Food For Thought Friday

Food for Thought Friday: Making Students Accountable for Missing Work

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

As educators, we all have different ways to address missing work from students.  Thank you to Carol Warren, Curriculum Leader for the Counseling Department, for sharing this blog post from Catlin Tucker about making students email their parents about missing work.

Tucker is a Google Certified Innovator, best-selling author, international trainer, and frequent Edtech speaker, who currently teaches ELA in Sonoma County where she was named Teacher of the Year in 2010.

In her post, Tucker says that she makes students with missing work write their parents an email to explain why they have not completed the work they were assigned. They must CC her on the email, use the formal business letter format, and propose a specific action plan to catch up on their work.

“This strategy is so simple but so effective! Students are rarely asked to take ownership of and responsibility for their work. Typically, a parent does not realize there is a problem until a zero is entered into a gradebook or report cards are mailed home. Requiring students to… take responsibility for their work at various check-points …creates an incentive for students to prioritize their school work. This strategy also takes the responsibility off of the teacher, who is typically the person tasked with reaching out to the parents when there is an issue.” – Catlin Tucker, ELA teacher.

It’s an interesting idea worth thinking about!


Food For Thought Friday: Forget Resolutions, All You Need is #OneWord

Nicole Stulak, K-5 Instructional Coach

At a time when many of us are neglecting our New Year’s Resolutions and goals for the year ahead, maybe all we really need is one word.

The inspiring #OneWord concept is based on the book One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton and Jimmy Page. You can check out the One Word That Will Change Your Life Video here.

This powerful, yet simple idea has you select one word to focus on, a word that says who you want to be and how you want to live your life. One word that you invest your energy in and acts as a guide as you make decisions and go about your every day. One word that drives your goals and aspirations instead of lists of resolutions that often are time-sensitive, forgotten or never kept.


The #OneWord movement has the power to positively influence classroom culture and has gained momentum on social media as teachers and students return to school this month, ready to tackle the year ahead. Check out these hashtags #oneword2017 #OneWord #oneword365 and the links below to see how one word can make a BIG impact.

The One Word Project by Mr. C SharesEase

One Word Can build a Mindful Class Culture via Middle Web: All About the Middle Grades

The STEMtastic Classroom

My #OneWord for 2017 is BALANCE… reflect on your life, what word would you choose to guide YOU through 2017?


                    Hidden Lakes Elementary #OneWord    Norfolk Senior High #OneWord


Food for Thought Friday: Do 1:1 Devices Improve Educational Outcomes?

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

This past December, the ninth and tenth graders at Downingtown East and West went 1:1 with a choice between two laptops.  They could also continue to bring their own devices. The Downingtown STEM Academy, Lionville Middle School,laptop.png and Downingtown Middle School students are now all 1:1 with iPads and our elementary students have more access to devices than ever before. With such a large financial investment in these technology tools, we educators, our School Board, the taxpayers, our parents and our students need to know that it was worth it.

So what does the research say? Binbin Zheng, Chin-Hsi Lin and Chi Chang from Michigan State University and Mark Warschauer from the University of California, Irvine reviewed 65 journal articles and 31 doctoral dissertations published from January 2001 to May 2015 to examine the effect of one-to-one laptop programs on teaching and learning in K–12 schools. Their findings were published in the Review of Educational Research this past December. As with any research, especially meta-studies, there are many nuances to the findings. In general, the findings of this research were positive.

As with any research, especially meta-studies, there are many nuances to the findings. In general, however, the findings of this research were positive. The findings showed that  1:1 programs “significantly increased academic achievement in science, writing, math, and English; increased technology use for varied learning purposes; more student-centered, individualized, and project-based instruction; enhanced engagement and enthusiasm among students; and improved teacher–student and home– school relationships” (Zheng, Warschauer, Lin, & Chang, 2016, p. 1075).

There is a lot of food for thought to digest this weekend.  Enjoy!

You can read the entire study here.

Zheng, B., Warschauer, M., Lin, C. H., & Chang, C. (2016). Learning in One-to-One Laptop Environments A Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 0034654316628645.

Food for Thought Friday: How Students Can Protect Their Future Careers

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article called “What does the future hold for our students?” There were some scary statistics, including the one that said  $2 trillion worth of human economic activity will be replaced by robots in the future.  Don’t agree? Read this article from NPR on how robots in California are making pizzas!

If you, too, are worried about our students’ future, you may want to read this article from The Atlantic called “Ask an Economist: How Students Can Future-Proof Their Careers.”  It contains advice from economists all of the world who were asked which skills they’d focus on if they were about to start their first year of college. Some great food for thought!

Food for Thought Friday: Three Things All Students Should Have Before They Leave High School

by Sara Brosious, DHSE Instructional Coach

George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, spoke at the CCIU earlier this month on inspiring students to follow their passions as well as on achieving success in the digital environment.  George highlighted the importance of students creating an effective digital footprint for self-marketing.  This graphic outlines his three recommended items for students to create before they graduate:


 Here is a link to George Couros’ blog with deeper explanations on the value of the three digital forms of self-promotion:

Food for Thought Friday: What does the future hold for our students?

by Kristie Burk

A few weeks ago, I read an article in the newspaper called “America’s Dazzling Tech Boom Has a Downside: Not Enough Jobs” by Jon Hilsenrath and Bob Davis.  The statistics in the article are amazing, but here are some numbers that really caught my attention:

“The five largest U.S.-based technology companies by stock-market value—Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook and Oracle Corp. —are worth a combined $1.8 trillion today. That is 80% more than the five largest tech companies in 2000.

Today’s five giants have 22% fewer workers than their predecessors” – Jon Hilsenrath & Bob Davis

This reduction in labor is due, in no small part, to the automation of many tasks to robots. These robots could take away “as much as $2 trillion worth of human economic activity in coming years,” writes Hilsenrath and Davis.

What does this mean for our students? What kind of future are they facing? I think the authors summarize it well when they predict:

“The spoils of growth go to those few people with skills and luck and who are best positioned to take advantage of new technology.” – Jon Hilsenrath & Bob Davis

And so what does that mean for us, the educators? We need to know and to understand this reality.

Hilsenrath and Davis say that it takes “luck,” but we need to focus on the skills to make sure that our students are well-prepared, including the 4 C’s — critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.

…a little food for thought this Friday!