I have great kids in my classes. I really do. They are curious, hard-working, and bright.
But today I wanted to scream. I spent quite a bit of time creating a research guide for them, a way to start finding information about social justice issues. I even created a custom google search with all my favorite resources.
So what do I find as I walk around the room? A student on Ask.com.
I corrected and sent her off in a new direction.
Two minutes later, she’s on Dogpile, saying what funny things she is finding.
SCREAM inside my head.
“Why do you think I spent time working on these resources, for you?” I ask as patiently as I can. “So you could ignore them and just browse through various links?”
I know. Kids need to learn to sift through resources on the web, figuring out which are valid and which are a waste of time. That’s certainly a valuable skill. But sometimes I want them to go directly to the best place and read.
Read and think.
Ok, I’m better now. I can do this again. Tomorrow.
Because I want to help teachers learn online in innovative and valuable ways….
Because I want to continue learning from my PLN…
Because my school isn’t in a position of offer me the kind of work I want to do….
Because I am lucky to be in a situation where I can explore options….
I am leaving my school in June and joining Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s and Will Richardson’s Powerful Learning Practice.
Sheryl and I both attended TEDxNYED (what a great experience) last weekend. Though there have been critics of the tedxnyed format, I found the day inspiring. I knew wherever I turned, I would be able to pick up a conversation with someone who spoke the same language. Sitting side by side sharing comments with Sheryl about the speakers and reading her posts later have validated my decision to leave. I need to continue to explore transformative ways to learn, collaborate, and share online. My ideas about how students need to learn and grow have changed, and I am eager to join like-minded folks who have this passion and expertise.
Having this year with my eighth-graders has cemented my beliefs. They have provided me with an abundance of examples of how to make this work–and we’re not finished yet. Look for Space Literary Magazine that I’ll be working on with George Mayo, and links to a collaborative Social Justice project I am working on with Heather Durnin.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Victor Frankl
Image: ‘Free School Child’s Hand With Pastel Colored+Pencils+(unedited)+Creative+Commons’
Patrick Higgins has written a great blog post, sharing the fabulous line up of speakers for TEDxNYED this Saturday. I’ll be there, sharing as much as I can. Check it out!