With the impending snow heading our way, Maria and Sheila talked about the possibility of a snow day! Snow days have to be made up at the end of the school year to meet the state's requirements. What if the students were able to do the school work at home and have the work count as a day of school. Some schools have implemented 'Blizzard Bags.'
Lisa is still 'on leave' and we hope she will be able to return soon and add to the conversation!
This week Maria and Sheila talked about caring in our classroom/school and entrusting students to our care (in relation to the Sandy Hook school shootings). (Lisa was unable to join us for the show this week.)
We started our celebration with a look at a couple of the philosophical touchstones for TTT, mainly World Bridges and the National Writing Project. Jeff Lebow (WB) and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl (NWP) helped us with these starting points.
The goals of Worldbridges are relatively simple and straightforward, as follows, “Our primary goal is to foster understanding and cooperation amongst the citizens of the world. We value civility and respect, open source collaboration, fair distribution of income, and a sense of world identity.” As part of these efforts, Worldbridges seeks to foster positive systemic changes in areas such as education, the environment, and politics. It also supports reliable and fair commerce. And it promotes a “people’s forum” for more civilized discussion of problems, issues, and conflicts that pose significant challenges in united the people of this planet. Values supported by the Worldbridges organization include respect and civility, fair distribution of income, world identity, and open source collaboration.
Jeff Lebow began experimenting with Worldbridges ideas (initially called “World Explorer”) when starting his master’s program in Training and Learning Technologies at the University of New Mexico in 1993 after a year of teaching English in Thailand (Worldbridges, 2007). At that time, Lebow became excited at the possibilities of the convergence of intercultural interaction and collaborative and interactive online technologies. After completing his masters, he returned to Asia—this time Pusan, Korea—where he taught English as a university and began to experiment with online audio and video, which included covering the Nagano Olympics in 1998. After burning out on all his activities and attempting to envision and build a webcasting network his life took a turn, or as he puts it, “I decided to quit my job, shave my head, and go to India for a while to contemplate the next chapter, for me personally and for Worldbridges. After some quality offline time, I decided to give Worldbridges a shot.” In Lebow’s vision for Worldbridges, he sought for it to become a means for using Internet technology for a global webcasting network of people. And it has!
And here's a paragraph about the National Writing Project's core philosophy by Art Peterson in 2004
The National Writing Project's core philosophy, "teachers teaching teachers," is perhaps most directly expressed in the invitational summer institute's teacher demonstrations. NWP founder Jim Gray writes in Teachers at the Center, his memoir of the writing project beginnings, "The most successful demonstrations communicate not only what the teacher does but also why the teacher thinks this particular practice works. The emphasis upon the why as well as the what is important: it provides a theoretical underpinning and it accents a considered approach to writing beyond mere gimmickry" (143). According to Gray, this demonstration serves as a "trial run" for the workshops future teacher-consultants will present during inservice work in the schools, but it is intended to be much more than a simple demonstration of a strategy or technique. It is intended to be a significant "genre" for the circulation of knowledge about practice.
Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.
Spring Renewal. Do our classrooms have seasons too? We discussed if there were spring/seasonal differences that affect our teaching and our students. Does your classroom change? The building staff? You?
This week we discussed reasons we go to conferences and what we do when we get back to school. Do we become agents of change or do we just continue the week to week routine without making changes based on what we learned by attending the conference?