Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Last Lecture

After watching Randy Pausch's last lecture I was completely speechless. It would have been so hard for me to break down my life the way Randy did, and he did it very well. First he points out the "elephant in the room" which is his illness. He has about 10 tumors in his liver and the doctors gave him 3 - 6 months to live. Randy has an incredibly positive attitude about his situation and is just taking it as it comes. I had many favorite quotes from this lecture and one of them is "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." He is a wonderful teacher and has many skills and practices that can and should be used in every classroom.

Randy's last lecture is broken down into three topics. The first is about his childhood dreams, the second is about enabling the dreams of others, and the third is about lessons learned: how you can achieve your dreams or enable the dreams of others. Another of my favorite quotes from his lecture is about the brick walls. It goes a little something like this "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we really want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough." I absolutely love what Randy is saying about the brick walls. I am going to use this quote in my future classroom. I think that it can give that extra bit of motivation when we need it the most. Brick walls let us show our dedication. If you have a dreams you can make it happen. Randy shows how he made his happen and it is possible at some point to reach your dreams too.

His next topic is how to enable the dreams of others. Randy was so happy to have become a professor. He says "What better of a place to enable the dreams of others?" I agree with this 110%! I think that teachers are here to help enable their student's dreams, no matter what those dreams may be. In some cases, a child's teacher may be the only one that actually cares what the child's dream is. Randy told his class who's projects completely blew him away that he knew that they could do better. He never put a bar anywhere for his students to reach, this way they just kept rising. He also states that "The best gift an educator can give is to make a student become self reflective." I will also use the "head fake" in my classroom. He says that the best way to make someone learn something, is to make them think they are learning something else. An example is ALICE. In this program students think they are just playing a game but in reality they are learning to program it. "Have fun while learning something hard!" Teachers also need to learn from their students.

In the lessons learned section he talks about how to get people to help you. He makes some great points such as: you can't get there alone, believe in karma, tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others not yourself. When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it. Always show gratitude. Be good at something, it makes you valuable. Be prepared: luck is where preparation meets opportunity. By the end of his lecture I was nearly crying, a wave of emotion came over me. Randy's lecture had two head fakes. The lecture was not about how to achieve your dreams, but how to live your life. Also, the lecture was not for the people in the class, it was for his kids. What an amazing teacher, husband, and father!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

International Teacher Blogs

The first blog I found was Mrs. Cassidy's classroom blog. She teaches a class of 6 year olds in Moose Jaw, Canada. The students names are listed on the right side of the page and each student has his or her own blog. She has a list of student entries to keep up with their work. She also included a panel of related links such as Build Your Wild Self, The 100th Day Project, Alphabet Antics, and some links to other teachers blogs. She also posts videos of class activities and school functions. Mrs. Cassidy also posts updates about what the class is doing. Right now they are learning to read and write. Pictured below are two of her students on the 100th Day of School. Some of their activities included writing numbers to 100, reading 100 books, work on a puzzles with 100 pieces, and eat 100 snacks.

This is a picture of Mrs. Cassidy's six year old class. They are celebrating the 100th day of school. Pictured are two children, a boy and girl, wearing 100th day crowns and eating some of their 100 snacks.

The next blog I found was Mrs. Lowe's Area 11 Bloggers. She teaches Area 11 students in Perth, Western Australia. Mrs. Lowe starts the blog by talking about how they will be using the blog. The school recently purchased laptops for the students to share. The students learned how to access the Internet and log in to their blogs. This class also buddies up with younger classes to help each other complete activities. They held class elections and chose class leaders and class secretaries. Pictured below are the new class leaders, Rebecca and James, and the new class secretaries, Mi Li and Jake.

This is a picture of Mrs. Lowe's classroom leaders and secretaries. The leaders are Rebecca and James, and the secretaries are Mi Li and Jake. They are wearing their light blue uniform shirts and standing in front of their bookcase filled with bright, colorful books.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Teacher Blogs

The first blog that I came across was Mr. Kreienkamp's Social Studies Class. This blog was created by Fred Kreienkamp who teaches Social Studies and Reading at Kearney Middle School in Commerce City, Colorado. This blog has a few topics about Native Americans and the Spanish so far. In one of his topics he asks his students to comment about some of their interests, what they would like to do more of in class, and what they would like to learn more about. The students are also very responsive. He also includes links to different history sites for his students to research. Pictured below is Mr. Kreienhamp.

This is a picture of Mr. Kreienkamp, who is a middle school social studies and reading teacher in Colorado.

The next blog I visited was Mr. C's Class Blog. This blog was created by Wm Chamberlain, who teaches 5th grade at Noel Elementary School in Noel, Missouri. His blog is filled with links to other teachers blogs, schools, lessons, education games, etc. He has streaming video of his classroom and his class in the computer lab. He also posts pictures and videos of particular assignments throughout the semester. He also keeps up with a class in Australia through their own blog. The two teachers share assignments with eachother's classes, and the students can communicate with them as well. He also added gadgets to the blog such as class pictures, class calendar, class videos, rss feeds, and much more. Pictured below are students from his class with the contents of a package they received from New Zealand.