resources Archives - The Jose Vilson


The Most Interesting Man In The World

The general populace has finally turned to the idea that we nerds have said for decades now: get onto social media before it impersonates you. One of the best venues for people afraid to share too much about themselves is Twitter, the 140-characters-per-thought engine, where a simple photograph and a bio separates you from millions of teenagers, spam bots, and wannabe pop stars (or not). Your tweets are completely up to you, but there’s a level of effectiveness that every entrepreneurial tweeter wants to develop in order to use the conscience engine well.

One of those facets is gaining followers. Some people just follow hoards of people, hoping they’ll reciprocate or at the very least pretend to interact with them so they can gain other unsuspecting followers. For marketers and social media heads, that might work, but many niches have caught on to the idea that marketers are little more than intentional junk mailers, and their content usually xeroxes everyone else, like Inception with blog links. At first, we’re likely to follow back anyone within our voices’ range or people who’s work we admire, without regards to building any relationship with them. After a while, we start noticing our timeline flash too fast, and we start getting annoyed because, whether or not we’re sharing, we want to talk back to the people talking at us from afar.

Thus, what keeps most of us frequent flyers sane is that we tend to have guidelines for who we will and won’t follow. After an informal survey, these were the three things that trended amongst those who don’t automatically follow back anyone (a selective, intelligent bunch, we presume):

1. They bring strong content.

Most of the people I follow have me reading everything they say because they’re genuinely interesting. I hate missing even a couple of their tweets because they might have said something important or interesting. They may not follow me back (you get over that quickly), but they crack you up or make you think hard. If their content or celebrity within their niche is strong enough, then they usually develop their own rules for tweeting. Proceed with caution. (Good to note: some people get unlucky because their tweets are similar to someone else’s that I have already, and I won’t follow them back, unless …

2. They have great dialogue.

These are the people I most rely on. I love having conversations with these people, and they respond more often than not. Many of my more recent subscriptions were people who I didn’t really know until I got used to them in my replies. There’s gotta be balance here, too. A couple of people have shown up on my timeline to a point where I may have missed someone else, trying to drill points at me when I haven’t even responded. Dialogue means interactions between two people, and the less people understand that, the less likely people are to follow them.

3. They push perspectives.

After a while, there are a few topics / niches we get ourselves into, and we start developing our personalities within those niches. The biggest temptation for many of us is to act exactly like other tweeters because we see they’ve developed their own following. Please don’t. Uniqueness is imperative. I do my absolute best to follow silo-breakers, or the people who won’t talk to me to death about ed-tech or union business. I care lots about both topics, but we’re allowed to push the boundaries of our niche simultaneously. It’s really a matter of how we do it that separates those who many of us follow and those who don’t.

Otherwise, good luck with Twitter or any other social media venue. And if you ever become interesting or interested, I’ll follow you, too.

Jose, who needed to put this in writing …


Sonny Coco

Let me say it straight up: I’m tired of the Common Core standards talk. No, I’m not tired of the Common Core itself, but the talk. It’s easily ran by the word like “differentiation,” whizzed all over the phrase “workshop model,” and is about to stomp all over the word “collaborative” to boot. Everyone’s talking about it the way one might yell into an echo chamber: yeah, it sounds awesome, but after a while, there’s no purpose for the echo besides the echo itself. As you’re reading this and didn’t click the link above, or haven’t been a fan of this blog longer than a month, you probably don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

There’s now a 30% chance that I don’t either. It’s why the first two letters in the words “Common” and “Core” are CoCo. As in CoCoLoco.

One thing I do know that the Common Core that I’ve looked at takes after other countries, moving down some standards to lower grades and simplifying the quantity of standards to get deeper into them. You can’t just skim over the paragraphs in the front, read the list of standards and think you get what the think tank who created this are trying to convey. You actually have to play with it and know it. Some administrators and network leaders have already taken to their usual tactics of saying something louder to act like they know something.

Thank goodness your favorite blogger learned long ago how to defend against that. There are two simple things teachers across the nation can do to prevent others from insisting what you should think about (especially about the Common Core Standards):

1. Read them.

2. Make them real for you.

(Bonus: Feel free to read what others are saying about it, too. Just found out about this.)

If not, you’re going to get stuck in meetings where people throw it at you with no regard for how to make them effective in the classroom or why they’re so much better than what we have currently. (They are, but I’ll let you decide that.) Some of the people I’ve worked with in this work have been rather instrumental in my engagement with the material, but I’ve also been part of discussions where, despite the insistence of content specialists in the room, administrators and district leaders felt it was their right to defend the Common Core, even when they haven’t read any substantial piece of the standards.

If you don’t follow my advice on this stuff, because I’m still learning it too, then you’re gonna be CoCoLoco. And we still have a good four more years until we actually start assessing this way. Good luck.

Jose, who doesn’t want people to get things mistaken: Coco Loco is neither Coco Rico or Cocoa Puffs. Promise.


Unit Plan on Percents

by Jose Vilson on September 28, 2010

in Jose

I’ll write something meatier later, but here’s my unit plan for percents. Use it however you like. Comment as you need to. Tell me what you think. I’m using it as  guide for the lesson plans I’m creating day-to-day, hoping the other teachers help me create the next unit using this template. Won’t you join me?

Unit Plan on Percents