Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Response to Joe Marquez

My Journey The Art of Possibility

In this week’s Wimba session we were discussing the book The Art of Possibility and compared the meanings of the book with the Power of Positive Thinking.  To me the book The Art of Possibilitytakes the idea of thinking positive and asks you to do something about it. We do have to think positively, but it is our responsibility to take action on these positive thoughts. This can be done by thinking positively in your workplace by making a difference in your workplace by taking on roles in which you can make your environment better to work in, rather than hoping that your work environment will get better. The key Idea in The Art of Possibility is that we must take action on our positive thoughts and spread the possibilities to those that we have a chance to influence. When asked which chapter meant the most to me I was torn between our discussion in chapter one about the African shoe salesmen and the chapter about rule #6. The shoe salesmen story really hit home because it allowed me to relate the problem they faced of selling shoes to people without shoes, and teaching students who don’t want to learn. It allowed me to see that those who don’t want to learn probably were never given a chance to experience the joy in learning, so as teachers we have the opportunity to introduce something new to students which they never knew existed. Rule # 6 reminded me so much of my grandpa who passed away this month. So much so that as I read this chapter I could not help by joyfully cry in comfort that my grandpa lived his life in correct fashion.

Thank you so much for the recap of the  Leadership project and for giving us a preview/rundown of what to expect during month 12 of our EDMT program.

One of the main reasons that I decided to do this program was to make a difference in my school community. I was tired of watching presenters come in to show us technology which in their mind was printing information on transparencies and using the overhead projector. I had already learned how to operate the sound system so we could be heard at assembly. It's amazing how many teachers think they can talk over 300 students. I feel this past year I have made my mark on my school using technology. Every presenter that comes to my school is recommended to see me first and I enjoy helping them make their presentations a success.

My Response to Cynthia Madanski

Affecting Eternity

Cynthia, I can give a personal account of being pulled out of the classroom. I was asked to be dean of students one year. This was my most frustrating year. I was pulled out the Expressive Arts Department, where we do a lot of different activities with the students. I watched in pain as I saw my PE department take a downward spiral. When students came to me with problems it was truly amazing to see some of my own coworkers wanted to punish and not discipline. I became a babysitter. I wish I had read the book before I took the position. I actually felt myself losing focusing on having my students master fundamentals. I am glad to say that I had to come back to the PE Department due to budget cuts, but couldn't be happier!

WK 4 Lighting a Spark

This week’s reading was special to me. Lighting a Spark was great chapter. The Eastlea School is located in the slums of London. No one expects them to do well including the students. In comes a conductor who wants to expose the students to classical music. Classical music? The students won’t listen to this. They won’t be able to sit still. So many negatives were brought up by those about to receive something special. The orchestra came. The media came. Did they come to catch a special performance or to validate the stereotype of the Eastlea School? The first performance went off well, but not entirely smooth. The conductor of the orchestra didn’t let the stereotypes stop him. He humanized the entire situation by writing a letter to the students telling them thank you and then giving them goals to achieve for the main event. Everyone was amazed by the behavior and even enjoyed on of the students, Anthony, as he was allowed to conduct a portion of the concert. What made all of this possible was that one person challenged themselves to light a spark where it was greatly needed taking the chance that the entire scenario could blow up in his very own face. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

WK 3 Leadership Project Hub

My capstone project Motivating teachers to use technology in their classroom has been very interesting from the start. I completely took a new turn during the process. I wanted to motivate students to increase their attendance, but realized after a few months that people, including students are drawn to things that appeal to them. Think about your favorite class. I bet it was very engaging, right? Today's students have the same type of desire that educators had at some point in their educational matriculation. They want to feel like they are an important part of the class. With today's technology, everyone can write or should I say post comments, answers and even pictures on the board. My project starts out by showing a student totally disengaged from his learning. Throughout the presentation, I show how the web tools my target audience and I have found have enhanced my student’s learning and how my staff is now motivated to share Web 2.0 tools that are being used in classrooms around my school.

WK 2 Leadership Post
WK 1 Leadership Post

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wk 3 The way things are

My son has a temper. Sometimes I watch him get frustrated and then rush in to calm the situation. What I found after reading this chapter was that I needed to let these feelings run its course. As the text stated the storms give way to patches of blue sky. When we focus on everything that went wrong we lose the ability to concentrate on the real problem. My wife and I get him to stop, identify the problem, and then find two solutions. This chapter affirms that. We often told him to go do something else, but this let the problem remain. Take note at the pitcher in baseball who gives up an early run in the beginning of the game. Watch him as he takes a walk around the mound the retires the next four to five batters. He didn't focus on the one bad pitch. He started focusing on the pitches that were effective.

My Response to Nykoli Hyatt

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2012

Wk 4 Art of Possibility- Who said it isn't about me?

It isn't about me...Really?

My daughter is always reminding me that things aren't always about me but I believe her to be wrong.  It is always about me in as much I am always involved, I might not be at the forefront, I might be giving to others but I believe that so long as I am actively involved then I will make it about me.  

I believe in treating people's children with dignity and respect.  I have children and I hope that the kindness I extend to other people's children will be blessings waiting out there for my two.
Is it the power of music or the power of possibility? Or even the powerful force of paying forward. 

The possibilities of that first spark. To see it ignite, take hold... the changes, make a child, an adult believe in the possibilities of their own existence is something I would like to witness.  I am in contact with some of my past students, maybe I am witnessing without being consciously aware that I am (I just thought of that). This is s wow moment for me.

I always feel that there are choices and even when our back is up against the wall, we have choices.  When we do one thing, it means we have neglected the other choice (irrespective of whether we think it so or not).

Whether I accept myself as the Board or not, I guess that is what I am. Using Mr. Zander's analogy, I imagine, would empower me rather than feeling like 'stuff' happens to me and life is fair/unfair. It is not an easy  concept to accept and put into practice at this point, but with conscious thought and effort, who knows...

Being the Board all the time may leave one weary. I just can't seem to conceptualize how it would work as I think about it, others around me would have to be in a similar mind frame (as Cora, knowing about the 'A') in order for it to 'work'.

Rule number 6 is a great start for me. I do take myself too seriously and I get what Mr. Zander but once again a bit difficult to create these frameworks of possibilities and share it with others on a daily basis... Some things are much easier said than done (practiced). Could it be just small acts of kindness (like the teacher did for that student) or is it much more?

This way of thinking, living, being, calls for a renewing of the mind which no one would argue is an ill-fated task, but rather a conscious way of assessing and living one's life.  Whether it is or isn't, I guess I will start with start with small acts of kindness for right now, I do not feel like being concerned with anyone else but myself.  I will have to start small if I hope to incorporate these frameworks of possibility as part of who I am.

This all calls for a consciousness of thinking...

Though I have seen small changes (every now and again) in past students.  I haven't had the opportunity of seeing any of them realize their potential yet... but I believe I will see that and Lord knows, I am hoping to see that time and time and time again repeated by many.  I have encountered numerous young lives that I know have abilities beyond what had before been tapped into... My hope is that something I said, something I did will be remembered and that will take them to their dreams... and far beyond... only time will tell.

Hasanni and Imani- the possibilities are endless- You are and I know I will see great things!

Gwaan my yute!

Nykoli, your students and your children are watching you. Remember one small pebble thrown in a lake causes ripples. The choices you make affect you and others around you. When I struggled with a class, I told myself that every good thing that happened was like making a deposit in the bank. When a decision went bad or something didn't go the way I expected, I went to my bank and made a withdrawal. The students are listening to you and when one writes you a letter or a little note, make sure you put it in YOUR BANK!

My Response to Lori Hobbie

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2012

MAC Week 3 Reading Blog: The Art of Possibility Chapters 5-8

Ode to Joy!

Chapter 5
Any Chair
Our 4th grade class went on field trip to the symphony today. Over nine hundred 4th and 5th grade students from our district attended. The students had been practicing playing a small portion of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on their recorders all year. As the conductor turned to the kids and began guiding them to join with the orchestra, I couldn’t help but think of the chapter. I’ve never heard Ode to Joy sound more beautiful. Wonderful things can happen when you are “willing to give away greatness!”

Chapter 6
Rule Number 6
Again, I thought of my students as I read this chapter. Many of my students feel so incredibly pressured by standardized testing and the resulting “data” that their educations have become something to survive rather than enjoy. It is sad to see kids so stressed about learning. I make “a practice” out of making mistakes in my classroom. I tell my students how wonderful mistakes can be; I try to do what I can to help lighten up the academic mood that is prevalent on my campus. Educationally, I think this “rule” speaks to a social/emotional capacity that our students will need to survive. Our  social/emotional classroom instruction is driven by data we receive from students in the form of body language and facial expressions. Meeting each kid’s needs is an art but with rule number 6, it’s impossible to make a mistake!

Chapter 7
The Way Things Are
I love the diagrams in this chapter. The diagram of the closed conversation (spiral) verses the open conversation (sun with rays). There is a lot to be said about assumptions verses assessments (or facts) here. That can be a little confusing at times because what often seems like “fact” is actually just something we started believing at some point and it seems as real to us as the actual truth. I like the quote by Anais Nin, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”

Chapter 8
Giving Way to Passion
The 2 steps written about in this chapter are easier said than done. Sometimes “noticing where you’re holding back” can be like trying see a color you’ve never seen before. I also think that noticing is the hardest part. If I can stay open to noticing, then letting go and following the possibilities becomes more like going with the flow.

My Response:
Lori, I love field trips! I think that this is the one thing that is overlooked in education. Field trips make education come to life. Your students must have felt really proud to be able to perform with other students in the district. It gave them a purpose to practice to get ready for the performance. I truly believe you witnessed a willingness to give greatness away.