For My Angel

By:- By:- Stephen Fuller (S Francis)
 
Saw Van Morrison
In a dream last night
While in the garden
My Angel sang.
 
He had climbed a tree
To fly his toy plane
Like a kite trying
To catch the wind.
 
When he slipped
And began to fall
I caught him
All wet with rain.
 
Saw Van Morrison
In a dream last night
He held her hand
In the garden.
 
I climbed a tree
To see just how far
I could see her
As she flew away.

When I slipped
And began to fall
She caught me
All wet with rain.

Few words from the Author
 It is a simple depiction of a dream I had during a period of grief following the loss of a stillborn daughter.  Van Morrison’s song In the Garden provided me great comfort, often on repeat and often on long runs training for a marathon that served as a measure of therapy.
Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. 

MIRRORS

By:- Greg Richards

Mirrors, her eyes reflected not my heart,
Which twitched and turned and bounced,
And skittered across the tension of their polished gaze.
Elasticity, opaque, a thousand yard stare
With reasons strung to match;
Sentimentality skittered away and drifted, inexorably
To the center of her webbed intent,
She would not have it so, but wished herself elsewhere,
And I, a little sustenance along the way.


Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. 

Capacity for Failure

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Failure is not something we really like to think about – or embrace for that matter.  Failure sounds like a dirty word.  Something embarrassing.  We don’t want others to know about our failures.  We usually want to hide them.  How many people do you know who openly talk about their failures?  Not many that I know.

However, I think we are doing each other and our children a disservice by NOT talking about our failures.  If you have not failed, you have not succeeded.  If you take a chance, you usually don’t reach your goal the first time you try.  How many of us just got on a bike and could ride perfectly that first time?  No one I know.
By creating a veil of secrecy around our failures, we are creating an illusion for our children and setting them up for unreal expectations.  If children grow up not seeing or knowing about failure, they will expect themselves to be perfect.  Impossible.  When they don’t achieve that perfection, they feel miserable.  Worthless.
As adults, we have all failed at something – a job we didn’t get, a school we weren’t accepted to, a failed marriage, we fluked a course, we were arrested…..  The list could go on.  Of course we are not proud of failures, but they teach us something – if we choose to reflect and learn.  The majority of successful people have failed.  Not failed once, but MULTIPLE times.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
I love the Michael Jordan story (who can resist, especially if you’re a Tarheel).  He is arguably the most successful basketball player of all time.  However, he didn’t make the basketball team the first time he tried out in high school.  That’s like cutting Tiger Woods from the golf team, or Alex Rodriguez from the high school baseball team.  What?!  Jordan had the choice to allow himself to be crushed by the failure, or use it as a learning and growing opportunity.  He chose to use this experience to motivate him.  And…..you know the rest of the story.
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I love that Jordan has been open about his failures.  It motivates me.  There are many examples of people we consider to be experts in their field that have faced tremendous failures along the way.  Just a few examples of famous failures can be found in this article.
In my experience in education, many students are completely knocked over by failure.  I don’t mean actually failing a class – but not coming up with the “right” answer.  In traditional school, students learn to “play school.” – they know the expectations of the teacher and work to give the right answer and get the approval of the teacher.  However, when we challenge students to step outside that box to create and invent as a part of their learning, they will inevitably face failures along the way.  The high-achievers are the ones who usually get the most freaked out by this because they have ALWAYS known the right answers.
However, as students experiment and try new things they will fail.  But we need to be deliberate about talking with students about the power of failure.  The opportunities that it brings.  Failure happens for a reason – we didn’t try something in the right order, we left out a key element, etc…  The key to failure is to LEARN from failure.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
As educators and parents, we need to be open about failures in our life and how we have learned from them.  We need to model failure.  This will give our children permission to fail.  It will show them that failure is not the end – it’s an opportunity to learn and change.  It’s a new beginning.
If we want to create students who can be truly successful in life, we need to create in them the capacity for failure – the ability to work through failures, learn from them and try again.  We need to teach them to be tough enough to weather failures.  We need them to expect some failures along the way and help them understand these and work through them.  Their egos cannot be so fragile that they can’t withstand failures.  We, as adults, must model failures as growth opportunities for our children.
“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch
There are so many inspiring stories about how people have face failures, weathered the storm and come out better for it.  I often look back on some of these when I am facing difficult times and am reminded that I can push through a situation and learn from it.  Failure is never truly failing unless you give up.  I want more of our students to understand this.  In order to achieve a dream, you may fail at the first, second, third……. attempt.  But eventually, if you persevere, the dream is achievable.
“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K. Rowling

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Previously published on ” The Educational Rambler.”

The Blues Are All Around Me and They Follow Me Wherever I Go

By:-Edward M. Bury

Don’t have to look too far

Don’t have to look too far

That building used to be a store

Well it ain’t a store no more

The blues are all around me
and they follow me wherever I go

Don’t have to look too far

Don’t have to look too far

Electric cars don’t go too fast
I drive a car that uses gas

The blues are all around me
and they follow me wherever I go

Chorus

         The TV show from Washington
was all about the State of the Union

Thirty minutes later
I was still in a state of confusion

Don’t have to look too far

Don’t have to look too far

The photograph that’s on the wall

Has got a crack and is about to fall
The blues are all around me
and they follow me wherever I go

Chorus

Don’t have to look too far

Don’t have to look too far

Won’t go outside anymore
I’m afraid to even open up the door

Because the blues are all around me
and they follow me wherever I go

Repeat


The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Please read the further beautiful works by the Author at his website and blog.

Edward M. Bury, APR, Blog

Edward M. Bury, APR,Website

Lost

By:- Kevin Morris

My thoughts lost on the damp air

Going who knows where.

The sodden grass

I pass

Where children play

but not today.

No ball

or bird call.

Only the rain’s incessant fall.


The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Previously published on newauthoronline

How Adults are Personalizing Learning

By :- 

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What is Personalized Learning?  That is a term that comes up a lot these days in the education field.  Many teachers and districts want to make learning more personalized for students, but what does that actually look like?  When you start searching for the answer, there are so many resources that you can easily get lost and overwhelmed.

I think the most basic definition, and example, of Personalized Learning is what we, as adults, do to grow in our professions.  In today’s world, no matter what your profession, you MUST continue to grow and learn.  Doctors learn new surgical techniques, new therapies, new medicines.  I certainly don’t want to go to a doctor that has never done any type of professional learning since graduating from medical school.  Lawyers stay abreast of new laws and current rulings that could affect their practices.  Civil Engineers must stay current on changing laws, new technologies, etc….

In short, if you want to continue to succeed in your profession, you must continue to learn.  But HOW do we learn?  As adults we have a choice as to how we learn.  Some of us attend conferences or face-to-face trainings.  Some read books, journals, or online articles.  Some watch YouTube videos.  Some participate in Twitter Chats or write blogs where they interact with readers.  There are so many resources in today’s world that knowledge is at our fingertips.

I think this is personalization at its best!  I continue to grow in my field in a variety of ways: professional/leadership books, conferences, Twitter, blogs, articles, videos, podcasts.  The great thing about this is, I direct my own learning.  I choose what I want to learn, when I want to learn it and how I want to learn.  When I needed to rewire a lamp, I went to YouTube and quickly found a video that walked me through the steps.  When I wanted to see what flexible seating looked like in a classroom, I found videos and articles.  When I want to see what the hot topics are in my field, I go to Twitter and participate in a Twitter Chat.  In short, I have personalized my learning.

If adults have choice in learning and this keeps us motivated and growing in our field, how would students respond to this type of freedom?  How can we personalize learning for them?  Of course there are specific standards that students must master, but there are no rules for HOW students learn these skills.

Think about multiplication tables for example.  We all had to learn them.  Some of us memorized the equations, some used flash cards, some memorized a song, some had a method using hands/fingers, some used acronyms, some wrote them out.  We all have ways that we learn best and students can usually tell you what works for them.  For instance, I know that I have to see something to internalize it – a graph, reading, chart, photo, etc.  I cannot simply hear information and comprehend it well.

So how do we personalize learning for students?  First and foremost, we have to know our students.  If we don’t know them, there is no way we can personalize instruction.  Each student has a variety of ways that they learn best.  They also have a variety of ways to demonstrate that learning.  Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not a good test taker?”  The truth is that some people do not demonstrate their learning that way.  But that same student may be able to orally answer questions to demonstrate proficiency.  Or they may be able to create a product that demonstrates mastery: a song, blog post, online presentation, website, etc…..  Do we hold them back because they do not demonstrate mastery on a traditional test?

So how do we begin to tackle this?  There is not an easy answer.  There are choice boards, playlists, and pathways that some educators use.  But just as each child is different, their learning needs are different as well.  How many of us would have gladly learned Main Idea in reading if we had our choice of topics to read: duck hunting, soccer, art, ballet….. ?  There are no rules saying exactly what type of texts must be used….

How do we personalize?  There are a variety of different ways.  The key is to find what works for the student and make that happen.  Our students are worth it!

How do you personalize your learning and/or the learning of your students?  I would love to hear your thoughts.


Image credit: http://teachingexcellenceatefsc.com

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Previously published on The Educational Rambler

An Addiction

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 Your curious looks

curvy like brooks

Tossed my heart, tore me apart

Your reddened face

lips up for praise

Raised eyebrows, clear and close

Slight smile of thee

hypnotizes me

Deeper I sink in sea, never sets me free

But Remember !

You need no verbs to describe your nerves

I know

where you stand, how hard you pretend

When you gazed a star, traversed alone and far

Remember !

I am there

As long as you despair

I will wait, until you repair

Your traces and faces

Because this is no love

In my words

“An Addiction !!!”


Photography by :- Paul Militaru

Poetry by :- Isolated_girl

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

 

Teach Like Google Exists

By:- 

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I absolutely love this quote from Alice Keeler.  “Teach like Google exists.”  How thought provoking…..

Many of us – if not most – grew up in the “PG Era” (Pre-Google).  Because of this, school looked a lot different than it does today.  The teacher was the sole holder of information and he/she shared that knowledge with students through their teaching.  The only other way to acquire knowledge was through books, if you had access to them.  Many of us remember searching through the volumes of encyclopedias to do a report on Ecuador or Thomas Jefferson.  Or we had to go to the library, search through a card catalog, find that area of the library, search for the book and hopefully locate it.  Once we located the book, we then had to look through the entire book to obtain the information we desired.  This was …… time consuming.  It could also be completely frustrating.

Imagine if we asked our students today to turn off all devices and look through an encyclopedia or library to find basic information.  They would look at us as if we had just told them to build a rocket ship to the moon.  They may actually be able to do that easier than finding information the old-fashioned way.

But I think the implications of this quote go farther than just knowledge acquisition.  Traditional schools have equipped students with knowledge in the form of facts.  We memorized facts so when we needed them later in life, we could easily recall these.  Our brains were like dusty library shelves holding volumes of information that we may never use again.  But in today’s world, students do not to spend time memorizing these facts – they can be found easily by searching Google.  I visualize their brains as a complex series of pinballs bouncing back and forth to all regions of their brain as they synthesize information and use it to create new ideas.

Take a short break and time yourself to see how long it takes to search Google for one of the following:

  • The capital of North Dakota.
  • The 32nd US President.
  • The population of Spain.
  • The 18th Amendment.

How long did it take you?  I searched each one and found the answer in between 7 to 10 seconds. (depending on how fast you type.)  So, if this information can be obtained in a matter of seconds using devices, why would we ever ask students to memorize this information?  We live in a world where students have constant access to digital devices – and always will.

In a world where facts can be obtained by anyone in a matter of seconds, why are we still asking students to memorize information and testing this memorization on standardized tests?  Fact regurgitation is an antiquated skill.  If Google can pass the tests we give to students, there’s something wrong with the tests.

Please don’t misunderstand – I do think there are some things that should and must be committed to memory.  How can students learn to read if they don’t know the alphabet?  Multiplication tables must be memorized to further Maths knowledge.  However, the list of the “must memorize” items, has decreased significantly in today’s world.

If information is so readily accessible, education should not be about mere knowledge acquisition.  Education today should be about what students can DO with that information.  Rather than regurgitate, students should be analyzing, comparing, synthesizing and creating new ideas based on information.

Let’s look at the 18th Amendment about Alcoholic Prohibition for a moment.  Instead of having students only learn what the amendment is, they should be doing something with that information.  Students could write an opinion blog either supporting or not supporting the amendment and its enforcement.  Students could compare the societal conditions that led to the passing of the amendment, to current societal conditions in the US regarding marijuana usage.  After learning about the amendment and what led up to it, students could draft an alternate amendment to better address the issue.  By going deeper, students will understand the information better and make connections about its relevance to their lives and laws that are passed currently in the US.

Having knowledge now is simply not enough.  Anyone who can type, can access knowledge.  What you can DO with the knowledge is what is important now.

How are you changing your instruction to teach and lead like Google exists?


Image credit: Alice Keeler

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Previously published on The Educational Rambler