Blue Serials (12/27/15)

A Christmas Story

Tis the season to be jarring - fa la la la la...

What a week of joyous blessings in the forms of loved ones and weird dessert options, of hope in a glowing baby and the approach of another reboot. But there's a hair in the pudding - a big wad of it, actually - as the state announces their tax cuts for the top tiniest sliver, smirking in smug hope that public education in Oklahoma may actually die a final violent death this time. If not, we can always cut revenue again next year - it's a "tremendous opportunity," it seems.

So's cancer, if you frame it correctly. But we don't work at making it happen.

But first, here are the GOOD things you might have missed in the holiday scramble this past week...

Finding Your Holiday Zen - In case you're new, you need not be devoutly Zen (or even know entirely what that means) to read and benefit from Dan Tricarico's wisdom at The Zen Teacher. He's somehow legit enough to actually help you, but without being annoying the way legit people often are. Follow @thezenteacher on the Twitters, and use one of those gift cards you just received to buy his book. I don't even like 'teacher books', and I LOVE this one. 

Amazing Student Candor Increases Learning - Starr Sackstein is more hopeful than I am, more willing to change than I am, and has more patience than I do - for this, I am truly thankful. In this post she reminds us of the power and importance of actual communication and reflection with students. The grades are not the goal. The grades are not the accomplishment. The grades are not the learning. Read her regularly at StarrSackstein.com, and as long as you're spending those gift cards, she has several titles essential on any teacher shelf. Right now, though, follow @mrssackstein on the Twitters or you can't possibly do better than a 'D'.

Lesson Lab: Autopsy of a Photo Blog Project - This is something we should all probably do more of. Peter Anderson at Mr. Anderson Reads & Writes shares two essential teachy-things here: the details of a project he did with his 7th graders, and a thoughtful analysis of how it went - good, bad, uncertain, etc.  I know many of you don't think most of what you do in class is particularly interesting or useful to share, but I can tell you from experience there are many, many teachers out there ready to benefit from your thoughts and explanations of stuff just like this. Plus - and I'm sorry to say it in front of everyone like this - it's SO good for us to reflect and analyze post-learnifying. Analyze @MrAndersonELA on the Twitters - he's into that kind of thing.

Unassigned Reading - Sherri Spelic, the much loved and increasingly renowned Edified Listener, shares some simple thoughts on the joys of reading with her child. I know, I know - but it's thoughtful and insightful and kinda warm and fuzzy and it's still sort of Christmas so shut up. You want to increase your joy? Follow @edifiedlistener on the Twitters - she's the real deal. 

Rest for the Harvest: A Runner's Letter to Winter Bodies - OK, yes... TECHNICALLY Christina Torres is writing about marathons and reflecting on the physical and mental preparation and her overall holistic experiences with running. She may or may not intend it as an analogy for anything else. But it is. Besides, there's never a bad reason to read Torres or to follow @biblio_phile on the Twitters. She's fairly amazing. 

Look for a Special Mid-Week, Nearly New Year's Blue Serials In A Few Days.

I'll be compiling the most essential #oklaed and beyond posts about the latest federal and state edu-slation. I'll also be telling you more about the OK Legislator profiles you'll see here starting in the new year - what they are, why we're doing them, and what I hope you'll do as a result. 

Hope is not a feeling. Hope is a choice. We don't teach because we'll win, we don't love because we'll benefit, and we don't vote because we'll get our way. We hope and we insist and we keep our eyes open no matter how much they burn because somebody has to. Because our kids deserve better.

If we're going down, let's go down shouting truth and hope and refusing to go gentle into the self-imposed night. In the meantime, I choose to believe. 

Guster - "What You Wish For" -

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