Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Changing History

Over the years, I have seen school standards, curriculum, and even museum exhibits change history as children learn about the past.

Events that I’ve lived through personally are either left out or written from a different perspective that I’ve experienced. This can change total meaning when children in the future learn about the past.

I’ve been to Presidential Museums where certain things have been omitted and over the years, may be forgotten.

I grew up in the North and learned about the Civil War from a totally different perspective than the Civil War that I was required to teach in the South.

My parents experienced the Communist takeover of China and their real stories were very different than the things I was taught in school in America. In fact, one of my teachers called me a liar and humiliated me in class when I shared some of my parents’ stories. My parents were highly offended by this and there was a big conference at school about this!

Recently I read an article, “Texas education board workgroup changes course on "heroic" Alamo defenders” that is another example of this.

I think that is why it is so important that we interview people and record their stories in today’s world for future generations to hear first-hand what people have experienced. Hearing the person’s actual words can’t be changed through omission or amending any statements.

Years ago, I was able to get an author to come to speak at our school. She had written a book called The Four Perfect Pebbles and she had been held in the same concentration camp as Anne Frank. What a wonderful experience for my students and for my community!

Not many WWII survivors are still living, and we need to get their stories recorded.

There are so many local, state, and national events that are happening and I believe we need to get these events recorded from different perspectives so that future generations can get a better picture of what actually is happening.

Too many times textbooks and standards are changed until the history being taught is not necessarily the history that actually happened!

Have you seen history being changed? Please share.

Photo by Haley Phelps on Unsplash

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Listening But Not Hearing

In Unpacking our educators’ belief systems from  Dangerously Irrelevant, (Scott McLeod) shares,

“…when we’re having conversations or working with educators in professional learning settings, what we say to them may not be what they hear.”

This is true in many conversations I have with others and it makes me realize that I need to encourage further conversation if I am concerned that the other person is not understanding what I’m saying.

Many times, I complain that my husband doesn’t listen to me but this makes me realize that he is probably listening but not really hearing what I’m saying. I’ve learned when we talk that I need to be clear about my wants and expectations and not expect him to be a mind reader. I need to do the same with my students. I shouldn’t assume that they understand what I’m asking or explaining.

A good way to do that in my classroom is to ask my students if they agree and why or why not. Asking them to explain their answer shows me if they are really understanding me. It is easy to say yes or no or give a thumbs up and thumbs down, but do they really know or just guessing? Are they just giving me an answer they think I want to hear?

I think understanding also depends on the perspective that another person has. Sometimes during the conversation, they show me how my words can be perceived in a different way that I never had thought of.

I tend to be egocentric when I talk, and I need to be more aware of the different perspectives that others may have. In order to do this, I need to ask questions and encourage conversation.

I also need to teach my students to do the same thing. Many students get frustrated with adults because they feel that they are not being heard. Maybe they are right. Maybe adults are listening but not really hearing them. Rather than getting frustrated and mad, we teach them a better way of being heard. Encourage them to work harder at deeper conversations.

By doing this, I am helping them have more successful personal and professional relationships.

What tips would you give students to help them be heard? Please share.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Monday, September 17, 2018

Advice to Aspiring Teachers

I was recently interviewed for an article that was recently posted:

I’m honored that they thought I was a teaching expert!

The two questions asked were:
·      Why should people pursue a career in education or teaching?
·      What technology or resource do you find most useful in your work?

How would you answer this? Please share.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Friday, September 14, 2018

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 9/14/18

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels:  E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Math Learning Center – “These apps are based on the visual models featured in Bridges in Mathematics. All apps are available in two or more versions: a web app for all modern browsers, and downloadable versions for specific operating systems and devices (such as Apple iOS for iPad).” (L:T;SA:M)

How Air Conditioning Works – YouTube video; “To beat the summer heat, we turn to air conditioning. But that sweet, cool relief isn’t magic: it’s the science of heat transfer and the chemistry of refrigerants.” (L:H;SA:S)

Headliner – free video editor (L:G;SA:A)

How Does Caffeine Keep Us Awake? – A TED-ed lesson; “Over 100,000 metric tons of caffeine are consumed around the world every year. That’s equivalent to the weight of 14 Eiffel Towers! Caffeine helps us feel alert, focused, and energetic, even if we haven’t had enough sleep — but it can also raise our blood pressure and make us feel anxious. So how does it keep us awake? Hanan Qasim shares the science behind the world’s most widely used drug.” (L:H;SA:S)

Ryeboard – “Ryeboard is the easiest, most intuitive way of expressing your ideas on a virtual white board. Brainstorm innovative ideas, plan out your next daunting essay, or organize your next vacation on Ryeboard. Only on desktops for now, but all for free! (L:G;SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Challenging Thinking

In Trick Question from Seth’s Blog, Seth Godin shares,

“… if you can ask someone a question that causes them to think about something unexamined, that challenges them to explore new ways of seeing the world or making connections, you’ve actually caused a change to happen.”

I’ve always been good at memorization but not very good at critical thinking. I always felt like my teachers did not help me learn to think critically and instead wanted me to remember facts and figures. I excelled at that and it wasn’t until I was in college before I realized that others were way ahead of me in the thinking game.

I spent my four years of college, not just learning, but learning how others study and learn. I really struggled and for the first time in my life, learning was hard.

I decided that when I became a teacher, I was not going to have my students face the same results.

Even today, I have to make myself focus on the whys and the hows rather than just the what questions. My husband is a great person to help me with this because he always questions things he reads or hears. I tend to take things at face value and sometimes as fact which I shouldn’t. Then he asks me how I know what is given is true and why do I feel this way. This is what my teachers should have been asking me!

Just repeating what they have learned is not going to help students be successful in life. They need to learn why they should do things and the importance of what they are learning. They need to learn how to reason and solve problems. If they can’t solve problems, they are always going to be dependent on others.

How do you get students to think critically? Please share.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash