In a recent MindShift post, “Educators: Define Achievement,” Tina Barseghian interviews different teachers for their personal definitions of achievement.

One of the teachers she talked with mentioned how much time schools spent focusing on weakness. As she points out, NCLB is making schools focus more intently on basics. While on the surface this may seem the answer, it seems to me that those areas of weakness may get stronger if a child spends time gaining confidence and participating in subjects that energizes them for learning.

I found her third interview relevant and leads me to a non-technology post!  Ed Allen is a drama teacher at a school in Philadelphia. His description of the learning that takes place when students produce a theater production sounds very similar to the 21st century skills we discuss so often. Creativity? yup. Critical thinking? yup. Collaboration? you bet. Communication. oh yeah.

Any and all disciplines could learn from this:

Next time you can, stop in to watch a show practice, a choir practice, a band rehearsal, or an art class. Watch what happens. Watch the kids. Then think about how the pedagogy that you witness in these settings might work very well in any discipline. And feel free to sing, dance, play, or paint along!


What if we replaced standardized tests with the requirement to write and produce a play?

favorite #pencilchat posts

  • “I just wasted the entire afternoon drawing Angry Birds. #pencilchat” @Patrick_M_Len
  • “All my kids have their own pencil. They can even use them in their bedrooms on our wireless paper network. #pencilchat” @barrydahl
  • “Kids need fresh air and real interaction. If unsupervised they’ll just sit inside writing notes to their friends #pencilchat” @145lewis
  • “How do you make sure students stay on task when they are using pencils? #Pencilchat” @jetfighter


I’ve been busy all weekend with a theater production at our local community theater. Kids and husband in the show, I’m on the board and moved them to a new online ticketing system that launched with this show. It’s been a little all-consuming.

So I’m late coming to #pencilchat, although I saw bits of it over the weekend. It is hysterically funny, terribly sad, obviously frustrating, and incredibly intelligent.

If you haven’t, go to Twitter and search for #pencilchat.

Liz Dwyer has a great post about #pencilchat for a quick summary.