Category Archives: Website

Are we targeting the “right” gender

Recently Verizon kicked off a widely publicized media campaign “targeting” girls and STEM education.  The purpose of the campaign is to encourage more girls to pursue careers in the STEM industries.

While I do believe in the importance of encouraging more girls and young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math I can’t help wonder if the Verizon campaign’s message is doing harm as well as good.  Historically, girls do better in school than boys and while the data for career choices that Verizon puts forth is correct and there is a disconnect shouldn’t we as society be focusing on the real problem now – boys and their continually struggles with education.

Take a look at this video which highlights some of the statistics from a 2010 Newsweek article on the statistics of the current trends of boys in Education

Many argue that we as a society are focusing our education on the wrong gender.  That we are continuing to promote a myth about education and STEM while ignoring the real problem.

Shortly after Verizon released their marketing campaign NPR published this article –  The Modern American Man, Charted.

One graph in particular,

chart on education

really points out the differences in the success among girls in education over boys. And while the article does point out that girls are less likely to pursue higher degrees in STEM they are far more likely to pursue higher degrees to support their career goals. (Thank you @ronishayne for the link!)

There are two sides to every story and in this instance, and Verizon makes a compelling case in their campaign which in part is encouraging America to support young girls and be mindful of what you say to them to avoid gender biases as you can see from the  two PSA’s below;

As a woman, I would have rather seen Verizon promote education and push a campaign that would support learning  on both ends of the gender spectrum.  I think it is important girls be encouraged to play in the dirt or pick up a power drill (I have owned one since I was a teenager and my parents never told me not to get my dress dirty or put down a starfish.)  However, I think a commercial with boys being encouraged to design fashion, cook, tend to people’s needs a nurse,  or even teach would support a campaign that is working on counter-acting gender bias but in many ways creating it by only targeting one gender.


Special Populations

As an educator I find that more students are coming with to me with unique situations filled with roadblocks that challenge their learning. Whether it be a learning disability, sexual identity, language roadblock, or socio-economic disparity,  It seems like when I was growing up there were two kinds of students – general education students and special education students – and these two populations of students rarely mixed.  Nowadays, students with all kinds of classifications come together in a classroom and sit before a teacher, some vested in learning, others completely disinterested and others desperate  to learn but can’t for one reason or another.

The more I talk to other educators, the more I find that they have to consider so many factors when planning a lesson, not just the standards that their given districts are expecting their students to master by the end of the school year.

FInd resources to support the diverse needs of these special populations has become a focus of mine this summer as I begin to plan PD for the upcoming school year.  In the past, I have simply picked a topic to focus on, like engagement or assessment.  And while that has served me fairly well, I have come to realize that it has not met the needs of all the students that walk into my school each day.  Therefore, I have decided to dedicate a new page to following special populations which will include links to the resources I have found.  Hopefully others out there will be able to use these resources to support their own individual learners within their classrooms and schools as more and more of these students continue to need our attention and support.

Transgender Youth
English Language Learners
Students with Disabilities
At-risk Youth
Addressing the varying needs of boys vs. girls


So please feel free to click on a picture above, it will take you to one of the pages under my new tab on special populations and will have more links, websites, videos,  and strategies to support students that are classified in these special populations.  As I come across more resources I will continue to update these pages, so check back often.

I do believe every child is unique.  Every child wants to learn.  It’s just a matter of figuring out how to help them overcome their roadblocks so they can.  Sometimes we need to learn from them, we need to have our own teachable moment so we can give them successful teachable ones each and every day!

On an aside: As make sure you check with your local district or state for their most current policies regarding protected classes.  In New York Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) went into effect December 31, 2013. DASA training is now mandated for all educators.  Many districts now publish their policies under DASA or laws similar for their protected classes.  For example, NYC policy for transgender youth can be found here.

Edshelf…very cool

I just discovered edshelf and in many ways it was by accident.  I was looking for something completely different in goggle and the first hit I got was two different links to different edshelf collections.  Now I may be completely behind the times in just learning about edshelf, but after a bit of agonizing I decided that even if just one person reads this and learns about edshelf, then it was worth blogging about.

So for those of you who have not heard of this website, it allows educators to create collections (based on whatever organizational means you consider fit!) of apps that they can or do  use  in the classroom.

In my opinion – sheer genius!!!  I wish I knew about this site sooner.  I am constantly coming across apps that I think are great, and while I don’t necessarily have the opportunity to use them right away, it is hard to keep track of them.  Thanks to edshelf, NOW I DO!!!  It also gives me (and hopefully you) the opportunity to browse education apps in one place and decide whether you want to take the time to download it before you go through the trouble of setting up an account.  Perfect!!! Thank you edshelf

I have just started to play with my edshelf account, but have already create three collections and an example of one is below.

Mind Mapping on edself
Mind Mapping on edself

What is also a real plus is you can print your collection page, with or without QR codes and give the handouts  to your students, staff, parents, etc. as a reference tool.

If you use technology in the classroom, then I would urge you to check the site out.  Even if you are not interested in setting up an account, you can definitely glean much information from the collections that have already been created by other educators.  For me, it was clearly my teachable moment of the day!