Posted in Edublogs

Give It Away Now!

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EduBlogsClub Prompt #14:

Prompt: Write a post that includes a “giveaway,” whether that is a lesson, a PDF, or something else. 

Just make sure it is something you’ve created (preferably) or something you have the copyrights to share 🙂

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Write a post about the importance of sharing ideas to create better student outcomes for everyone.
  • Discuss times when you felt you did not want to share your ideas and why “giving away” this one is important.
  • Share a time someone used an idea without permission and why plagiarism in the real world matters.
  • What value do ideas have and why does giving them credit matter?

I wish I had something to give away. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, wracking my brain for anything I have created that I could possibly give away and I couldn’t come up with a thing. That made me wonder though, why don’t I have things to give away? I’ve been a teacher long enough, I should have things to give away. What it boiled down to for me is that I do a really good job of borrowing from here or there to create things for my students. Those mash-ups of resources are very specific to a task and not anything that I feel is worthy of giving away, though I would absolutely credit the sources they came from.

Teachers Pay Teachers always made me feel like I should have something cool to share like the teacher creators on that site. Something that other teachers would find useful. But I turned out to be more of a consumer on TpT than a creator. I think perhaps that has to do in part with thinking that whatever I have created is not worthy of sharing. I know that sounds like I have low self-esteem and I don’t, I just have very high standards for my work and I don’t want to put something up on TpT or even this post that is not something truly significant and unique. I am sure there are some reading this post that would argue that I might be judging my own work too harshly or that someone out there might find something I have created worthwhile, but I really just want to be sure that if I am sharing something in such a public forum, that it is of the highest standard and quality.

In speaking to the first point of the prompt,  (sharing ideas to create better student outcomes) I am reminded of the 3rd grade PLC I used to lead at my former school. Those meetings were rich with ideas on how we as a team were going to achieve our goals and continue to see our students perform at their best. Each one of us would come with our own unique ideas and we would mash them up into something usable for all of us. I created a number of things for my PLC, all things relevant to what we were doing, none of which I would want to post publicly.

Teachers are great at sharing ideas. I love that the Internet has maximized the sharing experience. I have learned about so many cool new tips and tricks that I have incorporated into my practice because of my virtual PLC.

This post definitely has me thinking about what I can share publicly going forward. As a teacher on assignment, my work presently is very specific to Career Technical Education, and once again I don’t feel I have anything to share, beyond cool websites.

Do you share your work publicly? Tell me about it in the comments below. 🙂

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Posted in Edublogs

The Pendulum

ball-1015283_1920EduBlogsClub Prompt #13:

Prompt: Write a post related to constant changes and the pendulum effect in education.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Write a post about learning styles and your thoughts on the recent research suggesting they are an ineffective teaching/learning tool.
  • Discuss another topic where you have seen the pendulum shift in your time in education.
  • Share about a subject where you have changed your mind and describe why.
  • What is the next great pendulum shift you expect to happen over the next five years?

I just had a whole course in my doctoral program on educational paradigm shifts and the notorious pendulum. The class cited my most favorite educational thinker, Sir Ken Robinson. I had the pleasure of listening to him speak at an educational leadership conference a couple years ago and even had him “sign” the Kindle edition of one of his books for me! (I rarely buy “real” books anymore, preferring Kindle versions so I can add to the library I carry on my phone. The ability to whip out a book of mine on any interest at any moment is just too much power for me to pass up.)

Sir Ken

It was when I saw this video years ago that I felt validated in my thinking about our educational system. It put everything I had been feeling about education into a very precise and shareable format:

My class on the educational paradigm shifts also highlighted another of my favorite Sir Ken clips:

One of the most powerful articles I read when in this class was one I located by Yong Zhao called “A World at Risk: An Imperative for a Paradigm Shift to Cultivate 21st Century Learners.” In it he has the following very powerful quote:

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the misguided policies that threaten democracy, turn American children into robotic test takers, narrow and homogenize our children’s education, encourage standardization instead of helping the needy children and stimulating innovation, value testing over teaching, and scapegoat teachers that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have squandered the opportunities brought about by technology, ignored research evidence, and paid no attention to what the future needs. ‘We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament’ (National Commission on Excellence in Education 1983, p.1).

Sir Ken Robinson and Yong Zhao are speaking my language. I have been in education for 17 years, I have seen the pendulum swing many times. However, I am not of the mindset that I am a victim of that pendulum. I am a firm believer in being the change I want to see in the world, and specifically in education. It may not be easy to be that change, but I can take steps to put myself in a position to help others who want to make big changes in education. I started making changes in my classroom, as many teachers do. As I have mentioned before, I aspire to be an administrator and am taking active steps to make that happen. I know what it feels like to work for administrators who want to change the way our children are educated and I want to add to those ranks. The more of us there are, the more change we can bring into our outdated educational system. We can work together to harness that pendulum and make it more of a spiral, taking the educational change that comes and building on it, always making education the best it can be for our children.

How do you react to the educational pendulum? Do you feel helpless and suffer through its swinging or do you feel you can make educational change?

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