A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Are cartoons better than college prep for college prep?

Washington Crossing The Keyboard 
Jenny Kroeker
Wichita, Kansas
Legos, copypaper and laptop
Digitized print a gift from the artist

This photo has nothing to do with the text-its by a student based on the the Luetze painting.
For me its an example of a student playing with an idea rather than just puking out facts.

I'm reading Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner this summer which is based on interviews with business and educational leaders as well as twenty-somethings just entering the workforce. I'm in the early chapters, but his argument is that the model of education built on 19th and early 20th Century model doesn't serve the 21st Century. This is a well travelled road-everyone from Sir. Kenneth Robinson to Daniel Pink to the folks at ASCD say the same thing. Wagner, who wrote Global Acheivement Gap a few years ago, says that we need need to, "produce students who can think creatively and creatively, communicate effectively and collaborate versus merely score well on a test."

It has reminded me of Daniel Pink's book, A Whole New Mind, and his discussion with the folks at the Rainbow Project at Yale. The project tested college readiness by asking students to create captions for New Yorker cartoons, actually explain how to solve a problem or write in a creative and compelling manner. The research showed these to be better indicators of college success than the ACTs and SATs.

For your enjoyment is the New Yorker's weekly cartoon contest. See how college ready you are:

New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

Here is an article about the Rainbow Project:

USA Today-Rainbow Project at Yale

So here is my question, what does an innovation-friendly classroom look like? How do we balance the need for rote content (standardized tests ain't going nowhere) and the curiousity beyond the 'easy' answer? I'm posting this on my facebook page and twitter account. I'd love to hear from both students, parents and teachers. If you know of someone who is passionate about this, invite them to respond. You can post on the blog or on the other venues (blogger sometimes won't let comments post so just send to my facebook or twitter and I'll manually post them.). BTW-with the exception of language ... all posts will be entered as written.


  1. My friend Ellie just forwarded this ... think it is really a cool way to get kids involved. What if Zombieland weren't a movie but a documentary ...


  2. A buddy Chad commented:
    Oh boy, it comes down to creating an environment in which FAIL is not a 4 letter word. It's all about student choice of product and learning path and it means that as teachers, we need to get out of the front of the classroom and allow them to make decisions as young adults when we can.