“Why did you want to come to PoCC?” Um, school initiative … mumble … intercultural competency … mumble mumble … A colleague told me it was the best conference she’d ever been to? I don’t know what I need to know? Maybe it is unnecessary to state this, but I am white. So why would I attend a People of Color Conference?
Here are the slides from a presentation I did for parents about a month ago:
Yesterday was a professional development day. I was lucky enough to get in on the first round of “Day 2″ of intercultural competency training. (I did Day 1 in August.) Our ICC committee has actually designed this curriculum for us with help from Janet Bennett from the Intercultural Communication Institute. It includes activities and topics specifically targeting what the school as a whole needs to work on. The workshops are facilitated mainly by teachers and involves all faculty and staff. The scope of this is what the implementation of real change looks like. Continue reading
I’m taking two classes through Coursera right now: Comic Books & Graphic Novels and Video Games & Learning. I’ve already read Persepolis and American Born Chinese for the comic book class. I’m really excited about supporting our 8th graders as they read Maus (and teachers as they teach it) this year and working with our art teacher on creating resources for teaching visual culture. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about innovation in education recently. Actually, I pretty much always thinking and reading about it. Yet somehow the SAMR model for technology integration had never come across my screen. I was scrolling through Feedly and up popped this blog post by Jeff Utecht about using iPads to replace textbooks. His point was essentially, “Really? That’s the best we can think of?”
It got me to thinking about where my teachers are on the continuum of integrating technology. Are their “projects” innovative or just tied with the shiny bow of new technology? Continue reading
Warning: This post is going to be a little more nostalgic and personal than usual maybe because I just cleaned out a box of letters and pictures from my childhood, maybe because I saw a former student who has since moved abroad and we compared notes about international schools and sports trips, or maybe because it is the beginning of another school year. Whatever the motivation, this reflection is part of understanding who I am as an educator.
When I graduated from college, I wanted as far away from academia as possible. I was tired, very tired, of memorization and tests that had sapped the joy out of learning. Now, I’m beginning my eighth year as a teacher, enthusiastic about learning, and am applying to graduate school. What? Continue reading
OES Bell Tower, Flikr photo credit to Day Tooley
Fall is here, hear the yell
This song by The White Stripes has become a tradition to sing at our first middle school gathering. I got a little choked up singing with everyone on Wednesday, counting my blessings to be part of this community. Although I’ve really been back at work for the last few weeks, it didn’t truly begin until this. Honestly, it feels more like a family reunion than going to work.
Our head of school began last Tuesday with an address to the entire faculty and staff. She referred back to her charge last June to be open to change and wove it into a story about Taliesin House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright. As she describes it, Taliesin is beautiful from a distance, with horizontal and vertical lines that nestle it into the hillside, yet as you get closer, you see that every space in the house is under constant redesign. This makes the building itself feel alive with change as the designers perpetually seek improvement. The metaphor was perfect, even if obvious, in capturing the essence of the constant growth that should take place in a school. While striving for vertical and horizontal coordination, we should all be fundamentally engaged in improving in our individual practice. Furthermore, this metaphor gives us the twofold direction she has chartered for this year: (1) coherent school identity, facilities, and program and (2) curriculum changes to align with PreK-12 curriculum and the Essential Competencies and support system upgrades. Continue reading
We did laptop distribution today and I worked hard to streamline the process this year. I was the first to greet people and have them change their active directory password. Next they picked up their laptop, case, and charger, and headed for one of the two classrooms we had running. The idea was to have it work like a museum: once there were enough people in the classroom, they would close the door and start the video. Students had to change the password on their laptop and for their google account, watch the video, and fill out a checkout form.
I wanted to ease the stress of running the classroom by not having someone have to give the responsible use spiel over and over, so I made this video: RUA & Maintenance and Care of your Laptop.
I got the idea to speed it up because it was just taking too long to listen to the whole thing, and I like the feature of podcasts that you can make them go faster or slower. It turns out, however, that with iMovie ’09 there is a glitch that causes the audio to not export. So after a few days of feeling frustrated that it wasn’t going to work, I found a forum thread suggesting I detach the audio from the clip. I did it and Voila! It worked. Overall it was well received.