What’s Kickin’ Blog

Kids @ School

Debit Card/Payment Systems + School Lunches?

Using a national survey of 2,314 U.S. public school students, David Just and Brian Wansink from Cornell University, compared lunch purchases in schools with debit-only systems to those with both debit and cash payment options. Debit-only payment systems were associated with students buying more unhealthy à la carte foods. While students in debit and cash schools actually bought more fresh fruit and vegetables.

So after cutting recess for students (so they can have more instructional class time) and implementing debit card/payment systems (so they can get through the lunch line faster) we wonder why American students keep getting fatter and fatter?

On a sarcastically positive note, far fewer kids will get bullied in school — at least during recess for their lunch money.

Read More »
Reign of Error in American Public Schools

Diane Ravitch interviewed by Jon Stewart for the Daily Show [original airdate October 30, 2013] highlighted her new book, Reign of Error. Before you dismiss this as more book-tour marketing, watch and listen to the extended, un-edited version of the interview (most of which never aired). While she disputes the notion that American public schools are broken (they’re actually better than most people think) she also criticizes the test score-based teacher assessment movement with a number of substantive examples. Jon Stewart (admittedly a fake news anchor) brings a real-world insightfully-smart interview that’s well worth watching.

Part 1 (6:00)

Part 2 (7:14)

SOURCE: The Daily Show

In a postmodern world—where more and more of the real world is turning into a Saturday Night Live sketch—consider this interview in the following context: According to a Pew Research study, 80% of regular Daily Show viewers are between 18 to 49 and between 12% to 16% of all Americans get their news from The Daily Show—a fake news show. But to be fair, compare that to 30% of Americans who get their news on Facebook and 8% of who get their news via Twitter.

Read More »
Any National Honor Society members in Congress?

This week I was “honored” (sorry, couldn’t resist) to be involved in one of the many National Honor Society Induction Ceremonies that occur across America. Officially established in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the NHS ranks as one of the oldest and most prestigious national organizations recognizing outstanding high school students.

Four main purposes guide the National Honor Society: “To create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character.” NHS selection criteria is based on these same four purposes. Which given the current chaos in Washington, DC got me wondering, “How many members of Congress were inducted into the NHS way back when?” After all, what they learned then might serve them well now

SCHOLARSHIP “Learning furnishes the lamp by which we read the past, and the light which illuminates the future.” (Learn from past mistakes and try not to repeat them.)

SERVICE “…work without monetary compensation or without personal recognition for the benefit of those in need…” (Serve for others, not for yourself.)

LEADERSHIP “…the willingness to yield one’s personal interests for the interest of others.” (“Others” meaning the nation as a whole, not just lobbyists or a small minority of your rabidly-vocal local constituents.)

CHARACTER “…is the product of constant action, daily striving to make the right choice.” (Action over words or sound bytes and making the right choice not just the self-serving choices that get you re-elected.)

When inducted, NHS members take a pledge “to prove by example that we value character. An untarnished character. To endeavor intelligently and courageously to be a leader.” Because “no matter what power and resources may exist in a country, they are ineffectual without the guidance of a wise leader.” Don’t we as a country deserve members of Congress who are “wise leaders?” Striving in every way by word and deed? “Leadership is always needed and is thus a charge to each of our National Honor Society members.”

Perhaps members of Congress would be well-served to find their old NHS pins from high school, remove the tarnish, and remember what they pledged then still applies now. Because you’re in Congress and the NHS motto “Noblesse Oblige” requires you to: “Act in a fashion that conforms with one’s position. An obligation to behave honorably, generously, and responsibly to others.”

National Honor Society noblesse oblige

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Read More »
Rock-star teachers earn $4 million per year?

Amanda Ripley authored an essay that appeared in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal on August 3, 2013. It was adapted from her forthcoming book, “The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way,” which was released today by Simon & Schuster. The article received hundreds of comments from readers and other media outlets have piled on the PR bandwagon.

FYI: Kim Ki-hoon (one of the rock star teachers mentioned) has 150,000+ students viewing his lessons every year via the online hagwon Megastudy.

Read More »
STEM + Humanities = The Heart of the Matter

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences recently released a film entitled The Heart of the Matter. In seven minutes, the film beautifully illustrates the reason STEM + Humanities = the how and why we need to create an educational system that does more than just prepare people to pass a standardized test, gain entrance to a college, or get a job.

Richard Brodhead, President of Duke University, shared some background on the commission he co-chaired during the press briefing. “We signed on to be members of this commission, not because we think the Humanities and Social Sciences are the only good thing in the world, but because we believe they are a necessary part of all the good things in the world.”

“Ultimately, this report calls on parents, teachers, scholars, the media, and the public at-large to join a cohesive and constructive national discussion of these issues. Many public and private organizations contribute to the vitality of the humanities and social sciences. Each organization has an important role in advancing the recommendations of this report.”

Richard Brodhead went on to say that, “we wanted to make some practical suggestions as to how all these causes could be furthered… Local libraries, local history societies, museums, colleges, universities, community colleges, philanthropic foundations, companies, there are a million possible partners and our suggestions are all aimed to try to get those many partners to think together about how strong we could be if we acted together and how relatively weakened we would be if we act alone.”

SOURCE: The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, http://www.amacad.org

Read More »
Printed Bubble Sheets and GradeCam

While it might be fun to fantasize about every student toting a laptop or iPad to and from school, the future of printed bubble sheets in many schools is safe and secure with GradeCam. CSO and Co-Founder Rich Porter shared GradeCam at Launch Education & Kids Conference.

While optical mark readers (OMR) have certainly been around for quite some time in education, they require special pre-printed forms ($) and specialized scanners ($$). Both of which are costly for schools and have limited integration with various third-party classroom or school-wide gradebook software. What CEO and Co-Founder Rob Porter did with his patented technology is eliminate the need to purchase forms or specialized scanners. Teachers can design and print answer sheets on plain paper using any printer, scan the student answer sheets with any web cam, document or laptop camera, and with a click of a button, student scores are entered immediately into any electronic gradebook.

While the GradeCam team understands that “learning is driven by what teachers and pupils do in classrooms” NOT by standardized state assessments; teachers, schools and entire districts can link questions to state standards generating standards-based reports to monitor student progress. Their technology aims to save teachers and students time, reduce assessment stress, and help improve the quality of day-to-day instruction. They turn Scantron®-like bubble answer sheets into giant QR codes for grading kids in class. Faster, easier, cheaper.

NOTE: “Scantron” is a federally-registered trademark related to computer software used for scoring tests, survey and data collection, etc. No affiliation is implied with GradeCam. However, many times the term “scantron” is generically used to refer to any scannable bubble-sheet in education. Scantron, headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota, has more than 1,100 employees located across six U.S. facilities. Scantron also has a world presence through more than 100 distributors in 70 countries. Reportedly, 15 different Ministries of Education around the world use Scantron scanning solutions for their national assessment programs. Well, at least until they convert to GradeCam.

FYI: Scantron is a subsidiary of Harland Clarke Holdings Corp., which is wholly owned by M & F Worldwide Corp. (NYSE: MFW).

Read More »
How the Teen Brain (and Your Brain) Learns Best

While this video is about the teen brain and how it works, it has application to many stages of life. The lessons of this video actually apply to everyone. Created by What Kids Can Do (WKCD) a national nonprofit that strives to reach the broadest audience possible with two primary messages: (1) the power of what young people can accomplish when given both the opportunity and support they need and (2) what youth can contribute when we take their voices and ideas seriously.

If you were to add a ninth condition for learning, what would it be?

Read More »

What Makes Kids Kick

A collection of ideas, research, and thoughts about kids today.

More Info

“I laughed-out-loud while reading your e-newsletter. But, as always, I also learned a great deal”

Michael Kumer, BoardsMTO