Realizing Who You Are

I have been working through many ideas in my head around passion, mindset, culture, and purpose and really struggling to find any source of an answer or belief on my part. I wrote a piece about Passion, Mindset, Culture, and Purpose Part Uno last week where I focused on mindset and culture.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 7.28.56 PM

I have probably written close to 15 different draft blog posts on passion and whether or not it is bad advice or the way to live our lives by pursuing our passions. Each one has not felt right in terms of how I really think or feel.

I headed down to the Nerd Cave this morning and on my screen was something my daughter, Addy, wrote for her notebook. Her and I have been really connecting over the NBA Finals talking about mindset, toughness, work ethic, etc. We have been working on her form and doing some driveway exercises. She keeps a notebook where she draws, doodles, writes ideas, and whatever else she does. I saw her gluing some papers to it the other day, but did not pry as it is her notebook.

Well, she left her document up on my computer and I thought it was perfect for sharing. Here is the mind of a 9 year old and in these words are some powerful ideas that we as adults can learn from(just avoid the grammar issues).

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 7.28.56 PM

 

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Passion, Mindset, Culture, and Purpose Part Uno

Buzzwords that all need to be addressed!

It is nearing the end of another school year. The little valley in all education calendars when teachers are nearing their end of patience with students because there is so much to get done in such a short time while the patience for deep learning by students reduces by the minute because they can sniff the freedom of summer.

IMG_3300

When we as people, humans, creatures, insert word of choice, are being pulled emotionally and mentally in many directions at the same time we reach a breaking point. Before we hit that breaking point and SNAP let us go back and tackle some key buzzwords that are used all the time and bring some focus.

via GIPHY


Mindset

“Have you ever worked hard to improve a valuable skill and made real progress, only to have your development go unnoticed by the people who told you that you needed to improve?”

This very question to the beginning of the article linked has sat on my brain for some time now. As we are pushed time and time again to improve as educators and schools, we cannot forget to take time to recognize one another. The days are busy. The stress levels are high. Sometimes we hit our goals and have breakthrough moments. Sometimes we fall short. That does not mean we are bad at our job(unless we continue to do the same thing over and over again). Rather, it means we are working to improve and just like students in our classrooms sometimes our ideas that fall short set up and teach us more than a successful lesson or unit.

So many times we are upset and feelings are hurt when our hard work goes unnoticed. This goes back to an issue of culture. The issue that is so often talked about, but rarely addressed because it is hard and difficult. Addressing culture means taking on ownership of what works and what doesn’t. It means owning up to our shortfalls and more importantly addressing the elephant in the room(a different size and color of elephant for each culture being addressed). It is that dreaded topic that is easy to criticize, but harder to achieve solutions. There has to be a way.

We must take time to notice others. If everyone took time to notice another person AND actually told them, wrote them a note, or highlighted their work, then things would start to change. This small task has to be genuine and not fake. It also needs to be done by everyone involved in the workplace from the administration to the teachers to the paras, secretaries, custodians, and more. We must all commit to noticing others and in the process people will start to take notice of you. We must treat each other like family. We are the family structure to many kids in our schools. They can sniff the issues out like nobody else can. The things that frustrate us in our own classrooms are often the very things we indulge in ourselves in our professional circles.

Additionally, there are times when people do gain recognition.  It should not be so scandalous when every once in a while media outlets run stories about people. Instead of tearing down one another we should celebrate because your school is your tribe. We should feel happy for everyone. We should feel like a story about one person is a reflection of all.

via GIPHY

It breaks my heart when I see educators working tirelessly and not getting the kudos they deserve. Sometimes they work so hard and there are ways to make the load lighter. Sometimes they work so hard and it might not be the exact vision of others. Sometimes they work so hard doing tedious work that is not necessary(but they are still working hard regardless). Sometimes that hard work has a breakthrough moment. Sometimes, just sometimes we just need a reminder that we are all doing great work. I don’t know of a single person involved in education who does not want to get better. I do know that many times we just are not sure how and a little pat on the back might be all that it takes to sprout that next seed of insight.

via GIPHY

Negativity does not work. It might work short term, but in the long run it will catch up and burn out the flame that started the vision to begin with when you started. I have learned this lesson the hard way as a parent and also as a basketball coach. It comes down to having a vision and a plan. It requires what it takes to step back and make decisions when emotions are not engaged in the  moment. It requires looking at the end goal as well as the checkpoints along the way to determine the proper course of action. It requires treating people like people. For example, my wife does not like how I fold clothes. When I step up to the plate and try to surprise her with perfectly folded “Hoosier” style folding techniques she does not knock the process. Now, she might go back and refold certain items of clothing, but she applauds the effort and thought behind the intended action. The same holds true for educators trying to do the right thing. The same holds true for the students in our classrooms.

via GIPHY

 

What are we to do?

  1. Start off by taking note of the work of someone who you usually don’t do business with. Seek out what they are doing and give them a nudge of positivity. Start by action and leading the way.
  2. When you get treated unfairly or judged by those who maybe don’t have the best perspective or understand things(there are many reasons for this) then utilize the toddler method.
  3. We must also look at ourselves and learn to determine the difference between working hard vs. working with rigor. Seth Godin states it best when he states: Doing things with rigor takes effort, but not everything you put effort into is done with rigor.Rigor is a focus on process. Paying attention to not just how you do things, but why….We know that you’re working hard. The next step is to do it with rigor.
  4. Believe in ourselves. Believe you are doing good work. And if you believe it, then share it out with the world. Invite people in to see the great things. Lead by example. Let your work do the talking. Just do what you do if you know what you are doing is good enough.
  5. Ask for help. Regardless of where we are in our development we must continue to learn from others. Ask for help. Pick the brains of other people. Never stop asking questions. Never lose the spark of curiosity of a 5 year old. Please, never lose that passion for knowledge. Will Richardson posed a great question when he wrote this piece: “Kids have a deep desire to learn when we first meet them. They want to understand not just some things but every thing about the world around they live in. Can we honestly say that is the case when they leave us? And if not, why not?”
  6. If there is a problem, then talk about it. As Seth Godin(I love this man!) states on his blog –  If you have a problem and don’t address it, then it becomes two problems. Even more importantly when it is time to have a crucial conversation about an issue we must learn how to speak and handle ourselves so things don’t turn sour fast.
  7. If you are feeling stressed out, torn between two ideas, not sure where to go, then it is time to step back for a moment. Hug your kids, cook dinner, become a master at Slither.io or create a new playlist of music. Just get away and clear your mind.

 

Part 2 will continue with another buzzword…..

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (1)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Makerspace: The Big Picture

This is a series I am writing based on questions gathered from a makerspace workshop I ran with educators and administrators. Please feel free to chime in with your own ideas as these posts are designed to get you thinking about your own makerspaces and learning environments.

IMG_3471

Essential Questions

How do we move this out of activities and into the way we do business?
How do we know it’s MakerEd and not just crafts?

For me, this is all about actually doing. So often in education we spend countless hours reading, discussing, talking, and planning, but never actually getting to the implementation part. We will never have that perfect moment nor will it ever be the “right time”. The right time is now. Start. It does begin with activities. Start small, but build momentum. We don’t start a fire by tossing in the biggest logs we have. We mix a little paper with kindle and let the flame grow. Over time we add the bigger logs to keep things working for a while. Same thing in education. Easy and cheap activities. Find what works. Find what the kids gravitate towards and how they think and operate. As you experiment yourself you can then start to develop plans to move projects and ideas forward to how we do business. Culture and mindset don’t develop overnight. Anything new or anything that could potentially cause disruption for the ways things have been will come with resistance and question. You have to provide people the space to sample and dabble to slowly build up to scale where you see things going.

If you want this to be the way you conduct business, then you simply must do it. It really is that simple.

Even more importantly, what is wrong with crafts and activities? We cannot lose sight that the goal of makerspaces is NOT to have standards, assessments, and measures of learning like schools currently operate. Yes, it is a problem that makerspaces are taking off because they don’t feel like school BUT don’t ruin the magic of these environments because we don’t have a test score and some spreadsheet documenting every single skill and thing that students do. So many decisions in education are based off spreadsheets that we often lose sight of the child as real breathing thing that is more than a spreadsheet of numbers and conditional formatting.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (4)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (1)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Windows 10 Tech Tips

I have been building a Tech Newsletter this year, but I know that not many people know about it. I have been preparing the next batch of tips to start launching next week. Here is my Sway that contains all my Windows 10 Tech Tips so far. I will continue to add to this Sway over time usually once every two weeks.

I hope you enjoy and if you have questions please let me know.

“Coffeechug Tech Newsletter”   https://shar.es/14Dqh6

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Give Teachers What They Want!

Early out PD.

IMG_3313

You know those days that always feel like the longest day of the year. The ones where the periods are shortened, but they feel like eternity. The days where teachers scramble around like mad trying to ensure at least a little bit of learning is taking place in a small chunk of time with the foreboding feeling of a long afternoon sitting and listening to something that we should care about, but really don’t.

Yeah, we had one of those days except it was different.

I had for the first time in a very long time and perhaps one of the very few moments in my career an epiphany or feeling where I came home jacked up and super excited for learning, for working with amazing people(and people I never connect with on a regular basis), and feeling good about things in our school.

What we did that worked so effectively was provide a PD that allowed for voice and choice as well as an opportunity for teachers to be treated like professional adults. They could choose their session they wanted to attend(which is nothing new and something we have done many times before). The next key element was that the session was a long block instead of smaller time sessions where deep learning simply cannot happen. Additionally, the longer block of time allowed the teachers to create and make their own work. In the session the teachers had a choice in what they would walk away with and how they would take their next steps in their learning and growth. It was geared around moving our culture and mindset forward to a place that we need to get to as a staff.

And it was awesome.

About a month ago some of us were super lucky and fortunate to attend what I believe is one of the best conferences – Deeper Learning. We knew that we had to find a way to bring back the feelings, emotions, and mindsets that were developed while we were out there. We met for a half day to discuss ideas, brainstorm how to share to staff things that they would WANT to know, and figure out how to deploy a starting point to move into action.

We spent the morning developing ideas and sessions. In the end we came up with five sessions that ran roughly 100 minutes. Honestly, do you ever gain much from a short 40 minute session? If our goal is to promote positive culture, growth mindset, and deeper learning, then time has to be provided to allow these things to develop.

In the end we divided ourselves up and launched five different sessions. Here is what we created for my session with another instructional coach, Chad Uhde (@udhawk)

Identity Crisis – This session will explore how to create a new name placards to spruce up our name plates outside our classroom using Google Drawings, Silhouette Cameo, soldering wires and LED, and more. By creating a hands on approach to this challenge teachers will gain an understanding on how to use the tools in our makerspaces while also pushing their learning comfort zones with a desired goal to make our building look a bit nicer.

This is not yet complete. We are CNC milling a bike frame to turn on a light in the tent.

This is not yet complete. We are CNC milling a bike frame to turn on a light in the tent.

I cannot speak for the other sessions, but I know I was nervous. We knew we had to make this work. We wanted teachers to experience the tools for themselves and leave with excitement about what they accomplished along with how they could take what they learned and apply it to their classroom.

We sat down and created an agenda for the session. We made a mad dash to gather supplies, rearrange the room to fit our needs, and make sure we were ready to go. We made sure to also explain the norms and treat the educators just like students or anyone who comes into our makerspace, Coffeechug Cafe.

IMG_3316

I am not going to lie, I was not sure how things would turn out. I am so glad we did what we set out to do because I could see teachers pushing their comfort zones, taking so much pride in their work, experimenting with new thoughts and ideas, and feeling good about themselves. I witness teachers helping one another, asking questions about other work, seeking ideas and support, and working at times by themselves and other times with others. I witnessed them walking out with a smile on their face. I witnessed all the things that we hope to create within our classrooms. I heard brainstorm applications to the classrooms. I felt the gears turning in their heads, then stopping at a grinding halt, the frustration brewing, and then the breakthrough moment when things connect.

IMG_3317

It was amazing. It was so good that we had people working for one hour over the time they were able to leave. Let me ask you – how often does that happen at your PD sessions?

I left so inspired by the teachers that were in our workshop. We still have work to do. We had teachers in the following morning. We have more coming in the upcoming week. We had educators working on their designs at home. The learning extended beyond the sessions because they were invested and wanted their product to look good. They had pride. More importantly, they were beginning to ask and think “What if I did this in my classroom?”

IMG_3936 (1)

There is something special when learning can happen at a pace that we are comfortable with individually. Set the parameters, explain the support system, and let people go. Makerspace, project based learning, STEM, etc., use whatever buzzword you want. In the end if we can create conditions where people feel safe to try new things, take an invested approach to their learning, and feel supported, then the sky is the limit.

IMG_3318

I thank every single person who was in our session. I learned a great deal about myself, about others, and about what is needed to continue to push our culture and community of educators to the next level of positive support and culture. It is time we remove the patchwork system of mandates and begin to really dive into our culture. We must ensure people feel supported. We must ensure we feel connected. We must ensure that it is okay to try new things. We must ensure that is alright to smile and feel proud about our work and not be attacked by others.

In closing, I cannot say it any better than a new, but powerful and game changer educator in our building who is pushing the boundaries of art education in our school.

Before this session, I was a bit hesitant of the idea of a makerspace as an art teacher. After all, I feel that my room is within the same capacity; students having the freedom to build, inspire and create works of art. But, I like challenging myself and my processing/ideas, and also I wanted to try something new, so I decided to jump into this session. After hearing and seeing the options that are housed within this makerspace, I am really interested in utilizing this within my curriculum, especially for those students who feel disengaged or need the extension for learning. There seems to be such an obvious connection between the two spaces (Makerspace and Art Room).  When this session concluded, my brain was flooded with ideas and new creations for my students to make and use. Having this session really helped me actually SEE the possibilities for myself and my students.”  Alex DeLong

I was reminded that if we don’t create conditions for our own educators/adult learners to be challenged in a positive way, then how will we ever create the conditions for students to have the same experiences. We must model by what we do, not what we say and the educators in our session lead by example.

Now, how do we continue to promote, create, and establish these type of learning environments for educators so it is not just a once in a blue moon opportunity?

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (3)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

You Have To Make A Decision

Get off your butt and quit pointing the finger!

Sitting in front of me just a few days ago was this segment of an email I received.

IMG_3279

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 6.20.36 AM

This is part of an email in regards to a triathlon I signed up for many months ago that I actually forgot about(intentionally). Back when I was determined to get back in shape. Back when I knew that I needed something to get me going.

Many months later I read that email as I was snarfing down Cheetos and instantly thinking I should just cancel. I have not been exercising. No way could I do this race. This was an easy choice. I did not have time for a race or to get ready. What was I thinking? Just get my money back and call it good.

AND THEN I STOPPED

The choice was not easy. I was simply making excuses as I have done so many times in the months prior on a variety of topics.

I do not have time to run.

I do not have time to bike.

I do not have time to swim.

I do not have time to eat healthy.

I do not have time to regain some balance in my life.

I simply do not have time to do the things I want with all this work that I must get done.

 

How many of us have had these thoughts? Here I was sitting in my kitchen facing a decision on a matter of racing or not racing in a sprint triathlon that really nobody cares about besides myself. And I sat there early in the morning really analyzing myself, my decisions, and my life. It was a wake up call.

I was not happy always doing “work” all day long. The 80 hour workweeks were taking a toll on my mind, family, and body. A recent string of events have lead to question if what I am doing with work is even the right path and therefore further complicates the time given to the job.

I was not happy with the fitness level of my body. I hate that only two pairs of pants fit. I hate how I look in the mirror. I hate many things that we all are so critical of about our own bodies.

I was not happy that I was not getting to do the things I wanted do. I had the excuses and reasons and justified in my mind why it was not my fault for the conditions I was facing.

I was basically not happy as a person.

Then this little email creeps into my life and has me making what seems like a life or death situation.

So, I start to map things out. How many weeks until the race? 9 weeks. Ok, I can get to a basic fitness level to do alright by my standards. 9 weeks is doable in terms of focus and dedication. I can focus for 9 weeks right?

What do I weigh now? Oh lord, do I even want to know? No, but you have to have a baseline. I creep over to the scale and face reality. YIKES! Not good and the number explains why only two pair of pants fit.

Am I really doing this? Seriously? I told Amanda and she looked at me like I was crazy. “What about just running like you said you were going to do?” I have had conversations about this type of thing before. A few weeks back I said I was simply going to run and nothing else, but that went nowhere. I told her this was it. She nodded her head like I was a fool or as if she has heard this scenario play out before(broken record syndrome)

I grabbed my training resources and started to map out what plan I wanted to create and how it would look. This was going to be different. I have never trained for just a sprint triathlon. After reading, plotting, organizing, and sketching things out I knew what needed to be done. It did not seem so bad.

I was going to do this. I was going to stop making excuses and make it happen. I called the plan Fat to Dad Bod

IMG_3283

And so Sunday I ran. I ran to my daughters soccer game. I am not sure if you call it a run or fast walk, but I got three miles done. I was beyond sore(I was already sore from fitness day on Friday for PD).

Monday I knocked out a swim test in the morning and swam the exact same time of 18:16 for a 1000 yard swim that I did one year ago. Crazy.

Monday night I took the bike out for a 10 mile ride just to remember how to ride a bike. My bike needs some fixing so I will be dropping it off at the shop this week so no bike workouts for a few days.

You see it was not that I did not have time. It was that my mind was wrong. What we do when we have excuses is build them into facts. I cannot create more time, but what I can do is FIND the time. I had the time. Waking up early is finding the time. Instead of sitting in a chair on my phone during soccer practice I found the time to ride. I had to stop lying to myself. The time exists if we want it to. This is the truth that we don’t like to face.

I know that my blog is about education and you might be wondering why this post? The issues I struggle with and am working to overcome are universal. These same things happen in the classroom as well as out of it. We all complain about time, but really the fact is that we don’t want to get off our ass and do something about it. We would rather just complain about things, point the finger at others, scoff at those who do, and go home and be unhappy with ourselves.

It is important that we look at ourselves and be honest. I have to be honest. If I don’t want to remain in the state of mind where I have been, then I have to do something about it. Nobody else is going to do anything for me because they don’t care. And they shouldn’t.

I challenge you to analyze your life. What do you want to change? What do you you wish you had more time for? List these things, chart them out, and then develop a plan to FIND the time to make it happen.

In the coming weeks I will share how I started and how I map things out. It is a system that can be applied to any situation or goal.

Until then……. go make it happen instead of complaining about it or others.

Now, I am off to go get things done.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

031: Math Masterpiece PBL

Project based learning is hard. Anyone who tells you differently has not done a high quality projects that leads to deeper learning. The reason in implementing project based learning so difficult is that the mindset has to change. There is a massive upfront preparation phase of mapping out the project with all the necessary elements, determining the authentic audience, how to weave in experts, and figuring out the final place for the project to reside. This all requires an invested time and energy focus months ahead of time. It requires the teacher(s) to do the the project, map things out, and have all bases covered knowing things will change and adapt based on the development of the students.

IMG_4810

However, I have yet to meet an educator or student who has been part of a quality project that has not been changed for the good after completing and being part of a quality project.

As we explore projects I think many people would agree that math is probably one of the most difficult to create a high quality learning project, let alone integrating it with other subjects.

Recently, my wife who teaches 8th grade algebra and pre-algebra completed a project that was a pivotal moment for her, the students, and the school where she teaches. I know this seems quite dramatic, but it is true. Let’s cut into the project(pun intended).


 

Follow and Subscribe to my podcast on iTunes

Follow and Subscribe on Stitcher so please follow here if you use Stitcher


 

She was trying to find a way to enhance her math instruction and learning. Her department is already doing some great work to get to this point. They don’t use a textbook and essentially have created their own curriculum from scratch and other resources to enhance instruction. They also have a powerful PLC established where the teachers and instructional coaches have some high quality conversations about data, instruction, and how to constantly improve.

The general challenge of this project was to create art using the Desmos website by creating vertical and horizontal lines and lines with positive and negative slopes as well as multiple other functions that allowed students to create their desired masterpiece. This may not seem like much, but have you ever tried to create a minion or logo of your favorite team or coffee using nothing but math? I thought so!

Students were also given the parameter of a minimum of 75 lines. As students began to brainstorm and come up with their designs they had to have approval of their plans from the teacher. Once they were good they were given time to write their “code” to bring their art to life.

Students had to think. They had to teach one another, brainstorm, and do additional research as their ideas developed. How do I stop the line from going on endlessly? How do I create a curved line? What if I want to do this? or that? Many things were left open for them to explore and solve on their own. This is where the power in learning took place.

As they began to finish their designs the prints were then formatted to be cut in a vinyl cutter. Students would email the teacher their Desmos graph. From there the grids and all backgrounds would be removed within the software.

Art with all grids

Art with all grids

Remove all grids and lines from background

Remove all grids and lines from background

 

Clean background

Clean background

Choose the "Image" option

Choose the “Image” option

Save this file and load to your vinyl cutter

Save this file and load to your vinyl cutter

We use the Silhouette Cameo to do all of our cuts. It is a very easy to use vinyl cutter that makes great cuts and is very easy to learn.

For the sake of costs(vinyl is not the cheapest) students images were printed within a 5 x 5 in square so we could get 4-6 prints per 12 x 12 inch vinyl sheet. This was also large enough to see all details and small enough to add to computers, cars, and more.

Once they were all printed, students were given a day or two to pick all the pieces out. We had them do this part because it is their design and they understand what they want to be removed. Keep in mind that allowing students to do this will lead to mistakes. We had to cut several more than once. Students had a hard time understanding what to pick and what to leave. I would suggest having examples to show them so they can understand negative space.

In the end all students were able to take their designs home. However, this was the not the end. She decided to host her own exhibition during the day. We went back and cut out  about 40 of them again for a display. We placed colored cardstock that matched the vinyl behind it.

881925445_5b05223ee11c3f7c

We also made a poster of every single design(even the ones partially completed) using collage.com because we needed a site that would allow us to upload over 100 images. After several various exhibit design layouts(some were amazing) time got the best of us and she ended up with this very nice looking display at the front of the building.

 

(If you are interested in other layouts reach out to me)

The next step was to have the students own the learning. This is something that they have not had to do before. She invited staff to her room for a showcase day. She also emailed a letter to all parents inviting them to the school. For her exhibition day, staff and parents came during the class period. The students took on the role of the teacher and taught the adult how to write math equations and formulas to make simple shapes. This allowed them to showcase how difficult their own art was to create, gave them a sense of pride by how the adults struggled and really gave everyone a chance to bond over math. So often parents see kids doing work, but have no concept of what they are doing or how to engage with the content. My wife teared up several times watching the kids and parent interact.

 

This Sway has a massive amount of images to help you understand what was all created.

Despite the kids and teacher being super nervous, it turned out to be a glorious day. Since this project has ended(just a few weeks ago) she has already developed and launched a bigger and more massive project and is already sketching out plans for another project.

Just when you think you cannot do a project or thinking that pbl does not fit your curriculum, I challenge you to think again. It can be done. It is simply a matter of putting in the time, effort, and planning. It is finding people who can help you. It is removing the mental barriers you have placed on yourself as well as the limitations you have placed on students by deciding what they can and can’t do.

Nothing is impossible once you decide it is not.

All documents for the project can be found here

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (2)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

BCSD EdCamp Presentations

Our school district has a whole day of PD. It is a pretty cool experience(if you want it to be) where teachers from all buildings and levels actually come together to learn from one another whether it is a presentation style format or a true EdCamp style where everyone shares.

Below are my two sessions I will be sharing during the day. The links to the resource guides are linked as well.

Speedgeeking With Coffeechug

Description:
This will be rapid fire session of technology tips, tricks and productivity tools that I use in my classroom and school to help make life easier for both myself as a teacher and for students. I will share out things I use with classrooms as well as staff during Teaching Tinker Time and PD. These ideas will give you time to enjoy that cup of coffee and have fun at the same time! The key here is simplicity and productivity.

Making Global Connections With Skype In The Classroom

Description:
Want to connect your classroom with the world and promote global citizenship? Using Skype, you can connect students across town, around the world, bring in industry experts, or take virtual field trips. Learn how you can connect with other educators, get lesson plans, start a project and more from Skype in the Classroom.

 

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)

Improvement is No Longer the Challenge

The last two weeks have provided me with two wonderful and inspiring moments that I never saw coming. I had the great pleasure and honor of speaking to 8 students who were nominated in our area for the Daughter of the Revolution Good Citizen Award and money for college. I was contacted by one of the members a few weeks back and was so honored.IMG_2938

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 10.09.36 AM

This was a challenge for me personally. I have spoken to high school students before. Usually, it has been a large audience where you inspire them to move beyond average. I have done this type of speech several times.

This presentation was different. This was more intimate. We are talking about 8 high school seniors who have a resume a mile long, doing amazing things, and are just some of the finest examples of what students are capable of doing and being.

To be honest, preparing for this speech and also sitting at the head table waiting to speak I have never been so nervous for a presentation like I was for this. I did not want to disapoint. I did not want to be another adult spewing some generic jargon about how great they are. I wanted to challenge them. To inspire them to realize that there is more to do withouth adding more to their plates. To not only celebrate them, but to give them some wisdom that nobody has told them.

I titled, the speech “Improvement is No Longer the Challenge” and I wanted to expose them to what I believe are four hidden truths that nobody is telling them.

I did my research. I looked up each student to make sure that indeed these were hidden truths. To my surprise I was correct. These amazing students have stories that need to be told, but nobody is telling the story. Who better than the students themselves? I knew I had something to deliver at this point.

Below is my presentation. I synced up my audio to the slides. The audio is not great as I used my iPad, but it does the job.

In the end I felt good about things. I rehearsed this presentatoin more times than I care to admit. It started with 107 slides for a 15 minute presentation and in the end I knocked it down to under 70.

I hope you enjoy and welcome any feedback and criticism. I have listened to it a few times and already made notes about things to change, errors in speaking flow, and a couple mishaps of not articulating certain parts properly.

IMG_2940

Afterwards each student came up and thanked me. This meant more than anything I could have asked for and just goes to show how special these students are in terms of maturity. I was told this was the best speech this reception has ever had and I was beyond moved by these words from the wonderful ladies of DAR. It was a fabulous reception and this speech is held near and dear to my heart. This speech become my own personal AHA moment and I have a vision for who I am and who I want to become. I feel like things have lined up nicely in the last few moments for my lightbulb to turn on and I am jacked to finally have some clarity.

Additionally, I was asked by another amazing and profound educator Stacey Ryan from Kansas to speak to 45 WEB 8th grade students. They were celebrating all that they have done and discussing next steps in their journey as they head into high school. This can be a daunting transition especially when you have been viewed as a leader for a few years in middle school and feel like you are starting over when you enter high school.

We Skyped locations and I had a short window to speak to them as well. I took the framework from the speech above and shifted things a bit to adhere to the needs of this audience. If you would like to know more please reach out to me.

Below is my virtual double high five ending the session!

 

This was another honor. I am so inspired speaking to students. They are eager to learn and want to absorb quality information. I wish I had more time to speak with all of these students and learn from them. There is so much to gained by hearing their stories, listening to their voices, and finding out what makes them tick. This is something I wish to work on in the future. Finding more ways to engage with the students and audience in a more personal way to understand them more.

Thank you to DAR and Stacey for allowing me to share my knowledge and my message. I will not forget either of these experiences as they challenged me to be my best and to help me reflect on what my value and brand is to the world.

Until next time.

What do you think of this post?
  • Awesome (3)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Boring (0)
  • Sucks (0)