Lights, camera, action! It’s award time!

09/19/2013

This weekend educators will be recognized with a red carpet, black-tie event in Washington, DC.

No, not a state dinner, not even a White House reception, it is something better. It is the 2nd annual Bammy Awards for Educational Excellence. I know, you’ve never heard of them.

The Bammy Award

The Bammy Award

It is a sad state of affairs when the ceremony aimed at recognizing the good work of education workers also suffers from a lack of recognition. But we have an opportunity to change that.

This year the Bammy Awards are being broadcast live on the web. You will see us arrive in our limousines and step out onto a red carpet. There will be people interviewing us. Then you will get to see handsome statuettes distributed an impressive award ceremony that is surprisingly fast paced because award winner speeches are limited to two sentences. Really. Wittiness is encouraged.

I can tell you from experience that it is extremely difficult to write a good two-sentence acceptance speech, I have tried.  I am one of the five finalists in the school librarian category, just added this year, so I had to do it . There should be no chance I will win since I am up against four of the top school librarians in the country and I am barely qualified to do shelving for them. Even so, I have to have a two-sentence acceptance speech ready.

I know you have a life and better things to do on a Saturday night than watch an awards show, but you can tune in and be snarky just like you are watching the stars and wanna-be actors arrive for the Academy Awards. Pay particular attention to the women’s shoes, there has been a lot of posting on Facebook about their finds. 99% of the men, including me, will be wearing rented tuxedos, you can tell because they won’t have chalk on them.

And if you miss the live stream of the event, it will be archived and available for viewing any time.

So please, give some recognition to the ceremony recognizing school people. It will trickle down to us eventually.

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What I Told the White House

03/03/2010
South façade of the White House, the executive...
Image via Wikipedia

Today the White House blog asked “What does 21st century education mean to you?”

I don’t normally read the White House blog, but Michael Josefowicz, one of the regular commenters here pointed me to the post.

The White House asked for responses via Facebook, Linked-in or Twitter. I chose the latter, though I found 140 characters were not enough. I used 1120 characters, give or take a few. This is what I told the White House.

.@whitehouseIt 21st C. education recognizes that all knowledge is connected; art, music, social studies are part of math & science emphasis.

.@whitehouselt 21st C education isn’t about a score on a test, it’s preparing a rounded person to accomplish great things.

Then I pointed them to yesterday’s blog posting.

.@whitehouselt Assessment is essential, but it must be appropriate to the learning desired, to the subject matter, & to student needs.

.@whitehouselt Formalized assessment now takes a huge part of teaching time & school resources for very little benefit to students.

.@whitehouselt Emphasis on standardized testing reveals a lack of imagination in assessment & produces lack of imagination in students.

.@whitehouselt 21st C advances should allow individualized teaching & learning. That will require individualized assessment. <more>

.@whitehouselt Emphasis on standardized exams takes imagination/effort from individualized teaching, resources not available to develop it

.@whitehouselt Race To The Top stifles creativity rather than promoting it. Innovation is directed into narrow channels.

I could have gone on, but I had the sense they weren’t really listening.

Maybe I’m wrong about that.

I hope so.

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Hard Beginning, Harder Ending?

09/13/2009
Bloomberg giving a speech.
Image via Wikipedia

This has not been the best start to the school year and definitely not the beginning I Imagined.

First, the teacher whose room I was to move into, let’s call her Z, refused to move out.

Back in June I suggested that she box her stuff and I would come in and move it to her new room before we were due to report to work for the new term.

I arrived a week early on wheels. The wheels were on my hand truck and mover’s dolly. I was ready to work, but the room wasn’t.

Nothing was packed.

Meanwhile, the new teacher moving into my room from last year was also in the building ready to start fixing up the room for her students.

I had to take all my things out of the closets and move them to the front of the room where they sat for a week until all teachers had to report to work on Tuesday.

I was sure Z would start moving her stuff.  I was wrong.

At two PM, just three hours before the building would close on the day before students arrived she finally came to the room where I was doing my best to set-up around her stuff.

When she said, “I guess I should go find some boxes,” I just growled.

Needless to say, my room was not ready for students when they arrived on Wednesday. Or Thursday.  Finally on Friday I had students in my room.

But I had no desk and no bookcases.

Eventually desks and chairs arrived, but still no bookcases.

The school was out of bookcases.

Imagine, a reading program with no bookcases.

Also on Friday the room’s computer arrived, but without a keyboard or mouse.

The school was out of them, too.

In addition to teaching reading to special education students I teach social studies to general education 6th and 8th grade students in a different room.

The sixth graders fit into the room. There are 28 desks and chairs and there are 28 sixth graders in the classroom.

There are 35 eighth graders and when they came into the room they were sitting on the bookcases (yes, that room has them), on the windowsills (not allowed, but what could I say, the only alternative was the floor), and leaning against a wall.

There are 35 desks in their homeroom just down the hall, but that room’s teacher was giving the seventh grade students ELA instruction. There were seven empty desks because there are only 28 of them, but it is too difficult to move desks and chairs from room to room every period change.

It is especially difficult because in the process of moving the dozens of boxes of books from my old room to my bookcase-less new one, I pulled muscles in my groin and abdomen, which set off back spasms.

Like I said, not the best of starts.

Now I’m not a complainer, but I was frustrated and posted about it to Twitter. My Personal Learning Network responded. My PLN includes classroom teachers, tech specialists, principals, librarians and university professors from around the world, and they have taught me more in my year on Twitter than all my years of college and grad school did combined.

Ironically, my first responder was former NYC policeman Ira Socol, now a doctoral student at Michigan State University

tweetdeck 5

Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of NYC, insisted that if he got control of the schools they would run better and he’s been loudly and consistently claiming success ever since.

Ira doesn’t vote in NYC anymore, so he set his sights a little higher in trying to get me what I need.

ira #1

This was quickly followed by…

courosa

Retweets spread news and ideas like ripples around a stone dropped in a pond. Each retweet is a new stone.

tweetdeck #3tweetdeck #2tweetdeck #1

A little time passed, then a second wave began…

secondwave #1

And so on.

I haven’t heard from the White House yet, but I understand the President’s been busy trying to get health care straightened out.

Maybe when he gets done with that I’ll get some bookcases, a keyboard and a mouse.

Don’t hold your breath.

Unless you have really good health insurance, that is.

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