Connie Weber
  • Ann Arbor
  • United States
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School / Work Affiliation
Emerson School
Twitter / Plurk / Other Account
twitter: connieweber
About Me
Long time fan of Steve Hargadon, very grateful for his visionary impact on education. Participant in CR2.0 since it was about 200 members. In December, 2007, I created Fireside Learning, a spinoff international network for educational and pedagogical discussions, including administrators, teachers, professors, parents, business-people, and college students.

I'm learning more than ever in my life, on an extreme learning binge, thanks to having networks of deep-thinking colleagues.

Teacher-leader, professional development leader, eager to participate at the upcoming Harvard Summer Institute "Future of Learning" as well as Project Zero. Originator of "Fireside Chats," a F2F model for local PD groups. Evaluator for the American Teacher Awards for more than a decade; featured in Creativity in the Classroom series.

Interested in teaching kids about nature, evolution, ecology: immigration in American culture; creativity in teaching/learning, reflective learning; student motivation through empowerment and ownership of learning.
Personal: certified dog tracker, soccer coach and player, gardener
Personal heroes: E.O. Wilson, John Dewey, Jane Goodall
Favorite cartoons: Far Side, Citizen Dog, Mutts, Get Fuzzy

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Connie Weber's Blog

Current heap of reading; working on a synthesis of these books

Posted on April 26, 2009 at 11:49am 0 Comments

(cross-posted at Fireside Learning)

May look like a hodgepodge, but somehow this is where I've settled in my studies the last three weeks. Taking it in, taking it in, taking it in. A knowledge fest. All of these books I've read and am now rereading my underlines, to sift and sort through the major ideas. Preparing for summer classes... Another big part of my reading lately has been Bridging Differences (Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier… Continue

evolution of a homeroom class, ongoing. March 26, 2008

Posted on March 29, 2008 at 1:39pm 1 Comment

It's been a few months since my last entry; the entries used to be weekly, as I adjusted to a new kind of teaching. Now, here I am just a bit later and completely on the "other side."

There's no going back.

This year my students and I have experienced a fundamental “shift” in education. We are not only a strong classroom community (in real time, face to face, here and now), we are also a strong networked community online.

Our network is private. It's a ning… Continue

Project Zero in action: an educational utopia, of sorts

Posted on November 28, 2007 at 5:30am 0 Comments

I spent a couple of days with my study-group leader from Project Zero. I went with her Alma College students up north. There we visited Long Lake School in Traverse City Schools (of northern Michigan), a kind of educational utopia. This is a school that applied for and received a grant for educational transformation through the Department of Education Arts Education Model Dissemination.

Students at this school use "thinking routines;" they use them often, and well, and at all ages.… Continue

thinking classrooms, thinking dispositions

Posted on September 1, 2007 at 4:54am 6 Comments

There’s some strong support out there. Take Ron Ritchhart, for example. This is from Ritchhart’s book, Intellectual Character,

“What if education were less about acquiring skills and knowledge and more about cultivating the dispositions and habits of mind that students will need for a lifetime of learning, problem-solving, and decision-making? What if education were less concerned with the end-of-year exam and more concerned with who students become as a result of their schooling?… Continue

neuroscience of joy

Posted on August 31, 2007 at 10:32am 2 Comments

While we’re setting up “thinking classrooms”, and supporting an “active mindset”, we have to keep right in the forefront the importance of joy, and of play. In The Neuroscience of Joyful Education by Judy Willis, we get all sorts of validation for this.

Think of all the schools and classes you know about that are cutting back on play, thinking less play will translate into more academic achievement. It may be that just the opposite is the case.

“Unfortunately, the current… Continue

Comment Wall (60 comments)

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At 9:15pm on January 31, 2009, Jack said…
Hi Connie. I was wondering if you have students who would be interested in participating in a nationwide SAT Vocab Video Contest @ MIT university. You can view contest details at Please let me know. Thanks!
At 5:47pm on December 29, 2008, Alyshia Olsen said…
Hi Connie,

My name is Alyshia Olsen; I am a 20 year old college student from Olin College of Engineering. I am a part of a group of 6 Olin College students (we're in Needham, MA, and engineering students) who has taken a year off to work on an education related project. Since you are in the 'e-learning and online teaching' group, I thought you might be interested! Our project is called AlightLearning, and this is our "short" project description:

Under the assumption that within ten years, the landscape of modern education will have fully integrated what we now define as new classroom media: video, online collaboration, open source curriculum and other web tools, we hope to pioneer a web software tool that acts as a platform for this new media, bringing the power of the web and its tools to students, teachers and parents in a secure, comfortable and innovative environment. Our goal is to have our free software at a pilot middle school by April 15th, 2009, continuing to develop and coordinate with our users to create a product that other schools want to pilot and use at their schools, while allowing individual teachers to implement this tool in their own classroom.

Our project, titled Alight Learning, is currently trying to win a competition for startup funding on You can find us at . We would love your support in the form of a vote within the next couple days, but more importantly we'd love your feedback and comments. Our description on Ideablob is short, and even the one above hardly gets at many of the issues we would like to take a stab at solving, but at least it's a start.

Feel free to email me back, check out, anything you like!


Alyshia Olsen
At 10:25pm on September 12, 2008, Govinda Prasad Panthy said…
Hello there, i'm a school teacher/founder from Nepal. I run an elementary school for poor family rural children. I'm Govinda by my name. if u find me like minded person plz mail me at
At 8:25pm on August 9, 2008, Kevin said…

Hi, this is Kevin. Hope your summer is going well and you had some time to relax.

I've started a new Ning network for Middle School Science Teachers and I thought you might like to join as you are (may be) also a m.s. science teacher. I thought it would be really good to have just middle school science teachers share some of their labs, demos, concerns, what works and what doesn't about teaching this level. Hope to see you there.

Thanks, Kevin
At 6:31am on May 26, 2008, Kevin said…
Welcome from Pennsylvania. Nice site you have here.
At 12:11pm on April 24, 2008, Marlen Rattiner said…
Thank you for the warm welcome. It's exciting for me to be part of such a wonderfully dedicated community.
At 2:22pm on February 20, 2008, Ed Jones said…
Connie, I just wanted to leave a note of gratitude. Can't leave them for all, but you and Nancy and others, with Steve to start us all off, were a great deal of value to me last week. Friday I submitted an application for The Education Entrepreneur Fellowship at The Mind Trust. Its a very nice package to work on building sustainable initiatives in education. Don't know how mine will register with the evaluators, but I'm certainly proud of the proposed project and the ideas backing it up.

The expression of those ideas has been refined a great deal in the past year thanks mainly to this community, the folk at the Fordham Institute, and Rick Hess & staff at AEI. And while those two groups are excellent at holding to principles, remembering the worst of our schools always, and pinging for good research, its been this group that has really filled in the gap between my own personal experiences and the great wide task that is building an economically sensible education system that respects the civic culture that got us all this far.

I know you work amazingly hard at school, in the field, online, and at home, and just wanted to thank at least you for the work here & at fireside. I have a much greater level of hope today than I did a year ago, primarily due to the collaboration you all are enabling.
At 6:57am on December 12, 2007, Ginger Lewman said…
Sorry--I just now saw your comment. We do have a wiki, but it's really not-so-great. We really do much better in person. I can direct message you an invite to our wiki, but if you just want to Skype me, I'm GingerTPLC. You can do it just about any time from here to WinterBreak. Sometimes we'll be "in the middle of it" but sometimes not.

If you want to give me a brief "ping" an hour or so ahead of time, we can easily adjust what we're doing. The kids are getting very used to visitors coming in person and via Skype.
At 2:51pm on December 1, 2007, Larry Ferlazzo said…

Thanks for sharing the Scientific American article. I've just posted the link in my blog, thanking you:
At 10:45am on December 1, 2007, Kevin H. said…
Hi Connie
This is prob not related to your Creature Project so much, but we do a Monster Exchange earlier in the year to accent descriptive writing. The kids create monsters, write up a descriptive narrative story, and then swap writing. All of the monster drawings are on the wall, and they have to match the art with the writing.
Next year, I would love to do this with another class.
Anyway, we made this movie:



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