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  1. National Teacher Day Is May 8th
  2. Great “Why Do I Explore?” Videos
  3. Here’s What Students Did On Our Field Trip To The Zoo
  4. New Translation Apps For Smartphones
  5. Teddy Roosevelt On Failure
  6. Today Is Astronomy Day
  7. “Round-Up” Of Recent Good Articles On School Reform
  8. The Best Photos & Videos Of The Space Shuttles’ Final Flights
  9. The Stories We Think We See Are Not Always The Real Ones
  10. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  11. Prior Mailing Archive

National Teacher Day Is May 8th

Great “Why Do I Explore?” Videos

The X Prize Foundation recently sponsored a contest inviting people to submit short videos answering the question: “Why Do I Explore?”

They’ve just named the winner, which is embedded below. You can see the other finalists here and all the submitted videos here. Wired wrote an article that provides more information, also.

Here’s What Students Did On Our Field Trip To The Zoo

I took forty students to the zoo this past week, and am still recovering :) . I can hardly wait for our annual trip in May to San Francisco with 120 students!

I thought readers might, or might not, find it useful/helpful to see what I had students do at the zoo, which is a good example of what we do on these kinds of trips.

Students chose their own small groups of 3-5 people, and decided on a “leader.” They have a fair amount of freedom on our trips, as long as they always stay together, and the leader has a cellphone that stays on — I have their number and they have mine. They also have to be on time when we all meet together at various times during the trip.

For the zoo trip, they had to complete a fairly simple scavenger hunt I created.

Near the end of our trip, they had to say their favorite part of the zoo and why they liked it. You can see all of these videos at our class blog, and here’s an example:

What do you do on your field trips?

New Translation Apps For Smartphones

Here are some “new to me” smartphone apps I’ve found for translation. Though the last one is not iPhone-related, I’ll still add them all to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me:

SayHi Translate is an iPhone app that translates what you speak into a language of your choice. It’s very similar to Google Translate, though has fewer choices. It may have some advantages, though — it seemed to work more accurately than Google Translate when I tried it out this morning. It costs 99 cents. I’m going to have my students try-out both next week and give me feedback on which one they like better.

7 Language Translation iPhone Apps for the Digital Traveler is a useful post from Mashable.

The Microsoft Translator app for Windows Phone has recently added an augmented reality feature to translate signs, menus, etc. You just point the phone at it.

Teddy Roosevelt On Failure

Today Is Astronomy Day

“Round-Up” Of Recent Good Articles On School Reform

Here are some recent good articles and posts on educational policy issues:

Flunking the Test is from The American Journalism review and is a commentary of mainstream media coverage of school issues.

A Model Lesson: Finland Shows Us What Equal Opportunity Looks Like is by Pasi Sahlberg. I’m adding it to The Best Resources To Learn About Finland’s Education System.

Abolish Tenure? is by Richard Kahlenberg. I’m adding it to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Why Teacher Tenure Is Important.

Flipping the Script on Turnarounds: Why not Retain Teachers instead of Reject Them? is by Anthony Cody at Education Week. He has also written Spinning the Numbers on Turnarounds: School Improvement Grant Controversy Brews. I’m adding both to The Best Resources For Learning About The Four School Improvement Grant Models.

SIG Failure Explained is by John Thompson. I’m adding it to the same list.

Hired Guns on Astroturf:How to Buy and Sell School Reform is by and appeared in Dissent Magazine.

Secrets of ‘miraculous’ charter management organizations appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog at The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Remembering Test Scores and Learning about Regression toward the Mean
is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad).

The Best Photos & Videos Of The Space Shuttles’ Final Flights

The Space Shuttles are being shipped to museums for display, and they’re arriving in spectacular fashion. I thought I’d bring together links to some great photos and videos.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About The Space Shuttle.

Here are the links:

Space Shuttle Discovery’s Final Flight is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.

Photo Highlights of the Discovery Shuttle’s Tour of Washington DC is also from The Atlantic.

Space shuttle arrives in NYC; crowds watch in awe is a photo gallery from The Sacramento Bee.

Space shuttle Enterprise lands in New York after Manhattan flyover is a slideshow from The Los Angeles Times.

The Space Shuttle Arrives In New York: Photos and Video is from The Atlantic.

Space shuttles make their final flights is from The Associated Press.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the over 900 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

The Stories We Think We See Are Not Always The Real Ones

In 1944 two psychologists showed this video to 34 college students who were told to “write down what happened in the picture”:

Of the 34, only one described it as showing geometric objects. The others told a story using humans or, in two cases, birds.

There are several interpretations of this study — you can one here and another here.

A quote in the second link says the study points to the danger of ascribing:

“purpose and meaning to what we see even when there is very little to suggest it.”

It seems to me that some school “reformers” who use student scores in state standardized tests as the key assessment of student learning and teaching quality could benefit from the main lesson of this research.

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