Spring has arrived in the RGV, and students' thoughts turn to other things.....LOL, students' thoughts are usually on other things! So, I think I need to update some of my older screencasts and videos so they are relevant to my students now, relate-able and pertinent to what's going on in the world at the moment. Two years ago is in many ways, just the blink of any eye, but when I think about all that has happened in the world and even in my own life, it's an immense stretch of time and events. I should make a list - all the projects that need re-vamping and all the presentations that need refreshing. Better get busy....
Have you ever had a period of time in which nothing seemed to go right? Most of 2015 was like that. Things changed at work, and no matter what I did, I couldn't seem to get a handle on how to cope with those things. Most of my colleagues felt the same way, and the result was chaos at school and a sense of complete loss of autonomy and professionalism. Ultimately, these things took a toll on my health and personal life, so I've been quite absent from my blog as well as in many other places. I do believe, however, that things are looking up. I hope so........anyway, Happy New Year!
Wow, the beginning of school is so intense. Every year there are new issues to address, new ideas and methodologies to implement. Most importantly, there are new students and new challenges. When students need so much and there is so little to go around, it can get frustrating. It is important to remember to renew one's own inner resources periodically. Educators must have practices and habits that provide the emotional, physical, and mental stamina and strength to move forward.
During this harvest time of year, keep in mind that no matter how busy the season may become, we each should carve out a little time to renew our own spirits. Whatever works for you - it may be running, walking, meditating, yoga, or just some quiet time alone - whatever it is, do it regularly so you can be all you need to be for all the many needs you serve. Educators serve the community and the nation; we influence children who will one day be leaders of those communities and perhaps the world. It is important that we impart the values and attitudes of honor, fortitude, citizenship, and joy to our students. It seems logical, therefore, that we must embody those in ourselves - and to do so, we need to renew regularly.
The beginning of this school year has brought new ideas that I am so excited to implement - I have a huge list of videos and presentations to upload onto my website, and hopefully that will bring more success to my students. My students particularly love the iMovies that I have made, so I hope to make another movie or two that will support the literature aspect of our classes. Watching the iMovies really helps students to understand and remember specifics about the literature as well as the mechanics of writing. With that in mind, I should get to work.......
Summer, a time to renew our spirit, our passion, our bodies, and our relationships. Ahhhh............
Flipping a classroom takes some work. There's all those videos to make! An educator has to really be prepared and plan out their semester or year in advance; otherwise, you'll always be playing catch-up. So, why is it so important?? Because it's good for the kids. Students relate to the use of technology, they respond to the idea of being able to watch and re-watch a video for understanding (so they don't have to raise their hand in class which equals embarrassment for many), and they are much more confident doing work independently with the teacher near by to guide and help. Working with other students, allowing students to blossom into teachers themselves, and discovering through academic adventure all help students to engage and learn. An educator doesn't have to flip everything all at once - instead, start with what you have, use power points and iMovies that you would normally use during class. Give the video or power point a URL (using School Wires at our school) and begin with baby-steps. Then, it's not so scary, it's actually fun.
Graduation - it always makes you feel that bittersweet nostalgia. Graduation is an ending, a celebration of tasks completed and accomplishments achieved. It is also a beginning, another entrance into yet another world of learning. So, I have to surmise that Graduation is another step toward maturity, toward adulthood. Do we ever reach that pinnacle of perfection at which we are all that we can be? Perhaps some people have found that place, but I doubt I ever will. The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. So, we keep trudging up that hill of discovery, some days are full of sunshine and success, other days, not so much. The option is to grow stale and stagnant in our day to day existence; that is not really an option for me. So, even on days that are tiresome, I keep trying, hoping to someday be a graduate and have something to celebrate. In the meantime, congratulations to all those who are celebrating their graduation this month.
Sometimes in our desire to preserve the things we love, we forget just what or who those things really were: Avant Garde, Innovators, Adventurers, Triers of New Things, Goer to Strange Places. Will Shakespeare used a brand new method to present stories - a permanent theatre structure. Prior to Burbage and Shakespeare, actors (known as players, hmmm....) traveled and acted and played their stories in Inn Yards and Town Squares. AND Shakespeare used printing - a thing that some were convinced was "of the devel." Yet, Will is revered today and held on to as if he were a fragile and evasive mist of memory. Perhaps we should remember how much he challenged the status quo. Then, there's the Beatles.....They, too, challenged the way things were. We may get quite nostalgic about them, but they stirred things up. The Beatles were individually and as a group quite innovative in their music, their lives, and in film. Perhaps we should try to be as audacious as they were, taking a risk, seeing what works and what doesn't. Never afraid to learn from mistakes. That is their greatest gift to posterity, don't you think?
Ahhhh, the beach. What a great place to listen to nature, to be still, to regain your balance. One thing that's great about technology is that we can take a dozen books to the beach in a kindle or mini-ipad and read them ALL without lugging a dozen books in the beach bag. Summer is finally here, and I'm headed to the beach. Where are you headed? The mountains? The lake? The back porch? Where ever you are going, hope you find balance, harmony, and peace for the summer.
Being FLIPPED doesn't mean that we leave behind all the classics and beautiful words that have been written in the past. Rather, it means that we are privileged to share those words with kids who've never heard them before! By using a medium that kids are familiar with, we can make the words come alive, make them sing and soar. How exciting is that? This is a great time to be a teacher, and I'm so glad I'm part of it. Whether it's Shakespeare or Jane Austen, Kathryn Anne Porter or Mark Twain, this promises to be fun, fast, and fabulous - can you feel it?!?