Monday, March 25, 2013

Standardized Tests

Some of you may have heard about the backlash against Standardized Testing.  From a national headline perspective, the "movement" started in Seattle and is rapidly gaining traction around the country.

I follow Patrick Larkin on twitter and enjoy reading his forward thinking posts.  Here is one of his most recent posts, offered with nothing more from me than a simple "amen."

The Art of Tinkering

This is a "Guest post," that I thought was an excellent read:

I'm starting to settle in on an educational vision that has a fairly prescribed, measurable, measured, and consistent approach to Reading Instruction- where we know the levels of each student and go to great lengths to meet their individual Reading needs; but then a very wide open approach to just about everything else.

I am fascinated and intrigued by the "Makers" program and concepts like "20% Time" or "Tinkering Time."  We need to provide students with time to mess around and prototype things, make things, test things, interact with others in the process- argue, commiserate, think collaboratively, and celebrate success.

To truly push the envelope, we need to do these types of things on a regular basis- not as a "one time" showcase event.  We need to build and structure this time into our schedule.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

20 Songs That Changed the World

One of the blogs I follow posted this list of 20 songs that changed the world.  Interesting.  I know, and like, most of these songs.

Of the 20 songs on this list, these two are my personal favorites:

People Get Ready- lots of great versions.

Amazing Grace.  As amazing as the original version is, I like this redition as well:

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Madness: Jimmy V Edition

No mini-series on March Madness would be complete without this speech by Jim Valvano, it is one of the greatest inspirational speeches I've ever heard.  The entire speech is about eleven minutes long, but for those in a big hurry, pick it up at the 1:45 mark and just watch through the end of the Lombardi story @ 6:30.  That's five minutes you won't regret!

Jimmy V was the coach for North Carolina State when they pulled off one of the most incredible NCAA Tournament runs of all time, culminating in a miraculous victory over a much more talented Houston team in the 1983 National Championship. 

Later diagnosed with cancer, this speech was given shortly before his death:

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Traditions... to my dad, Erik, and the West Bend Wolves:

I started going to Minnesota Boy's State Basketball Finals in the mid 1970's, with my dad.  One of the best early memories was watching Steve Lingenfelter outplay Kevin McHale- even though McHale went on to star at the University of Minnesota and win several NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics.

As an assistant coach for Milwaukee Washington in 1993, I was along for the ride as we won a State Championship.

In 2001, I took two of my kids out of school and we went over to watch the Friday games at the Kohl Center.

The next year, I started a 4th grade club basketball team- my son, a few of his buddies, and a few kids who responded to the flyer.  In March, I took that group to Madison for the Saturday night Championship games.  The first year was as much about buying dip n dots and repeated trips to the bathroom as it was about watching basketball.  We didn't realize it at the time, but we had started something.

Every year since then, a group of 10-15 guys and a few dads would make the trip over to Madison for the Finals.  We saw some great games over the years, but the best memories are of watching a few of the guys sneak into the Oshkosh West student section and participate in their world class cheers, or 'parquoring' their way to and from the Kohl Center, or just listening to the non-stop banter.  Or, mainly, of watching them grow up.

The final 'group event' of the evening was when our caravan of cars would make a late night stop at the McDonald's in Columbus.  It wasn't about the food.  It was a chance to extend the evening, to make that one last joke- to tell one more story- to enjoy being part of the "tribe."

The guys are college freshman now- scattered across four states.  We looked into the feasibility of making a run to Madison for the finals- but it couldn't work.  So, the tradition ends tonight.  Even though I've known this for quite some time- I'm a little sad today.  Watching the games on TV and sending a few texts messages will not be the same.

While it's time for our group to move on, I know that, somewhere in the upper sections of the Kohl Center, a couple of dads are taking their young sons to their first State Championship games.  The Circle of Life marches on.  Gotta love that!

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Madness Vol I

This video explains my lifelong love/hate relationship (my wife would say "obsession") with sports and why, even when I try to walk away- it keeps sucking me back in:

Why is the post titled Vol I?  It's only March 4th Baby!!!