Friday, August 26, 2011

Education needs a soundtrack

Books with soundtracks -- love this idea. Historical novels with period music, character/mood/motivation expressed and enhanced with appropriate background music? Think of the possibilities for informational text: new terms and concepts can be introduced with a video, historical events accompanied by primary source images, etc, etc.

This is exactly what I think of when I envision not only text books in the future, but My Classroom tomorrow!  At the very least I want Google search constantly hooked up so no student ever has to say "what is that?" and not get immediate visual and/or aural support to the text explanation. And my ipod will be constantly present -- Civil War studies needs fifes and drums, Civil Rights Era needs Sam Cooke, Earth Science neeeeeds cool video of oozing lava and exploding volcanoes!

One Word Descriptions

Had my first Teacher Interview yesterday... first interview of any sort since hiring on at Robinson's-May back in 1998.  I'd like to think I was calm, collected, totally prepared, smelled nice, had my fly zipped, all the essentials in order for that overwhelmingly awesome first impression, but...

I know I stammered and bumbled through too many questions, gave vague answers instead of definitive, academic term filled answers. Probably showed myself the door by mentioning my lack of classroom experience.  I blanked on the "Do you have any questions for us?" -- and then of course thought of several before I was across the parking lot.

One question was the ol' standby "Describe yourself with one word" -- or was it 3 words? One word 3 different ways? No, it was 3 1-word descriptions. Anyway, not wanting to appear too self-centered with excessive contemplation, I blurted out the first three popping to mind:

Here. Tall. Trekkie.

So if they gave me a mulligan, possibly all 12 ears were momentarily ringing, and they asked me to kindly repeat my answer, I would probably go with completely different answers...

  • Competitive: I want to be the best. Yes, I want to beat you, but the focus is beating me, constantly getting better, setting high standards, not settling for "that's all I can do" -- I want my class to be the cleanest and best looking, my students the smartest, most eager, respectful, polite, my family the happiest and proudest. And I want you to be the best as well, I want to work with the best, play against the best, measure up against the best.
  • Excited:  I get excited when lessons go well, thrilled when kids "get it" and learning happens, electrified when students want to learn;  I get energized when I get to go to work, when I get to learn something, when I get to teach! 
  • Appreciative:  It's not a perfect world; in fact it can be a scary, hopeless place if we dwell on all that does or can go wrong.  But instead I appreciate each day I have with my sons, my wife, my friends and family.  I appreciate the physical miracles of my body and the world around me, and the amazing gifts of thought, art, music, creativity, compassion, love.
  • Right: not right as in the "I am always..." I repeatedly tell my sons, but the Right as in there is a right way to do things, to do everything.  The right way is doing your best, thinking of others first, learning something, improving something, doing it right the first time but if not finding the right way and doing it again.  The right way does not include shortcuts, cheating, or selfishness.
  • Studious: I like to be prepared, I like to get as much resource material as possible, look at all angles, research the right and best way to do something -- whether I get the job of Defensive Line Coach or 4th grade Teacher, no matter if the assignment is native California flora, jump roping, or 3-digit division, I'm going to read about it, google it, watch a video on it, scour the Library shelves for it, and make my lesson plan the best it can be. Then I'm going to make it better for the next time.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Teacher Discounts

save a little sumpin' for yourself... check out

First Interview

Ok, I don't think I was this bad, no visible drench marks, but I will confess to some nervousness -- what if they expose me as a fraud? Use all these technical and academic phrases that cause my face to go blank and a dreaded "Uuuhhh..." to slip from my lips? 

Monday, August 22, 2011


Check out Tech4Learning

They have it all covered -- blog, FB, apps, even cool usable images like this dude:



Room 21

An "Online Social Learning Platform" -- the District I'd really, really love to work for is starting to work with this -- has anybody tried it?

Go the "About" link for an introduction video.  I wonder if it;s used Sept through June or goes by the wayside 1/2 way through the year. What grades use it? Good intro to social networks for 3-5 grades?

no connection to Room 222?