Best of...

Innovate Education has quite a few new readers these days. You have no idea how much I appreciate the audience, and also how you all enable me to live in my educational dream.

Since the pick up in other educators interest... I thought that I would post some of my oldies. In my opinion, these are some of my best pieces... ones that I am proud of. As I reflect, I have seen how my writing has changed, and I want to get back to the "oldie" style. I have used these pieces as a source of self-reflection - I hope you will use them to tell someone else about this blog, or be inspired to begin you own.

Being the "D"

What Are We Doing?

Chivalry is Dead.


Delivering Meaning


Getting Left in the Chalk Dust

Hitting Refresh


Mike Meechin, M. Ed.


Textbooks Schmextbooks

Been working some math lately. (Yes I have a headache.)

I am going for an interview later this week for a curriculum position at the district level. The job is overseeing the curriculum for social studies in middle and secondary schools in my district. Our district is fairly large, serving about 53,000 students.

In my interview prep, I wanted to be able to drop some bombs with regard to reforms in the interview. My big point is going to be about textbooks... getting rid of them. That's right I said it. Stop social studies textbook adoptions immediately and focus on bringing SS classrooms to a one to one. Here is my math that I have been using.

We enroll just over 24k (24,104) students in middle and high school. If we purchase textbooks for all of these students (we actually purchase more, since many students are enrolled in more than one SS classes) it would run the district about...

$1.6 million... based on a $70 textbook.

I say, textbooks schmextbooks!

We purchase texts for social studies every five years. Why? In the district's 163 social studies classrooms we could go one to one with netbooks for about...

$1.2 million... based on a $300 netbook. This is the bomb I am going to drop in my interview. We should stop textbook adoptions and put the capital into technology and professional development to implement that technology. The craziest part is that it would shave about $400k from the district budget.


Any thoughts? Or any other ideas for the interview?

More to come...

Mike Meechin, M. Ed.

Real World Education

So, it's been a while... again. Trying not to make this a habit.

Have been working the past two weeks with a group of high schoolers, taking them on trips to local colleges and universities in the Central Florida area. This past Thursday we visited Full Sail University, a college for entertainment, media and arts. Their motto is powerful, yet simple.

Full Sail. Real World Education.

Their motto has inspired this post. The school is simple from the outside, basically looks like a large office building. But inside, the school is built for real world education. The interior of building, depending on whether you're in the film, music or animation production areas is an eclectic mix of wood and steel. Amazing designs are present throughout, Full Sail is after all an "art" school. Students find recording studios, a working backlot, concert venue, television studios and sound stages... all mixed among classrooms.

Why can't we replicate what Full Sail has, but in a high school setting? I am not talking the specifics, but the openness of the design of the school. Students work to help other programs, a true cross curricular learning environment. It is not about money, its about taking the time to demand a quality design for schools. Our schools already cost extraordinary amounts of money, but with not originality in design. (In fact, my current school district has built the last three high schools from the same plans. Ha!)

Full Sail has a lot to teach us about school design, openness and student driven learning. I will keep this in mind when I reach the big chair, hopefully in a role to design a new school.

Thanks Full Sail!

More to come...

Mike Meechin, M. Ed.


Welcome to the "Hood"

A long time ago Shelly Blake-Plock over at TeachPaperless posted a great blog about his classroom design. You know there is a lot that a classroom says about students, educators and what goes on in there. With regard to Shelly's class... well, I wish I could be a student there.

It's simple really. It's all about the student. It's all about the learning.

So, here is my "hood"... welcome. What does it say to you?

More to come...

Mike Meechin, M. Ed.

Hitting Refresh

Well tomorrow is the last day of final exams. That means that it is time to hit refresh and get ready for next year. There has been quite a bit happening the past few weeks, so it has been tough to write. It feels good though to get some thoughts out of the mind.

I have been keeping up with my reading on Google Reader, and lots has been going on. So much so, that I have been overwhelmed with ideas to incorporate into the classroom for next year. Much of my past month has also been in meetings and PLCs with colleagues... and I came to a realization. There are lots of educators teaching in 2010, that are just not willing to self-reflect and make changes to their teaching.

It has made me sad to see just how many out there do not self-reflect at the end of the year. Isn't this the key to adapting to meet the needs of your students?

Today's educators must be willing to be outside the box thinkers, who are creating dynamic lessons that are student driven. There are so many people out there giving us the resource to help us in this quest. Check my blogroll for just a few. Educators who are doing amazing things.

Me myself, I am giving my classes a facelift and tummy tuck... making major changes to assessment and also how I create syllabi (thanks to TeachPaperless). I am rethinking the exam process, and actually rethinking whether a multiple choice "traditional" exam has any business showing it's face in our classrooms. I am thinking not.

However, as I make these changes and reflect on the year, many more don't. I think that it is time that those of us on the fence to step up and become the catalyst for reform and self-reflection in our own schools.

It is time to hit refresh.

So, my question to you. What are your going to hit "refresh" on this summer?

More to come...

Mike Meechin, M. Ed