Moving from AR to Authentic Accountability

This morning, Jennifer Lagarde tweeted a link to a blog post by Rachel Peck that was so fabulous that I had to share and comment! When I went to make a comment, my post wasn’t saving correctly, so I just decided to dust off the old blog and post it here!

This is a FABULOUS post! Agreed! You crushed it!
This is a post that should be shared! I will have it at the ready for my teachers, most coming from other schools and districts, who lament the day that I let AR die a quiet death at my elementary school. The collateral damage that AR does far outweighs any small, anecdotal advantages it presents. Additionally, if our goal is to make informed, research-based decisions that are best for the healthy development of children, AR, with its lack of independent supporting research is a very expensive folly. I wonder what innovative, engaging library programs & improvements $3500+ per year/per campus might make!

If you’re at all interested in literacy, go read her blog post now! Rachel Peck has provided such a strong, thoughtful argument for authentic reading programs (see Donalyn Miller’s work) as opposed to reading accountability programs such as AR!

Accountability makes adults’ jobs easier. Authentic reading benefits children.



Education & Tech News to Use 01/03/2015

US Navy 081123-N-7862M-001 Students from the Bahrain School share an interactive reading experience with U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain Command Master Chief Randy Shoe during

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephen Murphy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Dr. Teri Lesesne is brilliant, of course, and I’m always eager to read what she has to say! This post about new, “personalized” leveling apps (October 2014) is en point as usual! They seem to be just a new twist on an old, and wrong-headed system. It’s just the latest take on restrictive reading as in the AR of old!

I can see that being able to have all students in a room read a common article at a comfortable reading level could facilitate discussion, and by extension, deeper comprehension of the topic at hand. I suspect that in most classrooms where it took hold though, it would be wildly overused and abused–because it’s easy on the teacher! And most teachers are sooo slammed for time that they will snap up anything that promises to make their task surmountable.  I also wonder what is left out of the easier reading levels, and I wonder what those kids will be missing that might have inspired them. Aren’t these struggling readers the very students that we most want to inspire to keep reading? Is it really an “equal” experience for all?

Why not employ some other scaffolds first, rather than laming up the experience for a whole segment of our class?  (see Lesesne’s Reading Ladders or this article by Todd Finley)  These methods might be more accessible to our kids, social-learning, collaborative & connected as they are!

tags:readinglevel AR lexile readingencouragement wildreader lesesne 4tchrs

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Education & Tech News to Use 06/13/2014

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

On to Another Adventure

News on the blog front! I’m slowly trying to migrate myself over to this blog from my previous one, Books and Bytes, because I wanted to streamline my online identity a little. i also thought it was time to learn a little about WordPress and take advantage of some of the flexibility that the platform offers. There were a few changes with Blogger that I wasn’t thrilled with too, and, as usual, Vicki Davis outlined the situation beautifully in her blogpost a few months ago. I don’t have a ton of readers, as Vicki does, and I’m the most sporadic of bloggers, but I’m making a few changes, and I thought I’d try something a bit different.

Today I’m going to import my Blogspot posts/comments over to this blog, and I’ll redirect on the old blog to this one. On to my next adventure! If you’re reading this, thanks! Maybe one day I’ll have an inspired thought one day and write it down here! 🙂

Infographic: US Education Spending

Thanks to @LarryFerlazzo on Twitter for calling attention to the great infographic below from DegreeScout. It compares US ed spending to other federal spending, such as defense, the War on Drugs, Food Stamp Overpayment, etc.

What’s wrong with this picture? The amount of money that is declared as “Unreconciled Transactions” (2003) is roughly HALF of what we spend on education! That’s the best that we can do? Every two years, we lose track of (or fail to report) more money than we spend on our children’s education in any 12-month period? Wow.

Think of that in household budget terms.  Unreconciled Transactions being equivalent to the loose change that my family loses in the couch and under the car seats, we would only be able to spend about $50/year on our daughter’s education! I think her college owes me a refund, btw…

I’m not sure the image I’m trying to embed below is working right, so if it’s a mess, go to the link above and take a look at this infographic. It’s very enlightening.

Created By DegreeScout Online Schools

Voicethread for Fall: Tips for Picking a Just Right Book

Test: Coveritlive

I’ve seen Coveritlive on so many people’s blogs, that I decided to try it myself just to see what it was all about. Below is a test–I’m leaving it here only to remind myself that it’s a tool that could be very useful. I’m thinking of instances where some of my colleagues can’t come to a particular meeting and need to be caught up on the latest directives from the district! This would be useful. Obviously it is highly useful for live conference blogging too. Very cool and easy.

Playing with Animoto!

I spent my lunchtime playing with Animoto yesterday, and this is what I came up with. Not final–I just threw a few pics from our Multicultural Club event last week in. This is a FANTASTIC tool! Very easy to use and results that WOW!

LOL Catz–Makes Me Has LOL

Funny…Couldn’t help linking to it…

Humorous Pictures

funny pictures
Search LOLcats google!

Experimenting with Voicethread

Belatedly, I’m experimenting with Voicethread this week. It really is a great tool, and as I’ve learned from the developers’ many visits on various edtechtalk podcasts, they have proven to be wildly responsive to the needs of educators–even to the point of creating an entire new service ( ) for educators unable to access the original site on their campuses. Wow!

I have experimented with putting short comments from students in a voicethread celebrating my school’s 30th anniversary.

Cute! And relatively simple.
As the students and I have created this voicethread this week, my teachers have watched–and some have shown some interest in learning how to do it themselves. I find this encouraging, in that our high-stakes tests begin next week and most of our teachers are so stressed that they can hardly sleep at night!
Anyway, the process wasn’t flawless, but I think it was a good thing in the end–a chance to make the point (to the adults watching, mainly) that it’s not insurmountably hard to use, and that it’s ok to try new things and have them turn out less than 100% perfect!

I think the project so far is cute, and the students have enjoyed it. I hope it generates some creative ideas in the classes too!

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