Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Innovative Asset Educator

I love the title of this post, Innovative Asset Educator. I think I want this to be my new title, it sounds so more significant than say teacher. Now before steam starts coming out of your ears, I'm not degrading teachers at all---I'm tryig to lift us up. I'm on a mission, a mission to get us the respect we deserve and bring professionalism back into teaching, that is the professionalism teachers didn't take out. So let's break down this title.

Innovative-one who changes or introduces something new. I'm going on my 9th year as a teacher, and never has one year been the same as the other. My available materials have grown, my knowledge has expanded, and I've learned from my mistakes. Next year I want to go virtually paperless, not sure how I'm going to do it. It will absolutely be a process that may take a few years to master. If we want to educate 21st century innovators we must be innovative with technology.

Asset-A useful or desireable thing or quality. Well I know my students enjoy being in my class, and I hope to provide a quality education. How do you measure that? What is the success rate? We grade schools based on AIMS test. We judge students on how well they can complete a worksheet. So, how do we really know we are an asset. This past year I had a reluctant and trouble making student. I won't go into details, but by year end her parents (and her) made it a point to let me know what a difference I made in their daughters life. That is being an asset. Unfortunately, these things aren't published in newspapers, web pages, or used as criteria to evaluate any educational system.

Educator-One who teachers. Not one who dissiminates information, not one who does the same thing as the previous year. My mother did that when she taught in the 1960's. She wrote lesson plans in year 1 and used the same plans for six years. In the 1960's it worked, we are 40 years away from those days. An educator must incorporate ever changing technology, if we don't we are literally robbing our students futures. We are in a learning, unlearning, and relearning stage of society. Think about the telephone in the 1970's, 1980's, and now (hint: rotary, touch tone, and cell). You learned, unlearned, and relearned at least 3 times on how to use a phone.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a Classroom Innovator. I enjoyed working on a project for GO PBS Kids, which changed me. Innovating! I enjoyed sharing and learning knowledge through the net, in person, and phone conferences. Asset. I enjoyed being engaged with the wonderful staff at ASSET.

So the biggest gift as a classroom innovator? My new title. Next time someone says, "what do you do for a living?" My response will be, "I'm an Innovative Asset Educator." Are you willing to be bold with me, and change your title?

Monday, June 15, 2009

What'll We Do... Museum or Zoo?

For those of you who came to the ASSET Educator Summer Institute 2009 a few days ago, you received your very own copy of the Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC) publication, What'll We Do... Museum or Zoo?. Did you know there are valuable coupons and passes in the back of that book that expire this summer? Take the little ones or big ones in your life on a tour! Enjoy the activities in the book before and after your trip. And... redo the activities online from Eight's own Generation Eight!

Then I connected a few other dots to this resource when I opened my email this morning from WNET's Colorin' Colorado to find an online effort from a PBS affiliate to support this same idea!

There are so many incredible things to do right in our own backyard in Arizona. A "Staycation" has never been more fun!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Want to be one of the First Middle School Science Teachers to Try Out Design Squad Curriculum Materials in Your Classroom?

The producers of the PBS TV show Design Squad (http://pbskids.org/designsquad/) are conducting a field test of the Design Squad curriculum in eight middle school classrooms during the upcoming academic year (2009-2010). Classrooms that participate in the study will receive the Design Squad Teacher's Guide and accompanying videos.

Classrooms that can commit at least six class periods to the curriculum (activities from two units) are preferred. The Design Squad curriculum is focused on physical science and includes three units: Electricity or Air Pressure; Sound; and Buoyancy and Newton's Laws.

In most cases, these units are taught during different times of the year at each school. This study design is flexible enough so that you'll be able to easily integrate Design Squad into your existing curriculum.

If you have any questions or you would like to see if you qualify for the study, please contact Chris Bransfield at cbransfield@veridianinsight.com

NOTE: This update came directly from PBS Teachers! Are you on their email mailing list?