Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
AJ Cronin tells the story of a cliff on the Channel Isle of Jersey where Victor Hugo, despondent, in exile, sick and persecuted by the France he so loved, climbed. Every evening he traversed this jagged cliff and, looking into the sunset, meditated in quiet. When he was done, he would stand, renewed, pick up a pebble, stone or large rock and toss it into the sea raging below. Some children who played nearby every night noticed Hugo and pushed forward a young lass who asked,Self pity into the sea. When gazing upon the lives of the great among us, whether they be statesmen and women, authors, or humanitarians, we often see the product of their lives without a nod to the pain, frustration and heartache that produced such. We praise Ghandi for how he brought peace to many parts of India torn by bloodshed and violence, but if faced with the empty plate and glass, we would say it was too much to miss a meal. He missed meals for days to accomplish such for the people he loved.
"Monseir Hugo, why do you come here to throw these stones?"
Victor Hugor, author of such great literature about the tragedy and love of life, smiled and said
"Not stones, my child, I am throwing self-pity into the sea."
(Adapted from AJ Cronin as told in Everyday Greatness by Stephen Covey, p 430).
But I think that sometimes our problem is not that we want to do great things. So many of us are rushing around attempting greatness in some fashion or another. We answer emails like we're the king of some domain and take phonecalls in public places to sound important to anonymous strangers who wished we'd take it down a notch.
Our problem is that we've gotten rid of the places of respite: the hammocks, garden benches, and reading rooms of yesteryear. We don't have a spot by the creek, or a place overlooking the lake that we go to in order to ponder life and love and meaning. We all need a place to ponder life and meaning and when we're done, to rise and pick up a rock-- certainly a different size fits different days -- and cast into into the lake as we forever rid ourselves of any self pity so that we may move forward to the tasks of today.
I know of a person who has a 21 year old daughter who walked down to the pond on Saturday in a flash flood and ended her life. Her self pity wasn't thrown away, she drowned in it, literally.
Listen here, we all have struggles. We all have pain. We all have things that just aren't fair and people who treat us unjustly. But we must make time for moments alone to ponder such things and deal with our emotions and make peace with our God. And when we arise, if we can take that rock of self pity and toss it far away, we'll be far the better person for the tasks we must undertake on the morrow.
Yea, though I wax poetic, truth be that self pity is a rock, that if not untied and tossed, can serve to weight us down into the depths. And such depths are dark, unfriendly, and if you don't wake up and untie yourself when you realize you're sinking -- maybe you'll let go and live -- but you risk going under permanently in a place of instability where the mind goes to hide when the burden it carries is too great.
This post is for any and all of you who will read, not just teachers. For, I think we all must learn to have some solitude to deal with the strife of life.
Here's to you, fellow traveler on the way, we all have noble callings to which we must ascribe and we cannot meet them while carrying a bag of rocks tied around our necks.
Here's to you and here's to some rock tossing we all need to do.
Monday, February 25, 2013
"Every now and then, go away, take a little relaxation, because when you come back to your work, your judgement will be surer. To remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgement. Go some distance away, because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen." Leonardo da Vinci
Today, I challenge you to start one habit that you'll be thankful you did one week from now. One habit.
The trouble with this time in the school year is that we are largely, too close to our work and I think we tend to lose our power of judgement. Think about the times when tempers flare the most and when petty disagreements happen? There are times I think, "Really, they disagreed about that?" or I back up and look at myself and say "Really, I'm upset about this?"
Some people call it Margin, others call it R&R, and others call it "getting away" but I call it my weakness.
I admit that right now, I'm not very good at getting some distance away. I read all the time management books... at least 50 to date and learn a lot about being productive but very little about true balance.
I think most of the time management "experts" don't have 12 loads of laundry, three kids, and a husband and three cats and a dog to care for. They probably have a secretary or maid or both.
I'm happy for those people who can jet set around the world, happily pruned and beaming about how they can help me prioritize and monetize my life, but they haven't lived my life. And I haven't lived yours.
You are the greatest motivational speaker ever invented for YOU. What you say to yourself inside your head has more long term impact on your life than any of these voices coming from outside your eardrums. YOU have to determine the next step. YOU have to determine the next course of action.
Pick One Habit today
Pick ONE habit today that you'll be glad you started in a week and DO IT. You know what it is. It will likely mean shifting something else. I wish I had the answers for you, because if you're like me, you may not feel like you have many choices right now. You're a hamster jumping between 5 or 6 wheels trying to keep them all running. You probably feel alone and perhaps even like a slave to the world. I'm with you.
Time is short. It is, quite literally, a dash. You are living the dash between the year you were born and the year you die. This is all there is. If you can manage 30 hormonal preteens in one class period, and take kids on field trips to places that most parents wouldn't take their brood, and get all those grades done and manage all those parent teacher conferences - then most assuredly, you have the organizational acumen to carve out an hour for yourself today to do something that needs to be done to take care of you.
You are a finite resource. There is only so much of you. Teachers don't just try to burn the candle at both ends, we try to add new wicks and make new ends to burn! We are completely out of control some of the busiest people I know.
Do this NOW
But, let's write a new end to this day. Right now, get out your calendar and schedule the one habit you long to do. Make the time to do it today and I will too. Let's add a new end, one where we have some common sense and actually take care of ourselves for a change.
There's more to life than having nightmares about a prom gone terribly wrong and being upset about all of those papers that aren't graded yet and the 6 loads of laundry still left sorted and dirty, ready to be washed. There's more than this and it is time to make time for more of you by doing less running on the endless wheel. Make time for yourself or you break yourself, and you know how tough gets when you're sick.
Wake up that tired motivational speaker in your head RIGHT NOW. Put her or him on task right now to pick and figure out a time to help you start your habit today.
If Leonardo da Vinci had to take time to get away, don't you think we should too?
Last night, my husband and I were looking at all of the films that Anthony Hopkins has made and were pondering his newest film, Hitchcock, and we talked about what it would take to do that amount of work - that is a lot of movies.
You have more stories than Hopkins. You have the stories of hundreds and maybe thousands of children passing through your rooms. You're not going to make it without some rest in between. Music is made more beautiful by the pauses and rests and you'll be made more beautiful too.
Pick a habit today... one habit... and start it. Make it a habit that you'll be glad that you started one week from now.
Remember your noble calling, teacher, but remember yourself. If you give out, your career is over and we need you in education right now. You have my heartfelt love, thanks, and appreciation. Let's get to it.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
|Child Art Aged 4.5 Person 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Get parent permission for artwork, photographs, and
use of technology. Here are some samples to
get you started.
Remember, I'm a teacher, not a lawyer, and this is not intended to give any legal advice.
As always, check any permission forms you use with your local administrators and local counsel. I do hope this list will help dispel the myth that you can't do that.
There are teachers doing creative things all around the world and getting permission. Just search, you can find even more than this.
I will update this list in 2 places:
- Permissions and AUP Samples List [Diigo]
- My Flattening Classrooms Evernote Notebook (has all original pdfs and docs included if any of these links are broken)
18 Permission Form Samples
1. Artsonia sample permission form
3. Boy Scouts activity consent form
This is an activity consent form used by the Boy Scouts of America. They take students on physically challenging events for weekends and nights. This is a great organization that has worked with kids in nature environments for many years, so it would be a good sample to review.
tags: news field trips permissions bestpractices
4. NeoPets Parental Consent form
COPPA is a reason that many schools shy away from having any children under 13 participate in online sites, however, NeoPets is a website that has done this. This is a copy of their COPPA consent form. In here, you can see how they've tracked and worked with this permission. It does require the parents to fill out and fax or mail the form in to NeoPets to allow children to use the communications portion of the website. This would be a website to review if you're looking at creating a portal or service that allows kids under 13 to post and communicate in ways that tracks their data. I am wondering if Facebook would eventually do something like this or if they will continue to create an environment that encourages children to lie to get on their platform. (i.e. under 13 not allowed)
tags: education permission news coppa
5. Research Consent form for Research
This is an example of a consent form for research for a research student done at the University of Georgia. If you are a researcher, you'll want to check with your university as to the proper way to format and secure permissions, however, as students become researchers, I have questions about securing permission for research. This is an area we need to discuss and understand because students can now be viable, authentic researchers and perhaps may have links to more accurate data collection techniques than researchers. What happens when researchers partner with students to collect data? A whole new world of research is opening up, so research forms are worth collecting.
tags: research permissions researcher_thoughtleader news
6. Parental Permission for Web 2.0 Training, ONline Collaboration and Media Release (BOCES NEW YORK)
This was a downloadable doc, so I put it into my public Evernote notebook of permission forms and other things about flattening the classroom, this link links to that notecard. This is a permission form for students who are using advanced Web 2 tools, collaborating online, and a media release. If you are in a conservative district, this permission from 2009 may help you.
tags: news permissions permission
7. Technology Permission form for Catholic School system
This permission form is comprehensive and includes permission for online presentations in Blackboard Collaborate, blogging, wikis, google apps, podcasts, videos, social bookmarking and RSS as well as images. It is very comprehensive and useful. Again, I'm not a lawyer, but of the forms I've seen, I think this one is comprehensive.
tags: news permissions technology bestpractices
8. Edu Blogging 101 - Permission Slips
A collection of blogging permission forms, while these are a bit older, they do give you a start.
tags: news blogging permissions bestpractices
9. English Class Permission form
This is a fascinating permission form hybrid because it incorporates blogs, wikis, permission to read certain novels and watch certain videos ALL in one permission form. It would be one that high school literature teachers would want to look at using. I like how it discloses how students are identified. I may adapt something like this.
tags: education news permission sample blogging wiki wiki_book bestpractices
10. Social Networking Parent Permission Form
While not having a lot of legalese, this form does disclose what students will be doing and gets permission from parents.
tags: news social networking permission permissions wiki
11. Cardinal O'Hara High School - Parental Permission Form
This website discloses the apps that this school will be using and links to the permission form. It is on the Academic Affairs page. I like the face this presents to the public. Here is what we WILL do and how we WILL do it -- with your permission, of course. Parents have a choice but schools do not - we must offer 21st century tools as part of a 21st century school. There are ways to do this.
tags: permission permissions news education bestpractices
12. Permission Forms - Google Apps Support
These are the permission forms for the Beaverton School District and Google Apps with specific disclosures about how usernames and passwords will be set up and downloadable permission forms.
tags: news permission permissions sample education forms
13. Google Apps Consent Form - PASCO
Here's a google apps consent form for another district. It also references the Network Access Agreement (We call ours an AUP - or acceptable use form) which is an important practice that ensures students know they must use the network in accordance with guidelines already given.
tags: permission permissions education news google apps bestpractices
14. Google Apps for Students
Another website example of disclosures about the use of Google apps from a district in Oregon. This also references their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and frequently asked questions about Google Apps, another good thing to include.
tags: permission permissions aup education news forms bestpractices
15. Gorman, Susan - US History/Coach / Technology User Agreement Forms
This teacher has permission forms for use of Toondoo, Edmodo, and Glogster, three excellent sites that I also use in my classroom. While I like to combine mine all into one, this is an option for those very conservative districts.
tags: education permission permissions news edmodo toondoo glogster bestpractices
16. Final Project: Political Cartoon Analysis | Web 2.0 Morton
This teacher's lesson plan fully discloses the tools that are being used, the standards, and required permissions. This is a very detailed example, but one that you may have to use for large projects to get approval in your district.
tags: education news lesson plans permission permissions sample bestpractices
17. Digital Permission Form (1).doc - Google Drive
This permission form has many different tools including weebly, Google dlocs, voicethread, YouTube, Glogster, Xtranormal, Toondoo, and others. I'm not sure that Audacity has to be included as it is a program on the local machine, however. I do like how the teacher asks for permission "I agree to allow my student's work to be used as a positive example of published work for demonstration or promotional purposes." Some parents are afraid their child will be made to look bad in online examples, this covers that concern although it puts the onus on the teacher to make sure he/she vets examples that are published.
tags: permission sample education news bestpractices
18. Evernote, Dropbox, Edublog Consent form from Canada
Here's a sample form allowing students to use Dropbox and Evernote and Edublog services from a teacher in Canada. NOte that this includes disclosure that the site is hosted outside the country, something important for international relationships as typically websites are governed by their host country.
tags: permission aup sample news education
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Friday, February 22, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
I head to school in just a moment after reading devotionals of God's unfailing love and stories of simplicity from Thoreau this morning. My digital picture frame forwards in the background of the many memories I have with my children and family as I get a text from my sisters wishing me good morning.
But still, as I ponder today, a sense of being overwhelmed comes over me like the flash flood watch my area is under until Saturday morning. My life is a flash flood. Such is the life of a teacher.
In the business world, I knew I had to facilitate meetings far ahead of time and they stood on my calendar like bright lights beckoning me to work on them for hours. Whether I was teaching or facilitating, those meetings were important. Now, I facilitate 6 hours a day with but 50 minutes to prepare for all of that. If you proposed such a job to a businesswoman like I used to be, I wouldn't have taken it and told you that you were crazy if you expected me to get all of that done.
Such is the life of a teacher. Flash flood. We handle the rivulets of work, crisis, teenage angst, and struggle bound up in the lives of these precious children.
May you have a great day. Your work is worthy and and important and so are you, you noble teacher. Be it.