In this month’s Smithsonian Magazine, to which I subscribe, an article caught my attention that is a “keeper.” Imagine my eyes popping out when I read the following about Finland having the highest scores in reading on a world-wide standardized test (15 year olds) : “…they had done this without standardized testing…” and “These schools are joyful places. The teachers come in jeans and sandals.” I sat up and took notice verryyy quickly. The author, Lynnell Hancock, spent time studying how a country, who doesn’t emphasize standardized testing (“We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test”) and discovers many secrets on how they got to the point of being top in the world. Read and discover how they got to this at “A+ for Finland” at Smithsonian.com.
Even though we cannot change our system here, I see things that the teachers are doing that we can implement immediately, such as project based learning and other sundry learning styles that we can begin very easily! Remember that OITMS has multiple kits for teacher check-out, such as Flip Cam kits, Digital Cameras, Digital Voice Recorders, and sundry other items that will make learning in your classroom come ALIVE and still meet the rigors of standardized testing.
This month’s issue also has an article that “contradicts the notion that Americans’ use of [social-networking] increases isolation.” at Smithsonian.com/social
If you teach Virginia History, an interesting article, Road Music, discusses the music and region of southern/Western Virginia. You can also listen to the music of the region and see a short video (shows geography!) here.