Friday, November 28, 2014

Changing The Game In Youth Sports - A MUST WATCH

One of my favorite things to do is coach youth sports and I have been fortunate enough to coach all three of my kids at various points. Having recently started up the grade 3-4 basketball season with my youngest, the video below is a great reminder for me and all parents who have kids in youth sports.
In this TEDx Talk from John O'Sullivan, parents and other loved ones of youth athletes receive the best advice to support their children before, during, and after their games. Just use the following five words:
"I love watching you play."


  John

Here are a few of my main takeaways from the video:

  • 40 million children play youth sports but 70% quit by the time they're 13-years old.
  • Adults act like these sports are the world series or the NBA finals.
  • After the game kids want to relax or unwind - parents want to talk about it.
  • If you are going to stay on a team then you need to play year round.
  • Kids aren't becoming better they're becoming bitter.
  • We would never let our teachers treat our kids like this. 
  • We would never let them treat us like this at our events. Imagine if kids did treat us like this at our events. Check out the great PSA below from Hockey Canada that actually shows what this ridiculous behavior would look like if the role of parent and child were reversed.
  • Michigan state study asked 30,00 kids why they play and the number one answer was because it's fun. 
  • Study also asked why kids quit and the number one answer was because they were sick of being criticized and yelled at. 
  • One of the worst parts of youth sports for kids is the ride home with their parents.



I highly recommend following John on twitter and following his great blog Changingthegameproject.com His book Changing the Game: The Parent's Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids is available on Amazon.










Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How I (Try To) Keep Up With BPS

I often get asked about the advantages of social media for educators and how we use these tools in Burlington Public Schools. While our district is not as large as many with just six schools and about 3,500 students, I can't imagine being able to keep up with all of the activities and news in our district without these tools.

Through our district hashtag #bpschat, my RSS feed in Feedly, and various Google Alerts, here's what I learned about last week:

Mrs. Burns' Fifth Graders at Memorial participated in The Global Read Aloud

Mrs. Burns' fifth graders read The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm as part of the annual Global Read Aloud. The culminating event of this worldwide effort where students from around the globe read a common book is a live chat with the author on YouTube. Check out the clip below where our BPS students had one of their questions answered by the author!




Student Field Trips

Staff shared some great photos of our students as they extended their learning outside of Burlington.


BHS Help Desk student - Cat Hoyt's video 

BHS Help Desk Student Cat Hoyt submitted the video below for the CSTA Faces of Computing Contest. 


Spirit Week at BHS




BHS Social Studies Teacher (Michael Milton) Presents at National Conference

BHS Social Studies Teacher Michael Milton (on the right in the picture below) presented at the National Council of Social Studies Teachers' Conference in Boston on Friday. You can read more about it on the BHS Social Studies Department's Blog.



One of Miss Varrell's second graders was published in the Burlington Union

Our second graders have been working on writing personal narratives and one of them even had their writing published in the Burlington Union last week. Congratulations to Miss Varrell and her student, Althea, on this exciting news!


Monday, November 24, 2014

How not to think about college - YouTube Video of the Week #3

As a parent of a high school junior, I have been involved in an increasing number of conversations about college options with my son. With all of this mounting anxiety regarding helping my son make the right choice for him, the video below from Dan Gilbert's TEDx talk at TEDxYouth@Omaha was a great reminder about what we need to focus on.

As Mr. Gilbert states, "we can't change the system, but we can change how we think about the system."

The focus of the talk is the three questions that are most often considered when searching for colleges and flipping them -


  1. Instead of asking - "Where is the best place for you?"  Ask - "Who will you meet?"       Because - "Who is greater than where. "
  2. Instead of worrying about "Getting in."  Worry about getting out. With a 6-year graduation rate nationally of 59% make sure you major in something that you love
  3. Instead of focusing on the job you will get when you get out - think about the transferable skills you will acquire along the way. Skills are greater than jobs since the typical 25-year old will have had more than six jobs. 

iPad Apps for School Is a Must Follow Site - Burlington Blog Update (Week 11)

The post below is actually a copy of a weekly e-mail that I send to our staff  to promote our Burlington Public Schools Blog which shares the great work going on across our school district. I also try to give a quick technology tip/resource that I think would be useful. It is the ninth post in the series.

Technology Tip of the Week 


Have you checked out Richard Byrne's iPad Apps For Schools Website? This is a must follow site for teachers who have access to iPads in their classrooms. Richard reviews countless tools for educators and provides in depth overviews of quality resources along with tutorials on how to use them. Last week Richard published a post titled The Most Frequently Used Apps On My iPad where he highlighted his go-to apps (Evernote, Skitch, Penultimate. Richard also mentioned Google Drive as a frequently-utilized resource and also Feedly and Flipboard as his top RSS tools.

As we head into a short week, here are the last five posts from the BPS Blog:






Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (November 23, 2014)

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why Is Math Different Now? (Video)

This was also posted on the Burlington Public Schools Blog

Our district math coach, Carrie Fortunato, shared this video which was created by Dr. Raj Shah of Math Plus Academy.  The video was created as an explanation for parents in regards to why math has changed so much since they were in school.

The bulleted points below highlight some of the key takeaways from the video.

  • The biggest question for parents: Why are they teaching math so differently now than they did when we were growing up? 
  •  We have decades of research that show that teaching people to memorize algorithms and execute procedures hasn't work for the majority of learners.
  • With the technology available to people, being able to execute an algorithm in arithmetic to get an answer is a fairly useless skill.
  • We need to teach kids to think and understand and use different strategies to solve problems.
  • Research shows that when you give people a conceptual understanding of what's going on then it helps them understand concepts.
  • Executing algorithms can be kinds of boring, but learning how to solve problems can be fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We Hosted A 1:1 Visit Today

Thanks to BPS Mobile Learning Coach Jennifer Scheffer for all of the planning for today's program to discuss our 1:1 efforts at Burlington High School. The slides from the presentation are below along with a brief Storify of the morning with our guests. As is the norm, our students and staff were tremendous with their insights and openness about teaching and learning in Burlington