Are we delivering a clear message about who we are? Are we concerned with the details that represent us? Each one of us create products (tangible or not) for society. Now more than ever we need to be aware of our product and ensure it represents your brand, as a person.
I currently have two products I am providing society right now; education and mazes...different yet very aligned to who I am and what I want to give. My Goal: Create a personalized maze and education for all. I believe my hand drawn mazes and philosophy towards teaching are closely related. Each one displays creativity and showcases individual personalities/passions. Going from start to finish represents the journey of life-long learning, in the end both are a piece of art you should be able to reflect upon with pride.
Lesson #1: Deliver Clarity
As I reflect upon the first few years of teaching and first few months of my maze business I see similarities that will direct my future. Yes, the metaphors are endless. As I strive to fine tune my pedogogical methods, I find myself sharpening my clarity in delivery - communication to and FROM students. This is a vital piece in the success of my mazes so far as well - understanding the customer and delivering a concise and clear message.
Lesson #2: Branding Success with every detail
As I have created new products based off mazes I have become deliberate about the quality of each product, each frame, each postage label. Why? Your brand is vitally important, customers can be anyone and what they perceive makes or breaks your success. This is right in line with education as well. The product you deliver as an educator is especially critical - every activity, every problem, every word, every poster hung, every rule, every expectation, every facial expression delivers your product. Would customers purchase your teaching? One faulty message and your customer (student) will make or break their success by altering their respect of you, your integrity and their desire to learn from you.
Your product is yourself, who you are as a productive citizen. Are you what you want to be in every aspect of your life? Are you delivering a consistently clear message to your family, friends, co-workers about who you are and want you give? Will people buy what you are offering as a person?
I'm calling you out....parents that allow their students to come to school hungover from a birthday celebration or high. This does multiple things to lower expectations for that child, tears down their self-esteem even more. (because it has to be low already to take part in such activity) But now even more because they feel you don't care about them enough to set limits and not allow inappropriate behavior for their age as well as you the parent not giving them a proper celebration they deserve so they have to create one for themselves to feel worthy (falsely) with their peers.
I'm calling you out...teachers whom do set high expectations of their students and follow through with continuous structured support AND discipline to allow your students to rise to those expectations. Your expectations are so clear that even when you are not there they continue to strive towards them. They make the most of every class, even with a substitute, not using that as an excuse to "take a break." Your high expectations and belief in your students has far reaching abilities, more than you think - thank you.
I'm calling you out....fast food nation whom continue to increase the sizes of our meals. It wasn't too long ago that a small was actually small and an extra-large was indeed a little extra. Nowadays a small is the former extra large and the extra large is a case of enriched french fries and a 2 liter of sugar soda. It is you that enables our society to become addicted to your unhealthy goods. Yes we ultimately choose to order your obesified food but an old size fry doesn't allow us to become addicted at the immediate rate that a larger portion does...and you know that.
I'm calling you out...Mother Nature - enough is enough. I love the weather more than anybody and the extreme storms get my adrenaline going faster than the storm itself. But, please give us a break - record tornadoes, floods, October snows, Hurricanes where Hurricanes don't belong, droughts, dust storms, insane windstorms, should I go on? Allow us to breath, recover, rebuild. Thank you.
Give until it hurts. Despite the current status of the economy and more than likely yours as well, it is more crucial than ever to Give. Over the years I have become ever more critical of who I decide to give to and build a charitable relationship with. The relationship is the most important piece. Whether its a personal cause, a job-related endeavor, or a individual passion it's important to give to an organization in which you have a connection with. So as I discuss my charitable relationships I do so knowing everyone has their special cause, but also sharing credible organizations as ideas for those who want to begin building their charitable relationships.
A dance marathon at The Ohio State University benefiting Children's Hospital pediatric cancer. As a co-chair for the 1st ever event back in 2002, my understanding and trust for the use of the money raised is strong. I am proud to see this event grow to where it is 10 years later and can't wait to see where it goes next.
A nonprofit, year-round youth development organization, anchored by a residential summer camp with an educational focus. This is one special place. The incomparable staff behind this hidden jewel are undertaking a Capital Campaign so Project Morry can go from serving 400 children each year to over 1,000. The fundraising drive will achieve three key priorities: 1) Purchase our summer camp site 2) Establish a Westchester facility 3) Expand our Summer Camp facilities. Start supporting Project Morry today.
Global Camps Africa changes the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable children and youth by providing HIV/AIDS prevention education and training through a high-impact residential camp experience and continuing education, equipping young people with the life skills that will support them in becoming safe and productive adults who have hope for the future. I had the privilege of volunteering at Camp Sizinani run by Global Camps Africa and it truly is life-changing for each person, children (campers) and adults (staff).
OTHER Charitable Foundations to support - remember find one that fits you.
PENCIL: Transforming Schools. Together www.pencil.org
SCOPE: Summer Camp Opportunites Provide an Edge www.scope-ny.org
MS Foundation: Multiple Sclerosis www.nationalmssociety.org
KIVA: loans with a purpose www.kiva.org
Donors Choose: Specific projects, direct to teachers, students benefit
Here's a few great books I've enjoyed recently.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougal
Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong. Amazon
The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark
So many useful, tangible ideas to stir things up inside and outside the classroom with one result in mind - the success of children. I love chapters 9, 11, 12, 16...well just about every chapter is great because Ron Clark uses examples to get his message across and gives tips at the end of each to assist you in incorporating the "solutions" into your class/school/home. The parents section is a must read for every adult, teacher or not. Amazon
Skill Building Pick:
The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner
An in-depth look at leadership with practical and inspirational lessons for anyone. Filled with endless quotable take-aways, one that stuck with me is, "Success does not breed success. It breeds failure. It is failure which breeds success." Amazon
All-time great pick:
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
A life worthy of 630 pages. You won't be dissappointed.
Unexpected Surprise pick:
The Shack by William P. Young
Chapter 2 hits you hard and it never lets up. Unusual perspective that gives you new perspective. Amazon
To gain more insight on the acculturation process we need to look further at the aspect of ‘a culture of failure’ and where this truly comes from, specifically student’s attitudes towards education. Is this connected to the “lax” attitude of America, the change of discipline, a cultural manifestation, or something else? Also, the trust of the school system and it’s administrators. Does the strength of the one's cultural identity influence how one trusts the American school system, its leaders, the special education realm, and the act of disciplining misbehavior in a child? In the end does this affect the way a teacher teaches, the way a principal manages, the way a parent interacts with the school, and the way a student learns?
“New York City is a moving, busy city where ethnicity never really melts away, and class and generation differences remain visible” ( Bryce-Laporte, 1979). Mitchell and Bryan discuss the need for Caribbean immigrant students to be given school intervention that is compatible with their familial and cultural values. They go on to say “school counselors must team and collaborate with family, community, and school staff members to develop and implement comprehensive programs of partnerships to meet the needs of students at risk for academic failure, many of whom are minority and immigrant students” (2007). This is a critical component going forward, but stereotyping one nation's citizens or immigrant population will counteract the individual interventions – cultural values may be consistent but how students incorporate those into their new setting will be different. A child may react to the acculturation process in a variety of ways, depending on the strength of their values, acceptance of change, self-esteem, and influence of peers. This needs to be incorporated into professional development for teachers, counselors, and school officials.
The stress of immigrating to a new country increases when the community in which the immigrant is now living is uneducated on potential challenges in acculturation. Understanding they might not understand special education to its fullest extent requires someone to discuss the process with them. Understanding how misbehavior is handled differently will reduce the discrepancies and potentially smooth the transition for the child. Understanding the cultural values and family expectations of new families could bridge the disconnect of parents and schools, resulting in trust and acceptance of the school system, its curriculum and methods. The implications here allow administrators, teachers, and other school staff to begin to take the necessary steps to incorporate immigrants more justly and allow them an equal opportunity to succeed within education and personally. Overall talk to these families, learn from them.
Investigating and seeking input on various topics is an ongoing part of my professional development. Discovering new teaching strategies or understanding concepts is a critical part in working with children. Beyond the classroom lessons and benchmark testing, one large piece to becoming a better teacher is recognizing your students’ differences and individual needs. An area rarely seen in professional development workshops or discussed in grade meetings is that of cultural influences and its impact on the students’ academics.
It is understood that family and home issues affect student’s behaviors and academic performance, but does the country of origin play a role? With a larger population of immigrated students this year, I am beginning to see commonalities amongst my most recent immigrated students. I see their struggle to find space to fit in amongst the social networks of middle school, and their approaches to these obstacles. As I want to help my students feel comfortable in the school environment, it is a challenge when there are more obstacles in relation to cultural values, traditions, and perspectives. Understanding these views from the student and their families will go a long way in determining strategies to best resolve the variety of issues I see these children deal with daily.
As an 8th grade teacher of mathematics and science in the special education setting many experiences cross my path every day. I have been able to work with children with varying learning disabilities and behavioral issues, varying home life and values, and cultural backgrounds. Does their cultural identity play a role in those expectations? Does this affect their desire or need to gain acceptance from the community, school, and classmates?
The acculturation process can impact a child’s educational future. Specifically Caribbean immigrants in the New York City area have a high school dropout rate of 23.53% among males and 19.66% among females according to the Board of Education. As a teacher I have observed students succeeding and struggling with becoming acclimated to school, forming friendships, and cultural adjustments. I have been able to work with children that have varying learning disabilities and behavioral issues, differing home lives and values, and cultural backgrounds. What can we do to assist them in overcoming the acculturative stressors they face? Please comment...conversation to be continued.
Three new links I think you should bookmark:
NeoK12: I use this site frequently for many things. Most recently I was introducing the Rock Cycle and showed a few clips, had students tweet something from the video they didn't know before, and the I used the matching vocabulary game to engage ALL students by getting them to interact with the smartboard, review important terms, and have a slight dose of competition between classmates. Many opportunities for usage across the board.
Recently at a local trivia night with some friends a question arose about the capital of Kentucky and only one team (our team) got it correct. Meanwhile on a question concerning the name of a Simpson's character every team knew the answer. People are you kidding me?!?! Learn your geography and have some fun doing it here: Challenges . If you'd like to embed this game on your site go here: TravelPod
A small obsession with TV and in particular TV ratings leads me to this site quite often. Pretty in depth coverage of all corners of entertainment. Not your tabloid TMZ style information either, the quality keeps me coming back. Enjoy Zap2it.
Did You Know...
...Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya became the only person EVER to break course records at BOTH the Boston Marathon and the NYC Marathon in the same year!
...Mazes of the Century has Holiday Cards available, send them to your friends and family and they can actually solve your card!
...Perforated toilet paper was first distributed in 1880! History of Toilet Paper
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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.