Imagine Being at the Top and No Standardized Testing

Finland-Kirkkojarvi-School-631In 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

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

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.

Do you have an SOL on inventions, or the like? Reversal of Fortune discusses Samuel Morse and his famous invention, but did you also know that he was a painter? See his most famous painting here.

Back to School Resources

appleWelcome back to a new school year! This year I will be in two buildings (John Tyler and Churchland Elementary) and will be the sole TRT for both. As you prepare for the new year, I’ve compiled some resources and goodies for you to look at during your last week at home:

Are you a new teacher?
How do you lessen the new year fears by making the best of technology? Go

Tired of the Same Ol’ Stuff?
Do you want to do something different this year with technology?
11 Techy Things to Try this year

How to do 11 Techny things in the new year

Promethean Boards:
Back to school flipcharts:
See the section that includes resources, hints, and ideas: Go

Lesson planning ideas:
HotChalk (advertisements heads-up!)

WHAT CAN I DO ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL? This wiki has resources in the left hand column

I have not set up my schedule yet, but will be sending out an introductory email during the first week of school to let you know what days I will be in each building. Please let me know how I can help or assist, and the best way to contact me is via email. Here’s to a new year!