In a polarized world, a divided government is not always best

After Joe Biden was declared the winner in the 2020 presidential election by news outlets, the hot take was that moderate voters should hand control of the US Senate to the Republican Party by voting for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the Georgia special elections in January. Because none of the candidates in those Senate races won over 50% of the vote, both elections are now going to a run-off—and if the Republicans win one or both of those seats, they will control the Senate, making Mitch McConnell majority leader. …


Last week, I took an impromptu trip to Portland, ME. I’d just gotten a brand new job, with a lot more responsibilities, and I wanted to celebrate before the school year started. Friends and family recommended Portland as a city with great food and scenic walks—perfect for me.

Sunday

I drove up to Portland from my home in Acton on Sunday morning. Since I couldn’t check into my hotel until 3pm, I decided to stop at the Maine Mall on my way. I planned to shop for some new dress shirts for work at the J. …


I’m on vacation this week, so I spent a couple of days finishing up my Bob the Snowman book, which I began over Christmas break. Working on this book has been a blast. I typically head over to Panera for a late lunch. As I’m eating, I pull out my iPad and draw for a couple of hours. Time flies and I’m instantly in the moment—energized and relaxed at the same time.

I started working on the book over Christmas break because I wanted to show my students an example of the kinds of books we’ll be making in class…


Howard Johnson is a friend and frequent commenter on my articles. His thinking and writing can be a little dense, but they’re always worth unpacking for their invaluable insights. Two weeks ago, Howard commented on my most recent article, writing:

I want to switch gears when discussing assessment and rubrics that you mentioned. While discovery learning opens up a flexibility to approach, a whole field of cognition needed by the technology, I think bringing a rubric to the goal of story telling implies a pedagogical theory behind writing development. …


Over the past two weeks, my students have been diving into their first book project: designing and creating a book (mixing drawings with text) about a made-up person or made-up land. Initially, I thought my first-graders would be the most enthusiastic about this particular book project. I felt the project was just a little beyond the kindergarteners—and second-graders are just too cool for school, in general. However, to my surprise, the second-graders have been growing more and more engaged throughout the book-making process.

While pacing for every class is fluid, most of my classes are on schedule to plan their…


It was a short week after Christmas break, but one of my kindergarten classes and all of my 1st- and 2nd-grade classes are preparing to use Book Creator for iPad. Once the cold dawn of reality hit me on Wednesday morning, I made the tactical decision to streamline my plans. Instead of trying to launch electronic portfolios and independent projects simultaneously, we’d just focus on a semi-independent project, using it to introduce Book Creator and new workflows for importing drawings from other apps (Art Set 4, Sketches, and Easy Studio) into Book Creator and for cleaning up after ourselves.

Over…


Last fall, I began a new job as a K-2 technology teacher. Besides teaching 400 students each week, I was also asked to develop a new technology curriculum. Because the existing technology class had grown out of an academic support class, students were mostly using educational iPad apps to practice math and ELA skills. School leaders wanted to design a more modern curriculum which would support students in developing 21st-century skills.

You can read about my experiences in my weekly blog. Over Christmas break, I also built out my class website to explain the new technology curriculum to parents and…


A few weeks ago, I began thinking about wrapping up this blog series. Not because I was tired of writing it, but because I was running out of things to say. I started this series to document, in real time, the curriculum I was developing as a K-2 technology teacher. But most of the heavy lifting, at least in terms of curriculum was done. I’d pretty much mapped out what my classes were going to be doing for the rest of the year; and in January, we’d begin working on our portfolios and independent projects—and I’d be taking a step…


All of my first-grade classes and half of my kindergarten classes are currently making animated flip books in Easy Studio. Going into the week, I wasn’t sure how the kindergarteners would handle the transition, but they did really well. I’d estimate that over 75% of the kindergarteners were able to make and then save an animated flip book successfully. In fact, for most students, making the animated flip book was almost trivial; saving the flip book in the library was a little bit trickier. Because kindergarteners can’t read (or type), I came up with a modified version of the second-grade…


This week, most of my first-grade classes (and one of my kindergarten classes) started making animated flip books in Easy Studio. I showed them how to use the “chain” tool to link shapes together last week, and I showed them how to use the camera tool to add pages to their flip books this week. Just as I did with my second-graders, I had the students check with me before using the camera tool. Having them to check with me encouraged them to slow down a bit—and enabled me to catch a few common errors before they occurred. …

David Ng

Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Vertical Learning Labs

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