Thursday, August 4, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The school year has ended, so summer is here. We've already had 4 days of 90+ degrees, and then had it drop back into the 50's - so you know I'm in Wisconsin. I'm looking forward to travelling this summer, and spending time catching up on ... having time on my hands to do various things now that I'm done with my masters. Let's see what the coming months bring!
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Sunday, February 27, 2011
|Soon, there will a new batch of baby birds in my yard, growing and getting ready to test their wings!|
|Screen Shot of my email|
The journal I am submitting my article to is The National Association of Special Education Teachers http://www.naset.org/799.0.html Here is the link to my publication article: https://files.me.com/cyoho/rbc9r5 For publication purposes, I've removed the pictures of students. I am hopeful to have a submission response soon! I chose this publication because of its focus on special education. My hope is that by publishing here, at a time when schools are doing more and more inclusion, I will be able to show how that can be successful, even though my research was only in math. My ARP group consisted of 2/3 regular education students and 1/3 students with a learning disability. The success they had could also be replicated in other subject areas. If teachers are aware of this, they may be more accepting of inclusion for these students.
If I am not accepted for publication here, I will submit to Edutopia. I like the way the site is broken down by grade levels, core standards, various communities in education, blogs, etc. This seems to offer a wide range in which to find material and respond to it.
Here are the links to my Think Out Loud posts:
The National Association of Special Education Teachers http://www.naset.org/799.0.html . This journal is devoted to special education. I chose it because my research project took place in a regular education classroom which included students with learning disabilities. As more and more students rely less on pull-out services for students with special needs, I find it very important to highlight strategies that can improve the success these students have within the regular education classroom. The strategy I employed would be beneficial to all students, but especially those needing additional tools to assist them with learning and recalling information. If I am published, I hope I receive feedback from other teachers who have employed music. I would even welcome suggestions! The journal states that responses to requests for publication are made within 2 weeks. It's time to sit tight and wait.
|On the hill with thousands - listening, sharing|
|The crowd as seen from 2 blocks away|
I found these chapters very interesting and I am looking forward to implementing the ideas presented in them.
Right away, in chapter 9: Lighting a Spark (p. 123), I connected with the story of Ben's father saying that "Certain things in life are better done in person." How true, especially as Wisconsin teacher unions are under the pen of the governor. Following this advice, my husband, son, and I headed to Madison yesterday to join in the protest. It was cold. It was snowy. We all had many other things that would benefit from time spent on them. But this was something that needed to be done in person. About 80-100,000 other people agreed with me yesterday. The turnout and spirit were inspiring. Will we change Gov. Walker's mind? I don't know. But the need to stand up IN PERSON conveyed the importance of the situation.
Being the Board presented a whole new concept to me. Situations are not about blaming and victims, but opportunities, reflection and collaboration. It stops finger pointing and moves forward by doing so. The blame and victimization is taken out of the equation. I think the reflection of being the board is key. By reflecting, it is possible to become more objective about realities of a situation, rather than getting caught up in the abstract of "what if " and the "should of/ could of" that do little to solve a problem but keep you mired in the emotionality of it. I think that an attitude of being the board will be very useful to me as I work with others to develop their Individual Education Plan, based on current information rather that how previous parties addressed the same situation. I really appreciated the story about Cora quitting the orchestra and Ben's letter about deserving an A. Reflection and opportunities can move us past mistakes and into new relationships of growth and collaboration.
Creating Frameworks for Possibility again brought me to the current situation in Wisconsin. On line hit home and I wish Gov. Walker were aware of it.
"Leadership is a relationship that brings this (creative powers and connectivity) possibility to others and to the world, from any chair, in any role. This kind of leader is not necessarily the strongest member of the pack ... The 'leader of possibility' invigorates the lines of affiliation and compassion from person to person in the face of tyranny of fear."(p. 162)
Telling the WE Story helped me to reconsider a situation I am in with a teacher at school who is telling two stories about how a student with Down Syndrome is being welcomed into his classroom. One story to the parents and one story to colleagues. I found myself confronting this teacher last week, very angry at his differing stories. He was immediately put on the defensive and the result was detrimental to both the student's situation and a professional relationship between the other teacher and myself. After reading the chapter, I realize how important it is for me to meet with that teacher again. Not to confront what he or I thinks the situation is and our individual solution, but to write the WE story of how we can build a connection that appreciates the individual contributions of everyone involved, especially the student. Reconciliation. I have also ordered a copy of this book to share with him and other teachers, and our principal, in the desire to create an environment of creativity, understanding, and growth for our school.
|Cold and snow - we still stand strong! 2-26-11|
Friday, February 25, 2011
|The road I live on ...|
Sunday, February 20, 2011
|image from creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimileek/|
Logos are screen shots from my desktop
"What would have to change for me to feel completely fulfilled?" (p. 83) What do I need to do and how will I look at my world to feel completely fulfilled? The onus is on me, the only person I can actually change, rather than pointing fingers at those people or things outside of myself. Take responsibility for yourself rather than bemoaning what you cannot change. I don't know how the situation here in WI will play out with our governor trying to take away collective bargaining rights, but ... I am a good teacher and this is the situation that is at hand. Whatever happens, I am still a good teacher.
The father and son communication problem was another point I am reflecting on. When there is no attempt at communication, it is easy to feel shut out and separation. Someone has to initiate the talk, even if not right on point and difficult, it is a starting point. Here again is a parallel with bargaining rights being taken away. How will teachers feel if they have no voice? Shut out, alienated, dismissed and of no value. I also am reflecting on it as I am dealing with a soon to be 15 year old and his struggle for independence and finding out who he is as an individual. These are things he needs to discover and they often create dissent, but they are hard to handle as a parent. I think I will be re-reading the section of the two businessmen and how they worked through their issues with each other as I go through the next few years with my son.
Notice when you are holding back ... participate fully ---> Give Way to Passion (p. 114) How often do we hold back in our lives? How often do we say no to a child, student, partner to emphasize the power we have even though saying yes would not be detrimental to the event at hand? Do we look for a way to say yes, utilizing communication to see that both parties gain from it?
"Mom, can I go to Sam's house?"
"No, you have homework to do."(I am the parent, with absolute power.)
|From creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragnfly78/|
"Yes, as soon as you finish your homework. Do you need any help with it?" (I am the parent, but I respect you and want to help you succeed and be happy because I love you.)
Which conversation holds back, or participates and shows the passionate love we have for our children?
Saturday, February 19, 2011
... I'm adding on as I've finished my abstract. Bare bones. It was still difficult to do because I'm so used to adding in details, wanting to give a clearer picture of whatever it is I'm discussing. It was a good exercise in determining what the most important pieces were to share. I was able to do it in 119 words and was happy with the result. Like this picture of my hands, does it pique an interest in knowing more? How did this come to be or where will it lead?
The whole concept of the calculating self vs. the central self completely changed my thinking about how I view certain aspects of the teaching profession. I asked myself, "Self? Am I a person that tends to take things too seriously to where it effects how I interact and lead my students?" Fortunately, the answer from my "self" was a resounding "No!" But what my inner self was convicting me of was how I can somehow be effected by how others relate themselves to the calculating self analogy. In other words, I can at times get sucked in to a conversation at lunch with other teachers that revolves around the common complaints of standardized testing, state standards, decisions by administrators, micromanagement and a plethora of other topics that educators seem to find the time to rant about. I discovered that I will listen to these conversations and walk away wondering what good did that just do for any of our students, other creating a free therapy session for these teachers at my expense? My point is, and I think this is what Zander was getting at, was the fact that there will always be something to disagree with, something that doesn't go the way we want it to, or someone that doesn't do things the way I would do them. But the question is whether or not I choose to stay stuck in that rut or way of thinking, or do I choose this presence without resistance approach? Do I let the obstacles stand in my way, or do I allow myself to say that is the way it is and allow myself to be creative and open the pathway for possibility? Obviously my goal as a teacher is to do the latter, but I know I am guilty of allowing my calculating self shadow the central self and the possibility it can unleash.
Secondly, the whole idea of students teaching other students kept running through my head. After reading the story of the Cuban and American orchestras teaching each other how to play different and difficult pieces, I started thinking about how much power students have when teaching other students. I use this strategy in my own classroom to a certain degree, but this concept of the "silent conductor" really highlighted my thoughts on how I can enhance the learning by disappearing from the lead of the room, so-to-speak, and let the kids lead their own learning with each other. Automatically, my head began spinning with different ways to approach some of my lessons and how to implement a more centralized learning environment to where I enable or give students the freedom to learn from each other. By doing this, I think the dynamics of my classroom would completely change, and if nothing else, a great social experiment for my 6th graders who are mostly English Language Learners!
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Wisconsin has a new governor, and many are fearful of what he has planned to take away from teachers. I worry about this also, but now I have all that I have gained through Full Sail to open endless possibilities, should I choose a new direction.
To be honest I was really being bored to tears with this weeks reading, Art of Possibility, until! I came to a paragraph the just rang out to me. In this paragraph the topic of grades is discussed. I always had a problem with grades as a way of measuring mastery of skills, I just didn’t know why. Well the authors of this book gave me the answer I was looking for, letter grades just compare student against student, and say very little about the actual work completed by the student.
Every student is different and learns at a different rate and in different ways. Taking into account these differences, why should they all be measured on the same scale. How do we resolve this situation? I really don’t know, but it is definitely something that should be studied.
Reading the paragraphs in this book relating to grades had really opened my eyes to something that has been bothering me for a long time. Wouldn’t it be great to get a giant gathering of educators together and have a massive brain storming session and see what we could come up with? Makes me really wonder about the possibilities……
Tim, I'm glad you were able to keep reading until you found the paragraph about grades that brought meaning from the reading to you. Grades are such an impossible thing! They force us to compare student to student, even when a rubric is used, because of how difficult it is to be completely objective when reviewing a student's work. It's difficult to explain here, in the shorter space of a blog, but I know that when a teacher has arrived at a score using a rubric, other pieces may be held up to one in particular to see if the same degree of achievement was met. It is not intentional, but illustrates the difficulty of maintaining objectivity. I also wonder at the possibilities. If grades are removed and students encouraged to stretch their wings to their fullest potential, can teachers be ok with the fact that some will still choose not to strive to see what is possibly, but will be content with staying close to home. We have to be ready to let such situations occur. We can present opportunities and do OUR best to prepare them, removing judgment of what they may choose, but just as with our children ... they have to reach out their wings to catch the wind.
I was so inspired that I made this visual collage from pictures that I have taken over the years. Take a look at it!
In 1996, my whole family moved to the U.S. from Mexico because my dad was getting his master's degree. My sister and I did not know any English and this was the day before school. Our parents called us to the living room and told us something that went like this: we want you to know that to us you are the most beautiful, intelligent, funny, and amazing daughters in the whole world and nothing or no one will make us think differently of you. We know that you don't know any English. We know that you will struggle, and when you get a failing grade, we want you to know that we will see an A because we see the effort you put in, because we see you growing, because we see you becoming women of outstanding character. Don't worry about grades, go live and enjoy our two years here. Make the most of it and if in the way, your grades happen to be A's, so be it... That evening, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders, I was no longer scared, I was ready to take over the world!
Needless to say, my sister and I did extremely well. Due to language immersion, we were proficient in English within 4 months. I went on to tutor in Spanish, French, and Chemistry after school and took some extra courses to graduate a year early. My parents believed in me and that made the difference. I was given an A and the rest was history.
Saray, Thank you so much for sharing your story and your collage. Both brought tears to my eyes. The collage was a beautiful interpretation of the chapters in the book. Your story reflected the depth of love parents have for their children, and gave me pause to consider how I show that to my own son and the challenges he is facing as a teenager. I am going to ask my husband to read the chapters also, and see where we go from there. This message of belief and love is very important for educators and parents alike, as well as being a message to ourselves about self perception. It comes at the perfect time.
Our children start in life with no stifling concerns about expectations. They are free from those constraints and it is reflected in their creative self expression. Unfortunately, that begins to change as they enter the world of education. Grades become the measuring stick of their growth, instead of pencil marks on a door frame or pictures of their imagination in play. Conversations change from, "Let's pretend we're on an adventure...," to, "Why did you fail that test?" It's no wonder so many children become disengaged in school, and from their families. They are being asked to perform within the box of expectations rather that thinking outside the box and in a world of possibilities. With the pace of technology changing the world we live in, we NEED to encourage the wider thinking outside the box, filled with the potential of creativity, and ever expansive thinking. The future does not exist inside the archaic box of measurement of the past. Rather than admonishing our children and ourselves for not conforming to the measurement standards that are so rigid, we need to encourage them and ourselves to, as Jim Morrison sang, "Break on through to the other side." Exploration and growth has always depended on the belief that more is out there, we need to go and find it. Ask the early explorers, scientists, philosophers and artists. I'm not quite sure how that was lost in guiding our children, students, and each other, but we need to believe in it again.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I might start rambling when discussing copyright because I don't feel there is a clear and definite way to define it for all things in simple terms.
I feel both in my classroom and in my professional freelance I am always dealing with copyright issues. From trying to express to my students the importance of understanding copyright and use of to having clients wanting to use images they find online, think that just because it's out there it's ok to use. I have turned down many jobs because a company doesn't want to pay for the rights to use an image they found on Getty (their image rights can be very expensive). As well, I have gotten into long debates with students about downloading software, music and games... And using images of the net for their work in class. For learning purposes I allow some but insist that images be very much manipulated (fine tuning Photoshop skills) but encourage students to create their own or illustrate/photograph their own images... Otherwise it's just cut and paste not design.. I don't know, I feel that I'm a very just person and always use the example that if I created something and someone else took credit for it I would be greatly offended which brings me to the point of much of what we have been watching (like in "Good Copy Bad Copy") it's more about getting permission or giving credit where credit is due. I have had musician contact me before to use images I created on albums and had no problem letting them so long as they gave me some credit in the liner notes and send me a copy of the disc.
I work for a lot of '80's metal bands and know that most don't make anything off their CD's and rely mostly on touring and merch to make a living. Most don't even bother looking for the big labels to distribute their music and take it upon themselves to post it everywhere and hope that people download it and share it to get the word out. I have some friends that posted all over the social networks that all three of their albums were free for download with a link to a site to get them all. When you went to the site there was a Paypal donation link. I thought it was a great idea put who knows how many people actually made some kind of donation for the music. I personally paid $20 for all three because I felt that it was the right thing to do and at least give something. It can be a fine and very much determined by what the artist feels but in any case recognition should be given in some form. I agree with Bryan in the thought of instead of fighting what is happening finding a way to embrace it by creating new means of sharing and distributing creative works that benefits the artist and consumer.
As an artist I believe creativity feeds off other creative expressions .. We look to music, dance, paintings, design and the works of others to inspire and drive ourselves to be creative. I can't say that in this day-in-age that there are any creative works out there that weren't inspired or derivative of something before.
Brooke, I agree with you completely! My husband is a musician and routinely gives away his cd's to anyone who wants one. It's about getting the word out, as you said. Your last paragraph summed it up well. Artists work with elements and inspiration from their world. It all came from someone!
"As an artist I believe creativity feeds off other creative expressions .. We look to music, dance, paintings, design and the works of others to inspire and drive ourselves to be creative. I can't say that in this day-in-age that there are any creative works out there that weren't inspired or derivative of something before."
This is my husband, Dave Yoho
Many thoughts ran through my head as I watched the plethora of videos regarding copyright laws, Fair Use, and Creative Commons. Albeit, most of my thoughts were those of confusion and how my brain was dissecting the confusion. However, after digesting all the information, I feel that I have a better understanding of how copyright works and how organizations like Creative Commons is attempting to bridge the gap in allowing the creative mind the freedom to create and/or re-create. As technology continues to advance and public domain forces copyright laws to change and modify its parameters, Creative Commons, Fair Use, and all the other attempts to assist the freedom of creation will continue to expand. I really felt that the TED video featuring Larry Lessig put all of this into a grand perspective for me. There were many great aspects of his presentation, but I think the thing that struck me was his comments on how the "RW" (read/write) culture turned into a "RO" (read only) culture in the 20th century. Obviously we are seeing a major paradigm shift in this way of thinking because of the rapid change in technology advancement and the speed of the Internet at the turn of the 21st century. At any rate, copyright laws, Fair Use, and Creative Commons have their place, but its what is done to work with/around them to keep challenging culture to create and re-create something new and different for future generations.
@ Gregg Eilers
Gregg, you nicely summed up the confusion of copyright and fair use and the clarifications the videos presented. I agree, they have their place, but the speed at which our world of information and creativity is changing makes it difficult to stay abreast of the legal applications.
I think that the fair use guidelines will be crucial for those of us who create less, and utilize the works of others to emphasize what we are creating/presenting.
This is my son, Peter, as a budding drummer when he was little. Who can say what influences he's had that he couldn't even begin to identify! He's grown up surrounded by music of all genres.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
This is my husband's band, Echo Road. Feel free to listen to or
download their music at echoroadband.com
Reading and watching the videos about copyrighting, and fair use, was daunting! There is no easy answer or clear right/wrong thing to do. I believe that artists are inspired by elements in their world, including music they hear. So what's a person to do? Be careful and always ask permission. Better to have requested permission, and find out fair use applied, then to not ask, and break the law.
The end is in sight. It is an exciting, yet a little scary, feeling. It is exciting because of all that I have learned and plan on using. It is exciting, because of all the friends I have made that I never would have crossed paths with, if not for this program. Yet now, they are an important part of my life. Why on Earth should I be even a little scared? Simple, the journey of this program is ending. It's like getting on a train to go to a big city for the first time. Someone new gets on at each stop and tells you a little about it and shares a bit of advice with you. There are 12 stops along the way. But even with all the advice and information these people have shared with you, you do not know exactly what awaits you and if you'll be able to follow their advice and be successful in the Big City. The thought of getting off the train at any of the stops never occurred to me. Thankfully! Now, I see the city slowly starting to loom on the horizon. I've never been in this position before. Never been here, without knowing what I will see or find. But I'll never know unless I ride the train to the final stop, and step off the platform and go into the city. Scared? Yes. Excited? Even more so!
image courtesy of creative commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/omni_kh/ Chatchavan's Photostream