Tomorrow I have a meeting scheduled with one of my teachers to plan a unit on student video production as a resource for Social Studies. As I looked around for ideas that I may not have thought of, I found a cache of ideas: VIDEOS IN THE CLASSROOM Uses of Flip Video Cameras in the Classroom (we can check out a set from OITMS!) Kathy Schrock (scroll down the page) Ideas for Video Projects (this also includes pointers and hints)
It happened today. I knew it was coming; little did I know how it would affect me. Burnout. Big time. Brian’s brain flat lined. Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (picture a brain activity monitor).
I went to wash my hands this morning and water was not coming out of the faucet. No matter how hard I tried pushing the handle up, no water burst forth! Looking down, I realized I was pushing up on the soap dispenser. Not only was this bad enough, but I kept doing the same thing over and over! I turned to see if anyone saw me (why do we do that?), I stared at myself in the mirror and shook my head, and left. You may know the feeling—you turn off the engine after you’ve pulled into the parking lot—and wonder how in the world you got there. You remember NOTHING about your excursion from home to work. Your first reaction? Are there blue lights flashing behind me?
I’ve come up with a prescription for the holidays:
• Focus on the positive (isn’t that an original?): I remember one year working with a colleague that was always negative and it started affecting me. Once I removed myself from that atmosphere, stress didn’t leave, but I had more energy.
• Work smarter: what can you do to lessen your workload and still not hurt the quality of instruction? How about putting your quizzes on Achievement Series? How about Quia?
• Excited children = an excited teacher: How about a new activity that doesn’t suck the time out of your day? For example, how about a Wordle activity? A Big Huge Labs activity?
• Balance the yoke: Imagine teaching a lesson together with somebody and sharing planning? I love that look on teachers’ faces, after meeting in my office and planning a lesson/unit together (I’ll get this/do this; you get that/do that) and finally co teaching the lesson together, that excited expression and comment, “THAT was FUN! And they learned so much!”
• Think out of the box: there are many things that I can check out from IRC to use, such as a set of Flip Cams, Digital Cameras, Digital Voice Recorders, and the like. Wondering what to do with them? I’ll show you!
• Make something: a student’s face lights up when s/he produces a product and it is visible to others. How about a Voicethread? A Photo Story project?
• Ask for ideas: even if it sounds farfetched, you never know if you don’t ask. Just recently I was giving ideas on how to redo a classroom to help motivate students, gave ideas for a fraction activity outside, etc.
And most of all,
• LAUGH! No matter how bad it can seem, laughter makes you feel better. For example, how about watching funny videos, such as this couple?
or, how about laughter to reduce stress, as this bride did?
Whatever the case, focus on the positive and let me know how I can help!
I’m sitting here, one hand poised at the Mighty HP while the other one is clutching a cup of caffeine, AKA hot tea, trying to keep my mind from wandering and ricocheting around the room with wreckless abandon. As hard as I try, it’s hard to come back and focus on Keller’s ARCS Model of Addressing Motivation in the ID Process (I’m writing a final paper for a grad class). I’d put a hyperlink on that so that you wouldn’t have to look it up yourself, but so what–that would require mental and cognitive efforts of which I have none at the moment. I got to thinking of the humor of this model–MOTIVATION–and my mind is anything but. My thoughts would wander. For example, in the past minute, I’ve thought:
–What if the National Football League was given the same expectations as AYP? Imagine telling coaches in 2014 that if they don’t win 100% of their games, they’re FIRED!
–I’ve been sitting here for two hours writing. This is boring!
–What if the staff at JTY learned how to dance like Riverdance? Wouldn’t that be a hoot, putting on a show for the kids? Or, imagine Mr. G and Mrs. B being the lead dancers, and the rest of the faculty behind them!
–I looked in the cabinets 20 minutes ago looking for junk food to eat. I wonder if any has mysteriously appeared since I last looked?
–It’d be fun to be camping in the mountains and sitting by a campfire right now!
–I looked at the Revolver Map (straight to the right) and wondered why a majority of the hits are to the EAST of the Mississippi and not the west, and was fascinated seeing where the dots are in other countries; this would be a neat data collection on how geography affects where people settle:
You get the idea! What would motivate me more? Being able to make something and demonstrating what I know. For example, this is an absolute hoot! Watch especially at about 1:05: My first thought was that boys would LOVE to do this; girls would say, “You could hurt somebody doing that! Do something safe!” Get the idea? Or, just to say the word missle would make some shudder!
I propose more of the following:
Math: Have students model a mathematical problem by drawing it, building it, or making it. How about Kid Pix? How about a PowerPoint and using drawing tools? Make an Animoto movie! How about BigHugeLabs?
Language: Let boys finish a story the way that THEY would end it. How about a PhotoStory?
Social Studies: Make a MovieMaker project of a period in history, i.e. Lewis and Clark on the trail.
Science: I know we can’t make a Mentos “projectile”, but what if we dumped some Mentos in and watched the resulting stream of carbonation carbonating all over the place? Film it, import it into a PowerPoint, and write a report about why it worked (6th grade–I see some SOLs there!).
OK–I have to get back to being motivated and write and write and write and write ….
What is that one thing (or more) that gives you that energy—that drive—that passion– that gives you a kick of energy to finish when you’re exhausted and tired? Or, what is it that charges your batteries? What passion do you bring to the classroom/office/work environment?
In the present day of accountability (think 100% of children in the country will pass standardized tests in 2014), one might be tempted to throw up their hands, or sit at their desks in a catatonic state, unable to produce any cognitive functions and mumble. What can one do to light that fire? Silvia Tolisano in Langwitches writes about this and I recommend to take some time and read about passion:
I am realizing that Angela has stumbled upon (or has strategically moved towards) THE NEW FORM of how we learn:
• Together (on a large scale)
• Across age, gender, time and physical boundaries
• As part of a whole
• As part of a discussion
• Contributing our experiences
• Discussing and reflecting
During one of my recent building sweeps, I came around the corner and saw a first grader working with a para and wished I had my camera for that “Kodak moment”: she had apparently been struggling with a math concept, and suddenly, out of nowhere, the “light bulb” came on and she GOT IT. Her face lit up like a halogen light, glowing, and she explained, “I UNDERSTAND!” I stood there and thought, “That’s why we do what we do.” My batteries were charged again.