Blue Serials (9/25/16)

All the words are gonna bleed from me, and I will think no more...

Nostalgia 77 - Seven Nation Army (White Stripes Cover)

OK, that's probably a tad melodramatic for my taste most days - but I do really like this particular cover. You know I'm a sucker for hopeless defiance - flinging our little flashlights towards the black holes screaming obscenities somehow rooted in love. 


The thing is, if enough people bring flashlights...

With that in mind, here are a few things you simply MUST NOT MISS from the world of edu-bloggery this past week (or so). Bask in them, learn from them, argue with them if you must - but bring your flashlight to the party.

We'll have a grand ol' time for a few glorious moments before being crushed by the weight of the darkness.

Anthony PurcellSelf-Grading / Formative Assessments - Anthony Purcell, Random Teacher Thoughts. Purcell resumes his random postery this school year with some relatively straightforward but crazy-important thoughts on grading and assessments. Is it just me, or is it getting all reflective up in here?

It's so easy in edu-bloggery or in any pedagogi-ful competition (and let's be honest - that's what many "trainings" quickly become) to become consumed with the fanciest ideas or the most pretentious goals. Often what's most needed and far better for kids is to remind ourselves of simple things we might already know, but which slip away in the craziness of the actual school year and the trappings of academia. 

I'm glad he's back. Follow @MrP_Tchr on the Twitterings and be glad with me.  #oklaed 

Kas NelsonToday Was A Good Day - Speaking of people we're glad to see back in the blogosphere, Kas Nelson of A Principal's Pace is apparently alive and well.

As the title of her blog suggests, Nelson is one of them there "administrators" who we keep hearing make way too much money and there's like 800,000 of them in every district and we'd all be better off if we did away with everyone other than classroom teachers because nothing needs to be done in school other than close the door and inspire the masses.

None of which she complains about or addresses here. That's just me carrying on. 

Today, I was present. Today, there were challenges. Today, I learned something about a student... Today, I shared my love of reading with kids. Today, I felt stress, at times... Today, I remained positive, and let my joy come through on my face and in my actions. Today was a good day.

As I said, it's not about the biggest words or the loftiest classroom philosophy. Remember to turn on your flashlight.

Flash @kasnelson on the Twittering and bask in her light as well. That's how edu-Twitter works, people.  #oklaed  

Crispin SartwellCompulsory Education is Evil - Crispin Sartwell on Splice Today. Oh, calm down. No, he's not kidding. Yes, I really liked this piece. No, I don't exactly agree with him. 

But one of the best indicators of how comfortable we are with our own proclaimed values and beliefs is how quickly we spazz out when someone disagrees with them. If this brief argument makes you twitch and drool, perhaps it suggests that on some level you find it... persuasive? Difficult to consider? Almost kinda sexy, but with hairy legs?

As to the egalitarian justifications, elementary and some secondary education has been compulsory in all states of the union for 100 years. Has the effect actually been egalitarian? I think rather the reverse, and the “dysfunctions” of schools in poor areas have been criticized and reformed in every generation, persisting or expanding throughout... How many waves of reform will it take before we declare the strategy to be a failure?

You may not like his conclusions, but you gotta love anything that hurts that much to read. You don't want to read the rest? Whatsa matter? Chiiiickennnn?  *makeschickennoises*

Stalk @CrispinSartwell on the Twittering and see what else he says that horrifies you into brief flashes of clarity. 

The JLVFear of a Black Educator, Part 1 / Fear of a Black Educator, Part 2 - Jose Vilson, on I'm not even sure how to introduce these.

I don't always understand Vilson. I'm not sure I can - our worlds are simply too different and our experiences so far removed. I'm also pretty sure he's smarter than me, which I like - but which means he sometimes loses me without even meaning to. But this pair hit me, rather hard.

You’re asked to control kids who look like you, but don’t get too good at it because you’ll look like you have more power than the person in charge does. You’re asked to tell kids they shouldn’t feel anger and hurt over racist incidents that happened to them in plain sight. Instead, you’re asked to put them in an auditorium and tell them they misremembered it all, and every agent of the state works in their best interest. You’re asked to stick to the script, sometimes figuratively because the test scores are low and your staff needs work, or literally because your district lead thought it best to buy a curriculum-in-a-box from a company that obviously didn’t consult many current teachers...

You looked into dozens of children’s eyes today and told them that they’re allowed to dream because one of your heroes said so. This hero met a similar fate to the victims in the videos you’ve been watching.


Vilson doesn't claim to represent every Teacher of Color or offer solutions to every challenge faced by every student. Part of what I most appreciate about him is his determination to stay honest, and tell only his stories and those of others he's qualified to tell. Even as he became something of an #educolor celebrity, his voice remains genuine and a bit raw. In case there's any doubt, I mean that in the best possible way.

Follow @TheJLV on the Twittering. I can't promise it will always be fun, but I can guarantee that you'll be stretched - maybe even inspired. 

Sarah GaileyHermione Granger: More Than a Sidekick - Sarah Gailey on TOR isn't exactly an edu-blog and Gailey isn't technically an educator. But...

OMG how in love am I with this post? 

Does anyone in the Harry Potter universe stand in more direct opposition to Voldemort than Hermione Granger does? ...

She’s a muggle-born witch who arrives at Hogwarts prepared to dominate magic. She’s enormously ambitious, but consistently seeks to elevate others when she could easily let them fail. She walks beside Harry even when doing so means putting up with relentless scorn from the people who waver between hating him and worshiping him...

She stands up against a centuries-long institution of interspecies slavery, even when doing so means that everyone she cares about will laugh at her... She chooses her causes over her ambitions every time, and she swallows the consequences because they’re worth it to her.

This piece made me glow and smile and tremble a bit and literally tear up and I want to have its babies. 

If you think it doesn't have anything to do with education, then you're missing something pretty important in the mix. But even without that, if you've ever loved me, or yourself, or anyone, or pizza, read this and send it to anyone remotedly interested in - well, anything. 

As of today, I'm following @gaileyfrey on the Twittering and hoping she doesn't find my sudden adoration alarmingly creepy. 

You may have noticed that I haven't posted much about #OKElections16 this week, or shared anything along those lines in this weekly recap. I'm not done with the election, however much I wish I were. There's more coming soon. In the meantime, we'll close this week with a video that I strongly suspect was made with Oklahoma politics in mind. I can't prove this, of course, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. 

New Order - True Faith (1987)

I feel so extraordinary. Something's got a hold on me. I get this feeling I'm in motion - A sudden sense of liberty... 

Feel extraordinary, my darlings. You are in all kinds of motion. Fling those flashlights and curse that darkness - who cares what comes next? The rest is madness. 

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