Thursday, August 4, 2011


Two weeks ago my husband and I put in an offer on a house in California. It was an active short sale, and they usually don't go well unless the offer is close to what the seller's bank has approved for a listing price. Our offer was close. The sellers accepted it, but we haven't heard from their bank yet. 

So we wait, and wait, watching the clock, listening for the phone, anxious to make plans but needing, instead,

to wait.

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

EMDT613 Week 4 - Free Post

It is so hard to believe that we are closing in on graduation day. I have made new friends who have become much more than classmates. They are now a part of my family, even though we have never even been in the same room. I was always an off campus student, so never had the camaraderie that comes from living and going to class with a close group of people.  That aspect, though done through SKYPE, email, and WIMBA has been very special. The support is more than I could ever have hoped for. With all of the protests going on in Wisconsin right now, it's hard to say what the state of our teaching positions will be in the near future. But I know that with my new skills and the support of my family and friends, I will prevail in some capacity. Perhaps a new one, perhaps reinventing my current position. All will be fine, of this I have no doubt. Like the baby birds that hatch each spring and summer, I too will have a chance to test my wings - and soar!

Soon, there will a new batch of baby birds in my yard, growing and getting ready to test their wings!

EMDT613 Week 3 - Publishing_Leadership Project

Screen Shot of my email

The journal I am submitting my article to is The National Association of Special Education Teachers  Here is the link to my publication article:  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:

EMDT613 Week 4 - Comments Post #2

@ Pam

Week 4-Blog Post 2-The Art of Posibilities Ch. 9-12

This weeks reading was very good. I would have to say the whole book was very good I liked how it talks about like possibilities from every angle imaginable. I really enjoyed chapter 10 talking about our life being a game board. It seems like my students over the past couple of years have this sense of "entitlement" there is no self responsibility anywhere. I have noticed students will say "that teacher gave me an F" instead of "I earned an F in math." This generation of kids are looking to blame someone every time something goes wrong in their life. I like how the booked refers to life a board and we are going to make choices and mistakes, but we have to learn from them. Sometimes we have to put our pride to the side and say "yes this is my fault how do I fix it?" I try to teach my students you are not entitled to anything the successes you get in life are earned, but so many students think that they are going to make millions of dollars have a perfect life without hard work. I hate to say this but that is not reality.  People in general want to blame diffrent people for hardship and bad things, but the ugly truth is sometime we make mistakes and have to learn from them. I lost my brother four years ago to this "game" called the choking game. I was so heartbroken over the lose of my brother. I just wanted to blame the kids that showed him how to "play." I wanted to blame the God, but I didn't want to blame him for doing it. I guess we never want to blame the people we love for bad things that hurt us. The ugly truth was my bother made the choice to play and the consequence was that he died at 19-years-old. I guess in that first year of losing my brother I just wanted life to stop and people to just piety my situation. I got alone with God and my Bible and realized life hasn't stopped people will not continue to piety my situation. I began to think OK this has happened know what can I do to make a difference. My family and I began to give speeches to youth groups in churches in the area about the dangers of the "Choking Game." My family and I didn't want this to happen to another family so we are trying to make a difference through educating parents and teens on the deadly game. My challenge to everyone is this when God allows bad things to happen to you use it to help others. God allows bad things to happen to good people because He knows that we can handle the bad thing and use it for His Glory.
Catherine Yoho said...
Pam, Your comments on how students (and many adults) today feel a sense of entitlement rather than feeling they have to earn what they receive. I am glad Jacqueline included formal definitions of the two in her comments on your posts. I think we are all in agreement! Everyone is ENTITLED to certain rights. They may not be the same in every country, state, community, or family but are consistent within those individual entities. However, earning a grade implies effort was put forth. I am also frustrated with students who would prefer to not put forth effort but, instead, blame a teacher for "giving" them a certain grade. This holds dire consequences for society as these children grow into the adults of the future. I almost said mature, and that is what I HOPE happens. Mature would imply that their knowledge grows and they understand the effort they will need to put forth for their successes. By owning our failures, faults and mistakes, we put ourselves in a position to learn from them. Learning equates to growth. I hope that all of our children become able to embrace this philosophy. Thank you for sharing about your brother. I can't imagine how difficult it must be. With a teenage son who is struggling to find his independence from parents, I worry about "games" such as this. I hope we have taught him to not fall for such tactic, but the next few years will still be scary for us.

EMDT613 Week - Think Out Loud #2 of 2: Decison

I've decided that my presentation will  be a publication. Decision made. I've chosen one journal ...

The National Association of Special Education Teachers . 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.

EMDT613 Week 4 - Comments Post #1

image from Microsoft clip art
@Jacqueline Jones: 

Chapter 9. Lighting a Spark. It’s not about us. It’s about them. What are you doing to pay-forward from your universe of possibility?
My immediate response to this question is “not enough.” This is a great question because pursuing a higher degree puts you in a position to think about your personal achievement or advancement. Chapter 9 lets you know that if the focus is on others, your own advancement will most likely be a by-product of pay-forward actions. I started a company about 5 years ago providing instructional design services to corporate clients. As most companies in these economic times, my primary focus has been on increasing profits. About two years ago, I started investigating converting my company to a not-for-profit to service Charter schools or private Church affiliated schools. Now that we are approaching the end of the EMDT program, that concept has resurfaced in my mind. Last year, a golfing buddy of mine was involved in starting the first all male Charter school in Georgia. I thought that would be a great starting place. Chapter 10. Being the Board: It’s not them. It’s not the circumstances. It’s me. It’s my choices. Now what do I do? Life is all about choices. Someone said that making the same choices and expecting different outcome is insanity. So, in my efforts to avoid insanity, it is important to review previous choices and the results before making quick, uncalculated decisions. As mentioned in Chapter 10, sometimes we (me included) get caught up in the need to maintain a certain level of control over our life almost to a fault. The Zanders point out the importance of turning relationships into partnerships. I don’t think it should stop there. I think the quality of the partnership is just as important. This will require my spending the right amount of time to nurture the relationships into quality partnerships. Sometimes that means doing something for nothing. When I took over the management of the jazz club in Ghana, it was in financial trouble and owed money to suppliers to the point they refused to make deliveries unless the account was brought current. My first act in my role as General Manager of the club was to visit all of the vendors. They were shocked that I made that effort and viewed me as a partner rather than an unpaid account on their books. The results? They extended the credit until I could pay it off while continuing to service the club. Those relationships also lead to sponsorships for special events at the club.
Chapter 11. Creating Frameworks for Possibility: How do I take this flash of insight and make it into daily thing? And how do I share this with others?
Nelson Mandela’s words quoted at the end of Chapter 11 are very powerful. My favorite line in that speech is: “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world” (p. 178). It is so tempting to be content with the status quo. I think reminding myself daily of this powerful truth is a start. In terms of sharing it with other, I believe it is important to encourage others with the knowledge we have gained from this book when the opportunity presents itself. Our society is bombarded with negativity through news, for example. Making it a habit to encourage others positions us to personally stay encouraged opening many doors of possibility.
Chapter 12. Telling the WE Story: I told you it wasn’t about you. Have you been able to tap into the power of combining your expertise and passions with someone equally gifted? Have you had the pleasure of lifting a teammate, student, stranger up enabling them to realize their dreams and exceed anything that you could have imagined?
One of the things I loved about training leadership in the corporate environment for many years was the opportunity to participate in seeing someone work toward personal dreams. I have watched individuals transformed in front of my eyes. That is amazing. I have absolutely had the opportunity to tap into others who are equally gifted and it is amazing as well. I think the hardest thing is to let go and welcome the input of others. Creative people sometimes get totally caught up in their passion and do not realize we need others for inspiration sometimes. Teamwork is so important. As an instructional designer in a very high energy develop shop, we are constantly collaborating to make sure we release the highest quality product possible. That is the bottom line. The return is not limited to a job well done. It sometimes creates a paradigm shift in how you will move forward.
Coda: Now what do we do? The most important message is to get self out of the way. Be open to the passion and talents of others and be prepared to be amazed with the possibilities. 
Catherine Yoho said...
Jacqueline, I really like how you set up the question each chapter posed and then brought it home to yourself and what you do in your work (past and present). It seems that you have a firm grasp of the art of possibility, employ it and see how to increase it's implications as you move forward into the future. Your quote from Mandela was so "on". Nothing changes if nothing changes. Stagnancy occurs and with that is often discord. I often reflect on the downward spiral of negativity, how quickly it gains in strength. The same can happen with the positive, but we must be willing to use our strengths to climb upward rather than falling into the downward plunge which requires so little effort.

EMDT613 Week 4 Reading: Chapters 9-12

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

EMDT613 Week 4 - tutorials

The road I live on ...
I just finished watching some of the tutorials for EMDT613. I had watched several during the first week of class and then was off working on assignments. Much of the information I have learned through other courses, but it was still helpful. I did subscribe to the film riot podcasts and look forward to viewing them. They provided refresher instructions and good points to remember. Now, I have move options with video, audio, and pictures in my posts and other project.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

EMDT613 Week 3 - Think Out Loud #1 Present or Publish?

image from creative commons
Present or publish ... the question has been plaguing me for weeks now. I never look forward to speaking in front of others, although I have found that I become quite impassioned about my topic and can easily forget myself and lose my self-consciousness. I'm like that when I teach. I am also not too fond of professional writing because of its ability to be very impersonal. These dilemmas have confronted me before in the form of job interviews. PLEASE don't interview me! Come watch me with students and colleagues to see who and how I really am! I just want to be me, not try to sell myself. I know that sounds corny, but that's how I am. Back to this month and which direction to go. I've reflected on this out loud with a classmate. Part of my inhibition is feeling that my project wasn't Earth shattering in its magnitude or result. But, that wasn't the point of the AR project to begin with. What this was about was posing a question and then seeing if I could do something that had an impact at all. I did that. It wasn't a big thing, just seeing if using music in teaching math could improve knowledge retention. And it did. Very straight forward and simple.  Some journals I'm considering are: The National Association of Special Education Teachers They take up to 14 days to notify you of receipt after a submission for publication is made, so I need to get a move on! I would also submit to Edutopia

Logos are screen shots from my desktop

EMDT613 Week 3 - Reading Chapters 5-8

There were many sections of this week's reading that hit home with me.
"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
"Mom, can I go to Sam's house?"
"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

EMDT613 Week 3 - Abstract Project

This post is a reflection of my thoughts as I write my abstract. Creating my abstract is daunting! I don't want to have a piece that does not convey the essence of my research, yet 120 words is such a small number with which to contain this essence. After all, I'm not condensing soup that merely needs water added back in to become whole.
This is about information and ideas. Take each section and condense to one or two sentences. OK, but in order to do this and have it work, I need to settle into myself and determine what I want people to know about my research that will give them a reason to go beyond the abstract and want to know more. This is not about cutting out words, but determining what the words are really saying. Can the essence of the full project be conveyed through the abstract?

... 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? 

EMDT613 Week 3 - Comments Post #2

Diane Milton posted ...

The seventh practice, "The Way Things Are" was a great reminder this week for me to view things in a different light. I am the world's worst at getting frustrated when things don't go the way I had planned or hoped they would be. I have come a long way in this area of my thinking, but it often becomes a conscious effort to look past my frustration and make the best of the moment. The author gave reference to the movie "Babe" and the reactions of the cow and duck when Roseanna had become the evening meal. He stated that they were hopeless and resigned in their reactions. I think it is safe to say that is the reaction of the majority of people. We view our situations as hopeless like the cow and walk toward our presumed destination, or we resist like the duck and fight our way to the presumed end. The author stated that, "being present in they way things are is not the same as accepting things as they are". When you are being present and not resistant you can then see possibility before you to make choices on how you want to move on. The key to me here is that you are moving on and not spiraling downward in your thought process to get stuck where you are. 
My response ...
Diane, your post hit home with me pertaining to a philosophy I've developed, or more correctly how I've developed. I spent years trying to force certain events to happen, one being to have a specific teaching position in a certain school, and to avoid other events from happening, one being teaching special education and teaching in the middle school grades. While I held that thought pattern and was focused on my calculating self, I never was able to accomplish the goal. Try as I might, it never worked out. And believe me, I tried HARD! I purposely did not have a full minor in my bachelors program of Elementary Education (Not Special Ed) so that I couldn't teach beyond grade 6. I ended up not being able to find a teaching position and went on to do other, unsatisfying, things. When a teacher convinced me to reactivate my teaching license, it turned out to be through taking special education classes and adding that to my license. Now, I am a special education teacher IN a middle school! When I finally let my central self guide me, I found myself where I feel I am suppose to be. Calculating couldn't avoid it. I let my central self keep me open to the flow of finding my path to where I needed to be.

EMDT613 Week 3 - Comments Post #1

Gregg Eilers

Wow! As I read through chapters 5-8 in "The Art of Possibility," I couldn't help but think of two things: 1) teacher-talk in the staff room, and 2) the power of student- to-student learning. Allow me to explain.

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!

My son and a friend ... Let's not forget that we can learn from them also!

My Response:
Gregg, once again I find myself really connecting with your post. Both of your scenarios hit home. Teacher lounge talk is so often negatively focused, with complaining about students, administrators, and testing. Often I do as Andrea commented and don't go there for lunch so as to avoid getting pulled into it. Negativity breeds negativity far faster than positivity. I'd rather keep my focus on the big picture and realize that everyone, students included, operates from a perspective that I probably don't know all the details of. It is far better to not take the situation, my control (or lack thereof), or decisions too personally. Remember Rule #6. Lighten up. When there is a really tough day going on that threatens to become filled with negative controlling thoughts, I try to think to myself, "It's going to be a BEAUTIFUL sunset tonight!" Realizing that this to shall pass, whatever the situation is, and life will go on with better/positive implications has been helpful for me. Your second comment about students teaching each other, like the Cuban and American Youth Orchestras, also hit home. Peer teaching is wonderful and can accomplish more than we may think it can. It has germinated some ideas that I'm anxious to share with a team-teacher.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

EDM613 MAC - Week 2: AR Site

Endless Possibilities
Here I am in month 11, with only 6 weeks until graduation. A house has been rented (Thanks, Beth!) and my flight booked. It's so hard to imagine that this journey is almost over, until I look through my action research web site and review all that I have posted there. Do I have everything on the site that needs to be included? Have I double checked all my posts? I want to jazz it up, but also want to keep it straight forward and to the point. Is that ok? There are some days when I feel that I have not done enough. However, the cycles tell the whole story of my research. I'm happy with what I found, and see many possibilities for ways in which to continue in the years to come. The project has taught me HOW to see what I do with students in a whole new light. It's shown me that the cycle truly is the journey, and it never needs to end. One finding leads to a new thought or question, into a new cycle, with results to ponder and tweak as I begin yet another cycle. Who knows where it will lead. I feel as if my eyes have been opened to deeper reflection. My results are not nearly as important as having learned the process. It will help me to be much more of a reflective practitioner that I previously was. My students will benefit even more than I will.

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.

EDM613 MAC - Week 2: BLOG Comment #2


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.

EDM613 MAC - Week 2: BLOG Comment #1

Ok. So this was a great read: The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander.

I was so inspired that I made this visual collage from pictures that I have taken over the years. Take a look at it!
I was touched in so many levels by the first four chapters of this book. And, I feel like sharing this personal anecdote.

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.
Birds in my yard,getting ready to explore
- outside the box


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.


EDM613 MAC - Week 2 Reading - The Art of Possibility

Where will your A take you in your world of possibilities?

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

EDM613 MAC - Week 1: Literature Review

This is the class I did my
action research project with.

Month 11 and my literature review has been submitted for a final time - I hope! Writing the literature review was a good experience, even though I can't say I overly enjoyed it. Most of the literature I found was very supportive of what I was doing my action research project on, using music to increase knowledge retention (in math). However, there were aspects of the review that were very frustrating, namely wording the search in a way that yielded pertinent results. That was not as easy as I expected, considering my topic. Finding literature that disputed my research was even more difficult! EBSCOhost proved a great resource. Fine-tuning my review was also difficult. It's amazing how much passive language can slip past you, even when you are searching for it with a magnifying glass. Now, I see myself viewing every piece of written work as whether it is passive or active. Guess I finally got it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

EDM613 MAC - Week 1: BLOG Comment #3

Palmyra-Eagle HS Band, marching through Eagle, WI
after a terrible tornado in June, 2010 (personal photo). Even when the going is tough,
keep on marching!

Week 1 WIMBA-Course Intro and AR Activities

The initial Wimba session was a plethora of information. Dr. Professor Joe was able to recap all of the information from the videos that students were to watch independently. I liked the specific information about the AR project- who would ever imagine that I would present this as a "scholarly" presentation? Or have it ready for publication? This was the scariest moment for me in realizing that I am almost finished so I have to "walk the walk and stop talking the talk". Blogging is a very cool way to present ideas and opinions. It is also a way to put yourself out there so there has to be some degree of confidence and readiness to face the world. I look forward to putting it all together and being one step closer to graduating!!!
Although I am familiar with most of our classmates, there were a few new faces in the WIMBA session. It's good to mix it up!!!
cyoho said...

When we started this program 10 months ago (only 10 months ago?!) I never even considered having written material worthy of professional publication. My goal has been to learn and grow so that I can be the best teacher I possibly can be. But we have done work and research that is worth sharing with others. It may help them also.

I am also enjoying the blogging more than I expected do. I see a new perspective with each classmate's blog that I read. All of them are helping me to get more out of the material I am reading and watching. Onward towards graduation we go!

EDM613 MAC - Week 1: BLOG Comment #2

Brook McKaig's Blog Post

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

EDM613 MAC - Week 1: BLOG Comment #1

Gregg Eilers' Blog Post:

Wk1 BP - EDM613 MAC - Copyright

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

EDM613 MAC - Week 1 Reading - Copyright

This is my husband's band, Echo Road. Feel free to listen to or
download their music at

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.

EDM613 MAC - Week 1, BLOG 1

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 Chatchavan's Photostream

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