Tuesday, November 22, 2011

iPad Pilot Program 2012

We are excited to announce an iPad Pilot Program in the 7th grade beginning in the new calendar year. Students will be utilizing the iPads in a comprehensive way. Our ultimate goal in this experiment is to gather enough information to weigh the benefits of a one-to-one tablet model in our 7th and 8th grades. This program will provide us with the data to make an informed decision in the best interest of our students. Check out a summary of the program at the link below:

iPad Pilot Summary

A Quick Intro to the Brain for the ADHD Child


I was perusing my Google Reader and came across this post, which is actually the last in a series by Jerome J. Schultz, a neuropsychologist at Harvard Medical School. These posts are quick reads and give a great introduction to the brain of the child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or LD (Learning Disabled). As I've said before, this is a matter of hardwiring gone a bit wrong and the strategies necessary to overcome that hardwiring.

Stress and the Brain: To Fight, Flee, or Freeze - That is the Question

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just Wiki It

Karen Niegelsky, our 6th grade Humanities and 8th grade Composition teacher, has developed an intriguing 21st Century unit based around the principles of Heidi Hayes-Jacobs' Innovators' Challenge. She describes it below:

Students are usually cautioned about using Wikipedia as a source for academic papers, but when doing “real world” research, many of us head to this popular website to find information to everyday questions. Rather than simply dismissing it as an unreliable resource for “real” research, Canterbury eighth graders will spend the second trimester exploring its virtues and producing their own contributions to an actual Wikipedia article.

Each eighth grader will choose a topic to research thoroughly and then produce a Wikipedia-style article that is fluent, reliable, and non-biased. In completing this project, students will gain experience in writing for a real audience and in dealing with criticism and suggestions that may come from readers other than fellow students or their teachers.  Finally, they will get the thrill of seeing their work online. (Their privacy is protected; Wikipedia authors are anonymous.)

Students should be able to use much of their work to meet the requirements of the Canterbury portfolio project including

·  Develop a fundamental understanding of emerging ethical issues and dilemmas regarding new media and technologies.

·  Respond to an experience of failure in a way that acknowledges that innovation involves small successes and frequent mistakes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What is the Purpose of School? - Your Chance to Weigh In

I found this project via Karl Fisch's blog. A couple of grad students at Harvard have developed this project and are looking for global responses to the question, "What is the purpose of school?" While it may seem like a straightforward question, I'm sure (as Karl is) that the guys will get some great responses. Take a look at the site and please contribute!

School Support Project

Dana Foundation Blog: More Work for the Same Results

An interesting summary of two studies on memory: one on older women and the other on children (7-14) with ADHD. Of particular interest to those of us who work with ADHD children on daily basis is the apparent conclusion that the brain structure of the ADHD brain is inefficiently organized and therefore makes even minor memory tasks very difficult for children. Obviously, if a structural solution could be found for the part of the brain which is disorganized, this could help a large number of students. It also lends credence to the fact that these students may not be willfully misbehaving, but like most middle school students, they are "hardwired" to act this way. Only in this case, a few wires have been wired incorrectly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Leadership Article: Do You Have Moral Overconfidence

I found this post at LeadingBlog about the need for humility in our leaders. In fact, they are teaching it at Harvard Business School. Canterbury's motto fits perfectly with this idea. To Learn, To Love, To Serve: To Live.

A Special Visitor to the Middle School

I've been with middle schoolers too long. When one of our kindergarten teachers, Jackie Fuller, brought Katie Tourney and her llama Patches over from the lower school and into Armfield Hall I wasn't that shocked to see the animal admiring the Social Contract on the back wall.

As Ron Burgundy said, "I'm not even mad. I'm impressed."

Gotta love it. Another day at the office at Canterbury School.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Elective Choices: Second Trimester

As you might remember, we began a new Electives Program this year based on three tracks: The Arts, A 21st Century World, and Leadership. We have just completed our first trimester classes and it is time to enroll in our second trimester classes.

Today we will have our teachers explain what it is that they will be offering in their classes, and our 7th and 8th grade students will receive the Selection Sheet which is linked below to take home and make their choices. Take a moment and check out what it is we have to offer students.

Electives Description 2011: Second Trimester

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leadership: Traits and Skills

As part of the Action in Leadership elective that Tricia Fisher teaches, I have been able to work with her students on the explicit instruction on leadership. We are nearing the end of our time together and the group has taken on a number of leadership tasks around campus. They have had to lead peers and younger students.

With this experience behind them, I challenge them to identify traits and skills that leaders need to be successful. Here is what they came up with:


  • Calmness
  • Engagement
  • Understanding
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Identify strengths & weaknesses in the group
  • Give precise encouragement
  • Read people's characteristics
  • Persuading through framing the task
  • Delegate
  • Identify the early adopters
  • Communication - public speaking and honest communication

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bassett Blog, 2011/11

Pat Bassett, the President of the National Association of Independent Schools, has written a blog post which re-introduces the five C's (and bonus sixth C) of 21st century schools and promises to publish one blog post dedicated to each one over the next few months. At the end of his post, he provides the research and reading which has led him to the conclusion that a new paradigm in teaching and learning is at hand. It is compelling stuff that we have been grappling with for at least 10 years. Bassett has been imploring schools to move in this direction and I believe we at Canterbury have been making significant strides in this direction. I urge to keep up with Mr. Bassett's blog. Bassett Blog, 2011/11

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reconfiguration Status Update

As part of our ongoing planning process for Grade Reconfiguration, I have linked my letter to parents and the Reconfiguration Status Report: November 2011 in this post. I plan on continuing to update throughout this school year and welcome your input and feedback throughout the process.

Reconfiguration Letter: November 2011

Reconfiguration Status Report: November 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Creative Politics

I found this post from Daniel Pink's website and thought it was really funny:

And Cody Toone, who teaches at Cardston Elementary School in Alberta, sends this campaign poster from a grade six student election. I’m not sure the sign quite fits the definition of emotionally intelligent signage, but I am sure that Shelby has a future in politics: