Saturday, February 13, 2016

Today's Reads, Links, and Views

Maybe it's just me, but I swear a bitter old rich white man is the ugliest thing in the world right now.

Example: Ted Nugent.

Why we are talking about a man whose last hit (not counting his Damn Yankee years in the very early '90's) was in 1977 is beyond me.

A friend of mine, who is a strong republican, went to a Nug concert with his wife a few years ago, and even he was disgusted by the Nug's antics and rants.

Now that's saying something.


One of my College Comp 2 students shared this with me via Twitter this week.  Yeah, following your students on social media is so very, very wrong.  They may just share articles with you.  Outside of my principal, it's been a really long time since a colleague even shared an article via Twitter with me!

This one is on the importance of responding to student writing.

I've taken a different approach this year (mostly due to my involvement in a UND Inquiry Research project) to using technology to respond to student writing.  I am using Google Drive with my students so that I can log on to their drafts - as they are writing them - and give them instant feedback by highlighting text and commenting on it.  The comments appear in the margins.

I might say "Are you sure this is the best lead you can come up with?"  or "This sentence is a run-on. Try dividing it into several shorter ones." or "Use dialogue to show this conversation."

In some instances, I actually will copy an ineffective paragraphs and paste it below their paragraph and then reshape it to be more vivid or to be grammatically correct or to effectively use dialogue and thoughts.

It's made a huge difference in my drafts so far this year.

Either way, there is no denying the power of comments on student writing.  I'm here as an example of that.  In 9th grade Amy Christianson was my English teacher, and I couldn't wait to get my essays back from her to read her comments which were scrawled all over.  I still remember the most important one: "Keep writing.  This is great.  In 20 years I'll look for your name in bookstores.  Seriously, think about a career related to writing.  You're fantastic."

Those comments literally changed the trajectory of my life.


This is amazing: After losing parents, 6 year old boy seeks smiles.

Get out the Kleenex.


Under-Appreciated Under-Perform

It's rather simple.  Seek to inspire.  Seek to show how much you care.

When you do that (or when you have that done to you), aren't you more effective?

That's why I'm a fan of the acronym AIR (appreciation, inspiration, and recognition).

Who can we give our students, colleagues, peers, kids, employees and employers more AIR?

Have you ever heard of anyone quitting or under-performing because, dammit!  I am tired of being appreciated this much.  There is too much inspiration around this place!  And I can't take being recognized for my efforts and contributions anymore!  I can't take it!


This is another worthwhile read: Fear is boring, and other tips for living a creative life.

It always saddens me when I ask my juniors and senior how many of them believe they are creative.  A few hands - hesitantly - venture into the air.  If I were to ask Kenzie's class that same question, every hand would be in the air in a nanosecond.

What happened?

I'm not sure, but it's a shame we lose our desire for being creative.

Here are some tips and things to think about to retrieve that desire:

1.  If you're alive, you're a creative person.

2.  You are not a genius, but you have a genius.

3.  Make something, do something, do anything.

4.  Stop complaining and get to work.  (this one is my favorite)

5.  Frustration is not the interruption of the process, frustration is the process.  (that is genius)

6.  Let go of your fantasy of perfection.

7.  You can't get rid of fear, but do remember that fear is boring.

8.  If something is authentic enough, it will feel original.

9.  If you're in the arts, you don't need graduate school.

10.  Creative fields make for crap careers.

11.  Curiosity is the truth and the way to creative living.


You Don't Need More Time, You Just need to Spend it Doing What Matters

This reminds me of what Kevin Eastman said once about "finding time vs making time."  You will never find time.  That is just an excuse.  The trick is to make the time.

My wife never finds time to exercise.  Instead, she makes time to exercise.  It's become her priority, and now it is just a default of her life.  It's an expectation.  I admire that.

Another way of looking at this, as Dave Ramsey pointed out in a recent podcast, is that you have to be very intentional with your focus and enthusiasm.

He tells the story of going to a Tennessee Titans game and seeing a large man painted head to toe in Titans' blue.

Ramsey could see the sense of doing such a thing if you were a kid or in college.  But a grown man?

Ramsey said he admired the guy's courage and passion, but he then wondered if the man was also that passionate about other areas in his life: his family, his job, his faith, his body, his health?

Then he questioned (rightfully so, I think) the guy's passion.  Should it be focused on painting himself blue for half a dozen games each year?  What would happen if he took that passion and focus and applied it to his career or family or an exercise program?

Ramsey went on to say that focus and true passion are so rare that if you have it, you can't help but stand out.

But the trick is to sustain that focus and passion, which is rarer yet.

Another way of doing this is to do as Ramsey tells his young salespeople: find away to do a year's worth of work in three months.  That type of focus and energy will transform you.


A water coach?  This is amazing.  I love this kid's style.

And what would the world look like if we all tried to make a kid's day just the way Danny's day was made?


Can textbooks save our worst teachers?

Can textbooks save any teacher?

I don't know.  I think, sometimes, we succeed in spite of the textbook, not because of it.  I mean if I'm relying on a textbook first, I'm already screwed as a teacher.

If you don't rely on the textbook, then what should you rely on?

Connections with the kids.  Your own brain.  Move on from there.

Would a textbook help in this situation?  This is a clip from Freedom Writers, which our principal showed to use at our staff development yesterday.


And one of my new favorite shows - The Late, Late Show with James Corden.

One of the unique aspects of his show is his Carpool Karaoke.  Here he is with the lead singer from Cold Play.

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