Thursday, August 28, 2014

Welcome to Learning Studio 222

Welcome to Learning Studio 222 for what I trust is a year of academic and personal growth for the learners who enter through the portal towards more self discovery in their learning journey that we will embark on together this year. With many hopes and dreams ahead, I am excited to be the lead learner in this studio and grow in my own learning and self discovery as well! Carpe Diem!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I Am NOT In The Business of Teaching

I am NOT in the business of teaching. I am 

foremost a seed planter. Teaching is my 

passion and my privilege and calling.

Image by Oliver Schinkten @schink10

The harvest will come in due season...the slow emerging of the seed pushing through the soil as it reveals its full manifestation of who that seed is. 

Have you ever been a seed before? Yes. Yes you have...buried deep beneath the soil, trying to make roots...trying to drink in the gain strength to grow and push through the soil. It takes a lot of patience. 

I have been a seed. I have been an impatient seed and a patient seed. I have tried to push through things before it was the right time and didn't grow into the full potential of what it could have been. I have been patient and wondering when my turn will be to pop through the cold, dark soil and see sunshine at last.  

As a lover of flowers, I have planted seeds, over watered them and watched them die. I have not given them enough sunshine to even have the power to push through. I have forgotten to water them and they never grew at all. 

In each of those situations I have listed both about myself and about me as a gardener, I have learned a bit more about myself. 

What I learned is this: It is NOT over night.

Be patient and wait for the magic! 

The way to do this is best through relationships and a You Matter philosophy presented by Angela Maiers. When a little seed knows they matter, when they are needed when a person or a teacher spends time helping them to own their own genius, magic happens.

My friend Joy Kirr sent me this the other day. It touched my heart. It is from the Lorax movie. 

"Let it grow, let it grow
You can't reap what you don't sow
Plant a seed inside the earth
Just one way to know it's worth
Let's celebrate the world's rebirth
We say let it grow
Like it did so long ago
Maybe it's just one tiny seed
But it's all we really need
It's time to change the life we lead
Time to let it grow"

Fletcher Sheridan Lyrics

This year, my goal is to use Brain-based learning coupled with the 8 Intelligences and the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy along with as many PBL projects as possible all linked to two things....You Matter and Geniushour. I will watch these seeds grow. It will be my honor to tend the garden for this season of their life. 

This article called Teaching Is Not A Business was written by David L. Kirp for the Sunday Review for August 16, 2014. It is a good read. "The process of teaching and learning is an intimate act that neither computers nor markets can hope to replicate. Small wonder, then, that the business model hasn’t worked in reforming the schools — there is simply no substitute for the personal element."  

CTA: What creative ways will you grow learners this year? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

True Genius
True genius is not taught, you can't go to school for an education to find it. True genius in my opinion is something that is inside of you. True genius is a combination of your gifts and of your talents that you were born with it yet, they are NOT for you. They are in you to help define your higher purpose and for the welfare and behalf of others. They are not to serve you. They are to serve others. 

Gifts are something that you were born with. For example, knowing something about your existence that is explainable in human words.  For example the gift of perception. You know when something just is not right, something is out of whack.  It is not based on any skill or ability. It is innate. It was gifted to you with a big red bow and stuffed under the tree in a box with your name on it long before you were even formed in the womb. It was predestined to be part of who you are. These gifts lead us down roads we did not expect and we find ourselves manifesting them in ways that pull us out of our comfort zone, but are effective at it nonetheless. 

Talents are something that you develop, that were part of your DNA structure, but you have to develop them yourself as you cultivate them with hard grit, determination or dedication to something. These talents often interweave in your life to create your life plan like in  what sports you like, if you play the piano, the jobs you take and the profession you eventually choose. These become your strengths-what you are good at. 

They are often used interchangeably but they are not the same thing however, both need to be grown and strengthened in you.  You continue to build on these gifts and talents as your life goes on. 

True genius DOES NOT mean prodigy. 

Angela Maiers explains it like this. Genius is taking your passions and  your compassion and putting them together to find your true purpose and destiny in this world. Here is Ms. Maiers on EduAllStars Episode 9 with Chris Kesler and Todd Nesloney

Qualities Of A True Genius:

A true genius goes deep into exploring all the dead ends that people give you and say that you can't go beyond. 

A true genius faces failure with a steadfast determination to rise above. 

A true genius has an inexplicable drive and passion that is self driven. 

How Can Teachers Cultivate True Genius?

As teachers we must do a better job of cultivating this genius in our students. The question is how? 

I believe that it starts with whole brain teaching and nurturing the confidence of the student. 

Here is my earlier post on whole brain teaching and my Haiku Deck for my Defense.

Bethel University M.Ed Defense 

I also believe that it comes from having a strong philosophy and personal mission statement of education that is solidly founded in student first decision making. Here is mine.

Philosophy of Education:

YOU MATTER! You have a genius in you that is unique and special to you! I celebrate that! I will teach in a way that promotes growth through play and learning. 

Mission Statement: 

I as a professional educator recognize that each child is an one-in-a-million, never-seen-before individual, that all children are creative and that all children can succeed. 

Therefore, I will respect the individual needs of children for whom I have the sacred honor of working with which includes but is not limited to the following: fostering a caring and creative environment as well as emphasizing the social, emotional, physical, intellectual development of each child. 

I believe that each child has a genius and a passion special to them. I also believe that passion with compassion creates world changers. 

I believe that great things can accomplished through cooperation between school, community, parents, and students. 

I believe you matter!

Is it going to be hard to do these two simple steps of whole brain teaching and a student first philosophy? Yes. It is. However, just because it is hard, does not mean it will not be worth it. 

**I dedicate this post to a true genius, Mr. Robin Williams 1951-2014. A true genius who knew how to use his gift to make people laugh and brought smiles to children and troops. A man who had the innate ability of comedy and timing, but who also worked hard to develop his talents in the field. He was a student of comedy and his love for learning kept him fresh. Depression is a demon and comes to steal, to rob and to destroy, and that is why it is so vital to tell people with our words and back it with our actions that people matter. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

What Kills Culture At School? What Brings It To Life?

From Trace Pickering

Dr. Mollie Marti

Culture is killed by the following:

Silence: Not speaking up about what you need and dislike in a respectful way.

Boredom: Meaning is not connected. The students need to be engaged, challenged and enriched.

Few or No Degrees of Freedom to Choose: Age appropriate choice and degrees of freedom to choose the way they want to learn, content areas, and even the teacher that best fits them.

No Freedom To take Risks : This stifles the creativity in the classroom. Students are afraid to do anything at all. They are afraid to fail forward, to risk, take a chance.

Holding A Deficit View of People: We don't need to fix people! When we are focused on weakness, we don't see what their passions are and fueling them. We need to stop seeing people as needy and start seeing them as needed!

Culture Springs to Life when You have these foundations to education in place:

Open Communication

Engaged and Challenge Students

Personal Choice

Allow For Risk Taking

Focus on Strengths

A thriving school is:

Community Facing

Competency Based

Project Driven

Passion Focused