Planning Conference

Planning Conference from Tom Woodward on Vimeo. This is how we are trying to run our pre-observation planning conferences. It’s worth thinking about how you structure this whole process if you want useful observations and resultant teaching improvement.


Observation Video – Elementary Math

Elementary Math Classroom Observation from Tom Woodward on Vimeo. This is a fairly straight forward classroom observation video aimed at helping teach our admins about gathering data. The focus of this particular video was engagement. I’ll be posting the pre-observation interview later. This is part of our revamped professional growth process. It’s pretty interesting if you’re into that kind of stuff. If you are that kind of person, there’s a lot more information about what we’re doing here.


What do you wish you’d learned in school?

I was conversing with Jon Becker on Twitter a while back. He’d retweeted this tweet1 to this 50 questions project. Basically, the idea is to go someplace and ask 50 people a fairly open ended question. In this particular case, they asked people “Where would you like to wake up tomorrow?” That stirred up some interest for me because I’ve been kicking around the idea of interviewing random people about education. I have a variety of reasons for doing this. One, I suck at talking to strangers2. This would force me to do it and in what I see as the hardest way possible. No one likes to be approached by a random stranger with a camera. Hopefully, practicing under adverse conditions will result in an increased rate of improvement. Two, I think it’ll be interesting. You never know what people might say. Everyone’s been through some kind of schooling experience. I’ll be looking for trends and hidden/not-so-hidden truths. Even if nothing like that develops, I’m curious. Three, I occasionally have layovers in airports or I’m waiting in other places and I’m bored. It’d kill some time to do interviews like these. Four, I’d like to compile the eventual pieces and parts into something that’s interesting. So, on the drive up to NYC for WordCamp I was talking to Jim […]


Three Teachers on Integration

Untitled from Tom Woodward on Vimeo. Despite the massive amount I still need to learn as a videographer and editor, these three teachers say some interesting things. It’s worth thinking about how some of their responses parallel despite open questions and not hearing each others responses. The video is about 7 minutes long and has the comments of three teachers from Byrd Middle School in Henrico County.


Storyboarding Video

This is the video I’d use to teach storyboarding. I might try showing them the finished version and ask them to reverse engineering the storyboards. PSYOP How-To Animate – T.Rowe Price “Ink” from PSYOP on Vimeo. NOTE: Apparently I can’t embed the video. Never had that happen before. Strange. You’d think Vimeo would remove the option instead of leaving it there so that people end up with stupid looking posts like the one you’re reading.

Edu-pumkin II – The Bava

Unlike Jim Groom, who only lavishes surface praise while harboring deep hatred, I truly respect the Bava and integrate him into our family’s holiday traditions1. I had to make a hole in the back of Jim’s head to let some of the hot air out. Still needs some work though as the candle keeps going out. 1 You should see what Santa looks like in our house.


Tolerance Interview

This is an interview with Wiley Hunnicutt who discusses a unit she did on tolerance with 8th graders at Byrd Middle School. This particular version is for a PTA night there having that focuses on 21st century skills and technology integration. Wiley1 is an amazing teacher and speaks passionately and intelligently about this unit. I’d be happy to have my children in her class. Tolerance Unit from Tom Woodward on Vimeo. Things about this video that I don’t like. The sound is all jacked up. We had to shoot this in a room with multiple servers running and it was incredibly noisy. I tried dropping it out but the result is pretty tinny and slightly mechanical sounding. Additionally, I learned that if you edit the audio after clipping the video it won’t apply across clips and you’ll have to edit each clip individually. I do not recommend this. It’s not bad for one camera man (me) shooting from two cameras but it’d be nice to have some B roll to mix in. I didn’t spend as much time as I should have balancing the look of the two cameras either. The levels are not the same and that’s irritating. One of the issues is that any time I do anything to the clips shot on the 5DMKII I have to […]

Cartoons keep speaking to me

These are not the voices you want reminding you of where education is headed. Centralized pacing guides, centrally created lesson plans and myriad of other choices are moving teachers into the role of trained chickens with little choice and less say about what happens in their classrooms. Standardization is great for planning and scaling but haven’t we proven over and over again that learning should be individualized? If we can’t trust teachers to pace their own classes, to make their own lesson plans then there’s a serious problem with the people we’re hiring as teachers. Providing all the processes and structures in the world won’t fix that.

Perspective by HBO

This is a pretty interesting video tool from HBO. It’s an interactive 3d framework that shows a story from 4 distinct perspectives. Each one gives you a different amount of information. In order to really understand what’s going on you have to see the story from these different perspectives and then combine the results into a “big picture” kind of understanding. You can watch two perspectives at the same time, which is interesting1. The key here is that you can’t understand the full story from just one of the views. It really takes some processing to figure these stories out in their entirety. It extrapolates nicely to the idea of perspective in terms of personal bias, both historically and in writing2. Questions like . . . How does perspective change a story? How does perspective impact history? Can you write a narrative without perspective? There are ton of stories to browse through. They’re short but some, of the few, I’ve been through would be questionable for some classrooms. Lots of possibilities for student projects on perspective branching off of this using text, images or video. 1 It’d make for an interesting multitasking test. 2 Science could be worked in there I think, in terms of the limits of observation.

Pop Culture Omnibus II

A hodgepodge of links that inspired me and rough ideas on how I’d use them in class. Wondermark1 What is it? It’s a poster that lets you build your own story by picking component pieces- think MadLibs but for story construction. What I’d do with it- This would be a really interesting culminating activity after studying a genera, author, poet or historical era. The students have to figure out the basic elements that are present in the author’s works or major people/conflicts/geography of the era. They then build a similar poster. It’d be hard to figure out which elements would be the variables and which would be consistent. Lots of thinking involved. Thinking about it, it might be a fun thing to build in Google forms using the new branching options. The Shadow2 What is it? An artist who’s envisioning a boy with a monstrous shadow. What I’d do with it- It’d be fun to depict the inner-selves of historical and literary figures as their shadows. So you’d have students analyzing the characters or historical figures and then drawing representative shadows. The key would be in how they explain what the shadow represents and how they explain the difference between the public persona and the inner-self. It could represent their hidden dark side, kind of like what I did with […]