The Edge of Education Carnival. Issue 3

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The-edgeWelcome to the third issue of the Edge of Education Carnival, a collection of links to the most innovative teachers using and sharing tips and techniques on the cutting edge of teaching and learning.

Another month, another collection of outstanding examples of “Edgy” teaching and learning. This month we received 45 submissions. Only 17 made the cut. But I’ve got to tell you–I am so excited by the quality of those 17!! This is by far our best issue yet.

Plus, just for fun, I thought I’d try something new this month and rank each of the 17 accepted submissions from most “Edgy” to least. Now, keep in mind this rank is entirely subjective and, well–in the grand scheme of things–completely meaningless.

Still I thought it might be fun within the context of a carnival.

If your submission did not make the cut. Please don’t give up! Just review the guidelines next time. So let’s get right to it.

And the winner is . . .

If this carnival had an award, we’d call it an “Edgy” (hey, that’s not a bad idea actually) and this month’s winner would be Sara Finegan. Her post, Say what? Asking questions as one reads posted at Readers With Autism, is simply outstanding. She introduced herself to us by saying, “My blog is dedicated to helping struggling readers with autism, with an emphasis on anaphoric cuing, but this approach works for any kids having difficulty with reading comprehension.” And it only got better from there.

In her post, she shares with us a real example of how she worked through the reading difficulties of one of her students. But what caught my attention (and thought was super cool) after a bit of back story, Sara admits a mistake:

Right here is when I made a mistake that took several days to undo. Do not, I repeat, do NOT repeat this at home:

“What do you think I think about when I’m reading?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“I think about what the author is telling me.”

“The author isn’t talking,” said Sam, very reasonably and with a bit of concern that I might perhaps be delusional.

“Oh, but she is,” I said. “She is talking in writing. The words she’s writing are her way of talking to us as readers.”

This did not go over well with Sam. Like all readers with autism, he is a concrete thinker and takes everything absolutely literally. Since he could not hear or see the author, the idea that she might be talking to him freaked him out. He began looking for the author and trying to hear her, and worrying that she might not be very nice, and doing all sorts of other mental gyrations that led to a great deal of anxiety on his part.

This post is about much more than reading with autistic students. Sara guides us through a technique that we can all use when working with struggling readers.

The idea is to teach kids to question as they read and then to pause and summarize what they’ve been reading. . . the work almost immediately begins to influence their reading, and they love it.

If you’re at all interested in helping your students (at any level) make deeper connections to what they’re reading, Sara’s post (and blog) is a must read. We’ve just added her to our RSS reader. You should too.

This month’s runner up is Tracy Schiffmann because things don’t get much more “edgy” than when you have a few (ahem) “resistant learners” in your class. Tracy’s submission, Intervention Strategies for Managing Resistant or Disruptive Behavior posted at Schiffmann Curriculum Design & Training outlines three solid strategies for dealing with this inevitability as a teacher. Because, as she says,

. . .it isn’t just you and the person exhibiting the behavior, it is everyone in the room who is holding their breath, attention riveted, to find out how you will respond.

Hadley Ferguson rounds out our top three “Edgy” posts this month by sharing a story of “shock and awe” in Talking about Facebook posted at Middle School Matrix

Like Hadley, many of us are running into administrative roadblocks when it comes to using Web 2.0 technology in the classroom. He didn’t accept the status quo for his students however, because, as he rightly says:

. . .as an educator who is committed to introducing my classes to the tools of the Web, I feel a responsibility to teach them how to protect themselves out there. My administrator understood. Three cheers for her! She said that in the past, it was forbidden, but that the world is changing, and we need to meet the needs of the students.

Hat tip to Hadley for going out of his way to bring the virtual world into his classroom in order to discuss the very real implications social networking has on student privacy.

Next, Shelly Terrell presents Do Our Students Realize They Live in the World? | Teacher Reboot Camp posted at Teacher Boot Camp.

In this post Shelly shares with us some practical techniques to help prepare our students for the global economy. Having worked on over 20 different global teams and dozens of international projects, she knows what she’s talking about. Currently in Germany, Shelly outlines nine common stumbling blocks multicultural teams often experience and seven things that we, as teachers, can do to help prepare our students to overcome them. Shelly does a great job summing up the central problem her post addresses, saying:

Social media, such as Twitter, makes us more globally aware. However, are we preparing our students to effectively problem solve, collaborate, and communicate with their peers abroad? My experience has shown me that several students still live in a microcosm where they carry misconceptions and assumptions about people living in other countries. The problem is that when these students enter their career fields they will have to collaborate with others from various cultures and backgrounds. When this communication takes place our students will carry those assumptions and misconceptions into the conversation either verbally or non-verbally and create barriers to effective problem-solving of global issues.

I love this next post because it’s a great example of solid research and its implications. Strenua presents Increased Cardiovascular Fitness Increases IQ posted at Strenua’s World, saying, “A new study in young adults has revealed that those who are physically fit, have a higher IQ and are more likely to go to university. The researchers suggest that physical education is a subject that has an important place in schools and is an absolute must if we want to do well in maths and other theoretical subjects.” This is a must read for anyone out there fighting for more physical activity for their students

I think this is Rachel Lynette’s 3rd submission to The Edge of Education, and if we’re learning anything about Rachel and her blog, it’s that you can count on her for solid, quality teaching and learning. This month she share’s I’m Done! What to do with Bright Students posted at Minds in Bloom.

I really appreciated Rachel’s post because not only does she describe some good options for differentiation, she breaks theme into categories of “Ideally” “Still Good” and “Please Don’t.” Differentiation isn’t always easy. It’s one of the things I continue to struggle with. Rachel has a good grasp on it, saying:

Intelligence is by nature, a bell curve. In every class there are likely to be a few kids (usually the same few) who understand the concepts immediately and are finished before most of the rest of the class is even halfway done. . . So, here are some minimal-prep ideas of what to do with those bright kids to keep them challenged:

Nightwalker compliments Rachel’s tips nicely by sharing 25 Tips to teach students with learning problems | My English Pages posted at My English Pages.

Coincidentally, he also grouped his (or her–“Nightwalker” is one of those gender ambiguous names, like Pat or Chris) tips into three categories: Methods (things we can do within our instruction), Assignments (things we ask our students to do), and Testing (different assessment strategies).

Next, Karenne Sylvester presents Kalinago English: The Dogma of Dogme posted at Kalinago English.

Karenne gets points for spunk. I guarantee you’ll enjoy her post encouraging you to step away from your textbook and into one that’s much more relevant. Here’s a sample:

Now there’s no doubt in my mind that someone much cleverer out there than me is reading this and has figured out the structure of your average textbook so I’ll just ask go on ahead and tell you: share it with us!

I mean do the publishers even care that the unit themes they’ve chosen have no direct relationship to the following one?

That they rarely have anything to do with our students’ lives?

After a quick assessment of Annette Berlin’s blog, I think she mostly writes about crafting. Still, she shares an interesting book review with her post, Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions posted at Craft Stew, saying, “I’m a big fan of technology books written for kids. I first discovered them when I home schooled my son for 7 years.”

Personally, da Vinci fascinates me. Still, I thought this might be a cool book to have in many different classrooms–for many different reasons. The following from Annette’s post grabbed my attention:

Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions is the newest addition to my book collection. The book starts off with a history of the Renaissance and then goes on to a biography of da Vinci. After that, the project section begins.

The project section is divided into five parts: art, machines, water, flight and war. There are anywhere from 2-6 projects in each category.

C’mon. You have to admit, da Vinci based project learning would be Edgy.

Next, Allison Johanson presents 55 Tips to Instantly Make Your Brain Stronger and Faster posted at Masters in Health Informatics.

While I take issue with Allison’s use or definition of the word “Instantly,” I still enjoyed browsing her list of tips and links, which include things like discovering your learning style, enjoying open courseware, and keeping a “dream journal” (which is ironic because last night I had a dream that I caught a touchdown pass from Brett Favre in the Superbowl, but nobody saw it because it was in a classroom full of tables and chairs and the only people in the room were the players. I wonder what that means . . .)

Anyway, speaking of open courseware, this seems to be a theme that sort of sprouted up on it’s own this month.

Diane Laine sent us an interesting explanation of open coursware (ocw for those in the know), The Definitive User’s Guide to posted at College

And Frederick Yarmy submitted Which Online Universities Are Embracing Open Courseware? posted at Online University Data.

Three separate posts–all unsolicited–all pointing to open courseware. Hmmm. Coincidence? (Cue X-Files theme music). Edgy. Very Edgy indeed. . .

Anyway, M Dahms brought me back from my Twilight Zone type daydream of coincidental conspiracy theories by answering a very down-to-earth question: What is Reader’s Workshop? posted at A Reader’s Community.

Harold Gelien followed that with his blog post: Top 50 Blogs for e-Learning Tools and Tips posted at Top Online University Reviews.

Next up, Herbert Aitken presents 50 Free Online Educational Games That Are More Fun Than You’d Think posted at How To E-D-U.

Megan Wong presents Fun Brain Learning » Amazing preschool books – “Mind Power Series” posted at Fun Brain Learning.

I’m not sure if all of these next links qualify as “Edgy” because I didn’t have enough time to click through to them all, but Angela Martin presents 100 Incredibly Useful Links for Teaching and Studying Shakespeare posted at Online Useful? Sure, if your teaching Shakespeare. Otherwise you have my permission to skip this one.

And that about wraps it up . . .

Well, that concludes this edition of The Edge of Education. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

If you’d like to submit a blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form, we think that would be swell.  Remember, you can’t win an Edgy (which, we promise, is nothing like a wedgie), or any other make-believe awards here at We Teach We Learn, if you don’t submit. So, come on in! The water’s fine.  The more the merrier.  Or feel free to use your own cliche . . . Whatever works to motivate you to take your blog (and your professional sharing) to the next level.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Image credits:


In article: Climbing man

Thank You!


  1. Thank you for hosting and for incuding me in this blog carnival!

  2. Thank you for including me in this edition. I can’t wait to tell my son that I’m officially “edgy”! Love it.

  3. Thanks for hosting such great carnivals! I love reading them!

    And thank you for the tweet!

  4. I’m new to the idea of carnivals, this is the first one I’ve read, came across it through #30Goals. Shall definitely be reading future issues. Only just started blogging, hopefully have something to post to try publish one day though…. if I’m edgy enough!

    Hey! That’s awesome Will! Hats off to you and your newest blogging journey. Hope to hear more from you soon!

  5. Chris:

    The carnival is really a great concept. Just taking a few minutes to see what’s going on here! On a somewhat unrelated note, have you seen yet? I had a student use it near the end of semester one, and it blew my mind. It makes PowerPoint a joke (sorry Bill Gates and company).