Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What does #oklaed mean to me.

So, I started my #oklaed journey around 2 years ago. My friend Anne Beck invited me to EdCamp Tulsa, hosted by Jenks PS. My very first session was a Twitter 101. I was already on the Twitter, but I was fumbling. Tobias Brown, aka Doc Brown, split the room in half and taught the fresh fish how to set up an account, whilst walking the new-tos through what it means to chat and how to be a little more specific with your Twitters. It was game on from that day forward.
Sitting in the Mountains enjoying a Sunday evening #Oklaed chat

Scott, is the guy who sent out the challenge to write about what we thought #oklaed meant to us. In his 3/22 (today) The Drive, he talked about the growth a teacher could get out of take a video of themselves teaching and sharing. Well, I don't teach these days, so my blog posts are my way of doing just that...putting myself out there...being vulnerable to the criticism and the hits that might come my way.  I can write up a blog post of my thoughts and feeling on different topics, post it our on the Twitters and find that people either validate my thinking or tell me they feel I am still apart of the problem. Either way the feedback is amazing.

Another amazing thing that has come from #oklaed is the couple of wonderful small groups I am apart of on Voxer. These two groups have individuals from across the state. We are an unlikely band of educators that without the hashtag and the app Voxer, would not exist in a world together. So the #oklaed is a mixer for intellectuals. I can post a question to the Twitters... hashtag it with the #oklaed and get may different responses in return. I can ask my question to the Voxer groups and get immediate feedback. I can find people to oppose me and challenge me to grow.  I can find people to lift up my ideas and help me expand my thoughts.

#Oklaed has grown so much since I started. Today it is my PLN. It is my tool for growth. It is my teacher...way cheaper than Grad School. #Oklaed is my peeps.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rules Were Made to be Broken

I know I still have to fill you in on SXSW day #3, but my husband had a few words that resulted from a conversation with several teens yesterday.

Rules were made to be broken.

If there is one common saying that infuriates me to the point of blood boil, it is this one. A philosopher that I am quite fond of, Os Guiness, tells us that the best way to show a person that their belief is a fallacy is to encourage them to follow it to the end. This means, to get a little stuffy here, to use deductive reasoning to follow premises to their logical and necessary conclusions. Rules were made to be broken. Am I safe to reword this phrase a couple different ways for the sake of clarity?

-The reason rules are made is so that they can be broken.
-A rule is made for the purpose of being broken.
-The purpose of a rule is for it to be broken.

If we are in disagreement that all these statements are the same, then I suppose I’m attacking a straw man. But if they are the same, if you can infer the reason and purpose in the “were made to”, then this statement falls apart under the most elementary scrutiny. So, let’s just follow this thought to its ugly end. If rules are meant to be broken:

-My rule for my daughters to brush their teeth daily is meant to rot their teeth. That’s the purpose of the rule.
-Rules of algebra are meant to be broken (a+b ≠ b+a). The reason for this rule is to cause incoherence.
-My rule of no cursing in my house is meant to encourage foul mouths.

This becomes even more fun if we can include “laws” to be rules - which I think we can agree on:

-The speed limit in driving is meant to be broken; its purpose and reason for being posted is so we know what speed to exceed. Agree with this one do you? Then don’t complain when a guy flies by you in a school zone – he’s being a better steward for the purpose of the law than you are.
-Laws against murder and burglary are there so we can break them.
-The tax laws are there for you to keep your money.

Let’s get crazy and have even MORE fun:

-The 2nd law of thermodynamics means my hair is about to grow back and my car will slowly repair itself.
-The law of gravity is there so we can fly. Evidently its purpose is to send us floundering in space. I’m glad the laws of the universe were not meant to be broken.

No, rules are not MEANT to be broken. They are MEANT to create order and predictability. Does this mean I blindly follow all rules? Emphatically and resoundingly NO - but the saying is not “Ridiculous rules should be broken” or “Meaningless rules can be broken”. My guess is that this saying became popular strictly from the absurdity of it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SXSWedu Day #2 rundown

Anyone happening on this post because of the SXSWedu title, please know I am no writer...

So this post Im writing at a much later time than last night and under a completely different disposition. Today was a bit less inspiring. Great...but less yesterday. But one thing today did have over  yesterday was experience. There are lots of links in this here post, feel free to click on all of them. But especially the video I made today.

Here's the rundown. But there is no possible way I can articulate the awesomeness (in my mind) of each of these things. But I'll give it a try.

Todays sessions were todays sessions. The morning was filled with a little Scratch.mit.com learning. I made a dance video in about 30 minutes. It looks like it, but I have never created in this fashion before. If you watch this video, first click the green flag and then I think you have to click the space bar to get it to start. And its a continuous loop, so shut it off when ever you get sick of me. Which will likely be after about 5-6 seconds.

Next I went to a mentor session with Brooke Miller. She used to curate content for Khan academy and now is in the content building video world. I too am doing these things, so she gave me some great insight on some things to use to make the videos just a little better.

There was no time for lunch AGAIN today, because I was off to a panel discussion with a few of my favorite youtubers. Tyler Dewitt and Paul Andersen are my go to science guys when I need a little more than the curriculum or myself can offer when it comes to higher level science. I got to meet them and take selfies with them which was a little more fun that it should have been. I had a nerdy geeky celeb sighting feeling I hated having.

Paul Andersen

Tyler Dewitt

From this discussion, a couple more sessions and then I met The Dan Rather. I got to let him know I was disapointed he wasnt reporting anymore, and that I would really like to know what he thought about the campaigning.
He said, "Hun I don't know much but it looks like we'll be in for a rough four years no matter what."

Telling me about the future state of the US

After Rather, or Dan as we that know him like to call him...I was off to my last session of the day which was NOT the session I thought it was going to be. I did however, end up taking the most notes for the day in this session. It was about these new tech integrated school, but when I say tech, I mean like welding and podcasting and maker like schools.

I went to dinner with our very own Golden Boy of Oklahoma, Shawn Sheehan. He would probably shrug his shoulders that anyone would call him as such, but that is just because he's a humble guy that is just a regular schmoe.

From here I say I will have one drink at the after party...because it will be free. Well, In the after hours establishment. I meet a lady, whom I have talked to for 5 minutes says she is having dinner with a few other people, she has room for another 2 people and grabs me and the other person I met that day and says please come. Sooo, I went. She, as it turns out is the CEO of PARCC and I was at the table with 7 other people that were all movers and shakers of their compartments in the education world. We all exchanged stories and cards. We all agreed to help each other out. She bought the table dinner and two hours later...it was done. I walked the long walk back to the hotel and am trying to get all of this out before I go to sleep. Its 12:30, but if I don't get it out...tomorrow it would not have been as exciting to write about. I might have glazed over a portion. Maybe some of you are thinking she could have glazed a bit more over this post.

Monday, March 7, 2016

#SXSWedu Day #1 Ramblings

Alright, someone told me right before the opening keynote this morning that by the end of the day my mind would be absolutely blown.
I was all like, "Yeah, ok, Ive been to conferences before"
And he was all, "But you've never been to SXSWedu"
And the I was all like, "Ok, we'll see"

Ya'll, wow!

This place is like Edcamp meets ISTE meets TED talks. The ideas. and then I get ideas. And then I think that the Ministry of Education would not approve of my ideas.

So the opening keynote was Temple Grandin. I had never heard of her before today. She is #amazeballs people. She is a 68 yr old woman that is on the spectrum and also works with the beef industry and more...designing cattle runs to the processing plants. She speaks about her autism and how we should make these kiddos great at their one (or more) thing. Here is a link to her TED talk from 2010. I did not grab a video of her today, but you will see in this video why I instantly fell in love with her. She is cranky and particular and weird. I would have to say she is a woman after my own heart.

From there I went to a session on how to to Inspire Little Learners to Become Big Thinkers. This one was a selfing session because I have two little thinkers at home. I have to tell you, the gut checks you get around this place are insane. I have two girls. One that thinks just like me and one that is just like my husband. The one that is just like me is the quickest to get on my nerves when I am teaching her something, because she like to give up. Well, it dawns on me in this session, that she is too much like me. I would have needed to do while it was being explained and I needed short burst of informations rather than long lists or step by step narratives. We need to support their steps to arrival of a conclusion. We are talking little here. Like preK to 5th. We need to allow them to grow in their experiences...food, genres, places. This is obviously where the divide in educations starts...birth to elementary. I learned that astronomy, a class most do not get until HS would be a perfect start to science for the littles because it is observation based.

From that session, I went to a session on the #tinyisbig movement in schools. This can be many things, from starting to work small calculated changes into your existing school to creating small actual schools. They took the idea of pop up dinners, a concept I had never heard of before. This is where I, someone wanting to start a restaurant but don't have it all together yet, can call up a local restaurant and ask if on their day off or at a time when they are closed, could I come in and host a dinner of my own menu with their kitchen and equipment. Weird right? Then if that does well, the person might buy a food truck to test the waters with minimal losses. And then go for the restaurant. So in the session, we split into group for form the pop-up version of a menu of our fav foods. Next we created food trucks. Then we talked about if it would work as a restaurant. All of this was the metaphor for an idea for schools. Well their concept anyway, is that you start with a small idea and work it into your already existing school.

After the session were over, I went to the edu playground. This is much like ISTE in that it the newest of the new and the funnest of the fun. I was gamified. Literally, they (blackrocket.com) put me into a game by taking two pics of me looking like I am running and then we got to answer questions about cells and they reproduction processes. They will be sending the gamified me to a link where we can all play it soon. I will share with all of you and then YOU TOO can watch me run through the maze while answering questions on many topics of science. The scoop is, they sell the templates and you add your questions. Super fun way to start small with this trendy movement.

I walked the long way back to the hotel trying to get in a little sightseeing. I walked by many places, but the state capital was photo/selfie worthy. So now after day one is done and in the books, I start to piece together my tomorrow. So many sessions happening all at the same time. All of this to say. The guy at the opening session was right. This is so much. So good.

I apologize for all the selfies here.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Guest Blog - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Challenge

Travis Barnes, aka, the hubs, has guest blogged for me before. I challenged him last month in a bloggers challenge. And because he won't get his own blog - here he is taking over mine.

What has been your ONE biggest struggle during this school year?

  1. My ONE biggest struggle this year has been keeping a positive attitude about the school’s administration. When I started with this school the environment and culture was small and personable - it’s now big and mighty; bureaucratic and formal. This has left me feeling disenfranchised, and I’ve used that word more this year than ever before.  

Share TWO accomplishments that you are proud of from this school year.

  1. In contrast with my struggle, I have managed to form an even closer relationship with my students and their families. Every year they feel more like my extended family and my confidence in knowing their goals, ambitions and learning styles is even higher.
  2. I’m proud of my “Double Platinum ‘A’ Teacher” status, even though I have mixed feelings about this. My students did the work - not me. I’m proud for them.

What are THREE things that you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year?

This question feels like a stuffy “What are your three measurable objectives for this quarter?” and because I’m so bored of this type of thinking, I’m going to list the far more important things that cannot be measured and put on a #$$@%&! spreadsheet:

  1. At the end of the year I’d like every student under my tutelage to have a positive attitude about their accomplishments of the previous year and enthusiasm for the next.
  2. I would like to have increased each student’s confidence in themselves and empower them by stressing an internal locus of control.
  3. I would also like to get my own internal locus of control in check and not let the administration’s Cohorts, Protocols, Policies, Task Forces and Mandates frustrate me.

Give FOUR reasons why you remain in education in today’s rough culture.

  1. Are you kidding me? The culture is rough everywhere. I came directly from a police department, trust me, the grass isn’t greener anywhere else.
  2. I genuinely love kids. I think any philosopher must love kids. They see the world better than we do, and it’s so refreshing, fun, insightful and healthy to be around.
  3. At the end of the day, this job really matters. How many people, or what percentage, can really say that? And when we are on our death bed, I bet our only wish is that we had invested MORE of ourselves into our students lives.
  4. Summers off.

Which FIVE people do you hope will take the challenge of answering these questions?

Sorry I don’t do this type of thing. This has been fun though, so if anyone else wants to do it - you should. This post might paint me a bit like an anti-establishment guy or having a problem with authority, but it’s really not like that at all. Rules have their place until they are no longer useful or until they hinder something of greater importance; after all, God made the sabbath for man, not man for the sabbath.

Cutting Funds...AGAIN

What could you do with $106 million dollars? 

State Dept be like...cut funding to the kids so we can Make It Rain.

The state of Oklahoma send out another memo saying that there would be another hit to education

Are you serious? 

I am wondering if the state of Oklahoma would like to or be willing to account for where they would like to put that $106 million dollars, an accounting for or a reckoning of the shortfall to the children and families of Oklahoma. I understand being in the hole. I do. I was once a reckless youth that while in college I overspent in my checking account. I paid the overdraft fees and then then learned a lesson. The lesson I learned was that you don’t spend money that you don’t have. 

I expect there is much more to running the state’s checkbook than that. And they are trying to do the fiscally responsible thing right now, they ARE trying to cut spending

But here is the deal…because there is always a deal. You also cannot continue to cut the funding to schools and also think you will be able to keep up with the Jones family one state over. According to The Huffington Post for the year 2014, we ranked as the 36th state when it came to educational systems and this school year we are ranked a whopping 48th in the union when it comes to education spending and gains. Surely one cannot draw a direct line between spending and outcomes.  Please oh please do not cut our funding for fiscal responsibility and then turn around in June or July and ask why the pudding is the same flavor. 

The cuts to an already crippling education system make me wonder if we can ask for more transparency as to where they will apply the money and find out what matters more than our future. I know it sounds cliche to say, but that IS the hope right? That is what our students will become? Maybe I am wrong. Maybe we do not need them to be the future. But leading as an example and teaching by modeling is part of the learning process. If all they see if continued hits to EDU, then what can we expect them to do when the time comes? 

This is just one girl's rant. Go here for more info https://okeducationtruths.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/hofmeisters-supplemental-request/