Sunday, August 23, 2009

how we're starting class this year

inspired by greats like:

bob sprankle's dream - about how school should be,

alan november's question of who owns the learning,

steven devijver's drive for visual hygiene,

wendy drexler's networked student ,

david truss' insight in the pods are coming,

lisa nielsen's enrage me or engage me - about how we should be doing school - passion-based,

etc...etc....etc.... (you know)

and most and foremost - by kids - with brilliant, young, fresh, ....energetic minds...

here are 2 ways we are starting out our school year differently:

1. about groupwork: rather than having the teacher pick groups and switch them up every so often, students pick members per their passion, and keep them - hopefully for a life time - their professional learning network,
see here how we are starting out:
and here for where we are: hosting our groups

2. about textbooks
: rather than relying on a book - (no disrespect to written text - but we were looking for something alive and unboxed) - each student will have their own twitter account, with carefully selected people to follow - again per their passion - which will serve as a most brilliant search engine, and - each student will join diigo in order to bookmark all they find from twitter and in order to access the info their classroom coach (that's me) has bookmarked and continues to bookmark for them here

learning is fun, alive, passionate....
school should be too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

tic and pd

so - i'm a crazy fanatic about learning. ask my colleagues. (i know i annoy some of them.)

thing is - i'm passionate about high school kids, about learning, about spending 7 hours a day (school) wisely. what my colleagues might not get or see is that i'm passionate about them as well. and that's what i'm wrestling with just now.

i feel like i've learned at least the equivalent of a master/doctorate in the last 6 months - through my expert individual tutor and a couple different plns that i feed off of and crave insight from daily. i've listened to webinars on end, engaged in twitter and blog conversations galore, read a kazillion sites and blog posts and articles, several books.....

i'm so pumped for this school year. i believe we are in such an amazing time for education (that's another conversation in itself - like will richardson's post.) bottom line - i want others to feel the same. i want them to see the future as unbelievably open to opportunities we never had before as educators - rather than the overwhelmed feeling i know a lot feel.

going through pd and training and meetings these last two weeks - i've been thinking about all this. wondering if there were ways to reward my admirable brave colleauges for all the extra hours they put in - a way to encourage others to dive into and embrace all the remarkable opportunities we have.

here are some suggestions - (please add more or suggest more or start conversations):

i would like to see these things considered for tic and pd:

1) attendance at webinars - ie: george siemans and dave cormier - social media seminar

2) book clubs (online or off) - ie: mcleod's castle book club

3) online courses/conferences - ie:
*mooc (massively open online course)
*open ed conference ie: just listened to gardner campbell's talk on thinking the unthinkable - and here is dave cormier's post after the conference
*thinkfinity through verizon
(nice move verizon)

some of these you can currently get tic for. for example: the thinkfinity course - you can submit the site (preferably 2 weeks before the event) for approval. i got it approved in 2 days. however, verizon offers for FREE - 30 cde hours or for $50 2 college credits from adams state. my approval was only if i went the $50 route.

but i'm thinking - there's got to be a better way. a more meaningul and useful way - to incorporate accountability (rather than paying to prove it.)

some thoughts i have for attaining tic credit after attending a webinar, etc... (listed in order from least to most useful/beneficial:

1. meet with your instructional coach or admin (you should have something you want to share)

2. get a colleague to participate with you and then turn in some form of your rich discussion after

3. do the same as #2 only with someone from your pln (professional learning network)

4. produce a copy of the webinar dialogue (showing your comments/questions) either during or after the event, or the comments from the book club blog sites, etc..

5. add a post on a district (or personal) blog site, so that you gain a rich reflection on the experience and others interested might also gain insight from your experience through ongoing conversations (i'm thinking blog = reflection/conversation)

6. create a wetpaint/wiki workspace to encourage/enable collaborations on some activity/topic you learned about so that others can then use it (i'm thinking wiki = workspace)

will richardson's post today is a must read. we have to let go of the way we've been doing things. we need more people to understand that:
1. this isn't just another trend/cycle/new toy
2. we're missing it
3. the kids lose - but gosh - we do too - why wouldn't any teacher want to crave the next day with his/her students

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

why do we learn? not how or what, but why?

inundated with training and professional development and meetings.

observing behaviors/attitudes/etc of teachers.

conversations around focus.

why are we here: to help kids
what is the purpose of school: to learn how to learn (although today's meeting - achievement - who defines that?)

as i leave these people - my mind wrestles on - why learn?

i'm content.
i have darlings i would love to spend more time with. more time playing. so why this pursuit? why spend so much time learning? what's the purpose. what's my goal.

oh - my goal.
now i remember.
my personal life goal is to help others. i get to keep learning and i must keep learning - if i want to help others.

once i step outside the fishbowl - especially of my family - where - ya - we'd be ok w/o learning any more ---- there are people who do need to learn stuff in order to help themselves. for some - in order to survive.

in the wide world - people need to learn things as drastic as how to get clean water.
in close proximity - people need to learn things as simple as doing school right.

i learn - so that i can help others.

there will always be people who need help.
i will always need to learn more.

and gosh i'm glad there are others who feel the same.
because i so need them - in this helping others pursuit.
thank you to my many tutors/coaches/mentors - for helping me learn.

and thank you @bengrey for nudging me to think this through.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

kid insight...incoming freshmen

there is so much to learn from incoming freshmen. perhaps because they haven't learned to mask their emotions yet? who knows. ...
but i'm watching.
and learning.

what i've learned this week about gatherings...

1 all gatherings need and will have leaders

2 anyone can be a leader, *everyone should be

3 there are generally 3 types of groupings around a gathering:

a: the natural leader and those happy to follow, (including those standing on the edge wanting to join)
b: those thinking they are too good to join
c: those thinking they are not good enough to join

4 a good leader will start a movement, then zoom out, back away, noticing groups b and c. they will realize hidden desires to belong, and start troubleshooting ways to get inner voices heard, roadblocks removed...

*being a leader is not about control or power, it's about gathering and organizing around shared passions. can't think of something you could lead? maybe your not looking in the right places, maybe you're not zooming out, backing away, in order to notice those inner voices with hidden needs and desperate desires to belong.
look at the leader of this community for inspiration....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

there's more

ok - so about my story....

well - i guess there's more. i found more. or more came to me.

on my simplistic life goal - to help others:
as self-sacrificing and noble as it might sound - it really is coming from my need to be needed.

now is that just human nature? jacqueline novogratz writes of this when she tells of working with women in africa - my paraphrase - she says they weren't interested or even in need of her (jacqueline's or acumen's) help as much as they were in need of being needed. while it certainly is human nature - i see two issues with it.

1) if i'm helping you because i need to be needed - but you see me as noble and selfless - that's a deception. i'm not being transparent, perhaps not even to myself. and while - good things may come of it - at the core - it's selfish. perhaps that why the people who appear to be doing the most self-less acts get caught up in so many horrible misdeeds. the hiding of their motive to do good corrupts them even more. their non- transparency is at a much deeper level than scandals - who's selfish acts are most completely exposed. it's like a subliminal non-transparency. it's this fake transparency that is becoming popular today. just enough transparent to encourage trust.

2) if i'm helping you because i need to be needed - the way in which i help you will be guided by my agenda. i will in essence be trying to put you in the box of my perceptions. it's a control issue. ego really is everywhere. dang.
a more helpful approach would be to help you figure out how your dilemma can be resolved. period.

this little revelation - clears a lot up in my head just now. for life, for relationships, for ed, for math, ....

how often - when people need help - do we say - i don't know what to do for them and so to pacify ourselves - we say - they just need someone to listen to. (gosh if we could just leave it there.) but invariably - our "wisdom" gets the best of us and we determine that they do need us to do something. they need us to fix them - so we try to force them into a solution from within our box.
no wonder it seldom works. and if it does - it's short-lived.

stepping out of our box - out of ourselves - is not easy.
for proof
1) we never do it
2) take a look at a math class
but we need to start stepping out. we need to start seeing outside of ourselves. we need to realize that it's not my plan to save the world that is going to save the world. the plan has to be our plan. i, me, you, ...has to become us. if it doesn't become us - the plan has no value.

simple sounding - but it's a whole different realm. not so simple to take on.

like in teaching, we get a new tech tool, and we think if we use it - we're on to something. when actually, we're just hiding the truth even more. we're missing the big picture. and in missing the big picture - the tool becomes trite. bad even. because the use of it - for the sake of using it - hides the original mission -learning how to learn. focus is on the tool. focus is on self. focus is on how i perceive education. ..the world. and worse yet - we think we've fixed things. we think we've gotten closer to our goal - when actually we've just fogged up the window. and now - it's hard to even realize that - we're missing it - because of all the fog.

the challenge then becomes - step out of my box daily. quit stuffing the world and the people in the world into my box. notice the world around me in defining the world around me. rather than defining the world by my previously boxed world. no matter how cool or pretty or selfless my box appears.

what i'm thinking now - that's true self-lessness.
and if we all got there - the world could be...- one.


soul peace.