Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thanks Damian

Okay, well I think this ain't the first time that Damian has tagged me in one of them memes. The thing is, I'm not that into memes. For one, I tend to not get "tagged" often cuz there's really only two blogs that I've bothered to do more than lurk on - his, Apace of Change, and dan meyer's fantastic math blog. I have an old-fashioned professional learning network - people I trust whom I work with / have worked with in the past.

And for another, I tend to intensely dislike memes. They remind me waaaaay too much of the email forwards I get from middle schoolers. "IF U DON'T SEND THIS ON TO 30 PPL IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTES YOU WILL NEVER MEET THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE!!!1!" If you don't get those email forwards, consider yourself blessed.

However there are some other relevant facts: it's 10pm, I've got lots of emails yet to send tonight, and I'm wired on caffeine. So let's start knitting our PASSION QUILT!

Start with some copy & paste la...

Passion Quilt Meme Rules:
1. Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.
2. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
3. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
4. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.

So...I kind of ignored the directions. Here's the word I chose to symbolize what I think I think about education at the moment:


You should check out what that word looks like in different fonts. Personally I picked a bunch at random and gain pleasure from viewing baby kruffy, constantia and pussycat.

However...I am one of those guys who follows the rules, as much as I like to pretend to be a rebel. So here's a picture I like that I found from searching for "construction" in flickr cc:


I picked construction because...well, did you see what it looks like all-caps in constantia? And that picture is nice. Great snapshot of a journey...incomplete, noisy, smelly, can't see the end...kinda like life, ennit? And construction involves power tools, which are pretty much amazing.

What does it have to do with teaching...well, there's the whole thing that kids have to "construct" their own meaning out of the lessons. I don't buy into that approach wholesale, because in philosophically pure constructivism there's no place for skills development.

And that's a huge part of my job, the skillz. I'm there to help my students hone their skills - linguistic, organizational, social, emotional. I'm working with them to build the strategies they'll have to fall back on throughout the rest of their life. It's like we're on the same construction team, building a classroom full of gleaming high rise skyscrapers.

Another reason I picked "construction" is that I am fascinated with how a school organization is built. It's always interested me to learn how / why decisions are made. And I'm still completely flabbergasted at the awful hypocrisy of institutions built to help children learn can't seem to treat their key employees - teachers and staff - with very much humanity. There's GOTTA be a better way to build an organization than what I've seen in my short career.


Now, to wrap this baby up. Jeffreygene really doesn't have an online "professional learning network". I'll change the rules again. J-dawg, Kaxmo, Hoov, Justin - you're all teachers in different ways, and you're all awesome. You don't have to do this silly meme. Just read what I wrote and comment, yeah?

But if you don't at least do that...you will get warts on your ring finger in the next year. Really, it happened to my neighbor's cousin's girlfriend's auntie.