Imagine my teenage bedroom - posters from the latest issue of Teen Beat magazine staged strategically, so Prince Rogers Nelson was the first thing I would see in the mornings. His position in my room took precedence over Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson. I. Loved. Prince. You see, he "got" me. Prince's music defined my adolescent struggles of being a good, Southern Baptist girl in the anything-goes 80's. He touched my soul with music about family fights and arguments mixed with relationship issues and young love. Without a doubt, Prince defined my generation.
Ask anyone my age and you will hear similar stories. That is why people like Jimmy Fallon are constantly paying tribute to the memory of the Purple One: our generation's musical icon. Of course, not everyone knew Prince. I know some of my students do not know his music; however, very few adults do not recognize his music or his name (well, unless they have lived under a rock for the last 40 years!). What an amazing legacy!
Even alive, Prince commanded respect. Why? What is all the fuss about? Why Prince? What made Prince such an important musical icon for my generation . . . and why do people across generations still listen to him? Alive, Prince was solidified a legend. Posthumously, Prince is hallowed ground. Will anyone in this generation or the ones to come reach his musical significance?
I would love to hear from you. Why has Prince been memorialized in such a way? If not Prince, who do you deem worthy of the "music icon" status? If you are unsure, tell me what makes a music icon.
As always, I love to hear from you!
This week we are sharing what we have been reading. That may sound easy to you; however, I guarantee you have never shared reading quite like you will this week. You see, tech savvy generation that you are, it is time to use your expertise with technology to present materials to the class. Here is what you need to do:
1. Select a presentation tool. There are several places to go for creative presentations. I personally use CANVA , mainly because of the unique graphics and infographic feel. I have created a few of these, so ask if you need help.
I also LOVE SMORE. It is very fun to use and has lots of possibilities. I have created three presentations on this site and enjoyed the process for each one. It's user-friendly and applicable to just about any subject. It is probably my favorite if I need to present a lot of information. One caution on this one - it is blocked at school, so you will have to use this site at home. If you select this one, you'll present from my computer. :)
Obviously I can't share every site, so here is a listing of some cool sites. If you have a site idea besides the ones I've listed, by all means share it with me. I'm open to suggestions.
2. Once you have selected a presentation tool, you will create an account on that site. This is YOUR information and in no way related to me or my classroom. It is simply a tool for you to use to create a presentation; therefore, WRITE DOWN YOUR USERNAME AND PASSWORD.
3. Begin your presentation. Here are the guidelines:
Task 1: Tell your classmates about the book focusing on the jargon needed to discuss the plot, characters, setting, and theme.
Task 2: Recommend your book. This is a great place to give the book a ranking (I prefer the 5-star system, mainly because sites like Goodreads and Amazon use the same system).
Task 3: Critique your book. What did you like about it? What didn't you like about it? Use the jargon necessary to talk about how it is written, the author's craft (sentence structure, vocabulary, etc.)
Task 4: Embed SAT vocabulary. Use your personal categories and appropriately select powerful words to bring your book to life.
Task 5: Share your presentation. Be prepared to present your work. We will link it to your blog; additionally, you will stand in front of the class and share the work this week.
Please comment with the book you're sharing this week and the presentation tool you have selected. Presentations begin Thursday! :) Good luck and have fun.
If you're a teacher-friend reading this, please tell me what book talk sites you use. I love to hear from you!
Yesterday was such a blessing to me. As I read through each blog post, I couldn't help but be proud of the young men and women I am blessed to call my students. Thank you for working so hard in my class. Whatever the challenge, you guys are always ready to tackle it. Oh, we may fuss and argue over things from time to time (all families do), but you eventually will roll up your sleeves, tackle the issues, and work hard. For that continued effort, I thank you!
So, I'm giving you another challenge. Yesterday, after reading your posts, I began to realize how encouraging you guys are to one another. Several teachers read your comments (as did all of your classmates). Wow! You guys touched lots of people with your honest comments. Today, I am asking for that same effort and honesty. Your mission? Encouraging others with a quote.
If you are like me, you like quotes. Words from the past show up everywhere. Chances are you have a calendar or book full of quotes just sitting on a shelf somewhere at home. Some quotes are timeless, while other quotes are timely. Wherever you are in life, quotes speak to you. For example, when I was your age, my grandmother would always say, "Pretty is as pretty does," to me. I would roll my eyes like we all do when we want to appear frustrated (but we actually feel very loved). Boy, were those words timely; I needed a reminder to be sweet on the inside before worrying about my outer appearance. Today, though, those words are timeless. I tell both of my children those very words - and have even seen them on plaques at local businesses. Who knew my sweet Grandmama Hazel was on to something all those years ago?
I wonder what quotes inspire you. Do you have family sayings or words of wisdom like my grandmother's, "Pretty is as pretty does," or do you have historical mantras that encourage you? Perhaps there are song lyrics or biblical quotes that motivate you. Please share and encourage one another today with the wonderful power of quotes. When you share, be sure to tell the "story" of your quote or why those words are so powerful to you.
I can't wait to hear from you!
I am frustrated. By frustrated, I mean I have reached the boiling point. I am angry, sick to death . . . disgusted. Yep, that is how I feel today. Good and mad.
Wanna know why? Two words have caused all this frustration - complacent ignorance. You heard me. Complacent. Ignorance.
Of course, you may wonder about these two terms. Here is a small gut check to help you decipher the meaning.
1. Do you congratulate yourself on having a lot of knowledge?
2. Do you congratulate yourself for NOT having a lot of knowledge?
3. Do you feel so comfortable with yourself and the "status quo" that you do not see the need to grow?
4. Do you feel jealous when others know more than you?
5. Do you mock or ridicule others because they seek knowledge?
6. Do you lack a desire to learn new things?
If your answer was yes to a majority of the above questions, then you may be suffering from the "caving to society syndrome" called Complacent Ignorance. If that is you, go ahead and stop reading. I cannot help you; you do not want to learn and do not care anyway. For the rest of us, listen up! I have some advice for you.
I love knowledge. No matter what I am studying, if it is in my field, I want to know more about it. Along with learning, my next favorite thing to do is network and share. If there is a new strategy, I want to learn about it. If there is a better way to work "smarter not harder" as a teacher, I am all over it. In other words, I strive to learn about my field and enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. Guess what? If you are like me, you already know. People are mean, especially to life-long learners. I cannot lie to you; unkindness to the "studious" type does not go away. I have just learned to cope with it. Sure, I get my feelings hurt. Do not think for a second that teachers are all nice and nurturing of one another. In the last 24 hours, I have had three educators "slam" me and my desire to learn. The. Last. 24. Hours. I kid you not.
My response. Who cares?
Belittling someone because they like to learn is simple-minded, no matter the age.
Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin
This one is a little tricky. We all love/hate parts of what makes us unique. For me, I do not enjoy my obsessive personality; it drives me nuts. I am sure there is something about yourself you do not like; however, that does not mean you have to let that define who you are. Those of you that know me have seen my obsessive personality at one point or another. Whether I love or hate that about myself, I know my capabilities and limitations. I see myself! While there are many, many areas that need improvement, I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin.
Max Lucado said it best in his children's book You are Special, "Words only hurt if you let them." So, if you are a life-long learner like me, take heart. You give others the power to hurt you. If you see others in that light, you take the power away from the detractors and find comfort in your own skin. Society wants us to worry so much about "fitting in" or "standing out." Will you cave to the trends in your life circle? If your peer group finds it funny to ridicule or mock others, will you allow it? If your friends make fun of, say, blogging, will you do it too? Or, will you step up, find comfort in your own skin, and say, "I actually like to learn."
See Learning in a New Light
Thank the good Lord for knowledge. Whether you want to admit it or not, learning changes the world. I really believe this. As you read this blog post, a scientist somewhere is researching the cause of renal cell carcinoma (the cancer that killed my mother). I am so glad there are people willing to learn new things. Whether it is the cure for a disease, a new way to educate children, or the best strategy for solving a math problem, every time you are given an opportunity to learn, you are one step closer to knowledge. Wow! Imagine a world where the children and adults all viewed learning as "stupid" and/or "pointless." I would not want to live in that environment. Living in ignorance means, according to Merrian-Webster, "a lack of knowledge, understanding, or education." Oh, how complimentary. We love to laugh and say, "That is so ignorant." A boss or a scholarship committee, on the other hand, finds ignorance as exactly that - lacking.
So do I. Please, whatever you do, reframe the way you view learning if you find it "uncool" or "mock-worthy." Caving to the notion that learning is silly is, well, ignorant.
What are your thoughts? Have you been a victim like me? Have you mocked learning? What can we do to avoid caving?
As always, I would LOVE to hear from you.
I'm so proud of my bloggers! Every year I see tremendous growth in the blogging abilities of my students. If I give them a challenge, they take it. If I assign them a task, they do it. Their efforts make teaching so much fun.
So, I'm challenging them again this year to show up for the "Slice of LIfe Blogging Challenge." I found this a couple years ago. Thank goodness teachers share. Without the ideas of my colleagues, I would be lost as an educator. When I stumbled upon this challenge, I was hesitant at first. I mean, how many middle school students try to blog every day. Boy was I wrong. Last year multiple students took on the challenge and surpassed me in it. I'm hoping for the same participation this year.
This opportunity, although challenging, is already making headway in our school. Many students have signed on to blog nearly every day for the month of April. More importantly, though, these students have committed to make writing a top priority in their lives!
If you are interested in the "Slice of Life Blogging Challenge," comment below to let us know you'll be doing it with us.
Above photo courtesy of graygalaxy.edublogs.org
Kimberly Barrett, NBCT, Bachelor of Arts of English, Murray State University, 1996, Master's Degree in English, MSU, 2004
Blessed to teach since 1996, I spend my days doing exactly what I've always wanted to do . . . TEACH. I'm married to the sweetest man alive, Tim, and we have two beautiful babies, Marlee Rose and Beau Wilson.