Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Your Schools blog has a new home

The Charlotte Observer has a new website, and that means Your Schools has a new location and a new look. You can check it out here.

I've loved how involved the comments have been on this blog. Hope to see you over at the new site. And you can always send me an email at adunn@charlotteobserver.com.

41 comments:

Wiley Coyote said...

Sorry to see you go Andrew, but a number of us will probably not be able to make the leap due to the Observer's pay to comment scheme plus banning people for comments they don't like, even though there are no reasons to do so.

Jeff Wise said...

The new Your Schools site is very much like the old Observer site in that I can't post comments via Chrome, I have to use Internet Explorer to get the comments to register.

Also, is there an RSS feed for the new Your Schools site? I don't see anything on the main page for it.

Andrew Dunn said...

Wiley, hope you can make the leap. I enjoy having your perspective.

Jeff, let me check on the RSS structure and I will update this post.

Wiley Coyote said...

If this blog format is going away, there will be no leap for me.

I'm banned for some reason and have been for almost two years, even with a valid facebook page.

And by the way. If the Observer really believes the new format is better, faster, I have some prime bottom land I'd love to sell Rick.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be a computer dummy but I can't seem to get in to comment on the new blog. I'm not on Facebook--is that now a requirement? Please explain how to log in to comment.

Anonymous said...

I have truly enjoyed reading comments on this blog, specifically those posted by Wiley, Shamash, Alicia and some of Larry's thoughts too. While I have enjoyed posting a few comments of my own, I have gained more enjoyment and insight from reading yours.

thanks you!

Remember, children are a reflection of the home in which there are raised and schools are a reflection of the community in which they serve!

Wiley Coyote said...

Maybe we need the Obama administration to step in and make comment boards available regardless of whether one subscribes to a particular news organization's paper or website, right?

Isn't that the same argument about the new "net neutrality" ruling, that prohibits companies from dictating content and access as the Observer practices so well?

Anonymous said...

Dazed and Confused….

Is this the end? "New Home" meaning what?

Alicia

Anonymous said...

It's been fun participating in the blog as a teacher, now retired. Facebook was never an option and many students are leaving it as well. At least I needn't wash my hands when we visit in the future.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I am anonymous 1:18, still trying to find out if it is possible to comment on the new site without being a facebook member. No answer as yet from you. Could you please explain what is required to comment in the new format. I can't find an explanation anywhere on the Observer's website. Thanks.

Andrew Dunn said...

Some FAQ:

Yes, you will need to log-in to a Facebook account to post comments on the blog now. This change was made on CharlotteObserver.com stories a while back, and now applies to blogs under the new system. I know this will limit the number of comments, and I'm disappointed about that, too.

I still don't know about RSS feeds, but depending on how you use them, you may be able to input this URL to access it:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/education/your-schools-blog/

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the explanation, Andrew. Very disappointing that comments both on this blog and on the Observer in general are limited only to Facebook users. Rather ironic, I think, for a paper that is so focused on diversity and fairness to all!
Sharon Starks

Shamash said...

H'mm, my comment page says to use a Google Account, so I do.

I'll see if it works.

I'm getting off Facebook as well for this kind of thing.

Since they don't allow aboriginal names any more.

Shamash said...

Ah, I see now.

Just found the new blog and see that I can't use it while channeling my current ancestor's spirit.

Oh well, since they keep scrapping my Facebook accounts, I'll see if it's worth continuing.

Unfortunately, while my tribe (the Anonomi) allows multiple aboriginal names, Facebook does not respect our culture.

I'll see if can channel another ancient spirit for my communications to this backward region.

Meanwhile, I have relocated my family to a Special Autonomous Region of a faraway communist country in search of freedom of expression.

We seem to have it here.

However, the weather and crime is certainly more interesting in Charlotte.

But our darned borders are sure hard to cross.

Everyone needs a document for even the most mundane sort of thing, like shopping.

And there are extremely stiff penalties for smuggling baby formula over 1.2 KG (yes, they use metric, too).

So I'm having a problem finding real, authentic Mexican food here.

Because, apparently, Mexican babies do not survive here long without their imported milk formula.

I'm not sure how much longer we can endure endless Spring and Summer and low crime because I love nothing more than a winter's day in a deep and dark December.

Even in March.

But I am a Rock, and I am on an Island.

And a Rock feels no pain.

And an Island never cries.

But Art Garfunkel sure knew how to sing like a girl.

I wonder which bathroom he gets to use?

Alicia, I'll leave you with this interesting TED conference speaker on creativity in education.

I picked up on it in an education blog in my new home in commie land.

I think you can probably relate...


http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en

Not that they would ever have THAT problem in the US of A...

Shamash said...

Wiley,

"I'm banned for some reason and have been for almost two years, even with a valid facebook page."

Use your aboriginal name.

I've been banned more times than I can remember.

Facebook is just a tool.

Anonymous said...

I never took up New Coke.

It was fun while it lasted. I'll miss ya'll especially Wiley, Shamash and Pamela. You too, Larry.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled propaganda...

Alicia

Anonymous said...

Alicia, I'll leave you with this interesting TED conference speaker on creativity in education.

I picked up on it in an education blog in my new home in commie land.

I think you can probably relate...


http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en

Shamash,

What a wonderful parting gift! Truly. Thank you.

I am going to include this link on my school website and perhaps show it before my 5th grade production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (a music teacher is taking creative license and adding K-4 fairies/sprites) in my quest to solicit support for a Dance/Theater Arts studio at my school next year.

Alicia
B.A., M.A. Dance Education
B.A. Elementary Education

The Courage to Teach!

Oh, and to my favorite truck driver, do yourself a favor and GO FLY A KITE.

Goodbye everyone...

Wiley Coyote said...

Alicia,

This is what a liberal America has come to, along with their mouthpieces like the Observer:

..University of Minnesota police will stop send­ing out what they consider vague de­scrip­tions of sus­pects in cam­pus crime alerts af­ter crit­i­cism that authori­ties some­times re­lease racial de­scrip­tions and little oth­er con­crete in­for­ma­tion.

So if you go there and God forbid get assualted, the only thing campus police will send out is this:

"Calling all cars, Calling all cars! Be on the lookout for someone."

Rape is rape no matter what your race is and to catch the perp people need to know if they are Black, White, Brown, etc.

Just as stupidity knows no skin color.

The liberal media could care less about dissenting opinions or you being assaulted, but rather the "feelings" of a particular group or group of people.

Shamash said...

Well, my crap keeps getting deleted on the main site , so I'm out of here for now.

(Even when I try to be nice, which is a real stretch for me.)

Those of us with aboriginal names just get no respect.

Not worth the hassle just now with tax theft season approaching.

Now if I can only figure out a way to legally stop paying taxes in the US, everything will be just hunky-dory.

Meanwhile, I'll just keep trying to minimize the damage (as always).

Zaijian, y'all.

See you on the other side SOMEDAY.

(But I may occasionally drop into THIS blog until it's shut down, heh.)

I suspect there will be a technical solution to this sort of stuff someday.

Maybe a universal "comment" site which allows uncensored comments on news and bypasses the actual "source" of the news, depriving them of "click" based income.

(I'd gladly "crowdsource" such a subversive project, if serious.)

Now, back to your regularly scheduled re-programming...

Shamash said...

... in my quest to solicit support for a Dance/Theater Arts studio at my school next year.

Alicia

-------------

Best of luck with that.

When I saw the TED talk, it reminded me of you, so glad you liked it and may find it useful.

We sometimes forget that we do not know the future and that no one knows what "skills" may truly be in demand or what type of cross-pollination of ideas may occur because someone knows something a little bit outside the norm.

Believe it or not, when I was in school, almost NO ONE really knew much about computers or what they could do.

Much less what they would eventually do.

It was considered an odd thing to want to be involved with.

I really couldn't tell people what I'd be doing with computers, either. I only knew that I enjoyed fooling around with them.

And when I tried to do a "computer art" project back in the 1970's with an art student, almost NO ONE had heard of such a thing.

So we did an independent project.

Later, someone hunted me down because our project had been one of the earliest examples of such a thing.

Unfortunately, I did not have the samples to submit for publication.

Oh well...

Infamy and misfortune eluded me once again.

Anonymous said...

What the Charlotte Observer had remarkably brought together, the Charlotte Observer hath remarkably taken away.

Breaking up the band is hard to do.

Again, I'll miss being here. I know many others feel the same way too.

Alicia

Anonymous said...

"But I may occasionally drop into THIS blog until it's shut down, heh."

SHAMASH,

OMG. I've been having an absolute BLAST watching some of the TED videos! I just so happened to do my major exit project for my most recent degree on the topic of "Ideas that Changed the World". I can't believe I never came across this organization. Wow. Wow and thank you!

Do Check Out:

Dan Pink - The Science and Economics of Motivation in the Business Workplace (NOT the education workplace but the business workplace).

Contemplative Points:

1. "Utopian" work environments that produce the best results based on MIT, Univ. of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon and London School of Economics research. #1 was a a MAJOR decision factor for me when choosing between a wide range of teaching offers.

2. Dan's explanation of intrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation.

3. Pay-for-performance incentive plans.

4. What science knows and what business does.

5. Recruiting "talented" people based on outdated management styles and unscientifically proven notions.

6. Compliance and punishing "sticks" thrown at failure. (think NC school letter grades and NC school reform in general)

And on and on…

With gratitude,

Alicia




Anonymous said...

SHAMASH,

Too excited…!

Dance is an EXTREMELY competitive field and to accomplish the things I wanted to do (starting at an early age) required an extremely competitive and focused spirit. I will die on this planet doing EVERYTHING I ever wanted to accomplish in this field - everything. I danced professionally, taught at four major universities, taught every walk and age of life in public, private and non-profit sectors and was instrumental in taking an absolutely nothing "recreational" program and transforming it into a high quality, highly sought after, and financially lucrative endeavor (with a shout-out to the Harris YMCA School of Dance).

Deciding to try something new in my late 40's (like teaching 5th grade math and social studies) felt like severing an arm and was scary as hell but was necessary for me to continue to "grow" after reaching a point of personal and career stagnation that made me depressed.

I am not a person who can easily brush-off being rejected without the opportunity to authentically present myself. This is not to say I can't handle rejection and failure. Dance is all about never, and I mean NEVER, attaining ideal standards of perfection. Dance is about strength and beauty but it is also as much about failure and defeat. Dance is not for the meek of body, mind or spirit which is why I still take issue with Project LIFT's failure to interview me in person after a disastrous pre-recored and timed computer screen "interview" that may eventually serve as a poster child example of one of the primary reasons this $55,000,000 "business" approach to education will ultimately fail - like so many others.

Alicia









Anonymous said...

SHAMASH,

Too excited…!

Dance is an EXTREMELY competitive field and to accomplish the things I wanted to do (starting at an early age) required an extremely competitive and focused spirit. I will die on this planet doing EVERYTHING I ever wanted to accomplish in this field - everything. I danced professionally, taught at four major universities, taught every walk and age of life in public, private and non-profit sectors and was instrumental in taking an absolutely nothing "recreational" program and transforming it into a high quality, highly sought after, and financially lucrative endeavor (with a shout-out to the Harris YMCA School of Dance).

Deciding to try something new in my late 40's (like teaching 5th grade math and social studies) felt like severing an arm and was scary as hell but was necessary for me to continue to "grow" after reaching a point of personal and career stagnation that made me depressed.

I am not a person who can easily brush-off being rejected without the opportunity to authentically present myself. This is not to say I can't handle rejection and failure. Dance is all about never, and I mean NEVER, attaining ideal standards of perfection. Dance is about strength and beauty but it is also as much about failure and defeat. Dance is not for the meek of body, mind or spirit which is why I still take issue with Project LIFT's failure to interview me in person after a disastrous pre-recored and timed computer screen "interview" that may eventually serve as a poster child example of one of the primary reasons this $55,000,000 "business" approach to education will ultimately fail - like so many others.

Alicia

Anonymous said...

SHAMASH,

(bare with me…)

I never hated math but I never particularly liked it either. In college, I mostly went out of my way to avoid math by taking courses like "Rocks for Jocks" (i.e. astronomy in a massive state university lecture hall).

People that know me look at me like I have three heads when I tell them I'm now teaching math. The TED video you suggested makes a poignant distinction between math and dance in the world of education. The thing is, I'm discovering for the FIRST time in my entire 52 year-old life how "creative' math can be. I'm I firm believer that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Teaching math is all about teaching a concept that can be solved 2-5 different ways. It's mind blowing to me how some kids pick up math one way and others pick it up a different way. I'm still so new to all of this and have much to learn but I never - in my wildest dreams - thought I'd look forward to teaching this "creative" subject.

Alicia

Shamash said...

Alicia,

"(bare with me…)"

Not necessary. I think you already passed the audition.

And this ain't New York City where that kind of performance would be acceptable.

(Ha, had to needle you on that. Remember, I am not naturally a kind person...Also, "rocks for jocks" would be Geology, not Astronomy. Gawd, I just LOVE correcting teachers...)

Glad you found TED. It has some interesting things.

Of course, like everything, it needs to be taken critically at times.

Well, glad to see you are finding some creativity in math, because it's definitely there.

It can even be found in simple math as well, like the various ways to solve simple problems.

That is a good skill to develop and encourage. Show kids that there is more than one way to solve a problem.

It is one mistake the Asian schools sometimes make.

There is a bit of recent controversy over that in Singapore, where kids were marked down for not giving "exact" answers in science, even though their answers were ESSENTIALLY the same or maybe even better.

(Of course, like many op-ed's this may have been taken out of context of the purpose of the test, but still...)

Here's the op-ed in which elementary school children tackle the scientific question:

"WHAT is the difference between a bird and a lion? "

And get lower marks for giving perfectly fine, but not "exact" answers, even though the "exact" answer is a bit redundant and insufficient.

Hardly the kind of "teaching" that encourages good scientific thinking...

http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/forum-letters/story/good-science-poor-english-20150205

So keep those kids thinking of good alternative solutions. They do have value.

Also, encourage some serious critical thinking.

It's something which is talked about a lot but almost never encouraged in schools.

A lot of teachers don't even seem to understand it at all.

I know most didn't when I was in school, so I had to learn about it myself from the library.

Shamash said...

Alicia,

"which is why I still take issue with Project LIFT's failure to interview me in person after a disastrous pre-recored and timed computer screen "interview" "

Sometimes it's best when you DON'T pass the audition.

Project LIFT is a disaster and was most likely designed to be one from the beginning.

Even YOU could not turn it into another "Springtime For Hitler".

Unlike in the Producers, though, Project Lift is working as designed.

The money will be spent, careers will be built, everyone will pat themselves on the back and move on to the next gig soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Re: Project LIFT:

If I had to wager a bet, I was WAY to 'Soccer Mom' looking and AARP old in the eyes of the 30-year-old who determined I wasn't worthy of a face-to-face "LIFT-WAY" interview with credentials and real-life "hood" experience that would blow theirs out of the F-ing water. Because Project LIFT is all about "diversity".

And as irony would have it, my 5th grade 20-something-year-old cohort at my 'little" rural charter school is dating a teacher at West Charlotte High - hired directly from NY.

Alicia



Anonymous said...

Shamash,

For the record, I had no problem passing the audition at NYU or any other college I applied to in the vicinity of NYC.

I landed at "inferior" George Washington University as a grad student for the full tuitional scholarship plus stipend - which also required me to pass an audition, teach two college level classes and hold my own during a face-to-face interview that Project LIFT didn't find me worthy of.

Alicia

Wiley Coyote said...

Do you think the Observer paid the bill on this blog link through March or the rest of 2015?

We could have our own secret, double-naught education forum that people would actually read.

Wiley Coyote said...

By the way Andrew, my last comment wasn't directed at you, but rather the lack of commenters on the new side...

Shamash said...

Alicia,

If you had changed your name to Alee'sha and not had a "face-to-face" interview, you might have made it to the next round.

There's a rumor going around that white people not only can't jump, and can't dance, but also cannot teach black kids, so you probably had an uphill battle.

Maybe you didn't look "cool" or "alternative" enough to be a proper white role model.

Have you tried spiked purple hair and tattoos, or perhaps a sex change (or just be in the process, or just say you are, no one will REALLY check...)

I'm certain, though, that this would in no way influence the selection process at Project LIFT since they are all about "diversity" and have an "opportunity" culture.

For some people, that is.

I noticed on the Project LIFT Facebook page that they are OK with an all-white staff teaching them Robotics, though, at the OLPC Robotics Camp.

So a guest appearance might be OK.

Maybe you could start a Robot Street Dancing Camp and get some "cred" with Project LIFT that way.

It's either that or sneak in with free Zumba for the parents.

Shamash said...

Wiley,

"We could have our own secret, double-naught education forum that people would actually read."

H'mmm.

That's getting fairly close to my "subversive" idea of universal anonymous news comment sites.

It's a lot like "underground" radio was in the 1960's, man.

With shades of the "Occupy" movement.

We just take over former corporate blog sites as they "convert" to Facebook.

And maybe tie them altogether with a SuperBLOG group (like a SuperPAC, so we could get anonymous donations, too).

We could play full sides of Black Sabbath albums without commercial interruption.

And the entire pre-Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac collection.

But I'm afraid we'd be put on double secret probation.

And we'd have to answer to the Brain Police.

Anonymous said...

Alicia and Shamash time to get a room!

Wiley Coyote said...

Alicia, Shamash...

email me here:

axles93105@mypacks.net

Shamash said...

"Alicia and Shamash time to get a room!"

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
This ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain't got time for that now


Transmit the message, to the receiver,
Hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas,
You don't even know my real name


High on a hillside, the trucks are loading,
Everything's ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nighttime,
I might not ever get home


---------------

That's all I have to say about that...

Anonymous said...

Shamash,

3:47 AM? You drivin' an early start time high school bus?

Alicia

Shamash said...

Alicia,

"3:47 AM? You drivin' an early start time high school bus? "

I'm not in Kansas anymore...

I'm far, far away.

Far enough away to not really care about my old "home" so much except I still have some stuff back in the Carolinas and still have to pay taxes back in the good ol' US of A.

Darn it.

Some day my family may return, though, so I guess it's worth keeping.

It's been fun. But I'm having fun where I am now, too.

But that's my real world existence.

As for the virtual world...

[Click on Wiley's Blogger profile and c'mon down the rabbit hole to an alternate universe (of sorts).]

Anonymous said...

Shamash,

Heard through the grapevine you were on Wiley's blog.

Meet you on the other side of blogosphere.

Alicia

"He was a dark and stormy knight"..
- Snoopy

Anonymous said...

Wiley Coyote's Education Blog

http://undoeducationstatusquo.blogspot.com/

Come give it a whirl!

Anonymous said...

Your Schools,
Officially deceased. Cause of death. Facebook. Filtered nut cases and serious commentary alike gone forever. It was a good run when it ran…….