Blue Serials (11/22/15)
Too Many Good Things This Past Week.
I've included more than usual, but still left out far too many. So NO SHENANIGANS! Let's get right to it:
A Sad Look At Human Empathy - Maha Bali, of Reflecting Allowed, offers this very personal, very reasonable, consideration of our ability (or lack thereof) to truly see others as part of the same species as ourselves. I like it for many reasons, but topping the list are (a) she's horrified by the tone and attitude behind some responses to recent events rather than focused on arguing policy, (b) she highlights the game-changing power of personally knowing people different than ourselves in some way, and (c) she recognizes that interpersonal ugliness stems from human tendencies we must be aware of and fight, not from some people being 'good' and others being 'bad'. At least, that's how I read her.
Follow @Bali_Maha on the Twitters and read her for yourself - not so that you'll agree, but so that even when you don't, you'll hear her.
Thoughts On Obstruction & Serious Conversation - Rick Cobb at OKEducationTruths is back, and that means something both evil and idiotic is rearing its head and requires addressing (I originally went with 'requires stomping and fire', but that makes him sound so negative - I just think of him as the serious, legit one we turn to when big words are involved). Here Cobb discusses Boren's sales tax proposal to fund public education (which is NOT the big evil thing), framed by a legislature and state generally hostile towards schools and teachers in general, consistently working to destroy them so they can be labeled failures and replaced by, I dunno, Haliburton Educational Services or something.
I, um... I may be extrapolating a bit. Go read his argument for yourself, and double-check to make sure you're following @okeducation on the Twitters. #oklaed
Sitting Still - Tina Lundy, the revered MiddleSchoolStationConductor, reminds us that MANY KIDS NEED TO MOVE AROUND SOMETIMES AND DO STUFF THAT DOESN'T SUCK before they can learn the things we've decided are so darned important instead. Are we really gaining ground by taking away the very things research shows help them learn in order to hammer them harder with the things that aren't working already? I love this blog.
Move around with @TMLunday on the Twitters and read more stuff that doesn't suck. #oklaed
Aliyana's Mindset Moment - Bill Ferriter at The Tempered Radical reminds us as we argue the relative merits of tests, grades, and other trappings of traditional schooling, not to forget the kids inside the maze. Or at least, he reminded ME. What he's actually sharing here is the story of one kid and one test and one brief discussion putting grades into perspective.
Sometimes we don't have to overthrow the system to subvert the dominant paradigm. Sometimes we just have to tweak our approach a tiny little bit to make a better impact. Oh, and there's a little 'growth mindset' thrown in for good measure - and you know I'm all about that.
Grow with Ferriter in the Twittering Fields at @plugusin and let's expose the Matrix together. Let's take the red pill.
The Multiplication Effect - I've often poked at Meghan Loyd of For the Love over her stubborn optimism and sometimes bizarre idealism regarding this profession. Don't tell her this, but I am often SO thankful for the right rainbows and unicorns.
"Keep going. Keep reaching. Keep doing the hard things. Don't stop. Love kids. Know them. Reach out to them, but remember it's okay if you don't reach and impact them all. Maybe you just weren't the person that they needed at the time. See the good in every kid, and I know sometimes you have to look really hard. Mulitply your circle of influence. Don't worry about the other stuff, just love your job and love your students. You just might be the only one that truly does."
Multiply your circle of influence with @MeghanLoyd on the social media platform with the happy looking little bluebird. Bring a tissue. #oklaed
There's A Canyon Divide That's Hard To Leap For Students After High School - Starr Sackstein at StarrSackstein.com discusses the 'pedagogical divide' between the ideal High School approach in which content depends on teacher-student connection and the traditional Post-Secondary approach in which content delivery is the priority and the audien- er... the students, are largely secondary. Sackstein is the most practical, no-b.s. edu-blogger I know who still never seems like she'd rather be throwing heavy objects at someone.
I don't get that, but I admire it.
Be calm and poignant with @MsSackstein on the Twitters. You may not always agree with her, but you can't help but think differently - and more clearly - because of her.
Bonus Post! Even If You've Been Scanning & Have Other Stuff To Do Or Aren't Really Paying Attention - Stop and Check This One Out.
(And I'll end a sentence w/ a preposition anytime I darn well please.)
Faking Excellence: The Art of Milking Mediocrity for All It's Worth - Ilana Horn at Teaching/Math/Culture has a rather entertaining offspring who shares her writing from time to time on mom's blog. In this piece, the younger Horn offers up advice from one student to another on how to get by in school without wasting nearly as much time as the system seems to expect.
it's funny, and well-written, and possibly intended as satire (at least, I think that's how she sold it to mom - but I don't buy it). But it's also a pithy window into some of the absurdities and weaknesses of what passes for 'school' - traps into which we all fall from time to time.
Read it because it's really that good, but don't be afraid to think about it more than you want to. I think she's telling us something rather important whether that's her primary goal or not.
While you're at it, go tell mom how well she's doing with that kid of hers. She's @tchmathculture while Twittering, and her writing is pretty decent, too.
That's it for this week. Thanks for caring enough to support #oklaed and edu-blogging in general. I do have one last request if you'd be so kind...
TODAY, and several times this week, as you go to the posts above or to other edu-blogs or sites you find helpful, encouraging, or challenging - COMMENT ON THEIR POSTS. I know, I know - you're busy, and you figure they have ALL these followers, etc., but I'm telling you - specific, positive or thoughtful feedback is too rare and so very powerful and encouraging. If they've said or done anything to make you think, or to better your day, tell them. The more precise and constructive, the better.
While your at it, pick one kid a day and do something similar for him or her. The total cost in time and effort is minimal, and you'll feel better afterwards.