Working from a distance

I’m in Boston. But back in Virginia, my students had just started a cool project with Heather Durnin’s class from Turnberry Central Public School, in Wingham, Ontario. I met Heather on a ning we were both working in for the Powerful Learning Practice (long before I started working with the PLP).We were both studying social justice issues, so we decided to pair our students to research a topic, answer essential questions, and create a Voice Thread with the results. This week was not a good time to leave my students alone. But with Heather’s help (she has had to take the lead on most of this for me), our students have continued to work. She posted these photos today of our kids skyping (keep in mind, I am in Boston and my kids are with a substitute in VA, and they are skyping with students in Ontario–amazing!)

I love feeling connected to them and their work, and I am so appreciative that they can continue on without me. I received this email today from one of my kids:

good news today in class almost all of us got to skype our turnstudents!!!!! it was a lot of fun and helpful! I hope you can return soon. All of the 8th grade misses you and wishes you the best!!!!!!!!!! :D
~ Rachael
Tonight I skimmed all the Google Docs where they are collaborating, and most of them are making progress. For those who aren’t, I left little love notes. So easy–from my hotel to their classroom.
Powerful Learning Practice (and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in particular)  often speaks about how we are better together. Tonight those words ring true.

Daily Rituals

Doug Belshaw posted this interesting link to what famous thinkers do on a daily basis. Now I’m not famous or even a great thinker, but the post got ME thinking about my daily rituals.

  • I start the day at 4:45 with a cup of coffee and my laptop-gotta see who’s been tweeting during the night.
  • Twenty minutes later, I’m off  for a 3-mile run or heading to the gym to lift weights.
  • I eat a Lara Bar at snack time, 10 am at my school.
  • I take Beau for a walk as soon as I get home for school, unless it’s raining.
  • I try to go to bed by 9 pm each night (try, but not always successful)

I don’t think of myself as an organized, ritualistic person. But there you go. What are your daily habits?

Sifting and sorting

My friend Alex Ragone (a fellow PLP-er) tweeted a link from PBS MediaShift this morning. I like the site, so I jumped into the article to see that word again– curator.

Like you, I’ve been seeing the word for a while now (was Jeff Jarvis the first?), describing how we will learn to sort through volumes of information online. I have my own curators (here, too) and I’ve been working through how to help our students do/find the same.

Those in the know say we are now relying much more on individuals rather than organizations to provide us with our news and information. As a former journalist and journalism teacher, I worry about our lack of “gatekeepers” when it comes to relying on everyone. However, worry aside, learning to discern is critical.

As much as I prefer the skill to be integrated into every discipline, I am tired of waiting for everyone to get on board. In my perfect world, I would create a course for all students–one that teaches them to sift,sort, share and do. This wisdom will help create better citizens of the world.

Read the article here…it’s worth your time.

Original image: ‘The Blue Gate’
by: Jose Roberto V Moraes