Friday, March 1, 2013

Dawn of a New Age

It wasn't very long ago when the educational world was very structured and predictable.  During the 1980's and 1990's Standardized testing didn't really exist, and in spots it did exist it didn't have such a heavy weight attached to it.  In the 90's some schools had technology, but the technology was very slow and used more for word processing.  In this age of education teachers were creative, hands-on, and did their very best to prepare students for the future.  I began teaching in the year 2000.  I remember it well, the big talk was about how the Millennium Bug would crash all electronic devices and render them useless. (Side note - it didn't and life went on)

When I began teaching the talk was transitioning to standardized testing, trying to create better problem solvers and teaching across the curriculum.  I sat down with my mentor teacher and we discussed educational trends.  She said to me, "Ben, when you've taught as long as I have you see things come full circle."  I said to Janice, "So this isn't new?"  Her response was classic, "Oh no!  During the 80's we had to implement science and math into almost everything we did."  My big question to Janice after this was, how do you do it, how do you stay passionate?  Janice said to me that she always wanted tomorrow to be better than today.  She was always striving to improve and find new and better ways of teaching.  I loved this mentality and this is what made Janice great.  Janice had her routines, she had her predictability, but what she also had was a desire to constantly evolve and do what is best for kids.  This was a 25+ year teacher that looked at change as an opportunity not a handcuff.

A new age is upon us as educators.  Technology is everywhere. The Common Core is right around the corner. Standard-Based Grading is gaining momentum. Evaluations now occur every year. It can seem overwhelming, it can seem like too much, too soon.  I'm here to say, "Bring it on!"  When I chose to become a teacher I did it because I believed I could make a difference in kids lives.  I was passionate then and I'm passionate now.  I love technology as an educational tool/resource.  I believe it opens doors and helps prepare students for what the future holds.  I'm excited about the Common Core!  I know it won't be easy, I know we may fall on our faces at first, but I'm okay with that.  As educators we must not fear failure.  We must embrace the new age and use our energy to innovate and improve for our students.  

The quote I lean on in times like this is: 

if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind

Contributed by Hannah Beasley

I will end with this, the catchy educational phrases out there right now are "Transparent", "Ethical", "21st Century", "Blended Learning", "Game-Based Learning", "Standardized", and "Social-Media".  These trends aren't going away.  My advice to you is:
1 - Be True To Who You Are
2 - Remember Why You Chose This Profession
3 - Never Stop Learning
4 - Don't Fear Failure...Embrace It and Grow
5 - Be the Teacher You Would Want To Have in Class

Next Week At a Glance:

Monday, March 4th:  3:45 Skype session with Kim Powell
Monday, March 4th: 4:15 Coffee Talk at McD's
Tuesday, March 5th:  3pm Reading Month Assembly in the Gym
Wednesday, March 6th:  Grades 3-5 assembly
Wednesday, March 6th:  MacBook Rollout at Bean Elementary 2:45
Wednesday, March 6th:  iCreate 6:30pm at Michigan Theatre

Articles Worth Your Time:

Educational Videos, Lessons and Games  shared by @jmherrington5

Smile it's Good For You!  shared by @flourishingkids

Letting Go of Homework and Worksheets  shared by @dougpete

Homework or Not?  shared by @mikeparent

O.D.D. Behavior? How to manage this behavior in kids and teens  shared by @behaviordoctor

7 Critical Truths We Forget All Too Soon  shared by @marcandangel

Skype Lessons for Teachers  shared by @posickj

iPad iNformation:

Show and Explain Your Work!  shared by @ClassTechTips

Kids Book Report App  shared by @sjgorman

10 Educational Apps for a Well-Rounded Curriculum  shared by @AnnAmandaBee

Videos Worth Watching:

Gotta Watch This!  First Follower...It's harder to be the first follower than it is to be the leader.  My question for all of you, will you help start a movement? (5 min)

Lebron Doing the Harlem Shake! (1 min)

Gary Abub teaser on BYOD! (1 min)

Ellen Teaches us all how to sit! (4 min)

Warner Elementary is Rockin' the 50's (2 min)


  1. Okay, this comment is before reading ANYTHING!!! I LOVE your book shelf....and I think I recommended two of those books to you! :) (yay)

    1. Yes you did. My next must read is The Book Whisperer. Starting that this weekend.