We’re back with the second edition of The Cornerstone Accolades, in which I recognize some of the most outstanding recent posts in the edublogosphere. There is no tagging involved: it’s simply a celebration and commendation of the reading that’s challenged me over the past month. (You can read the first edition of The Cornerstone Accolades here and find out more about how the award works.)
Best Post on Why Kids Hate School:
A Taste of Honey by Dangerously Irrelevant. This is a short and to-the-point post which perfectly articulates my sentiments about why kids are bored in school, and why we CAN’T pry their cell phones and iPods away. (I also highly recommend The Game of School: Wrap Up which is a compilation of outstanding and mind-boggling quotes from Robert Fried’s new book. Mr. Fried, if you’ve Googled yourself and found this post, I’d love to receive a copy of The Game of School to review here.)
Question of the Month:
Old, New, and Everything in Between: What Should Children Read? by The Miss Rumphius Effect. Are there certain books that every child should be required to read? Is there more value in classic than contemporary literature? Or should we be matching individual readers to specific books? Though the post is technically from January 29th, I decided to add it in here since it provides such an excellent springboard for discussion.
Best Essay on National Board Certification:
Teacher Leadership and the NBCT by The Tempered Radical. This article had me reminiscing on the “good old days” of the certification process (I had blocked most of that out, thank you very much). But I love the honest and insightful reflection on what it really means to be an NBCT: what exactly IS a teacher leader? I also really enjoyed reading another of The Tempered Radical’s posts, Living With My Pedagogical Tension, which speaks on the same topic as the next accolade…
Best Reflection on Academic Pacing:
Anxiety Attack by Confessions From the Couch. Miss A. is worried that she’s rushing through the curriculum. Thanks for bringing that topic up, because it’s something we’re ALL concerned about. A slightly different twist on this topic can be found at…
Best Post on Differentiation:
Teach to YOUR Students by Adventures in Super Teaching. This is a pretty amazing little blog: the posts are short and inspirational, but insanely practical, too. I like this particular post because TeachEnEspanol, as the author is known, addresses that little problem of sticking to the lesson plan vs. teaching to what your kids really need.
Best Post on Teacher Burn-Out:
What Happens When Overburdening Teachers Succeeds? by Thoughts on Education Policy. The controversial success of KIPP schools is having a wide-range effect on the perception of a teacher’s role in the classroom. This post is an excellent exploration of whether excessive self-sacrifice is really desirable and sustainable on a long-term basis.
Best Response to Irrelevant Professional Development:
That Strange Noise You Hear? by Chalk dust makes me sneeze. This is hilarious. Imagine if every teacher refused to sit idly by when fed a bunch of useless information under the guise of staff development.
Satire of the Month:
Mamacita Says: Rant, Rant, Rant, Rant by Scheiss Weekly. Mamacita has revived the old accountability essay that compares teaching to dentistry. Sadly, the satire is just as relevant today as when it was first created: it’s worth revisiting, especially within the context of Mamacita’s own rant about the subject. Well done.
Funniest Student Work Sample:
A Twenty… by Teaching Kindergarten.
Best Post on Reading Specialists:
A Time and Place by Miss Brave Teaches NYC. Miss Brave’s blog is full of thoughtful reflections on Not Being Allowed To Teach. This is one of my favorites, because she expresses just how much reading specialists hate when their groups are canceled. See, it’s not just the classroom teachers who are frustrated with this. (Any ESE teachers want to address the subject?)
Best Post on 21st Century Learning:
Defining Creativity in the 21st Century Workforce by Mike Falick’s Blog. Mike’s found a really amazing survey that shows the difference between what employees consider to be creative thinking, and what school superintendents think it is. The discrepancy and Mike’s commentary on it are both fascinating.
Most Brutally Honest Topic:
Call for Help: How Do We Get Boys to Respect the Restroom? by I Want to Teach Forever. There are some far heavier issues addressed on this blog, but I really like this post because it expresses a concern
that nearly every teacher has to deal with. Elementary teachers, in particular, are faced with the never-ending problem of messy bathrooms and often downright disturbing behavior. It’s a subject worth addressing, and I’m glad it’s been brought to the table.
Best Blog Resource:
38 Great Ways to Find Edublogs at Blog by Carol (hat tip to Instructify). If you’re tired of sorting through outdated blogrolls, check out this post, which lists some innovative ways to find new and quality reading.
So what did I miss? What blog posts made YOU think this month?