Sunday, August 30, 2009

A summer lost or was it?

A vegetable garden with great promise for a grand harvest—neglected, not nurtured and now without potential—

Aspirations of walking, exercising -- unfulfilled—

Days with many hours of daylight, awaking early to sunshine streaming in the window --- now so much shorter—

Conversations with my soul mate, time just spent together-- almost nonexistent

A summer, two precious months, lost or was it?

Now that I’ve finally reclaimed my life from a project that so totally stripped the summer away and I’ve had time to breathe again away from the pressure and frustration, shades on a window of realization have been lifted. Not only has what I sensed I knew been amplified and reinforced, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany--- at this age---

Passion-- passion for learning, passion for projects --- This summer there was no passion. I learned lots about RtI for which I have no passion. I know, RtI is big today --absolutely no passion. I fondly remember my years in the classroom—no universal screeners, no probes, no progress monitoring, no graphs, no decision rules— lacking all of these I knew my students’ strengths, their weaknesses, and how they were progressing. And so it was a project of drudgery, frustration, wanting to be finished. Recalling those times of synergy and learning and comparing -- thoughts of youngsters doing worksheets, being tested, wanting to be out of school. How can we not recognize and honor the need for passion based, interest based learning for our students?

Connecting and Collaboration- A member of a team, yet working in isolation on my designated duties, reminiscent of the isolation of the summers during my career in the classroom, soaking up as much as I could from professional journals. Finally this summer, project completed-- logging in to bloglines and twitter accounts after weeks away, wondering all that I had missed, realizing and appreciating even more the connections and collaborations that have taken my learning to a new level. And then thinking back to my students as we collaborated with other classes from other countries—their excitement and anticipation of learning to come—How can we not develop collaborative, connected learning experiences for our students?

Learning— This project, self paced online learning so opposed to my beliefs about learning. The paths I’ve traveled learning, learning about learning-- from my early years in teacher centered classrooms attempting to give my teachers what they required --to my participation in MOOM where I experienced the joys, fears and exhilaration of inquiry based learning -- to CCK08 where I discovered more fully the power and potential of networked connected learning— How can we help educators move to networked connected learning for students? How can we not recognize the need for job embedded collaborative learning for teachers?

The epiphany—I’m not what I’ve called myself for the past 5 years. I’m not an instructional designer. I am a learner. I retired from the classroom, and wanting to continue to contribute to education, learned that Ohio was beginning to develop online courses for teachers. I was interested in learning and online learning and upon inquiry, the folks at what was then Ohio Schoolnet felt that I’d fill the role of what they called instructional designer. I’ve used that label since. No formal instruction in design, as a member of a team, I helped to design and develop online courses for Ohio teachers within a learning management system. I’ve learned that I don’t have the skills of an instructional designer and I have no passion to acquire them. I know what CSS are; I have no idea or desire to learn how to create them. I don’t know applications that produce canned learning within an LMS nor do I want to learn them. I have a sense of what looks good to me but I know no rules for design. I am a learner on a journey, a learning journey with lots of sidetrips and hours of wayfinding-- for the love of the journey— not desirous of a particular destination-- And again, I’m reading, I’m writing, and I’m learning with a passion--- And I’m wondering do we really think that the current trend in education invites our youngsters to embark on incredible learning journeys with expansive landscapes beyond imagination for the love of the journey? With an invitation to such a learning journey, wouldn’t possibilities abound?

Hmmm, maybe the summer wasn’t lost at all—it was me that was lost for just a while--

Friday, August 28, 2009

A rainbow gone---

Always, always a pot of gold with each episode of Reading Rainbow

LeVar Burton’s engaging stories, activities and laughter—

Smiling, joyous youngsters regaling young readers and old with wonderful reasons to make their book a favorite---

26 years of encouraging a love of and passion for reading—

Gone because—“the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration … which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.”

But you don’t have to take my word for it-- Reading Rainbow Reaches Its Final Chapter

“Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high,
Take a look, it's in a book — Reading Rainbow ...”

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