Three links I think you should bookmark:
Amazing resource of the latest and greatest tools, not just for teachers - there's things for everyone. Check it out -http://www.freetech4teachers.com/
Take time and explore everything this site has to offer and you'll get that time back ten-fold. Take the tests, then take action to improve your life. Educational lessons/activities available as well.http://www.bluezones.com/
Started using in my class 2 years ago and it has just gotten better and better, more and more subject areas. It breaks down every subject into lessons into individual skills with explanations and examples. Plus its fun to say. http://www.shmoop.com/
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Last Tuesday I switched on the new Tim Allen comedy, “Last Man Standing” and remembered the good ol days of Tool Time. Lately with the resurgence of the Toy Story franchise, Tim Allen is not the Last Man Standing but the front man, making a comeback just like his hometown of Detroit and their Lions. The post-Home Improvement years wasn’t just a “break” but a major fall with an arrest for DUI. The rise and fall and rise again makes me wonder...when’s the next Santa Clause movie coming out?
It’s not just Tim Allen having career resurrections, and not the only comedian either. The rise, fall, rise scenario has played out for Ellen DeGeneres as well with her hit TV sitcom, cancellation and public scrutiny for her lifestyle, then she’s back with a popular talk show and hosting award shows. This goes on again with Rosie O’Donnell; hit talk show, major court battle with show producers leading to cancellation, then look who’s back with another show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Can we see a pattern yet? How about the infamous Conan O’Brien saga; late night talk show hit, moved to the Tonight Show slot, lost ratings, fired, moved to TBS, big comeback again.
Shall we play this out with someone who’s not a comedian? Ok, politicians, great. Though we might consider some to be laughable too. President Clinton rise was dramatic and capped with a decisive reelection in 1996, becoming the first Democratic incumbent since Lyndon Johnson to be elected to a second term and the first Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to be elected President more than once. Then the fall...Monica Lewinsky, impeachment hearings, tarnished legacy. But here we sat on Sunday night watching the 10th anniversary celebration of the Clinton Foundation where he has created an organization that has done nothing short of change the world for the better. He has transfixed the public’s opinion through service abroad with the Tsunami aid, Haiti rebuilding, and rescuing the journalists from North Korea.
The script repeats itself everywhere we turn from sports figures to TV personalities like Martha Stewart, from Betty White to the late Steve Jobs. Steve as well all know went from being fired from his own company to leading its resurgence back to almost monopoly status and changing the world as he did it. The real question is where are you on this path? We all rise and fall, but it’s the ones who rise again that truly make impacts in whichever field that may be. Success comes from mistakes, it’s time to get your comeback on!
It seems if you look at it from one angle, we are constantly fighting something. Today the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is being dedicated on the Mall of Washington, D.C. representing the fight for racial and more broadly human equality. Today around the nation people are walking many miles for the fight against Breast Cancer. Today around the world people continue to fight against economic inequality with Occupy protests that began almost a month ago on Wall St. Today the candidates for the office of Presidency fight so they can enter the Oval Office and listen to the continuous fights in the halls of Congress that keep our nation stationary, which leads to more unrest amongst the citizens.
Also today the dedication of a memorial to a man that dreamed represents the growth of a people. We now live in a better, more peaceful state, because we live together rather than against one another. Today the paraders in pink represent so much more than lost lives. They represent the survivors and the massive growth towards a cure there has been. We now live in a better, more hopeful state, because we support causes as one. Today the voices of the economically unstable are being heard, and this represents so much more than what they aren’t getting. We now live in a better, more democratic state, because we have opportunities to show our unity.
There might be many a fights around every corner we turn but they represent much more than what they are fighting against. Our history shows us these fights have forever been with us, in different capacities, but it represents our evolution as a society. For better or worse, dependent upon the angle you view. I choose to see through the clouds of fighting and know that growth is represented. No matter how many clouds, the sun is still there.
Did I think I’d be selling my hand-drawn mazes 17 years later when I first began back in 7th grade study hall? Yeah, kinda. I started “doodling”, then wanted to create the hardest maze of all time. I thought the smaller the passages the harder it would be, the lines were so close. I added some symbols; pumpkin for halloween, tree for christmas, flag for Fourth of July, and then my name, and a simple “Hi”. Adding my name and a version of hello became a trend in a lot of my future mazes. I finally completed it and wanted to share it, and yes even back as a 12 year old sell it. My dreams were huge, I remember calculating it out and determining the best selling price to be....10 cents. So I set forth to make copies, which was pretty difficult back in 1995, copiers weren’t as handy as they are today. I originally drew the maze in pencil, so for the maze to clearly copy I had to retrace - every - single - line in pen. I made the copies and began selling to my study hall class. I don’t recall selling out, but making a sale on something I created was really cool.
Over the next few years I drew many mazes, never able to replicate the intensity of the first one. During high school I drew my mazes via the crazy new technology of a computer program called Paintbrush. This allowed me to make my mazes more visually mind-boggling, straighter lines, and of course closer lines. I later felt hand-drawn mazes were more personal, so the 11 drawn via computer will be the only ones; a special series if you will. The late high school years and college I sporadically would draw a maze for a special occassion here and there. Then after two years working at Southwoods I felt compelled to draw a special maze that represented this amazing place. I did, and it later ended up in their camp yearbook - published to over 600 people.
What a feeling that was seeing your work published. Again over the next few years a special maze would pop up, nothing consistent. Then came an opportunity to put them all together and really live my middle school dream. I began the publishing process a month ago and can’t wait to have a book representing Mazes of the Century within the near future. What used to be my ceiling is now my floor.
I feel the need for my first blog post to address the issue of what is actually needed for this whole education reform movement that is percolating but still stuck in this "talk" phase. Where are the education protests as we saw in Wisconsin when teacher's rights were being minimized...they need to be at the door of Arne Duncan for the long duration such as the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Long story short here are my key points and IDEAS that need to be our focus when we do begin the "transformation" phase of this reform.
1. The Student Voice needs to be a part of the conversation.
2. Expectations need to be raised for ALL. From the top administrators, teachers, students, and PARENTS. No more tenure - create a new system with the teacher unions that help retain the most influential teachers. Also the college prep curriculum should begin in middle school and by high school all classes should be AP worthy. Raise the bar.
3. Cut the politics - this is our future we're playing with. The bureaucratic mess limits the potential for so many. This ties into #4.
4. Less Standards, More Autonomy - creating a enjoyable learning environment where students are passionate about understanding the world. The pressure of standardized tests creates cheating as we saw in Georgia (Atlantas-testing-scandal)
and as I have seen first hand as a teacher. Plus standards limits the growth of the individual child as they are forced into the required box of curriculum.
1. As we reform, let's set ourselves up for the long term - go beyond this new age of social media and technology. Set up schools to begin infiltrating mobile learning into their daily schedules. Schools need to become learning centers, not factories where we produce defective products of society. Bring the community into the learning centers, bring the LEARNING into the community.
2. If you haven't already, start building your PLN (Personal Learning Network). www.edupln.ning.com The day of collaborating with the teacher down the hallway is over, begin discussing and creating and exploring new methods with educators around the world. From Twitter to SKype to Facebook to LinkedIN....then further with the amazing EdCamp unconferences and TEDtalks. Create a global network for you and for our students. Follow me and my PLN on twitter @coleeverett
3. Bring back the Science Fair. We complain about innovation being at a standstill, what happened to the science fairs - I'm talking ones that you couldn't wait for because of the hype and prestige that came with them. Spelling Bees have gotten more national coverage lately but is your school participating? What about cooking competitions, that great stock market game out there teaching students all about dividends and math - is your school in on this?
4. Stop spoon-feeding students the process - let them figure it out on their own, allow them to discover...they just might be more engaged. Create real world applications, community-based problems they need to solve. Allow them to voice their plans, opinions, ideas beyond the classroom walls. Create an expectation that they matter now, and they can impact the world now.
5. Above all, we have to believe reform is possible. We have to believe in our students and that they can be successful. We have to generate a belief within our students - In class tomorrow have your students share something they LOVE about themselves. Stop the negativity and cynicism that has created a systemic problem of educating kids and begin the positive PR campaign. We are doing amazing things, some schools are at the top of their game, students are incredible in areas they are passionate about. "YOU DON'T BECOME WHAT YOU WANT, YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE."
I will also suggest this article: http://gettingsmart.com/blog/2011/09/10-things-i-do-right-now-as-a-superintendent/
Tomorrow: The Maze of the Century Story