Blaming Henry

Pause…

How do we change our thoughts on grading so that we are teaching and assessing for learning with feedback so students can improve? Teaching for learning does require patience, reteaching, kid-watching, and engaging tasks that require thought. I don’t want to catch kids — I want to inspire them to be more.

Play…

I’d like to also to change our thoughts on assignments that focus on one objective. People don’t learn to ride a bike by 1) practicing pedaling, 2) practice steering, and 3) practice braking before 4) putting them together. No, we get on and ride. Shouldn’t we dive into good books? Write about what know and read about? Then get feedback on how to do it better, based on the real work being done?

I blame Henry Ford for breaking things into pieces and organizing assembly lines. Many of our schools with students who need more positive experiences are just like assembly lines — not places where we actually “do” stuff together, and learn to get better. Students enjoyed the work, did better on more skills, learned more, and liked school with authentic projects — something that required integration of skills with mini-lessons and flexible grouping to help. We created posters, brochures, skits, models, memoirs, video-memoirs — filled with our learning and all requiring reading and writing. When I’m told to post my objectives every day, it seems that we are focused on the parts and not the whole; we’re teaching the bits and not understanding the world of authors, scientists, historians, etc. We’re pushing the pedal, but not steering towards anything authentic.

What do you want for your child? Objectives for Test Prep or Authentic Projects ? Tell your school board today, and tomorrow, and the next day.

 

21st Century Vision

21st Century Vision

Pause… for a roundup for #zerotohero: Day 23

Education rethinking is the vision I have and the blogs I follow.

One of the most important one is the work of Jackie Gerstein. She specializes in what works and what could be better for education. This one is important:

Vision for the Future: The Other 21st Century Skills

 

Teachers are beginning to speak up about the attacks on their professionalism. Every day teachers are vilified by people who have no clue what it means to be in a classroom filled with amazing, yet individual personalities and talents.  Here’s one at Chalk Face:

On Teaching: An Open Letter to Marc Tucker

And, of course, Diane Ravitch’s blog, where she attempts to show the truth to politicians who are heading our education system completely in the wrong direction. The problem is, no one is listening. But someone listened in New Jersey:

Diane Ravitch

 

Play…

Parents need to get involved — to see how much their teachers care about their kids, and to support the work they doing. Our children are our future, and they are not test scores. They have personalities and talents that should be developed. If parents begin to speak up, we’d stop the madness of testing — or of privatizing schools.  I believe that’s what happened in New Jersey. 

Learning Flow Chart by @dogtrax

Pause

Think about open education. That is what Kevin Hodgson did with this flowchart. He was working on several projects, and reflected on why. He said, “open learning is a way to dip into topics and communities and go as deep as you want or need or desire, with personal goals guiding you forward.”

He discovered that “I keep meeting incredibly interesting people in Open Learning environments who stretch my thinking and push me in new directions. We need that in our lives — folks inside our learning trajectory who show us new paths to pursue and new ideas to consider and new schematics from which to observe the world.” In other words, by following his interests, he meets those who help him grow. Wouldn’t that be something great for learning for our students?

He developed this humorous flow chart to synthesize his reflection, and it may help you see Open Learning in a new way: Be sure to go here to the interactive ThingLink image:

Play…

If you read through the flowchart, you’ll get a sense of different learning platforms, and his perspective with humor.

What I found terrific about this, is that he enjoys his learning and plays with it.  He’s showing his learning with humor, putting a spin on it that reflects his learning in a deeper way, which is something most kids don’t get to do. Why is that?

Blogger’s Liebster Award

Smiles about today:

I opened WordPress to a comment, “Hello there! I nominated you …” from a #zerotohero blogging friend at Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer.

Liebster Award is blogging meme award whereby bloggers support those blogs with fewer than two hundred followers and nominate them for the “Liebster [love — in this case, blogging] Award.” It’s a chance to get to know the person behind the blog, and to support their blogging paths. Thank you, friend, for your support. I also learned how to add an image to a quote format blog post!

Here are the rules:

liebster-blog-award-21. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Questions for Me:

1 What motivates you most in life? Is it your family, your friends, your own will, the weather – I look forward to your answer!

I am motivated to be the best at what I do as a model for my family, my students, as a person on the earth. I believe I am a drop creating ripples that affect others, so I take care that I do no harm, and yet I also stand up for the rights of others to be the best they can be. Since most of my adult life has been based in the education world, I am motivated by the act of creating that which will help my students better understand how to think through their work and life critically and creatively — with their needs and interests in mind. I am motivated by my circle of educator friends [PLN] on Twitter and Google Plus to plan and create a better classroom, each within our own situations, hoping for a better, more humane and personalized learning environment for today’s and tomorrow’s learners of all ages.

I am motivated by my grandchildren, whose genius is reflected in the openness in which they are allowed to create and learn through the passions that inspire them. Our families strive to provide an open and caring path for them to follow. As a parent, I was motivated to create that climate for my children, in hopes they would do the same for their children.

2 What’s the next big thing that you know is going to happen in your life? How are you approaching it?

The next big thing in my life is that my son who has been in Australia is coming home. As a child, one of the books we read together was Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in which the main character’s troubles cause him to say, “I think I’ll move to Australia.”

He’s been dreaming and traveling quite a while, so we’re excited to have him home again and are preparing by having a Wonderful, Marvelous, So Good, Very Happy Day!

3 Home or abroad? Why?

Home. I’m a hobbit; the occasional adventure is fine, but I can tour the world and connect with people all over the world right from this computer through Google Hangouts and Skype. Our granddaughter took us through a tour of Belgium and France this summer, and that was fun enough for me!

I like being the home base!

4 What do you fear the most? Why do you fear it?

I fear losing a family member too soon. My husband and I lost our parents early, and we treasure the time we have with our children and grandchildren. I think that is a parent’s greatest fear, losing a child.

5 What’s the memory you cherish the most? Why?

Giggley At The Beach

When I close my eyes as I sit at home in the house or on the swing in the backyard, I hear laughter and singing, imagination and creating through chatter and banter. As I listen, I imagine the adults and children who have enjoyed life here in our home, or on the beach, our favorite gathering place. It is the proof we have brought joy into the world.

6 Do you like where you live? What are the best/worst things about it?

Yes, I love where I live.

Best: Friendly people of mixed cultures willing to help at any time a neighbor needs it. Beautiful scenery of prairie, meadow, woods, desert, beach, fields.

Worst: Way too cold in the winter, and way too hot in the summer.

7 Do you learn best through doing, listening or seeing? Why do you think that is?

I learn best by seeing things, watching how things are done or reading/viewing about it, and then doing it. Why? That’s is how we learn — observe and try.

8 Who is the most important person in your life? What makes them so special?

The most important person in my life is Scott. My husband. My support in learning and in living. My wise man who reads voraciously, loves compassionately, thinks deeply, and lives peacefully.

9 What’s your idea of a great night?

A great night is a house full of family playing games and munching on our favorite delights. Twice a year we all get together, and this is the “great nights” I love.

10 How would you describe yourself in ten words?

Ten words:  Sheri, a thoughtful, patient, focused, inquisitive, creative, accepting, diligent hobbit.

Ten Bloggers [ -1 ]

Most of what I write about is education, but in #zerotohero I find the rest of the world. If you are an educator following my blog, you may want to check out these blogs — they represent the wider world of wonder in food, writing, photography, art — all bloggers away from the teaching world of school, and an opportunity to think about this in terms of our classrooms: what do our students really find interesting or problematic or worthy of sharing? Because, here you find the world:

So I nominate ten bloggers found through the  #zerotohero challenge:

Made by Steven, a food blog with deliciously unique and cultural delights

An Unexpected Journey, who says she doesn’t know what to do with her life, but writing needs to be part of it!

Rob’s Surf Report, an author and poet who may be too busy to participate

 

Loquacite, an author sharing her stories — her second nomination so, Airlia, just combine your nominations into one post!

Khana’s Web, photographer’s delight — inspiring photos and mixed media to brighten your day

Wanderings by the Wyre, another author and poet to whet your creative mind

Sonya Lira Photography, who lovingly captures nature, especially birds, butterflies, etc. to your delight

61 Musings, is hitchhiking through the universe and sharing a little bit of everything, at age 61.

Questions for Nominees

I realize how busy we all are — many of us have other work and blogging is a hobby, so these questions are thoughtful enough to tell us about you, but short enough you may finish quickly [ or not, if you’ve got the time ].  Thank you in advance to all who choose to participate; if you’ve been nominated more than once, just pick and choose your questions from your nominators and answer away, linking to both.

  1. City or Country? and Why?
  2. Inside or Outside? and Why?
  3. Mac, PC, or ? and Why?
  4. Home or Abroad? and Why?
  5. Cat or Dog? and Why?
  6. Winter or Summer and Why?
  7. An item on your “Bucket List,” explained
  8. A Cherished Memory
  9. A Song that moves you – and Why?
  10. You: in a six word sentence

The above are my ten questions for my ten  #zerotohero – connected bloggers. I hope you enjoy answering them, and please link back to this post as well so that I can find all the posts! The last thing I need to say is another huge thank you to  Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer for nominating me for the award in the first place, and whose nominating blog can be found here.

Remember, the rules are:

1. Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

John Dewey: Open Minds

Probably the chief cause of devotion to rigidity of method is… that it seems to promise speedy, accurately measurable, correct results. The zeal for “answers” is the explanation of the zeal for rigid and mechanical methods.

But there is a kind of passivity, willingness to let experiences accumulate and sink in and ripen, which is an essential of development. Results (external answers and solutions) may be hurried; processes may not be forced. They take their own time to mature. Were all instructors to realize that the quality of mental process, not the production of correct answers, is the measure of educative growth, something hardly less than a revolution in teaching would be worked. John Dewey

John Dewey on Open-mindedness…

Pause to think about this: “quality of mental process is the measure of educative growth.”

Play with it to realize that standardized tests can never measure true learning.

Cosmos

Pause…

This track was created by my grandson — he studies on his own; he’s taken only a few lessons, but those were not what was in his mind. He is a near expert on Beethoven, but none of this is from school. His talents are not known there. Luckily, he may forego homework to develop this. Because this and his ability to analyze both the music and the life of what is his passion, is more who he is. This, and wrestling and coding.

Play…

What we are missing in school is this: time for all students to develop their talents, in their own way, as experts in that passion. Pursuing those passions will do more to develop critical and creative thinkers and problem-solvers than any skills forced upon them.

A Stone of Hope

Pause on this day in honor of Martin Luther King Junior. Play and pray for peace.

This video was made by Nancy Armstrong-Montes, a retired, veteran teacher, and her friend and colleague Jama Van Brunt, a kindergarten teacher. They created the video from images Nancy had taken this summer of the MLK memorial and took the time to voice over the text so that the students at their school would have an introduction to MLK, and give them a Stone of Hope.