Formerlyrojo’s Weblog

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Be Living March 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — formerlyrojo @ 12:18 am

I feel full after watching Tim Tyson’s Keynote speech for Necc 2007.  I feel full of anticipation for next year.  Full of joy after watching seventh graders present what they care about.  Full of motivation to inspire.  I feel purposeful.  Meaningful.  And a little fearful.

I have always believed that student achievement should be based around things that matter.  Grades are simply a letter from the alphabet, so why do they hold so much weight?  Dr. Tyson’s idea of a film contest for the whole school is inspired.  But, and here comes my fear, what do I do if I teach in a school that does not support a project-based curriculum?  What if I’m trapped in a school that follows a day-to-day pacing guide that prohibits any deviation? 

 And so my question is this: How do I create meaning within my classroom?  I like Dr. Tyson’s questions, “What do you have to say that everyone on our planet needs to hear?”  I think I can do a small scale version of his film contest between my four periods.  I’m already thinking about what kinds of videos my students might create for Lord of the Flies.  It could be awesome!  But wait, I’m just a student teacher.  Next year Jaime, next year.

After watching this video I’m again reminded of the way that we, as educators, quiet down student thought and questioning in order to “get back on track” with what we think they should know (ie. standards, CRCT, etc.).  It’s inspiring to see students with real, content-related questions and answers that they’ve created through their own learning experiences.  These middle school students were asking BIG questions that require lots of thought and may not enable easy answers.  These students asked questions that mattered…to everyone.  Last semester my seventh grade students learned about cloning and that cloned meat will be sold without a label.  They would have loved to produce a movie that persuaded audiences either for or against what the FDA has the power to label, especially if they knew that the world would watch.

I think that Dr. Tyson’s message is one that all educators should embrace.  All students can be contributors to society.  All students want lives of meaning.  It doesn’t matter the age of the student, or the age of the educator, but we are all living.  As Dr. Tyson would say, we need to “be living.”  Let’s inspire our students to reach their full potential.


The snowmen worked!! January 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — formerlyrojo @ 12:47 am

My mom-n-law collects snowmen.  Any size, shape, texture, etc.  They come out at Christmas, and they go home to the attic around March or if she gets fed up because they didn’t bring any snow.  Well mom-n-law, I’m happy to report we were almost snowed in!  I give my thanks to the snowmen collection.  Here’s a picture of my boy JACKSON and his snow-filled romp in the yard.  Enjoy.


“Let freedom ring…” January 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — formerlyrojo @ 3:31 am

This morning I was sitting in homeroom when the announcements were played.  We stood for the pledge, stood for a moment of “quiet reflection,” sat and listened to the meetings of the day, listened to students who won the character awards.  And then.  We watched a video, similar to the one that I’ve posted…a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. 

My eyes welled up with tears as I listened, I think for the first time as an adult, to the “I have a dream” speech.  Words with so much power.  Words that matter.  Words that mattered!  

Through my tears I saw all the color in my classroom.  Black kids, white kids, purple haired kids.  Sitting together, laughing together, watching this tribute together.  Words that matter.  This is why we’re teaching English.  This is what my students will understand when they leave my classroom.  Our words can make a difference.  Isn’t that the point?


Another day… January 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — formerlyrojo @ 1:49 am

Another dollar?  Unfortunately, no.  I’m dollarless. 

Today SHOULD have been a snow day.  I know it, my students know it, the snow that still sits in my gutters knows it.  But alas, we went to school.  We sat in our desks!  We conquered our books!  We united!  Whew, I think the primaries are getting to me.

And so, as a reward, here are my friends Adam Sandler and the late, great Chris Farley.  Enjoy what I lovingly refer to as: “Ode to the Lunch Lady.”


My First Survey January 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — formerlyrojo @ 12:56 am

Hello Friends!  I recently created a survey for my new uber-cool technology class.  It’s all about the free time that I had BEFORE beginning this program.  I mean really, who decides to devote their life to a Master’s degree?  Well, me.  And about eleven other people.  So good luck to us!  Enjoy this SURVEY