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Showing posts from 2015

Technology: a Blessing with Responsibility

Technology: a Blessing with Responsibility Each day, we see students as young as elementary school age weaving through schools with cell phones in their hands. They check text messages and social media more fluidly than many of their parents. Tweeting, snap chatting, instagramming…they do it all. If we take only a quick look at the technology picture around us, we can be fooled by what it means. One perspective is that every student holds a cellular key to the world in his or her hand or pocket. Is it true though? Why is it important to even ask? I was recently confronted by this question in a new way. Why? It’s partially due to the ongoing thrust of technology and the encouragement to use it across education. Each week I stumble upon new apps or websites that could enhance learning or teaching in some way. Some offer promise in my classroom; others present solutions to students. In as far as I appreciate this, I am forced to take pause for thought. Do the many hours of digital content cre…

Caring for our Students through the Work we Assign

November 20, 2015
Caring for our Students through the Work we Assign
When I was young, I worked on my grandfather’s farm from February until the harvest in the fall. One day during our lunch break, my grandfather began reminiscing about the “good old days”. Whenever grandpa told a story, we listened, partially because he didn’t tell very many stories. It also owed to the fact that his dry sense of humor usually left you laughing, if you listened well.
Grandpa related a story from growing up during the Great Depression and how, to help get people back to work, certain jobs were created. One particular job that Grandpa could remember was the moving of dirt. Each morning, when Grandpa and the other men arrived on the job site, they were handed their shovels and work gloves and sent to the task of moving a pile of dirt and gravel from one side of a work site to the other. By the end of the day, if the men worked hard, the job would be complete. Then they would sign out and go home, just as the…
As I grew up, I listened to my grandparents, great aunts and uncles and my parents spin stories of “the good old days.”   “Great Grandpa did this…,” my grandma would begin.   “Oh yea,” My great aunt would reply, “Well, Aunt Beatrice did that…”  As I sat and listened, my imagination ran wild with pictures, some of which were actually based on places I had visited and people I had known.I pictured younger versions of the people before me, and my mind’s video editor filled in the rest of the picture for me. Recently I listened to a podcast about the brain and what is happening when we use language.In the podcast, Dr. Ginger Campbell interviewed Ben Berger about his book, Louder than Words. Listening to this podcast, I took away some wonderful insight that helps me as a teacher, and it easily connects to stories and teaching. As it turns out, the excitement that helps us remember all of the stories of childhood has its basis in science and how we are made. It seems that when yo…

Where are they coming from and where are they going?

The new school year has begun(a new season), and like many other teachers, I have come out of a summer planning period of imagining where I would like to see my students in several months, if not in two to three years.  As I planned, I saw specific students in my mind.  I wondered how they were experiencing life the past months and where they will be emotionally and academically.  Looking to the end, or at some projected point out in the future, I worked through the content of my teaching to try and prepare the groundwork for the next year.  It required reflection on the previous year, understanding of the students who would be coming to my class and creativity. 

None of this comes as a surprise.  In fact, teaching is only one of many professions that calls for this type of activity.  Business, medicine, law, psychology, etcetera call the professional to look back and look forward to preparing. 

While preparing, though, a theme from Genesis 16:8 (ESV) came to mind.  When Hagar had run f…

Everyone Has a Story

Each of us has a Story!
This last week was the type of week that both energizes and saps energy, fortunately, they work together for balance. The week marked the middle of our grade period...and our classes for this term.  On the way to school, I quietly panned my classroom in my mind and tried to imagine what I knew about each student.  The deeper I dug, the more I realized that what I knew about some students was surface-level knowledge.  This disturbed me, because it represented a break in the community, the very thing that we all need. 
Upon beginning my classes that day, I pointed out to my students that we had been working hard in class.  We had been learning a great deal about our subjects, which is why we are in school.  We are there for another reason, community, and to build community, we need to know each other.  We work alongside each other and build a team through that work, but how often do we stop to intentionally learn more about each other on a personal level?  So, we de…