While studying convergence, my students “invent” a new technology. They are to predict what technologies will converge to make new ones. I'm always in awe of what they invent.

I want to share this one with you for several reasons:

  • Eyeshot, R's product, is a contact lens that takes pictures. While likely more than 5 years away for contacts, it is already here with Google Glass.
  • This was shot entirely on an iPhone. For those of you who discount mobile devices, don't.
  • This student sees the world so differently. If I want to appreciate the grandeur of nature or simple surroundings, I rewatch the video so I can better appreciate life itself.
  • This student didn't know her talent until I gave her the chance to show it. Does your school let students invent and create their own movies?

My students are a gift to me. They teach me far more than I teach them. Sometimes I just get to sit back and say, Wow. This movie is one of those moments.

This older video is making the rounds on Facebook. You can use it to teach so many things. Zone of Proximal Development (H/T Dr. Cheri Toledo), the anxiety of learning new things, and just the encouragement we need to try one more time. Look! At one point the little fella tries to quit but goes again when his older companion helps him return to the task at hand. Listen to the puppy whimper! Sounds like some of us when approaching math.

If you want something to have your students write about this – this video would be a great one. You can talk about the process of learning as you write.

Just think — you and I as teachers get to be the bigger puppy every day. But guess what — if we'll admit it, we are often the little guy sniffing around a new technology or pedagogy not really sure if we can do it. If we are true to our craft, we are both. We need mentors and to be mentors. We need to teach and be taught. For both are sides of the same coin.

I always say innovate like a turtle. Today I'll ask you to innovate like this puppy. You can do it! Level up a little every day! You'll be glad you did!

A few weeks a go I spent time with Craig Kemp for a quick 15 minute talk about  teaching and more. This interview was at the end of a  very long day but I found Craig to be a great interviewer. (Kinda interesting after doing all the shows I do now being on the other side of the questions!)

I hope you'll follow Craig's blog and get to know him on Twitter. He is part of the powerful #whatisschool chat on Twitter.

So, today as you're thankful, here's a precious video you'll love. This beautiful little 7 week old baby boy named Lachlan had severe hearing loss. Watch his reaction when he gets his first hearing aids and he can hear. Your hearing, your sight, everything around you- this life is such a gift. Be so thankful today! Happy Thanksgiving!

When are you going to retire?

I love this Stan Lee rant when people ask him this question. I also think some of you awesome educators in your 60's and beyond need to rant on this one.

Our 83 year old Learning Lab Director is Still Going Strong

One of the best educators I know is Grace Adkins. She's well into her 80's and works full time. She rids 120 miles a week on her bicycle for goodness sakes.

We Need Great Teachers to Teach!

Come on people. If someone loves teaching and they love the kids and they know their subject – THEY SHOULD BE TEACHING. We have too few people awesome at the craft — we need you.

If you're one of those who people ask this – tell them to go jump in a lake and keep on teaching. If you want to retire, fine. But if not — KEEP ON KEEPING ON. We need you!

When Mrs. Adkins walks on our campus every day, I'm thankful we have another day in her awesome presence. She's a hero to me. Yeah, go ahead and rant.

And stop asking awesome educators when they are going to retire and start giving them reasons NOT TO!!!!

So, today, why not go up to one of those people of retirement age and say: “Thank you for being here. We love you. We appreciate you. I think you're awesome.” I challenge you. Go ahead!

Students want to understand how ebola works. Can you get sick from ebola if someone in your state has it? How does it spread? Why is it so deadly?

This simple to understand video (H/T Laughing Squid)  about the Ebola virus is trending on YouTube. It is a video for science teachers to use to explain viruses.

It also helps us understand why we shouldn't be scared of ebola.

“The most infectious thing about ebola is the media hype around it. You could learn something about the immune system, though.” says this well made video at the end.

Resources to Help Us Teach How Ebola Works

 Every hot topic is a topic we can use to teach. If we can teach students to look past news headlines and get educated, we will inherit a better world. As I perused the web, here are four lesson plans you can use for science, current events, reading nonfiction text, and ESL.

Resources for Schools Concerning Safety and Ebola

Ebola travels via transmission of bodily fluids. Pediatric or special needs educators may need some of these resources just to make sure they are aware. Again, we and are students are more at risk from the flu.

 

A big shout out to Jed Dearybury @mrdearybury1 and his second grade students! They debuted their version of “We Will Do Marvelous Things” on YouTube this week.

Great job kids!

Listen to what Mr. Dearybury tells his students at the beginning of this video!

Tips for Teachers

Your expectations MEAN EVERYTHING.

  • What do you expect of your students?
  • Could you sing this song with your students?
  • Do you believe it?

Let me tell you a secret. If you don't believe it, you can't do it. If you can't see it, you won't see it. Marvelous things are believed before they are experienced.

Set those expectations. Dream those dreams. Marvelous, precious beautiful dreams.

Check out Jed Dearybury's Blog

Do Marvelous Things!

Have a great week Mr. Dearybury and students! The world is watching!

I'm interviewing Jed later today for an upcoming episode of Every Classroom Matters. This video just couldn't wait.

 

So many teachers are teaching blogging. I thought it would be helpful to see how I teach blogging to my students. Here's my in-flip video.

Listen to the Every Classroom Matters interview with Jon Bergmann, flipped classroom pioneer if you don't know about the in-flip method.

You'll also see starting at minute 7 how I teach my students to begin blogging using our private Ning and a glimpse into the Ning. You'll see the initial skills I teach students. (Titling, embedding, and writing style.)

Essential Questions:

  • What is a blog?
  • Why are blogs important?
  • How will we blog?
  • How should blog headlines be written?
  • What type of voice and language do you use in a blog post?
  • What is one way to use elements on the web in your blog post?

For blog readers who own a copy of Reinventing Writing — consult Chapter 8 (p 127) for details on how to teach blogging and microblogging.

On a technical note, I had a few issues with volume levels on slide 2 and 3 and near the end, so you'll need to turn up the volume there. I'll have to re-record but haven't had a chance yet.

Verena Roberts does a masterful job of telling the story of powerful intergenerational learning through her K12 online Conference presentation: #Gamifi-ED Networked Intergenerational Learning. Can ninth graders and masters students in college have a symbiotic mutually beneficial learning network? Yes! Here's how.

Take time to watch this and all of the other incredible K12 Online Video Presentations. It is a wonderful conference with so many resources!

 

Being unpopular and saying things people don't want to hear isn't fun. Neither is admitting you're wrong. Perhaps that is why this 5 minute speech I felt compelled to give was so hard for me.

I'm convinced that we've isolated students in a world without teachers on social media and every day we are reaping the consequences. We need to rethink this now so we can move forward to a better tomorrow.

Sometimes unpopular, uncomfortable things need to be said and positions should be reversed in order to do the right thing. Ultimately, my students said that I needed to give this one. I had at least eight kids who came up to me afterwards who said it was what educators needed to hear.

A teary eyed young man moved me most:

“My Mom died this year, I had a teacher who helped me get through it. I couldn't have lived without my teacher. Literally. We students need our teachers and sometimes we need to talk to them on social media. We need a way to do that sometimes.”

Yep. These kids are worth fighting for and if the only casualty is my own ego in the process, that is indeed a very small price to pay.

This is truly an issue where both sides are right. We have to face the truth of the consequences of what we've done. We have to come out with some sort of workable answer in the middle.

What is my new policy?

I tell my students that if they choose to friend me, I will friend them back but they need to know that I'm relating to them as a teacher. Anything they communicate to me is as if I am at school.

They can unfriend me at any time and refriend me — just as they wish, no questions asked. If they communicate anything to me, I keep screenshots (with time and date stamps.)

Don't headlong disregard your school policy. I would never ask you to do that. I do ask that you discuss:

  • How would you feel if a student at your school reached out to a stranger because nobody at your school could connect with them?
  • How would you feel if that student got bad advice or was harmed because no one at your school was allowed to help the child?
  • Do you think many bullying incidents and other things happening on social media would be less likely to happen if students thought teachers might be connected?
  • Do you think more incidents would be reported if students could friend and unfriend teachers?
  • What would an educator “certified” or “allowed” to communicate with students via social media look like? Could this be a new role of guidance counselors?
  • What do we need to advocate for from social media companies to allow such interactions to occur safely?

Be Somebody Because Nobody Won't Do

Best wishes, I hope you have a great day and I hope you'll be that somebody for your students. I also hope we'll consider if we've inadvertently isolated kids from those who can help and forced them to chat with strangers because we've given them nobody. I think we need a new age and new type of educator at each school and new ways to communicate with a generation who talks differently than we did.

Courageously consider if we've made mistakes. Discuss and good luck with this one.