students there, presented by Dr. Loren Fauchier, Director of global Studies there.   Our presenter tells us his teenage son jazzed up his powerpoint for him, which is a funny anecdote and a nice message too that our students can collaborate with us. 

The program includes a global citizen capstone project, and a set of 21st century skills development, and I like that our speaker cites Tony Wagner, whose book Global Achievement Gap is a huge inspiration to me.   (more…)

Second session, now; Lakeside’s global education program director, Vicki Weeks.  She offers a six step cycle: Start with the Vision, Gather the Wisdom, Enlist the Departments, Poll the Constitutents, Adjust Accordingly, Repeat. 

But How do you Measure?, she asks, in what is a repeated and regular theme of this blog.   Vicki has great passion for her program, as she explains its history and evolution out of travel programs, such as to Peru, during which students would ask her: can we stay longer in one place, and can we get to know the people here? 

To “gather wisdom,” she says, they formed a global think tank to define global citizenship. Nice.    Knowledge and Skills and Attitudes, she explains, are identified.   Students should be change agents in the world, she said, for which she would not apologize. (more…)

Developing Campus Buy-In to a Global Mission, by Peter Merrill from Phillips Andover.   Arrived late,  after speaking with Pat Basset about the blog.  Peter is speaking in a mellow, soft spoken manner, keying off a comprehensive powerpoint. He is offering “RESPONSES to curricular objection,” and has many good thoughts.  For instance, are globalization issues too developmentally complex for high school students?  This is a concern, Peter says, that cannot be dismissed.  In Peter’s conclusion, he emphasizes flexibility, seeing the global in the local, trying things small and large, being sensitive to concerns.  Helpful.  After jump, Andover’s Mumbai service learning program…


Good morning– it is good to be here at NAIS, beginning this morning with the Global Education Summit, GES.   Shuttle from the Hyatt worked smoothly, but not swiftly.  Wishing I were staying at the McCormick Hyatt, and could just walk.  

Registration easy, but not surprising, because the room here, of assembled attendees for GES, feels only sparsely populated.  I expect to hear tomorrow what the attendance is, but I cannot help but guess that this year’s NAIS attendance will be down; I feel like at least a dozen friends have told me they are taking a pass this year. Still, in only being here 30 minutes I have seen two good friends, and am already experiencing angst from the conflict of serving as a conscientious blogger, and wanting to chat with colleagues and chums, a tension I expect to mark my entire conference.  Friends who are reading this: accept my apologies if my nose is buried in my laptop.

Welcome!   Beginning Wednesday morning,  I will be posting frequently, sharing with you what I am seeing, what I am liking, what I am thinking as I attend the NAIS Annual Conference.    I am not an NAIS official, and I do not speak for NAIS; rather I am a veteran NAIS head, and an always enthusiastic NAIS conference-goer.   A few notes:
  1. I will also be “micro-blogging” the conference, beginning Tuesday, via Twitter @JonathanEMartin.   Follow me there too!
  2. The mission of this blog is celebrating 21st century K-12 education (hence, 21k12).   Accordingly, for my NAIS reporting I intend to focus upon issues related to contemporary best practices and innovations in teaching and learning.
  3. A hat-tip to my blogging colleagues; be sure to also visit Michael Obel-Omia’s blog, and KaTrina Wentzel’s blog.
  4. I have been blogging since August, there is much more below, including my live-blogging reports from the 21 21st century high schools I visited last Fall; at each school I shadowed a student for a full school-day, and as I did I wrote and posted my observations of each classroom.  The two posts immediately beneath this one are my “takeaways,” the lessons learned from my “Good High School Project.”

Thanks again for coming; I hope you will read regularly, share with others, and join the conversation by posting a response.

Some classrooms just aren’t effectively facilitating student learning, this blogger observed when visiting 21 high schools last fall.  In the previous post I wrote about many of the classrooms that I admired and appreciated very much, more than thirty in all, (and I named the schools where this excellent teaching was happening).  In this entry, however, I am going to share times when I observed what I believed to be quite ineffective teaching.  Although I will not be naming the schools at which these ineffective lessons took place, I should emphasize that all comments below are based on first-hand observations of actual classrooms at the 21 very good high schools I visited.

Classrooms that Aren’t Working for 21st century Students:

  • The Too Much of  a Good Thing Classroom
  • The Distrusting Classroom
  • The Ill-Will Classroom
  • The One Student at a Time Classroom
  • The Uninterested in Motivation Classroom
  • The Trying his Hardest but Unprepared and Unsupported Teacher Classroom
  • The Teacher-Centric Classroom
For each, after the jump, I explain a bit more what I mean, and give examples of these practices in action, (scrubbed of any association with the particular schools).   More

logo1-transparentbg-13In the fall of 2008,  I set out to learn what qualities could be observed to be most effective for student learning in 21st century high school classrooms.   At each of the twentyone 21st century high schools I visited and shadowed students for a full day,  I tried to  gauge whether what I saw happening was “working” for kids and their learning. (Follow the link to the schools to find the larely unedited (!) raw narratives of my observations at each school.)

I tested my observations against the roughly fifty books I have recently read on best practice, and I tested it against my own gut: Were kids genuinely engaged, and were they doing the work of learning in ways that would advance their understanding and their skills?  I also asked myself whether I would benefit from and grow intellectually in these classrooms.  How did I feel?  Was I learning?

From my observations in more than 100 classrooms,this is what I learned:  Students are learning most when their classrooms are learning environments structured around Purpose, Problems, Process, Professionalism, and Product.

For each of these, the Big Five,  I have provided, after the jump,  links to my live-blog observations of the classrooms (and I name the schools!) where I saw them effectively deployed: (more…)

The Digital Ed. blog having recently brought Chris Dede to my awareness,  I have been poking around his publications at his Harvard GSE faculty website.

  • One paper, called Transforming Education for the 21st century, very effectively brings together a number of the issues and priorities that I blog about here:
  • * what the fast-changing world requires of our students to learn in the new era;
  • * how our students must have higher level thinking skills such as problem solving and communication;
  • how tackling real-world problems enhances the development of these 21st century skills;
  • and how contemporary digital tools enhance the opportunity for our students to gain these 21st c. skills. (more…)

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