It’s Connected Educators Month – the first major celebration EVER of the powerful potential for educator-driven professional learning in the Internet age.
Each Wednesday of this month (five in all) we’ve been featuring several posts written by our Voices from the Learning Revolution bloggers. For our last installment, we’ve selected more revolutionary voices from our collection of nearly 200 articles, reflecting the spirit and vision that underlay the USDOE-sponsored Online Communities of Practice project.
Our final post is a cheat – A Baker’s Dozen: Our 13 Most Popular Posts of 2011. According to our readers, these are some of the most engaging and intriguing articles we’ve published so far, all written by teachers and school leaders.
Teacher Fails: Let’s Talk
One of our most-read bloggers, Shelley Wright, began her reflection on teacher “failure” in the classroom this way: I recently blogged about the importance of cultivating a culture where our students are expected to fail sometimes — it’s part of taking risks. We need to do this as teachers too. The first step, of course, is to create a culture of trust and support among teachers, and that’s hard in the midst of high-stakes testing and the publishing of teacher and school rankings. The only way this will happen is if we’re honest. I’ll go first. Learn more.
Cakes, Snakes & Boxes: Passion Based Learning and Early Literacy
“I have wondered for a long time how passion and project based learning would change my primary classroom,” writes Kathy Cassidy. “I have read with fascination the blogs of teachers who made this shift, but I have yet to find an example of a primary teacher sharing this change. Having an entire class of pre-readers and writers in your classroom alters the playing field for exploring your passions. This year, I decided to find out for myself what the difference would be in my grade one learning space.” Learn more.
Teaching by Getting Out of the Way
“I’ve always done inquiry science,” says middle school teacher Marsha Ratzel, “but it’s been more teacher-directed than I wanted. Over the summer I took an e-course in ‘Unleashing Student Passion,’ hoping to find a better approach. It was challenging for me because it exposed so many places where I want to be better. I needed to stop holding students back from becoming the learners they will need to be as they grow up. I have always helped students learn the science and be curious. But I knew it was time to take another step, to help the kids in my classroom kindle their own passion for learning.” Learn more.
A Baker’s Dozen: Our 13 Most Popular Posts of 2011
VFLR editor John Norton wrote in January 2012: I’m a little reluctant to follow the popular annual tradition of announcing a “Top 10″ — mostly because I’ve read every one of the excellent 100+ articles we’ve posted since our March launch. Whatever the click counts, I know how much great content we have to share, written by a remarkable cross-section of creative and visionary educators. Still, a colleague assures me that Top 10 lists are a good way for folks to sample the product and become regular readers. Reason enough. And I’m sure you won’t mind if I add a few extra! Learn more.