Friday, November 30, 2012

The Order Is: Content Literacy Discipline Technology

Last week we posed a question, an item for debate.  Our quest was to determine the rankings of the following four classroom issues:  Literacy, Content, Discipline and Technology:
From the top of the metropolitan building in NYC, the curvature of the earth is noticeable.  Also observable is evidence of the millions of people, and their opinions of value, interests and tastes.

We are trying to find out if there is a consensus on what is most important.  With very little direction given, the answers are below, in the order they were submitted:
Discipline Literacy Content Technology (JS)
Content Technology Literacy Discipline (JD)
Literacy Content Technology Discipline (CG)
Discipline Literacy Content Technology (WM)
Content Literacy Technology Discipline (AH)
What jumps out?
By figuring the answers on a 4 point scale, 4, 3, 2 and 1, we see contentsqueaking by literacy for first, technology a clear last and discipline a closer to the bottom than the top. All the answers were varied but a few commonalities occurred between the categories.
Content has a bit higher score than Literacy.
Literacy follows closely as second in importance.
Technology is clearly at the low end.
Discipline is at both extremes, most important and least important.
Personally, I am impressed knowing these willing candidates made choices by interpreting and arranging these terms with valid arguments.  No one was flippant in their response.  Each of these folks have contributed from a different content, favoring various techniques but all contributors influence students to do above and beyond expectations.  Having them offer an earnest option leads me to believe in the individual, and an interpretation of a situation is best done by those in the middle of the situation.  Being dogmatic or one sided may not serve everyone.  Seeing these responses helps me recognize validity of multiple opinions in every situation.  I expected the results to mimic mine.  How I was narrow minded!
Thanks for sharing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Discipline, Content, Literacy and Technology

Survey Says???
Note the web formed around these branches. We have been having discussions that seem just as tangled but!!!
 Discipline, Content, Literacy and Technology
Will readers rank those 4 terms, please?  We will tally the results and look for trends.
Place them in the order necessary for a middle school teacher to consider when planning for student success.
Literacy &
What is most important, and why?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Which comes first? Behavior or belief?

Which comes first?  Behavior or belief?

Is a wedding the evidence of a belief, or proof of a behavior?! 
Do we act on our beliefs or act because we are supposed to?  Watching our students demonstrate honor during our school wide Veterans assembly gave pause to wonder which was first, their attitude or their behavior?  They were so well behaved.  Was that because they honored the veterans or acted honorably?  What comes first, action, behavior, attitude or beliefs?
Belief Attitude
It is easy to see how our actions may be based on our belief system, and how our deeds stem from how we see the world and others around us.  We do things and act because of how we perceive situations around us.  Our attitudes are based on perceptions.  Can these things change?  How do they change and what is the process?
Behavior 2 + 2 = 4
On the other hand, to learn something new, we practice the behavior, over and over, and then it becomes ingrained.  It is like we actually learn it and maybe even becomes our belief.  A simple example could be 2 + 2 = 4.  Before we knew our basic facts, we did not understand the abstract concept of addition but we learned or memorized the facts and our behavior became our belief. 
Of course a case may be made for either to supersede the second but the more examples we look at, the tighter the two become.  In fact it seems sometimes our actions prove our beliefs and our attitudes are determined by our choices, which are actions.
Final Question
What is more important, attitude or facts?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Veterans Post: Is Honor Behavior or Belief?

Is honor a behavior or a belief?
Veterans Day 2012

The Village of the Blue Rose near Clarksville Missouri, on the bank of the Mississippi River.
A beautiful location, mission and purpose. Check site for details.
What are the missions of our military? 
How can we put a value on what has happened before and what sacrifices others have made on our behalf?  How can we repay them?  What can we do to say thanks? 
The Tom Hanks movie, Saving Private Ryan, opens with the actor asking if he did enough.  He strove to live a life worthy to repay those that sacrificed for him.  The last of a few brothers, his life was considered worth redeeming by risking the lives of multiple others.  The rescue team had the purpose of ensuring his survival.  His question is still worth asking today!  Have we lived our lives in gratitude to those ahead of us or have we squandered, wasted and lived selfishly only taking and not giving anything in return? 
Written on Election Day, 2012, this post attempts to articulate the purpose of Veterans Day Celebrations. Often times, the actions are the things we do that prove our attitudes. Actions like voting, obeying laws, respecting societal norms, supporting local children and schools are all demonstrations of gratitude. Holding public office, exerting discipline on self and those wards in our care and choosing to submit to our government as currently established are additional ways to thank those that have died for our behalf.
Putting others up, approbation and esteeming with value all describe honor but an accurate definition of this abstract concept is challenging.   We must look to examples, actions or behavior to demonstrate the existence of this trait, characteristic or attitude.  Paying attention to, listening to, or just spending time with another are great ways to demonstrate honor.  School assemblies, meals and parades are other actions that prove or show honor.  By these actions, we demonstrate or prove our belief.  Often times, a belief happens after the behavior.  Of course beliefs influence our behavior but the converse may also hold true. Our behavior influences our beliefs!
What else can we do to appreciate on this Veterans Day?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Calvin Coolidge and "Press on"... Guest Author-Part 2

How long did it take to build the Golden Gate Bridge?

 Stretching wires and building the cable to suspend the bridge deck, one strand at a time.  The Golden Gate Bridge is quite the monument to persistence and resiliency.
Resiliency and continuing on, even in the face of obstacles, is at the top of our educational outcome.  Preparing children for a future we don't know about is our greatest charge! Teaching and helping others learn to overcome real and imagine barriers becomes our highest and truest calling.  Teaching people to learn, by preparing them to think or consider and address abstract and obscure concepts becomes the true outcome of authentic public education:  preparing citizens, able to solve problems ethically and morally.

A few years back, Calvin Coolidge wrote about persistence.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. 
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Calvin Coolidge
Value Risk,
As students learn about learning, learn about themselves and  if they come to the understanding they may learn differently then others, they develop resiliency.  A term, locus of control, refers to the concept of control or destiny or being in charge of your own life.  As we mature, we recognize things we do have effect on our lives but sometimes, others have more control over our lives than we feel we do.  One component of education is the awakening or awareness of our actions leading to our own consequences.  Work hard, and it may lead to improvements.  Slack off and others may pass us.  Folks struggling with major obstacles, either succumb to the overwhelming challenges of become a shining model of success. Resiliency and staying the course, even with struggles matters most.  Ask Thomas Edison and the light bulb story:  He learned many ways that did not work, before he got to the right one!
(Over 4 years to assemble the Golden Gate Bridge, with a total of 80,000 miles of cable.)

Regarding Fear or Hope: 
A post or two ago, a reader responded with, "Well, I think it depends on the child. Fear works with the older, social one. The fear of a lost privilege or missed opportunity (no cell phone, no TV, no going out with friends). Hope works with the younger one because he is more serious, less social and needs/wants positive feedback. Just my thoughts as mom, but, I like the question, and I like that it makes me think about what works or doesn't work for my parenting skills."
(A tee box at Pebble Beach, CA: no, I did not play there)
What will it look like when we are #onthemap? 
Perfect?  No.  Better? Yes!  Confident yet humble.  Aware but relaxed and excited while steady!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Resiliency is developed through... (Part 1) post 11-1

Ask the Cardinals...They put up a good fight against the San Fran team, but San Fran persisted and showed their best against Detroit in the 2012 World Series.
What does it take to develop resiliency in a child?  How do "we" get children to take ownership of their own educations?"  We can't do it for them but can guide them into wanting it for themselves.
The opposite of insecurity, confidence is built on encouragement.  This encouragement must come from someone of value and esteem in a young persons life.  Shallow, empty or trite comments add little and if offered incorrectly, can detract from the confidence of the hearer.  This confidence is different than an arrogance based on an overinflated ego.  True confidence is based on an accurate self-assessment and awareness, which is exactly where our youth's struggle is the greatest.
As mentioned above, this positive approbation is only valuable after authentic relationship between the two parties is established.  Encouragement, from others, leads to affirmations that can only come from within!  Affirmations are personal but follow positive
Learning to play along with others by balancing selfish desires and group needs forms the foundation for valuing the considerations other points of view as valid and defines cooperation.  Working in groups, teams or in pairs is often a quest of employers.  People without resiliency tend to focus internally and their self-reflection becomes critical and not beneficial, holding them back from true success through cooperation.
In Summary,
A healthy relationship with a caring adult, willing to share and confront, yet maintain a perspective of love and acceptance of the person-hood builds resiliency.  Resiliency develops and matures as caring adults overlook shortcomings of youth but address behaviors that could morph into tragedies. 

We train our dogs but we educate our children.