Sunday, March 25, 2012

MAC Week 4: Comment to Doreen's Post

Sharing thoughts and ideas. 

Doreen's original post.

MAC_Week 4: Reading Reflection

What is your next move while 
looking a the whole board?
Wow, this book continues to my ideas to the possibilities that could happen. I really agree with chapter 10 about one can only be accountable for what one has control over. I think that is all we can worry about. However, the idea of looking at every situation as a chessboard is very interesting. It seems to me if more people would think more like this we would have fewer lawsuits and maybe things we need like insurance wouldn’t be so expensive. The business world also wouldn’t always be thinking, “we need to cover our behinds”.  I love the board question, “How did this get on the board that I am?” Seems like self-reflection is a very important part of this whole art of possibilities.

I think that the criteria for a vision is wonderful not only for companies but for personal goals. Think everyone should have a vision as these visions can be looked at like mini goals. Lastly in chapter 12, the WE is so important and strong. I would think that the WE will always be stronger than the I/You and it could stop the finger pointing or blame we see in our society today.

Looking back at the book it seems that all eleven practices are tied closely to one another if one could achieve just a few of these practices the possibilities that could open up to you would be extreme. Can you image if one could really take into practice all eleven – the possibilities could be endless!

My response to Doreen's post.

Good afternoon Doreen,

You hit the nail on the head when you said "the WE will always be stronger than the I/You". We are stronger when we come together and learn together. It is so much fun to share ideas with other co-workers. This will usually "spark" an idea and the rest will follow. That is as long as everyone is "enrolled" in the sharing and idea. Some teachers feel as if they do not have anything to bring to the table and I wish they could read this book. Doreen you are so right when you stated that practicing these concepts will open many possibilities. You are magnificent.

Keep smiling!

MAC Week 4: Comment to Stephanie's Post

Sharing thoughts and ideas!

Stephanie's original post:

MAC Week 4: Reading Post

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover with the exception of the chapter entitled...becoming the board.  This chapter made me feel so conflicted with accepting that you are a part of what happens in your life instead of being a victim.  I can see this being true or okay was somethings.  There is the phrase "people cause their own drama" but I don't believe that this applies to all situations.  Sometimes bad things can just happen.
In my continued reading, the story of the artist Alice Kahana really pulled at my heartstrings.  Anyone can think about what they have seen in movies and pictures about the situation she was in with her little brother, but when I had just graduated high school I went backpacking through Europe and my friend and I chose to visit both Auschwitz while in Poland.  I can only imagine how that last thing that she said to her brother changed her "vision" after going to that place.  It is a moment in my life that I would never forget.
At the end of that same chapter (11), the words Marianne Williamson wrote made me cry.  That is being printed and going not only in my classroom but in a frame in each of my children's rooms to remind them that they need to shine.

My response to her post.


This book was a wonderful reading. I have gone back to reread some chapters and I want to apply these thought processes in my life. Becoming the Board is a not just a difficult concept but rather a confusing one. I agree with you that sometimes bad things just happen. When this happens it is important that we go through the healing process. Having been a victim of a violent crime many years ago I learned not to focus on being the victim of the crime but rather the survivor. The victim is just the legal term of people in a situation. Choosing to live life as a victim leads to the downward spiral. Choosing to be the survivor leads to being part of the board, accepting what has happened and move forward. The words from Marianne Williamson are strong and so powerful. I didn't think about putting that in my daughter's room. That is a fabulous idea! 

I truly enjoyed reading your blog. I would like to thank you for writing it. 

Keep smiling!

MAC Week 4: Reading Post; The Spark

The Spark
     The last four chapters of this book were wonderful, just as the whole book has been. It is important not to place the blame on everyone but rather understand what you can do to accept  responsibility and move forward. I loved learning about the thought of what is "off track" and what is "on track". This thought process allows me to be the driver of my track. I know that I get off track at times and it is important to take time to reflect and get back on track. Using the "We" method is something I like to do with my class. I use this method to include everyone as the class. This way we come up with solutions together. The solutions refer to the many opportunities happening in our classroom. 

     I do have to say though, my favorite reading was from "Lighting the Spark". The spark happens when everyone involved is enrolled in the activity. When people are not enrolled in the activity a downward spiral will unfortunately take affect. Enrolling people in the activity lights a spark of enthusiasm and phenomenal things will happen. No matter how big the result is, it is a lot bigger than what you would get from a downward spiral. For example, during the week of Read Across America we had a special guest read the story The Lorax. Afterwards, I needed to individually assess some students so I gave the class an open ended activity. I gave each student a large piece of construction paper. I asked them to show me what they predict will happen with the seed the little boy was given at the end of the story. I told the students they could use any materials in the classroom. A "spark"; the students were enrolled in the activity. Look at the pictures to see what happened next. 

Start with plain paper and
other materials.

A town is born and truffula trees are respected!

The Lorax comes back to take care of the truffula trees,
the fish, and the bears.

He was trying to figure out how to glue the stumps to the paper.
So, he filled the stumps with glue. 

She wanted everything to pop up. Do you see the pond with the fish?
Do you see the Lorax?

Tape is great for a lot of things. What fun we had!
    Lighting the spark in everyone is a wonderful gift to give to others. I hope this lights a spark in you.  As always...

Keep smiling!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

MAC Week4: Leadership Project

What do video cameras, microphones, reader's theater, blogging, podcasting, computers, and iPads have in common? All of those wonderful elements were included in my Challenged Based Research project. I challenged my second grade students to come up with ways we could use technology in our class. The students came up with some wonderful ideas. I wanted to observe how the use of technology would affect "motivation to learn" with my students. I taught the students how to blog, podcast, and so much more. I created a presentation about the process and outcome of this wonderful CBR project opportunity. I hope to present this presentation at Georgia Educational Technology Conference and Florida Educational Technology Conference. Listed below are the websites for conferences and the link to my presentation. I hope to share my presentation with you at one of those conferences.

Florida Educational Technology Conference website. Click here to check it out!
Georgia Educational Technology Conference website. Click here to check it out!

Click here to see the presentation.

As always...

Keep smiling!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

MAC Week 3: Comments to Jason's Leadership Post

Jason's original post...

leadership week 3

I will attempt to publish in both "The Association for the
Advancement of Computing in Education" and "Journal of Educational Computing Research". Both offer me the opportunity to justify using my work in their publications.

My path as a digital educator is still being charted, so I value the interdisciplinary and forward looking missions of both "The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education" and "Journal of Educational Computing Research". I can see the high value to my future that being recognized by and associated with these entities.

"That sounds marvelous Jason!"
My response to Jason's post...
You are a great digital wizard. I know your students enjoy your instruction and your class. I think your CBR project would fit right in with both of these journals. You are right, they are forward thinking and technology progressive journals. I look forward to reading your published work!

Keep smiling!

MAC Week 3: Comments to Stephanie's Reading Post

Stephanie's original post...

Imaged created by digitalart
Rule Number 6: Letting go and realizing that everything doesn't need to be so serious.  For me, this is the hardest thing to think about.  I immediately think of my many to do lists with school, family, kids' schedules...Then I think what if I didn't take everything so seriously?  Would everything fall apart?  I'm always told how I'm the one who has it together, and the one that everyone relies on.  So if I didn't take things as seriously would I still be that person?  My calculating self feels like the one in control most of the time and to answer the question; What would have to change for me to be completely fulfilled?  That is one that I think will need to be discovered on a quiet day when I can be by myself.
The other chapter that strikes home is The Way Things Are. One of my favorite phrases is Its All Good.  My husband has even told me that when he hears that phrase, he gets a sense of calm even at his most stressful situations.  Growing up, I always had anxiety issues.  My elementary guidance counselor was a great resource for me.  He taught me to look at what was in the "right now" not "what if."  That is still one of my most un-liked phrases---and is barred from my classroom!

"Cosmic Laughter!"

My response to her post...

I know that you have two comments already but when you wrote that you had anxiety when you were young it really hit my heart. My daughter suffers from anxiety and she is learning the tough lessons about the "What if" question. There are a lot of great sayings in this book that I can truly testify. Letting go does not mean letting it all go, but rather, "Don't sweat the small stuff" or "Keep calm and carry on". There are things you can do something about and the rest of it is...well, "It is what it is" and you get to move on with your day and your life. You are amazingly gifted and I wish you were teaching right next door to me. I can't wait to read your article. 

MAC Week 3: Where to Present

Ned says, "You can do it Ms. Williams."
          I have thought long and hard about where I want to present. I have researched many conferences and unfortunately there are not any educational technology conferences in Oklahoma. But why should I restrict myself to this area? I should expand my horizons and think "Big". If I don't, well, nobody else is going to do it for me. So, here are the two that I have chosen. The first is the Georgia Educational Technology Conference and the second is the Florida Educational Technology Conference. I chose these two conference because they include elementary education. You do not have to be a member and pay dues. These two conferences appear to be an exciting forum to present technology uses in the classroom. Presenting technology uses in the classroom needs to be presented in a positive atmosphere. Plus both of them are accepting applications. I am truly excited about putting together a presentation.

MAC Week 3: Reading

My daughter read to the class during Read Across America week.
This encourages my daughter and my students to be active participant and contributors. 
I feel the need to write about this book by chapter because it is a phenomenal reading. Feel free to comment just on a section of my post and not the entire post. Enjoy!
Leading from any chair
In this chapter, the conductor of the orchestra reflects differently on his ability to conduct. By empowering the players to be complete participants in the interpretation of the music. After reading this chapter, I know that I will look at every student in a chair has the ability to lead. Not only can they lead, but also they should be given the opportunity to lead. Students who learn to lead or share their knowledge become contributors in the classroom. This gives students great pride in our class.

Rule Number 6
The title of this chapter immediately put me in a scene on NCIS with Special Agent Gibbs as my “Boss”. During the explanation of the rule, I chuckled and pictured Gibbs uttering those very words.  Believe it or not, Rule Number 6, is harder then it may seem. Until you learn not take yourself or life too seriously, everything in your life, good or bad, seems  “Big” and  “Dramatic”. As human beings we can make these matters worse by giving our problems too much attention or by involving others in our situations. The concept of the calculating self and the central self gave me an ah-hah moment. One self identifies the problems and the other self adds the emotion (good or bad). This is why Rule Number 6 was invented. It is saying do not let your emotions get the best of you and do not take yourself too seriously.

The Way Things Are
This chapter reminds me of the saying, “It is what it is, so I must…” It is important to accept the way things are so you can allow yourself to look at the positive side and be happy. Do not hold on to what you have no control over because it will only eat you alive and make you miserable. I loved the small section about the “cosmic laughter”, the laughter that comes from the surprise and delight of seeing the obvious. Also, learning that making mistakes is good for most of my students. In class we will say, “Mistakes are opportunities to learn; otherwise, they are just a waste of time.”

Giving Way to Passion
I discovered this when I was about 16 years old. I no longer wanted to be a competitive dancer. I wanted to be a performing dancer. I wanted to move people with my dancing. To do that, I had to let go of the tense anxiety of being perfect and participate with the dance. I feel the same way about teaching. I do not want to stand up and teach the words. I want to go through the whole discovery with the learners. I want to feel what they are feeling all the way to the "I got it!" moment. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Week 2 MAC Comments to Kimberly's Blog

Encouraging other's dreams.

Kimberly's Original Post: 

I really enjoyed the section about inventing yourself as a contribution, and even posted the steps in my classroom and it’s been a powerful thing:

1.     Declare yourself to be a contribution
2.     Throw yourself into life as someone who makes a difference, accepting that you may not understand how or why.

A lot of my students are lacking confidence and I am always looking for new ways to find to let them know that they are important, and that their thoughts are meaningful, and THEY are meaningful, that they have a place in this world! Chapter 4 really just fell right in where I have been trying to go with this and I have really enjoyed learning things like this throughout this program. Things that I can take immediately back to my classroom and see it make in impact instantly. The students get a kick out of me sharing stuff from my Master’s program with them, and allowing them to be involved and learn through the different things that I have been doing.

My Response to her Post:

I too loved this book and found it difficult to put it down. I definitely want my daughter to read this book as well. It is wonderful that you put up a poster with those two sayings. The age you teach is an emotionally difficult age. I love it when teachers encourage their students, especially middle school students, to be positive and understand they are important. You are a great contributor to your students and in turn, you are teaching them by example to be a great contributor too. As always, keep smiling.    

Week 2 MAC Comments to Stephanie's Blog

Put on your thinking cap and share your thoughts and ideas.

Stephanie's original post:

MAC Week 2: Reading Post

I am responding to The Art of Possibility.  This is quite possibly the most intriguing book that I've read in a while.  Usually, when I am told I HAVE to read a book, I dread the task.  I'll act like my daughter and put it off until the very last minute!  I dove into this book and read the first 4 chapters like I would one of my fictional "fun" reads.  I didn't want to put it down.
First of all, just turning your attitude around to give a completely new outlook, which is invented!  Trying to think about everything being invented is a hard concept.  I liked the practice with the dots.  I never could do that problem.  I pride myself on being a rule-follower.  So I know that I impose "rules" on myself that aren't really there.  It is a hard thing to change.
The other thing that really opened my eyes were the stories that are presented in the text.  Especially in the Giving an A chapter.  I had tears in my eyes when I read the story about the Taiwanese student and his realization that he was happier with his new thought of being an A instead of number 68.  I immediately thought about what possibilities my students would have if they were given an A at the beginning of the year.  What inhibitions would they let go of and participate in the activities that we do in class.  What possibilities would a school district accomplish if students were so concerned about the expectations but instead the possibilities that could arise!
Today, I was sitting in a grade level meeting and our reading coach was discussing adding yet another reading passage that would add more rigor to our curriculum and give us a better idea of our students skills.  I thought about how my students have done so far with these passages and saw them be squashed again by another poor grade.  Another measure of how horrible they are at this reading strategy, as many of my students are struggling with their reading strategies.  I could actually see their little sad faces in my head.  It made me ache.

How can I apply this book to my classroom without going against school district policies?

My Response to Her Post:
I know it is difficult when we are constantly given more tasks to give our students for MORE data. We are constantly looking for MORE data. It is nice to be able to say, "I have enough data. I just need the time to help the student to improve." This book allows us to set aside the negativity of the testing. Give them two grades one from the testing and one from you. Give them the A and empower their thoughts and self confidence. Ask them to write down their reading strengths. Remember, our thoughts are invented. I challenge you to give the students the power of positive thought. You are a very creative person and rule followers can think outside of the box. I enjoyed reading your blog. As always, keep smiling!

Week 2: To Present or to Write?

Calling All Educators!!
     To present or to write an article is the question. I have pondered this question for many hours. This week has actually been a good week to discover my answer. Last Friday night the school I where I teach provided a free Science Fun night for the students and families. There was 275 students that showed up with their families. The presenter was from the company "Mad Science". After the big science presentation, students and families split up and went to the different science station. I volunteered to conduct one of the science stations. I was given a paper that gave me a high school rendition of the experiments and a 10 minute training. I quickly put together a lesson plan and decided to let loose and have fun. That is exactly what I did. At 9:30 pm, I finished up the last rotation of students. I received many compliments on my presentation from students, parents, and administration. I took that information and thought about when I conducted professional development. I realized that I love presenting. Therefore, I will present my CBR project.

Week 2 Reading: WOur Invented Futures

What do you want your future to be?

After reading the first four chapters of the book The Art of Possibility Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander I feel excited about the future. There were so many “ah-hah” moments for me as I read this book. Ideas and concepts are invented. Our consciousness takes in information the way we subconsciously desire. I desire to take things not in a negative way but rather a positive way. One of my many philosophies is “mistakes are opportunities to learn”. Letting mistakes get you down prevents you from moving forward. It is important to take the negatives and find the positive outcomes. All of our thoughts are “invented”. The wonderful thing about that is, we are the inventors. Inventing our wonderful positive thoughts lead to a vast creation of possibilities. When I started my master’s program at Full Sail University I was just looking to further my education on using technology in the classroom. Now that I am close to completing my degree I am realizing that there are other career possibilities. I have the confidence to try new endeavors no matter how scary change can be for me. The chapter in the book that really meant the most to me was the chapter on contributions. I am a teacher and the most important part of my job is to encourage students. I encourage students to look at the positive side of everything, to explore great possibilities, to do their best and their best will take care of the rest, and to teach others to do the same. Many students are in constant competitive mode. There is nothing wrong with being competitive but to be competitive is to assume there will be a winner and a loser. In my book, all of my students are winners. I feel successful when my students start encouraging and helping each others succeed. All of that provides them the skills to invent their own futures.     

Sunday, March 4, 2012

MAC Week 1: Wimba Archive

There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

     This month is going to be fast and furious. It will be important to stay up with all of the activities, especially the due dates.  I think the blogs are going to be pretty exciting. I have enjoyed reading other blog post and learning what my fellow cohorts are accomplishing. It was helpful for Professor Joe to go through the CBR information and explain what is due this month and next month. It is going to be a challenge writing a 120 word Abstract on my Literature Review, “Just the facts”. The Leadership Project scared me at first. I am still a bit afraid but it is nice to know that all I have to do is complete and submit some applications.  I am not very good at writing at all. So, I think a presentation would fit me much better. I will think about it a little bit more before I make my final decision.  Thank you Professor Bustillos. It was a great and informational Wimba. 

Keep smiling!

MAC Week 1: Comment to Berengaria's Leadership Blog

This was a great video that Berengaria posted in her blog. Jane McGonigal explains why gaming is important for our future.

This is Berengaria's original blog.

So, I don’t see anyone doing exactly what I want to do. I don’t teach in a classroom, sometimes I train people but most of the time I organize training. I do unofficial training all the time as I’m the de facto tech person. I have more of an interest in taking boring lessons/training and making them interesting and interactive. I don’t think I would care to work in the public school system, maybe not even a college. I like the idea of edutainment and gaming in education. That’s why I chose Jane McGonigal. Her talk for TED is interesting and fun. I like what she is doing and I am interested. I’m getting her book, looking to get involved with the gaming educator network she’s involved in, and when I have more time, I’m going to work on adding gaming skills to my toolbox. I like innovators and experimenters. I’m always looking for people who are doing interesting things to see if I can incorporate any of it into what I’m doing. Monday, March 5th is the start of SXSW (south by southwest) Education Conference in Austin and Monday is dedicated to gaming. Plus there are numerous workshops on gaming in the classroom. I’m disappointed that I can’t go but we have a report to do all week for our federal funders. Oh well, maybe next year.

This is Berengaria's original blog. 

It looks like you have a wonderful future ahead of you. Gaming is an incredible piece of education as Jane McGonigal explained in her video. Teachers, schools and parents have only scratched the surface. I was a little disappointed that we could not do more with gaming in our gaming course. Although, I did learn that gaming is a completely different field. I smiled when you wrote “…taking boring lessons and making them interesting and interactive”. I applaud you for aspiring to do a wonderful thing for learners. This was a wonderful post. By the way, thank you so much for embedding the video. It was wonderful and a great eye opener.
Keep smiling!