Wednesday
Feb022011

AVID Binders: We Like Them Big, But Are They Obsolete?

AVID BinderIf you have ever visited an AVID site, you have seen the AVID Binder: A three-ringed collection of academic essentials, including Cornell notes, planning sheets, learning logs, class assignments, a pouch of required tools (highlighters, pens, pencils, etc.), all carefully divided and organized. In our AVID college readiness world, we have many artifacts and symbols that define our students as highly academic. Nothing, though, is so pervasive, so personal, so useful, and dare I say, beloved, as the AVID Binder.

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Monday
Jan312011

Educational Productivity: Doing the Sweaty Work

Last week in Austin, Texas, I attended a high-powered meeting, the inaugural Forum on Productivity in Public Education. There, a panel of nationally recognized education experts discussed and debated what could and should be done to ease the budget woes for school districts across the country via “educational productivity.” Much of the talk centered on teachers –the largest percentage of any education budget – and the high probability that teaching positions would need to be cut, among other things, to balance budgets.

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Monday
Jan242011

My Take on Chinese Mothers - AVID Founder Mary Catherine Swanson

Someone said that AVID teachers are “secretly Chinese Mothers,” but as I was reading Amy Chua's “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” I kept thinking “AVID and I are so NOT Chinese Mothers.” After all, I named our program “Advancement Via Individual Determination,” not “via Mother's determination or AVID teacher's determination.”

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Friday
Jan212011

Academic Success? College Readiness? Bring on our AVID Resource: Chinese Mothers!

Amy Chua, a law professor at Yale University, offers insights on parenting in her Wall Street Journal article, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" that have implications for educators. How about giving our students more classrooms that with a single-minded, no-excuses, relentless approaches to academics? How about leveraging the fear of letting down the “family?”

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Wednesday
Jan192011

Why do I have to take notes? The Brain - Note Connection

During AVID Center’s recent National Conference, I was quite abruptly reminded the power of note-taking and review. During the last day of the conference, I found myself sitting in a large auditorium eating breakfast and listening to a panel of student speakers addressing the 1500+ participants. One student panelist, Reginald Brown, was discussing Cornell Notes and quipped, “It hurts, but it works!” to the amusement of the crowd.

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