Thursday, June 26, 2008

attending a homeference

Remember that moment early in your career when you had to separate home life from work life?
Don't let that argument with your girlfriend spill over to your classroom.
Or work life from home life?
Yeah, that kid pissed you off, but check your frustration at the exit.
But how do your separate your living room life from your dining room life?
Okay, so he's crying because he wants you to read Fox on Sox. You'll read to him later. His 3-month old twin sisters are in the dining room, crying for a needed feeding.
There is no transition time. There is no 15 minute break between sessions. There is no vendor village, no blogger's cafe, no keynote.

But every moment is a spotlight session.

I'm living at NECC: the Never-Ending Childcare Conference.

Friday, June 20, 2008

question of an interim nature

The interim principal has left the building. In fact, he's fishing. But before he left, he met with each teacher. Standard end-of-year professional goal reflection review.

Here's my one memorable comment from my meeting with my interim principal:
I feel like we've been living above a fault line.
But then, just as the meeting was approaching its predictable ending, he asked:
What would be the first thing you would do to make this place better?
No one has ever me that. Has anyone ever asked you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

good ahead, be gluttonous

Joyce led me to the good, statistically-driven folks over at the Pew Internet & American Life Project. They put out The Internet Typology Test and it will, most likely, give you plenty of room to bend your digital self into any type of technophile or technofear persona you wish - replete with statistics to reaffirm your own sense of survey-driven identity!

Perhaps you'll find that you:
use [your] extensive suite of technology tools to do an enormous range of things online, on the go, and with [your] cell phone. [You] are highly engaged with video online and digital content. Between blogging, maintaining [your] Web page, remixing digital content, or posting [your] creations to [your] websites, [you] are a creative participant in cyberspace.
You'd be an omnivore.

But would you be doing any of the above with your students?

damn you, PD days!

or, 'why are they in groups if they can complete the work on their own?'

The Event:
  • 2008 Presidential Election
The Situation:
  • Four weeks until election day
The Players:
  • The Candidate
  • The Travel Adviser
  • Demographic Consultant
  • Speech Writer
  • Backdrop Artist
The Final Push:
  • Visit four towns, in four separate states, as the last leg of 11th hour campaigning in hopes of winning the election.
The Questions:
  • Who is your candidate?
  • What is her political affiliation?
  • What is her platform on Iraq? Economy? and one other issue?
  • What are your four destinations?
  • Why have you chosen these spots?
  • What speech do you deliver at each location? Order of issues?
  • What catchy background phrase/slogan do you paste behind your candidate at each location? (in Iowa - Planting Seeds of Change; in Pittsburgh - Forging a New Tomorrow)
There will be deeper questions. Ones that you pose, ones that you have in storage, or ones that you wait for students to develop. Every class breeds different angles, slopes, and vectors - you just need to read and react like a pro-bowl lineman.

Something hints at differentiation. Something about this says every individual in every group may need something different than his or her peers.

Something about this seems plausible.

Something about this seems difficult.

More for the teacher than the student.

Is there anything wrong with that?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

production time > quality

The Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament Kick-Off video:

You can exhale now.

Probably a no-brainer for most of y'all, but the amount of time I put in using the following instruments:
  1. Flip Video
  2. Windows Movie Maker (antipathy continues to escalate)
insured that the end result would be blah hum-bug.

But I wanted to put something together for the staff. Something to demonstrate that this 'event' could occur, had the appropriate peripherals to make it seem 'real', and evidence that it could be 'fun'.

I've revealed something about my own skill-set, as well as my mis-guided selection process to produce the video.

And now I'm wondering if having students make videos for a class other than one specifically designed to teach the craft is an ill-informed, what-else-did-you-expect game plan?

The cherry on top: I'm 1-4 in the first round of the tournament.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a drought 100 seasons and counting

If 'education' were a professional sport, it would be a Philadelphia team (close second: Chicago).

Friday, June 6, 2008

we've had a long, tough year

With four days of end-of-year PD waiting for the faculty, I decided to infuse an already exciting curriculum mapping experience with something just below esotreic.

From my email to the faculty:

Interested in competing in the First Annual Springfield High School Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament (SHSRPST)?


Tournament Dates:

Opening Ceremony and First Round: Monday, June 16, 2008
Second Round (elimination day): Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Third Round / Quarterfinals: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Semi-Finals, Finals, and Closing Ceremonies: Thursday, June 18, 2008

Please email me if you'd like to participate

And then, after some confusion, dismissal, and the requisite 'it's-just-Ken-so-it-can't-be-serious', I sent out the following clarification:

1. How will the tournament run?

- On Monday, June 16th, find 5 people during your day to play a best of five Rock Paper Scissors match (RPS). Record your results (who you played, score of matches) and email me those results. Based on those results, I will seed ALL participants for single-elimination tournament play which will begin on Tuesday.

- On Tuesday, June 17th, you'll receive the bracket. Find the person you are slated to play. Play a best of five. Winner moves on. Losers go home (not literally...we're contractually obligated to be here). For elimination games, it's best to find someone to serve as a witness. Send me the results (score of match).

- Results will be posted in the main office. Stop by when you can and see who you play next. Feel free to play whenever, but semi-finals and finals will not be held until Thursday, June 19th.

2. What if I'm going to miss a day for personal (golf) or sick (golf) reasons?

- As long as you don't plan on being absent Thursday, June 19, you can still participate. Just contact me, let me know the date in conflict, and accomodations will be made.

3. What if I've never played RPS?

- You can learn in seconds. Ask around, ask a student, or find me. Many people have used RPS to settle hotly contested issues, like taking out the trash.

4. How long is a best of five match?

- A best of five match, if a 3-0 sweep, won't last more than a minute. A match that ends 3-2, but with a bunch of ties throughout (ex: both people throw 'rock') could take two minutes. Hopefully, even if you're as busy as Chris:

I have a great deal of work to do. Curriculum mapping, final exams, preparations for my room, wiki-workee for my courses, moodle-ing in advance of next school year, and other things.

you'll still find minutes (literally) to play.

5. Five people on Monday? Who are my competitors?

- Your choice. If you are w/ your dept. doing dept. work, then you'll have plenty of opponents to choose from right in the same room. This way, you can focus all your June energy on curriculum writing and take a few minutes scattered throughout the day to play.

6. What about lunch?

- Please, eat lunch. Curriculum work and RPS competition require well-nourished participants. And, you can conduct a match off-site, at a local eatery.

7. Are we 'on our honor' during the first day of competition?

- Yes. If you are playing against someone and you think they are a shady little liar, then make sure you email me the results when your shady l ittle opponent says s/he will.

8. Will there be a prize?

- Yes, the winner will receive a prize.

9. Is there an entry fee?

- No.

10. Will there really be opening ceremonies?

- No. Sorry. That part wasn't serious. Shame on me.

11. What is the 11th question about?

- Nothing

Join. Play. Maybe have some fun w/ your co-workers.

And so now there are 32 participants.

Can we end on a happy note?


Whatever underlying effect the tournament may or may not have, all I know is that I'm determined to win at least one match by bringing an Avalanche.