Week 4 Virtual Class Session Archive

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I enjoyed listening to the discussion on The Art of Possibility and the comparison to similar books such as The Power of Positive Thinking and The Secret. While I’ve never read either of those two books, I read a similar book called The Tao of Pooh that offered an easy-to-digest introduction to the Eastern philosophy of Taoism. I read The Tao of Pooh while riding an Amtrak train from Philadelphia to Boston back in the early 90’s. I’ve never forgotten the life lesson on the path of least resistance. I’ve shared this one with my students numerous times, encouraging them to avoid decisions that create stress and resistance. Instead of trying to move a tree or go through it, simply go around the tree and continue on the path. The Tao of Pooh, much like The Art of Possibility, was a book that provided me with information that I was able to apply to my own life experiences with positive results. During the virtual session, Catherine referred to The Art of Possibility as a book with information intended to be actionable, put into practice. I agree with her and intend to put into practice this fall much of what I learned from The Art of Possibility.

I was glad to learn more about our work for month 12. While I’m looking forward to having next week off, I’m very excited to begin working on my final presentation and reflection videos. It’s also good to know that we will have the opportunity to act as “the experts” during our final project review session. I look forward to discussing my experiences in EMDT and reviewing my AR website in the final session.

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Week 4 Peer Comment – Catherine Jackson

Original Post: http://catherinejackson1.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/wk-4-chapters-9-12-changing-perspectives-altering-realities/comment-page-1/#comment-155

Catherine, I’m going to miss reading your blog after this program ends. This one was really moving. The blank page as a metaphor for our lives makes perfect sense to me. I often tell my students that their lives are blank canvases upon which they can create their own personal “works of greatness.” I love the story of Theresa Smith giving you an “A” an the tremendously positive influence she had on your life.

I would like to believe that we can all continue to connect with each other post-EMDT, but life will likely take us along divergent paths. However, the experiences we have all shared and the insight gleaned from readings such as The Art of Possibility have provided us with new knowledge and perspective that I believe has prepared us for our new chapters in life. I know that when school begins in the fall I will think about our conversations, blog posts, collaborative assignments, and other shared experiences as I interact with colleagues and consider how I may share a few sparks in hopes of inspiring them to achieve greatness. Thank you for sharing so much with us over the past few months. I know that you will continue lighting many sparks!

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WK 4: Chapters 9-12- Changing Perspectives, Altering Realities

As I have sat here staring at a blank screen for a couple of hours struggling on how to begin, where to connect to, determining what message should be expressedit has hit me-quite literally staring right back at me…the blank page.  I know you are probably wondering what meds I am on, but seriously,these chapters are metaphorically represented by my blank page.  You see this document, this blog, was once blank, empty-initially, there were no limitations, there were no measurements.  This page, this blog is my chess board, and it is wide open to a plethora of possibilities and it happened to have been clear of any obstacles or hindrances that could have impeded what is written.  Better yet, it carries no baggage, no regrets, no vengeance, no expectations-other than what I determine is essential-what I realize I need to do in order to connect-not just with the assignment, but to connect intrinsically with the “art of possibility.”  Now, as the words have emerged, I can battle with the letters or create something fluid and editable because there is no battle to conquer-no competition to prepare.  However, although this was an epiphany, it isn’t the only realization or thought I have had since reading these chapters-I have been enveloped by ideas, contradictions, questions. 

For example, these last four chapters kept prompting a connection within me to the first four chapters-perception and seeing new perspectives where blame is not a reality, only a minor obstacle that can be altered based on one’s choice, one’s power of choice and realization.  Giving the “A” is how you tell the “WE” story, how to create a framework of possibility, how to become the board, and how to light the spark-it is all connected, just as (for the most part) we are connected by this seemingly insignificant blog.  I mentioned Theresa Smith in my opening blog in response to reading the first four chapters in The Art of Possiblity by Rosamund Stone Zander because she gave me an ‘A’ through giving so freely to me the realization that I was worthy simply because I was a person, by emphasizing that my economic background, the life I was haunted by, the clothes I wore-that none of it had anything to do with my value.  None of these things had the power to control me because they were just things and nothing more. 

What I did not mention in that section was the reality of my life prior to that moment when Theresa Smith enlightened me to the possibilities at my fingertips, and here is where my contradiction with part of what I read emerges.  I believe that we can be the chess board in many situations.  I believe thatwe can be the framework for humanity just as she was for me, and we can help those around us rise above situations to see new potential and possibilities, but, perhaps it is my personal story that prevents me from connecting to the idea that all of us must wear the blame in situations andacknowledge our errors in problems or people that we encounter.  Although I tend to void this topic as much as possible, I think that it may provide some basis as to why I am struggling so much with this concept.  I was molested by a step-father for somewhere close to 10 years-the exact amount, I am not sure about because I can’t remember when it began, just when it finally ended.

I do not feel or believe that I should ever invite him into my life so we could discuss or resolve how he felt about the situation-I don’t care to, and I don’t think that anyone that molests a child and robs them of their memories can be permitted to be considered someone that I should give an ‘A’ to.  Understanding why someone would do this does not alleviate the impact and ugliness that a child endures…now, with that said, does it mean that I have the right to play the poor me, card.  No, I don’t believe that-I believe that my page is empty and what I write into my life is up to me and what I contribute to this final reading blog and to those around me is that we are all a book waiting to be written, and where we end up is only determined by our own actionshoweverwith each action, with each word, with each sentence, we can reinvent negativity into something as inspirational as the breath of a new born child.

Week 4 Peer Comment – Mark Chacon

Original Post: http://mark181.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/weekly-reading-ch-9-12/comment-page-1/#comment-24

Marc, I loved that Marianne Williamson quote you included. It reminded me of a message our church pastor shared with us a few years ago. To paraphrase him, we have an obligation to share our “God-given” talents with others. As Williamson states in her quote, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.” The Art of Possibility has been a wonderfully enlightening read for me, too. The book and its information will definitely be kept nearby for quick reference. I’m also buying a copy for one of my colleagues who I’m sure will love it. Actually, it would probably be a good idea to recommend the book to our entire faculty!

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Chapter 11 Creating Framework for Possibility

We are not a machine.

This chapter had the most affect on my current situation in life. I enjoyed the story about the students who visited Brazil and were a little rowdy in their behavior and how the author handled the situation. The Sao Paolo story was a great example of how to get the most out of our youth through transfer of responsibility to themselves. The talk given by the author resulted in a greater understanding of what it was to be an ambassador of music and leaders. I feel that as a teacher and a parent you are constantly trying to figure out how best to handle teenager’s behavior so they can reflect on their actions and grow.

Although I am not a religious individual I do believe that we all need guidance at varying times and the quote by Marianne Williamson addressed by Nelson Mandela is a great message to pass on to everyone.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We as ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented  and fabulous-

Actually, who are we not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people

Won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.

It is not just in some of us: it is in everyone,

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously

Give other people permission to do the same.

The section on Mission Statement versus Vision statement was also well articulated, I think the distinction between business-oriented goals and life goals are what separate the two. We might need to revisit our school mission statement.

The book The Art of Possibility by Zander and Zander is a book that gave me much to think about when it comes to how I am living my life and how I affect those around me. I would recommend the book to those individuals who need a timeout to evaluate their current situations.

Wk4 Leadership Project Blog Post: Leadership Role Model Reflection

MY RESEARCH TOPIC: Using free, web-based Resources in a flipped classroom environment to increase student engagement

One of the reasons I chose this particular research topic is because I believed that if given the opportunity to work with programs and devices that promoted creativity, students would become excited about learning. At the very least, I believed that students would become more interested in learning than they had been without said programs and devices. This belief in the power of creativity stems from a pivotal experience during my senior year in high school.

I was a daydreamer as a child, placed in “accelerated” and “gifted learning” programs in elementary and middle school but ultimately too easily distracted (and too often disinterested) to keep up with my peers academically. It wasn’t until I met my high school English teacher Mr. White that the spark for learning was lit inside of me. Mr. White encouraged us to be creative thinkers. From his unique classroom environment with cool lighting and seating to his popular rock group “Whitey and the Doo-Wops” that featured student singers and musicians, I had been welcomed into a world of creativity and intellectualism. Kind of a weird place to suddenly find myself, actually, but the experience proved to be invaluable.

I have often thought about how I felt when I first arrived in Mr. White’s class, how happy and motivated I became. This experience influenced my belief that it is important to provide my students with a variety of options with their learning, from my classroom seating configuration, to the different project choices available to them, to whether they work independently or collaboratively. It took a few years to reach a place in my teaching career where I hit my proverbial stride, but I’m happy to say that my music classroom has become quite the happening place! I discovered that there were many students eager to take my class because they heard from their friends how much fun they were having creating their own songs and films, making their own music on the drums and guitars, and working with their friends in collaborative groups to create interesting projects that they were able to share with students around the globe via our global collaborations initiative. Creativity was flourishing all around us and it was infectious!

Recent Influences and Role Models

I realize that this may seem a bit cliche´, but Steve Jobs and Apple are WAY up there on my list of admired individuals and organizations. I want my students to enter my classroom and feel as turned on as I do when I walk into an Apple store! Apple has found a way to make technology sexy and appealing to everyone. What happens now when we want to find out the capital of another country or discover or the distance of the Earth from the Sun? We take out our mobile phones and look it up. A moment later, depending on network or WiFi availability, we have our answer. Learning happens all of the time, in more places than ever before. Thanks to innovators like Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive, technology has encouraged and ignited our creative selves.

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When my students first saw my brand new 27″ iMac machines they nearly fainted. They could not wait to begin using them. When properly guided and provided with specific usage expectations, my students’ desire to explore, create, and learn skyrocketed. Moving forward, I plan on lobbying for the use of personal mobile devices in the classroom and designing (or rather re-designing) our learning environments to resemble the Apple store. I can see it now – Students serving as customer service reps at the classroom “Genius Bar”, tutorials on film editing being held at the iPad station on one side of the classroom, and collaborative projects being developed in another area between my students and students at another location (Africa or Europe, perhaps).

Another person who has inspired me in education is Sir Ken Robinson. Few presentations have moved me as much as Robinson’s “Changing education paradigms” RSA Animate talk.This is a must-see for all educators!

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms.html

A champion for creativity and educational revolution, Ken Robinson has, well, nailed it! He has articulated the issues plaguing our educational system and identified the origins, illuminating a path paved in creativity, leading us towards true reform.

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”

Rather than embracing the idea/fact that there are people who have to move in order to think, many of us (myself NOT included) still insist that our students remain seated in those awfully uncomfortable desk chairs facing the front of the classroom in our carefully arranged rows. Between Ken Robinson’s insightful presentations and Apple’s intuitive and engaging technology, I have been inspired!

Einstein stated the following in his 1929 interview for “The Saturday Evening Post”:

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

I’m certainly not going to argue with Einstein!

Wk 4 Reading: The Art or Possibility Chapters 9-12

“Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share.” What a wonderful quote! I’ve discovered several inspiring quotes associated with The Art of Possibility that I want to print and hang in my office. “Remember Rule #6” will certainly be one of them.

My new role as department coordinator at my school will include working with teachers on everything from scheduling events to curriculum implementation. While I thoroughly enjoyed all four chapters from this week’s reading assignment, chapters nine and twelve really spoke to me. I will make a concerted effort to encourage and support my colleagues, assisting them however possible in realizing their full potential, Ultimately, our students and our school stand to reap the benefits of this newly developed framework.

“It is about playing together as partners in a field of light… offer that which lights you up… have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.”

It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities of working in an environment where everyone is enrolled as a partner in our “field of light.” I’m also looking forward to returning to work next month and sharing all of this information – information from The Art of Possibility, Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech and his inspirational “connecting the dots” concept. I’m sure my colleagues will be eager to catch the spark and begin the school year enthusiastically and optimistically. Just as Eastlea student Anthony rejoiced in conducting the Philharmonia in the finale of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, so too shall our students pursue and celebrate their potential.

Being the Board

I can recall several instances where I’ve blamed someone else for problems I’ve experienced and held onto that blame far longer than I should have. Had I only named myself the board and assumed responsibility in those instances, I may have transformed those experiences into more positive and productive ones.

I worked at a school that went through a difficult period in which the administration was removed for their inappropriate actions related to state-wide testing and financial discrepancies. Consequently, our school’s reputation was tarnished and moral hit an all-time low. I remember feeling angry and miserable.

My beleaguered colleagues and I soon came to realize that we were being blamed for the problems at our school, blamed by the local media and, subsequently, parents and community members. Really?! This was our fault!? We desperately needed to name ourselves the board and change our experience. Sadly, the administrative team hired to ostensibly “clean up the mess” we teachers had made took the position that it was “their way or the highway.” To date, nearly the entire faculty has chosen the highway.

“It is about playing together as partners in a field of light… offer that which lights you up… have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.”

I really like this! I plan on sharing this philosophy with my colleagues in hopes of enrolling them all as partners. Perhaps a new slogan like “it’s our way along this lighted highway”… hmmm… maybe I’ll just focus on enrollment and leave the slogan creating job for someone else.

Wk 3 Leadership Post: Leadership Project Hub

screen-capture-22I have chosen to write a paper on my action research project, discussing the use of free, web-based resources in a flipped classroom environment to increase student engagement. I’ve chosen to submit my paper to the Music Education Journal because I am familiar with the publication and its content, and I believe that my submission topic of flipping the music classroom would be of interest to readers.My second choice includes two journals published by AACE, “an international, not-for-profit, educational organization with the mission of advancing Information Technology in Education and E-Learning research, development, learning, and its practical application.” I’m considering submitting to two of the organization’s seven publications: Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (JTATE), which is a printed journal, and Contemporary Issues in Technology & Teacher Education (CITE), which is an electronic journal. I’m interested in the AACE publications because they reach a diverse, international demographic, not limited to only music educators. The CITE journal is an electronic journal that allows authors to “demonstrate the technologies about which they are writing, including video and audio segments, animation, virtual reality, Web links, and

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simulations.” I had planned on including links/QR codes to my project website and media assets so the readers could experience the project and all of its related resources. I like that the CITE journal integrates the supporting web-based resources into its articles for a complete interactive experience in one environment.

 

Leadership Project Posts
Week 1: To Publish or To Present
Week 2: Where Do I Want To Share My Project

 

My Leadership Document
Using Free, Web-Based Resources in a Flipped Classroom Environment to Increase Student Engagement

Wk 3 Peer Comment – Anna Rose

Original Post: http://annamarie1802.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/wk-3-reading-rule-number-6/comment-page-1/#comment-37

Anna, I’m happy to hear that you too come from a family of laughers. My parents just visited us at a few days ago and, as always, we did a lot of laughing. Thankfully, this is something that I enjoy with my students – sharing laughter with each other. Somehow we manage to balance light-heartedness with seriousness (for lack of a better term) in my classes. I can’t imaging being so stoic and serious with my students that laughter would not find its way into the day. Although I certainly have those times where I’ve been called out by my students, family and friends for taking myself too seriously. I think I’m also going to put up a “Rule #6” sign or tattoo it on my   hand so I can set myself straight in times of hyper-seriousness!

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Live, Laugh, Love or Rule # 6

Rule 6

This is not a new concept to me. I can not remember a time in our home when it was not full of laughter. In the worst times, the laughter was loudest. (You should hear us at funerals.) I think back on some of the hardest times in my life and my dad was always there with a joke or some way to make everyone smile. However, that is my personal life, not my professional life, so I have been more serious at work. I had a few students that said to me this year, “Miss Rose, we have seen you smile, but never heard you laugh.” I couldn’t believe that what they were saying was true, until I thought about it. I have been taking myself way too seriously recently. Everything has been about deadlines and accomplishing the tasks that I have set for myself. I have been living in the spiral and had forgotten about the vision.

As I have become more serious in my work life, I have started laughing less in my personal life as well. I have also started taking the actions of other so much more personally than those actions are intended. I believe that is because I have nudged Rule #6 out of my life. It is time to go back to my roots, stop taking myself so seriously and laugh a little more. Who wants to be around a “Debbie Downer” all of the time? I know I don’t, but I can’t move out of my own mind, so it’s time to change my mindset. Maybe I should make a poster that says “Rule #6″ and put it on my wall, because everyone needs a reminder once in a while.