Sunday, January 25, 2015

Today's Reads, Views, and Links

I haven't blogged for quite awhile, so I thought I'd fire off a post before I plunge into finishing up final grades for first semester and prepping for the start of second semester on Tuesday.


I saw this, and it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks.  It doesn't seem that long ago (though it really is) that I was busy soaking up all of the knowledge I could from one of my all-time favorite teachers: Loiell Dyrud.  His last year was my rookie year at LHS.

Every day that I didn't have to leave early for coaching (I coached at the college for my first three years), I was down in his room talking shop.

Though I wasn't able to really institute much of what he was currently doing (he had honors and AP and College Prep classes) in my sophomore classes, I was still able to bounce ideas off of him and apply that to my craft.  I learned what worked and what didn't.

Though I don't consider myself a master teacher by any stretch of the imagination (Mr. Dyrud WAS a master teacher in ever sense of the word), I can look back over the past 17.5 years of teaching and realize I've tried a lot of things.  Many of which failed, but all of which taught me something.  That's a world of perspective I bring to my new classes on Tuesday.  That is also a huge bag of tricks that I've stockpiled to use in my classes.  There was no other way to do.

I longed to be great right out of the gates, but what I realized around my second year of teaching was this: you have to be good before you can be great.  And experience is the best way to get there.


I'm totally using this in College Comp when we read Ken Robinson's The Element, which focuses on the importance of finding your passion and the need to rediscover creativity. Robinson also discusses how one problem with our education system is that (and I don't think this is intentional) we teach students to collect dots (memorize facts to do well on tests), but we rarely teach them to connect the dots (analyze, for example, how learning about World War I in social studies deepens their understanding of All Quiet on the Western Front in College Comp).  This illustration reinforces that, but most importantly it illustrates how important it is to take it one step further from knowledge to experience and then finally to creativity.


How cool is this? And lord knows America needs to produce all the engineers we possibly can.


I wish I would have discovered this column a few summers ago when I was teaching a technology session on the benefits of teachers keeping blogs.

I agree with all six reasons.  But I am especially convinced of #1 and #6.

#1 For reflection – What educator can’t stand to review the day’s learning and objectively think about how things went? What went well? What can be adjusted?

#6 To model good learning practices – Anything we want students to do, we should blaze the way with first. This is a great way to show them the value of the practice from your own real experience.

In fact, during my Digital Culture MLK tech session, I spoke about #6 at length.  Blogs are the perfect tool for answering two key questions that our students have every single day they walk into our classes: 1. What does this have to do with me? 2. When am I ever going to use this?

Blogs are the perfect tool for answering those questions.


This Mom is amazing!

If I had a decade of my life to spare, I'd love to do the same thing!

Now this is an amazing replica of Hogwarts!

It looks even more amazing at night.

It even has the forbidden forest!

And classrooms.

Even Slytherian's common room (though, I probably would have left this out).

The great hall!

What a great peak into an office.


A very interesting read.  I agree with their take on multitasking: humans are terrible at it.

However, I think one of humanity's greatest traits is its ability to adapt.  I recall watching a documentary that read from journals people kept upon their first time visiting London 150 years ago.  They were overwhelmed by all the horses, people, commotion, stench, and business.  

However, we adapted to large cities quite well.  I think we'll adopt to our ever-busy lives as well.

But it never hurts to unplug and put the distractions away and just be present wherever you are.


This is just too awesome for me to muck it up with my thoughts on it.

Enjoy and see how many you can relate to - 50 Things You Will Never Be Able to Forget.


Teaching irony? Here is a great way to illustrate it.  I love TED Ed, but I have never seen them used quite like this.  Great idea!


This one is a bit touchy feely for me, but ti does just what the title suggests - it shows the power of words.


I have no allegiance to Fox News (though I don't know of a more loathsome human being than Bill O' Reilly . . . Okay, Rush Limbaugh and Dennis Miller . . . and to be fair to draw in a whacko from the far left, Michael Moore) or CNN.  But I do love how this high school journalism class responds to Fox News' story they did on this high school.  Oh by the way, the students educate their viewers on the code of ethics of journalists.  And they point out how Fox News happens to violate each one of the codes.



I love how the students note that FOX News neglects to cite or give any info on any of the folks they interview on the street.  Even my juniors and seniors attempt to cite their sources.

But this is fine - what gives me real hope for the future is that among millennials Fox News and CNN has basically 0% of their viewership.

Now, you could argue that they're all watching inapropriate material on the internet, but I would argue that is better than the "inappropriate" broadcasting ethics (basically spewing hate) of both Fox News and CNN or MSNBC.

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