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. 

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.

#zerotohero Blog With Social Media

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So. Our challenge, Day 17, for the #zerotohero WordPress blogging challenge is to connect and publicize with social media, such as Instagram and Google Plus.

Pause…

I have inserted Instagram widget on this blog, but I choose not to connect the two otherwise. Instagram includes many family and fun items that may not pertain to my reflections; they will be connected through the widget only.

I choose also not to connect Facebook: I have so many bad experiences with the Facebook changes. I once returned to my page to find all my photos had been turned open to the public because of recent updates to Facebook’s interface. To change  them, I had to go to each photo to return them to the correct shared settings. That took time. I don’t appreciate that. So, while I check and post to Facebook (usually via Twitter), I don’t connect any app to it except Instagram, and then I choose what to post. The user should be in control, not Facebook.

I also did not connect Twitter: I want to decide when and what to tweet, although anyone can tweet my posts, but that would be the reader’s choice. I really use twitter as a connector for projects, so my tweets are directed to hashtags that reflect those projects and connections.  You see in my title that I included the hashtag — that way I can tweet to this community. I like that about Twitter.

Play…

I did connect my Google Plus; I am connected to many educators in one circle, so it seemed appropriate to share and connect that way. We connect professionally and some personally, developing relationships as well as school projects. It’s truly a “community,” a neighborhood online. Sharing seems a good thing there.

What about you? How did you decide which social media to connect with? How do you choose where to leave your digital footprint, a path always returning to you?

#zerotohero Comment to Post: A Reflective Conversation

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So. Our challenge, Day 16, for the #zerotohero WordPress blogging challenge is to read many and comment on two others’ post from yesterday’s post on a writing prompt [ find prompt here ].

Pause…

I started with my new favorite food blog, because it was breakfast: Made by Steven I enjoy seeing what interesting Japanese, Indian, or other delights he created this time and decided it was time I let him know I appreciate his blog and work:

I love reading your posts and viewing your images; everything looks divine, and the design is pleasing. I especially love your header image — I could reach in and try one, but which? Ah. too difficult to decide. I will one day discover one of your dishes to make. Glad you decided to blog about your passion.

Be sure to follow his blog for delicate delights for your taste buds.

Next, I learned a new word: spraff: to talk a lot about nothing. That’s the blog I read: Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer

I enjoyed the post and agree with your words. “Everyone has different reputations decided by different groups of people,” is so true. And I appreciate learning more about how your music and art are important to you, and part of how you share yourself. I like this line also: “Maybe people would get on with their lives slightly more efficiently if they weren’t worrying about reputations.” So your spraffing today revealed some gems for us to ponder!  Thanks!

He [corrected from She, sorry ] said what I wanted to say — it’s so good to read other’s ideas because their twist of thought sometimes sparks your own, and their way of saying it helps clarify your own. It’s like a conversation in pauses; we learn from each other perhaps more readily because of that pause — that time to reflect that is perhaps deeper than face to face.

And, finally, I discovered a school reputation post from flash fiction author Rob Ross‘s blog Rob’s Surf Report. I could identify with those feelings through the students I have and the sons I raised, who helped me understand the spirit within each child. I told Rob: his post showed

“the spark that rebelled causing a bit of trouble for you in school. I see you survived very well — your blog is interesting, well-designed, and full of diverse postings. I imagine you’ve created a life that is the also full of spirit and interest.

It’s a difficult task for teachers to honor the spirit and also rein it enough to focus on the learning. And it’s an even more difficult task to encourage that spirit to grow in a way that guides without controlling. In today’s schools, teachers are mandated to improve scores, not to nurture nature and help students develop their talents, which, in turn, would lead to success in any area the young person would choose. Since my own boys were those with a reputation, I understood the soul behind the scenes, and always looked to begin conversations with those kids before their year with me — what were there interests? what was it that captured their imaginations? how could I use that to bring them into the learning community, instead of skirting the edges? How do I build in movement and humor? These are the questions I would ask and consider, so “that kid” would find a place in our class. But again, teachers are watched and paced and managed to teach to those test scores; and time is taken that would otherwise be the conversations and activities to honor the spirit of each kid.

Thanks for the reflection; it inspires me to continue the quest to honor each spirit.”

We have many students in our schools who follow different paths, and the current testing frenzy does not honor their spirit, talents, nor intellect. And in my research today I found this post by @EDUCareNow Learning as Belonging. Teaching and learning are social activities as we learn within a learning community for which all students are honored for who they are. It’s a great read and links to a document entitled, The School as a Community of Engaged Learners. Now that’s a goal to achieve. So thanks, Rob — you sent me searching for more support for a different type of education reform.

Play…

So as we post our own thoughts, we also read others, and in both those paused reflections and the continued followed or researched links, we discover a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. And I am thankful for each connection.

Now, if only we could see this as learning, and build these connections and personalized journeys into our schools so each student becomes what is within.