Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Higher Ed Waste

At ALEC and listening to a presentation on how much public institutions waste on buildings that are not necessary. Basically, higher Ed gave up on 8:00 classes and Friday afternoon and just built more buildings instead. It is one of the reasons it is so hard to graduate in 4 years - you can't schedule classes because they are only offered between 10 and 2.

Kids will have to work at 8 am and in a tight economy we can't build more buildings to let students sleep in.

Monday, November 28, 2011


If you are in New Orleans - you can attend LTF Training due to the great efforts of Advance NOLA!

Our AdvanceNOLA program supports the development of Advanced Placement programs in four public high schools in New Orleans. In the current academic year, we have expanded our college readiness initiatives by implementing pre-AP programs within these high schools.

Our partner schools have expressed interest in entering 9th graders having already been exposed to pre-AP programs. The local middle schools are doing a tremendous job talking to students about college and career readiness, and we would like to augment their initiatives with pre-AP programs on their campuses.

The Cowen Institute, through its Programming area, will offer six teacher scholarships for Laying the Foundation’s pre-AP training for up to 20 public schools with 7th and 8th grades. Ideally, we will train two teachers in each core subject: math, science, and English.

Laying the Foundation’s four-day Pre-AP Summer Institute will be held Monday, June 11th- Thursday, June 14th, 2012 at Tulane University. A link to registration can be found here

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boomers! Stop Creating New Non-Profits!!

Great article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Calling All Boomers: Don't Start More Nonprofits by Mark Rosenman that lays it out perfectly.  There are too many non-profits already with a seriously dwindling amount of disposable income in the upper and middle class.  So the last thing we need is more non-profits competing for money and talent. 

But that is what boomers want to do according to the article as 12 million are leaning that way.  Really - we need 12 million more non-profits to solve the world's problems?  No - we need your talent and your dollars to go to existing non-profits.

At this time of Thanksgiving, give thanks that there are so many great groups out there doing great things for those in need that you can give your money and time - don't give thanks by competing with them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Online PD for Teachers - it is coming

From adversity comes opportunity.  In this case the dwindling dollars for teacher professional development is pushing more organizations to move to online PD as shown in the Edweek article - Education Schools Playing Online PD Catch-up.  (hat tip to Michael Horn tweet on this)

Great to see that Ed Schools are getting in the game.  Here at LTF, it is the first think I focused on for our amazing teachers - getting them online support to augment our live training.  We can't charge more for the online component because school districts have no money, but it does give our teachers are great resource they can use any time they need it.

That is why I brought the LTF academic team to iNACOL - so we can push the envelope in online learning for teachers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Join the Common Core State Standards Conversation

While education leaders talk a lot about the merits or issues with Common Core State Standards teachers are left with only one discussion - how to get the standards into their lessons and make it work.  Laying the Foundation is working to help teachers create their own conversations about implementing Common Core and are asking you to join the discussion.

At LTF we only care about one thing - what is right for the student - and using our training and resources to implement these new standards will ensure that more students are college ready.

How do we know?  More to come on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Common Core Resources

The LTF team is going all out to make it much easier for districts and teachers to bring common core state standards into the classroom.  There is a great blog post up on their site about their resources and the response from teachers - from the common core blog post

Another English teacher at Ruston, Mrs. Emily Howell, commented, “As soon as I saw the Common Core Standards and began to read them in detail, I thought, 'We’re already complying with these standards because we’ve been doing LTF for three years.’” Mrs. Howell is the current Louisiana High School Teacher of the Year.
Mrs. Howell went on to say, “The terminology is very similar, the skills are very similar, and the desired end results are the same. Laying the Foundation is the answer to ‘How will we implement Common Core?’”

Help your teachers help your students - get them some LTF common core training and resources.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teachers are the key to Common Core State Standards!

Great press release from my team over at Laying the Foundation on how they are helping teachers implement Common Core State Standards!  From the press release:

DALLAS, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Laying the Foundation (LTF) has recently stepped forward to become one of the leading providers of teacher lessons and activities aligned with the Common Core State Standards. With its ten-year record of providing results-driven, content-focused teacher training and classroom-ready resources, the nonprofit organization has taken its rigorous program to the next level to help middle school and high school teachers understand and implement the new standards in their classrooms.

"We didn't start out to create a program to meet Common Core State Standards—we created a program to build academic excellence in our teachers so that they could deliver challenging lessons to ensure that more students were college ready," said Dave Saba, CEO of Laying the Foundation. "With some incredible work by the teachers on our staff, we have aligned our goals to ensure that our LTF teachers can lead the way in Common Core State Standards implementation."

Even better - the video explaining how teachers training teachers on using classroom ready lessons to implement common core is the key!

LTF Common Core Training from LTF Training on Vimeo.

It is so great to see teachers praising this training as the best way to bring the standards into the classroom and raise the level of rigor!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Common Core State Standards Explained

Great blog post up on our Website that really helps explain the Common Core State Standards and will help schools with implementation.

Take a look:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Amazing online resources for teachers!

Here is an amazing list from the iNACOL conference for teachers of free resources that can make their classrooms more exciting and engaging.  Very comprehensive and amazingly cool list! ENJOY!!

Content Resources
High School and College level
Juried, open source content resources, geared to university level courses. Could easily be used by higher level HS courses.

Open Courseware Consortium. Another open source course resource. Again geared to College/upper high school.

Open source college text books.

MIT Open Courseware for High School

P2PU College level course content

Open High School of Utah: Complete online, open source courses for 9th and 10th grade subjects.

Connexions open source content chunks for hs and college courses.

Middle /High School
Khan Academy a VAST collection of video lessons, practice sessions, and review activities covering math from basic addition to advanced calculus. Also includes some additional subjects.

Pennsylvania Department of Education Standards Aligned System Portal: Karpele’s documents with e-reader, lessons, PhET simulations, and much more!

Discovery Streaming : Discovery Channel content available online.

Debategraph: visual maps on nearly any debate topic. Public, constantly growing perspectives on hundreds of topics.

Elementary Level
Teacher LED Whiteboard/ipad resources for elementary and middle school. Mostly math. Some primary letter/number material. Educational Computer Games for kids. Amazing volume of resources for each grade level, in multiple subjects. Don’t miss the animation program!

Kinetic City from the American Association for the Advancement of Science provides games, activities, challenges geared to elementary students.

Audio and video story books, activities, karaoke, and much, much more for elementary students.

Demonstration Resources for all subjects and levels

SimpleBooklet a brand new, simple and quick way to create mashups of audio, video, images, text, and embedded code.

Museum Box: create a multi level/multi compartment museum box containing cubes. Each cube has multiple faces, and each face contains resources…text, documents, images, audio or video files. Customizable for number of levels and boxes.

Glogster for education: create posters and have students collaborate creating unique resources.

Voki: create speaking, custom avatars

Blabberize: change any image into a talking video.

Animoto: create slideshows to music, including text.


Floorplanner allows anyone to create detailed floor plans. Great when a project requires this type of demonstration.

Go!Animate allows quick, computer generated voices to be added to a series of characters, creating simple animations with your content.

Domo Go Animate allows the creator to move cartoon figures, add detailed movements, expressions, and interactions in a series of scenes.

Xtranormal now has an EDU site. There are significant fees involved.

Stick figure animation

Create online games, from pixilated basics to third person adventure games. Create tours and walk-throughs.

Jumpcraft: Another online game creator.


Connect with another webcam user, record video and audio on a shared screen, and share that video with the world.

WallWisher: share a single website with your group, and everyone can add brief sticky notes to your wall.

Digital Photography Resource


Construction of a Golden Rectangle using SketchUp


GeoGebra: Is your face symmetrical? Using GeoGebra

The flash videos in this presentation were created with Jing:

Other Math sites is a collection of lessons, calculators, and worksheets created to assist students and teachers of algebra.

The Federal Government produces an immeasurable amount of data each day. DataMasher helps citizens have a little fun with those data by creating mashups to visualize them in different ways and see how states compare on important issues.

BrainNook is a new online game that helps kids develop Math and English skills while exploring the Earth and playing safely with others.

Math games, lessons, practice, puzzles, books (Geometry, algebra, pre-calculus)

Graphing Calculator

Illuminations is designed to provide standards-based resources that improve the teaching and learning of mathematics

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is an NSF supported project with web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction (K-12 emphasis).

Math, Geography, and English Worksheets

Language Arts


VoiceThread Example:

Storybird Example:

Other Language Arts sites

Books Should Be Free makes the world's public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and entertaining way.

The lessons are free. There is a new lesson every three days. All lessons are based on stories currently in the news - as the world's news breaks, teach it.

Dictionary, word of the day, etc.

Create tag clouds

Writing Workshop on Persuasive Writing

Multilanguage dictionary

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary
organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

Social Studies

Google Sites

Google Sites

Google Historical Voyages and Events

Google Historical Voyages and Events Example - Walking Tour Of The "Make It Right" Neighborhood

Other Social Studies sites

Provides webcam content, technology and services

Games, videos, animals & pets, photos, countries

Atlapedia Online contains full color physical maps, political maps as well as key facts and statistics on countries of the world.

Ancient Egypt reference from The British Museum

AwesomeStories is a gathering place of primary-source information. Its purpose is to help educators and individuals find original sources, located at national archives, libraries, universities, museums, historical societies and government-created web sites.

The Library of Congress American Memory

PBS Teachers

Ken Burns (PBS)

The National Archives – Docs Teach

The Library of Congress


Digital Age Approach to MS Science

Blog with Egg Drop Experiment Video


Movie Maker


Egg Drop experiment

The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

An online, interactive Periodic Table of Elements

ClassroomEarth is an online resource designed to help high school teachers include environmental content in their daily lesson plans.

Computer animations of physical processes

EarthSky has science interviews and other audio and video content available via both broadcast and Internet outlets.

Edufy provides a free platform to find, share, and edit high quality learning activities shared by other teachers with a focus on STEM education.

Knotebooks provides users with the tools to create, collaborate on and share customized, self-guided physics lessons.

NASA Kid’s Club

Another Periodic Table

The CyberSurgeons simulation provides an authentic way for high school and college students to apply science knowledge and skills.



All Areas

ICT Magic – Great resource to find web tools for video editing, photos, science, music, etc.

Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite
Flubaroo - Grade online assignments in a single step, free!
eduTeacher is a way to keep track of the growing number of web tools that can be used in the classroom setting
Mini-Geek Fest Resources offer free online access to a growing range of interactive multimedia e-learning resources. The online Resource library contains games, quizzes, animations and videos in a variety of subjects.
Cybrarian – provides help for kids in grades 3-8 with homework assignments, current events, research papers, science fair projects
EduHound – educational topics, templates, technology tutorials and practical tips
Gapminder - statistical time series, which converts boring numbers into animated and interactive graphics displaying the trends in some cases back to the year 1800
Google for Educators
Smithsonian Education – resources for art & design, science a& technology, history & culture and language arts aligned with state standards
Verizon Thinkfinity offers comprehensive teaching and learning resources created by our content partners – the most respected organizations in each academic subject and literacy.
SLR Camera Simulator
Best Practices for Fair Use for 21st Century Educators

Media Education Lab Free Resources

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Common Core State Standards

Everyone says their product meets Common Core State Standards - but it is far better to listen to the teachers who have to implement it:

It take real teacher training, lessons and resources to make this happen.  LTF Training is doing it!

New LTF Website is LIVE

Heading to the iNACOL conference but before I head out, wanted to ensure that everyone knew that the NEW LTF Training Website is now LIVE and amazing!! 

Please take a look -

We are moving our program into the blended learning arena for our teacher training.  This will allow teachers to access more resources during the school year.  We have already delivered over 80,000 pre-test assessments so that our teachers can see where their students are to the high standards we set for our students. 

More to come - we are using the Agilix platform and were able to get those assessments launched in just 2 moths - pretty amazing.  See you at iNACOL!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Disturbing College News

From the Fritzwire today - two disturbing facts:

According a recent U.S. Department of Education report, higher education has reached a troubling milestone: the country's public and private four-year colleges are now spending a greater share of their institutional aid dollars on trying to attract the students they desire than on meeting the financial need of the low- and moderate-income students they enroll.The report from the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics provides the clearest picture to date of how colleges, under the sway of enrollment management consultants, have fundamentally changed the way they spend their institutional aid dollars, to the detriment of low-income students. Fifteen years ago, colleges primarily devoted their aid funds to making college more-accessible and affordable for those with financial need. But in the years since, colleges' priorities have dramatically shifted. The report found that by 2007-08, merit aid trumped need-based aid at these institutions.

NEW: The Institute for College Access and Success' (TICAS) most recent report, Student Debt and the Class of 2010, found that the two-thirds of college seniors who graduated with loans in 2010 carried an average of $25,250 in debt. They also faced the highest unemployment rate for young college graduates in recent history at 9.1%. The report shows that average student debt levels vary widely by state as well as by college. To view debt levels for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and for more than 1,000 individual public and private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities.
So - we are spending tons of money to attract students who can't afford college and can't afford to pay it back because they can't get a job.  Not really a great trend for American education.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Louisiana Teacher of the Year = LTF Training!

A bit of a teaser here as I just saw the most amazing video from the LTF Training team from our research visit to Louisiana.  Turns out that Ruston High School has the 2011 AND 2012 High School Teacher of the Year and they are both LTF trained!! 

Congratulations to Emily Howell in Ruston, this years winner and Julie Bartlett Stephenson who was last years winner, is an amazing LTF Teacher and LTF Trainer!!  This is the first time that Ruston High School has ever been recognized for the Louisian Department of Education for a teacher of the year award!

Because of LTF Training, this school gets results.  Back to back wins for High School Teacher of the year is pretty darned amazing!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Partnerships in Education / Non-Profits

Been doing a lot of work lately at Laying the Foundation on building partnerships.  We already are doing some great thing with Texas Instruments and NASA on building our math and science lessons with their equipment and data.

But it has been really interesting that as money has become incredibly scarce in the non-profit world that more non-profits are seeking partnerships as a way to continue to grow without additional expense.  It makes sense.  There are so many great things going on in education but each of us alone cannot make the full impact on all schools.  We have to work together to accomplish more.

More to come on this with some big announcements