Saturday, June 13, 2015

Today's reads, views, and links

My first real blog post of summer!

 My email is starting to stockpile with links from Twitter, so that means I better start looking at them and sharing them. I hope you find something useful.

When I saw this (Mark Cuban shares his Top Advice for 20 Somethings) on Facebook (one of the few actually worthwhile articles posted on FB) and read it, I thought this is The Dip meets Linchpin with a little bit of The Element thrown in.

I know many student loathe reading those books in College Comp 1 and 2, but the truth is I'm not teaching those books to them now.  They are simply too young and inexperienced to be able to see the truths in those book.  So no wonder they push back so much.  I'm really teaching those book to plant seeds in their minds that - hopefully - will grow and come to fruition when they are in the 21-35 age range.  I think if they were to go back and read those books after 5 years in the workforce, they'd find vastly different books from the ones they disliked as juniors and seniors.

Here are the pieces of Cuban's advice that I like best -

1.  Live cheaply.  Dave Ramsey has a great saying that goes well with this: "If you live like no one else, soon you'll live like no one else."  What he means by that is if you live on beans and rice and water and drive a beater and live in a cheap apartment . . . while (and here is the key part) paying off debt and then amassing wealth, you soon (in say 10 years) be able to live like no one else.

So while you may live like a poor college student all throughout your twenties (something I didn't really do, so learn from my mistakes!) and pay off your student loans (just about done with those suckers by the way) and don't get swallowed up in car debt, you'll make it to your thirties with far more cash in your bank account and no debt.  No one else you know will be able to say that.

2.  Take chances.  Don't fret either.  Odds are that you won't find your dream job right away!

3.  (And this one is near and dear to my heart): find a job you love.

Cuban says there's an easy way to tell if you've found a job that can help you build a career.
"If it matters how much you get paid, you are not in a job you really love," he writes. This doesn't mean that you should not strive to make as much money as possible, but you need to prioritize your passion over your paycheck if you want to put yourself on a rewarding career path that allows you to thrive.
"If you love what you do so much that you are willing to continue to live like a student in order to be able to stay in the job, you have found your calling," Cuban writes.

4.  Be the best you can be - This one took me awhile.  Now it is number one of my list though.  Personal and professional development is so vital.  It's one reason I'm re-reading Penny Kittle's Write Beside Them and Tom Romano's Crafting Authentic Voice and reshaping how I teach College Comp 1 and 2.  What I do now works.  I could just put in the next 20 years and be fine.  Students will still be college ready.  However, I know I can do my job so much better.  I have to improve.


A colleague of mine shared this article, The Disease of Being Busy.  And as a parent I found this to be a very interesting read.

And I think it's true.  I find myself defending this younger generation (who I think are far superior to my generation, by the way) because they are in so many things.  In other words, they are so much busier than I ever was.

But I don't know if this is a good thing.

This article suggests that we've made our kids busier because our lives are so busy.  We are turning them into little versions of us.  And that scares the hell out of me.

Here is the opening of the article -

I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.”
Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: “I’m just so busy… got so much to do.” 
The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.
And it’s not just adults. When we moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we were thrilled to be moving to a city with a great school system. We found a diverse neighborhood, filled with families. Everything felt good, felt right.
After we settled in, we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled… and scrolled… and scrolled. She finally said: “She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it’s gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She’s just…. so busy.”
Horribly destructive habits start early, really early. 
How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?
Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?
What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

So in honor of this article, Cash, Kenz, and I are going to be bored today.  Well, that means we are going to the park and just playing. No set time.  No classes to attend, no practices or lessons . . . Just time to spend together having fun.

I'm going to leave my precious iPhone in the car and just play with the kids.  How nice that will be.  I need to find time to do that several times during the day.


I first heard this song last year.  Now I rarely listen to the radio, but this was one of those songs that as soon as I heard it, it became rooted in my mind.  I was hooked immediately and promptly downloaded it from iTunes.

I always liked it because it reminds me of my students who are about to graduate and leave everything behind.

But then I saw the video, and realized that the song was actually about something far more important.  Now when I listen to the song, I have a new appreciation for it.


Here is another amazing read.  I have been fascinated by what successful people don't do ever since I read Laura Vanderkam's What the Most Successful People do Before Breakfast (here is a shocker - the most successful people don't sleep in).

The key take away from that book is that successful people DO something.  They don't sit on the couch or waste their lives playing video games or on their laptops.

Here are some of the things the most successful people give up to increase their productivity.


If you ask me, this is the very definition of guts: Cop Who Told Teen His Parents Were Killed Shows up to His Graduation.

Police officers have incredibly difficult jobs.  This was illustrated by the 11 cops who last week peacefully sought to break up a raucous pool part.  And all it took was one cop who let his anger get the best of him - and thus he wrestled a bikini clad teen to the ground and drew his gun on others - to ruin the work of the other 11 fine officers.

Ten stories, like the one above should be broadcast for every one of type just mentioned.


Speaking of the unfortunate pool incident in Texas, this teacher was thankfully fired for her Facebook rant where she suggested that maybe the people of the 1950's had it right with Jim Crowe (you know the time when African Americans lived in fear of lynching in the deep south).

This is a good lesson in the danger of ranting on Facebook or any other type of social media.  Yes, you have the right to state your opinion:

Fitzgibbons, who had worked for the school district for 16 years, according to the Avalanche-Journal, ended her post with this sentence: “Now, let the bashing of my true and honest opinion begin…GO!” She got her wish. The post went viral, and outraged readers called for the school district to fire her.

However, doing so allows your employer, whomever that is, to have the right to fire you because of your rant.  As my wife says, "you can state your opinion, but then you have to deal with the reaction your opinion causes."

Unfortunately, people are so divided over topics like this (and the Caitlyn Jenner controversy) that they absolutely go nuts in defending their sides.  This is evidence in the African American from that Texas community who has received death threats over his defense of the officer!  Can you imagine?

Whatever happened to tolerance and having differing points of view without bashing each other?

Personally, I believe the one officer - unlike the other 11 who handled the situation appropriately - should have been disciplined.  But was it likely a simple, innocent pool party? No.  I'm sure it was loud and raucous and resulted in the neighbors complaining.

I read one post on FB about how the kids should treat police officers with respect as their generation did.  It's funny how I remember being at numerous parties and when the cops arrived, the derogatory terms "Pigs" was shouted and not one person did the mature thing and treated the officers with respect.  We all ran and hid.  Luckily, none of the officers pulled their weapons or wrestled us to the ground, though many of us gave them more cause to do so than the bikini clad girl did.

I just wish we could have more civil discussions.

Here are two great examples from two people I greatly admire.

Here is a Facebook post my sister (one of the greatest people I know) put up regarding one point of view regarding the Jenner controversy.

Now, notice how politely and coherently Father Schmitz states his opinion, offering no judgment, just an assessment.

Here is another side of the argument from one of my favorite bloggers.  Neither of these stories have hatred or incendiary comments in them.  Why can't we have more discussions and assessments like this?

Why the division and such hatred, especially on TV and social media?

I know there are sane, rational folks like the two examples I just posted above.  Why then do we have to hear insane opinions like this one, where somehow Dr. Keith Ablow blames our president for the pool party incident?


A couple of sections ago, I spoke about bravery.  Here is another example of an act that take guts, what this mother did for her children - who happened to be in their SUV as it began to roll towards a cliff - is another example of an amazing act of bravery.

Their daughters thank her and wish her a happy Mother's Day in an amazing way.


Talk about friendship! This toddler has befriended his garbage man.  The trouble is the family will be moving and this is their farewell to the garbage man.

This man - in my book - is a linchpin.  He could just go about his job and pick up trash, but instead he impacts the life of this little kid - and his whole family!



On Wednesday I had the amazing opportunity to teach five other teachers about 5 Digital Tools I Couldn't Teach Without (Blogger, Storify, Padlet, Google Docs, and TED Ed).  They were wonderfully attentive and driven to leave the day long session with at least one lesson developed using on of the five tools (and a few left with a couple different lessons in more than one tool).  It was a very, very rewarding day.

I wish I would have come across this blogpost for the class.  It echoes exactly why I was presenting those five tools - times, especially, in education they are a changing!

Technology is eroding the foundation of the old education system.  If we don't shift as quickly as possible, we will be buried alive.


Finally, speaking of creativity - here are three things great teachers do with technology!  Again, I wish I would have come across this for my NWSC class.  But I now have it in time to build my TIES '15 presentation proposals!

No comments: