Don’t Sprint Out For This Deal – CCSS Math to the Rescue

I received an email today with what appeared to be a sweet deal from my cell phone provider.

Student Activation Plan

Student Activation Plan

Immediately, I was trying to decide what new phone I would get my daughters for Christmas. The new iPhone 5S? The Galaxy S4? Weren’t they going to be excited when the gift was unwrapped?

But just like a gift, sometimes the wrapping can be more exciting than the contents of the box. The more I dug in to this deal, the more I realized this was the case.

The deal says students can get a free plan for one year, but they have to pay ‘student activation price’ for the phone… Let’s do the math on this thing.

‘Student activation price’ = full price of the phone.

So, it works out that if I wanted an iPhone 5S for each of my daughters, I’d pay $700 up front per phone (plus tax and the $36 activation fee)

For that, I get a phone with unlimited text and calls, but only 1GB data.

That works out to about $60/month for the 12 months per phone (not factoring in activation fee and “other monthly charges.”)

Of course, my kids love data, so I’d have to upgrade each phone’s data plan for $10/month/phone.

So, $70/month for 12 months, per phone.

Right now, I pay $231 for 4 smartphone with unlimited data. That’s $58 a month/phone.

Not quite  a deal anymore. The only benefit is that the phone is theirs after only one year instead of two, and there is no longterm contract to sign.

So what does this have to do with CCSS? This is just one of the great opportunities for teachers to bring math to life for students; to show why it’s important to read the fine print, and to make smart consumer decisions based on all the information. Perhaps it’d be a good “Would you rather” situation. I’d be curious to hear what the students would decide.

How Do We Lead Innovation in a Time of Change?

The shift to Common Core has not only caused a change in curriculum and instructional strategies, but it’s also impacted every department in our school district. Funding has changed; assessments are changing; technology needs have changed; our instructional minutes changed; our report cards are being changed… and the list goes on and on.

As we navigate these changes, I am looking for ways to provide positive leadership that encourage and inspire, instead of cause fear and apprehension. Here are a few links I found today that inspired me to keep going!

Why Leaders Matter – Key in this article is the reminder that district leadership is moving from “protectors of the status quo to change agents.” We can’t rest on what “has always been done” or “worked for us before.” We are navigating new, and sometimes murky, waters. How we do so sets the culture for the entire district.

What Makes an Innovative School District Leader? – This video from a school district in Canada, and the article attached, hammers home the notion that we have to provide “freedom to try new things.” There is no one answer. We need to establish the vision, provide the resources, and then be willing to adjust course as we move along the journey,

Managing the Digital District – A fabulous wealth of resources. Why reinvent the wheel or go at it alone when there are curated topics already at our disposal?

What other resources have you found that help you navigate through this time of change? Please share.


Are You a Connected Educator?

Are You a Connected Educator?

Although I follow #CE13 and have been looking at the Starter Toolkit, I will admit I haven’t been participating in the activities. So I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and dig in a bit. Today I got an email that I earned my first badge.

I wonder if I can get a vest to sew it on to like my daughter’s Girl Scout cadet vest…

New Facebook Guidebook Helps Adults Talk to Teens

New Facebook Guidebook Helps Adults Talk to Teens

Is Facebook's new guidebook a help for teens and adults?

Is Facebook’s new guidebook a help for teens and adults?

In partnership with some well-known agencies like Edutopia, WiredSafety, and, Facebook has released a guidebook which helps adults help teens act responsibly on Facebook, and all social media.

Although the book is intended as a way for adults to talk to teens, it’s just as valuable for adults to read for their own education.

My concern, however, is two-fold. First, Facebook is constantly changing their Terms of Use and privacy settings. A guidebook is great, but how about making the settings easy and straight-forward enough that we aren’t constantly on high alert about what is, and is not, searchable by others?

And second, how many adults, already weary and unsure of the digital world, will, after reading a text-heavy guidebook, feel comfortable having this needed conversation with their children? I’m just not sure a guidebook is enough. It’s a 20th century approach to a 21st century issue.

What do you think? Is this guidebook going to have a positive impact on teens’ usage of social media, or is it a veiled PR attempt to counter Facebook’s growing invasion of our privacy?

Waddling Ducks Are Hard To Get in a Line: A Thought About CCSS Implementation

Duck Waddle

I read one of those silly someecards today that something to the effect of, “Every time I get my ducks in a row, they all waddle off in different directions.” That seemed to be the unspoken theme of a conversation I was part of today.

I had the pleasure of being invited to an Innovation Summit at National University. Not only was I in the presence of amazing superintendents, college presidents, and key K-12 district personnel, but also present was Brian Lewis, CEO of ISTE, and Terry Janicki, Educator in Residence at CCSSO. With such a powerhouse of brains and talent in the room, I was expecting world peace to be solved in the three hours we were together.

Although we didn’t accomplish world peace, we did spend a lot of time discussing Common Core implementation. And really, what educator isn’t having this conversation? The problem, as we discussed today, is that we’re all having this conversation within our own circles. We discussed the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any master plan. We’re not getting guidance from the county, or the state.

Sure, there are plenty of professional development opportunities, and a lot of “common core aligned” materials to purchase, but it’s as if we’re all buying tent supplies and learning how to camp, only to find out that our vacation is a cruise. How is this supposed to work exactly?

How is everyone else tackling this monumental shift? Is it every district (or school) unto themselves? Anyone part of a cohesive formal steering committee that is making headway on this? I’m curious to hear what others are experiencing.