Friday, December 6, 2013
Running has been a part of my attempt to maintain a healthy journey for my body for almost ten years now. It has allowed me to be healthier at 40 than at 30, and I hope that running will help me continue to bend the arc of aging for the next decade. It has led me to new depths about what was possible for me physically as I've driven my times in both the half marathon and marathon to a space that amazes almost every non-runner. There are moments in running that are more important than the finish line and the time displayed when you finish. It can be the first race after an injury when you are able to say "I'm back". It can be a race when you supported a cause with your legs. It can be a run that shines beauty into your soul as you are one with nature. It can be the run to release the stress that comes from losing someone or something. Running serves me, and I hope that I serve running. As I line up for the Memphis Marathon tomorrow morning in some of the toughest conditions that I've run for a race of this length, I remain focused on two things. The first is assisting those around me make it to the finish line to achieve their goal of their first marathon or another deeper goal that drives them to put one foot in front of the next. The second is to run for those that can't. I've always told folks that I run because I can, which has always implied the truth, there are folks that are suffering or have suffered in ways that don't allow them the joy that comes from running. Tomorrow, the kids at St Jude's Hospital will be in my heart, my family and friends that have lost someone recently will be driving me , and all of those that are no longer in a position to put one foot in front of the next in the pursuit of making their way from the start line to the finish line will give me strength. Feel free to send your thoughts and prayers on our way as we journey tomorrow. You can track our progress here. Also, if you want to get a sense of what I'll be feel tomorrow, check out the video below.
As we move into 2014, I have only one hope from my new year. I want to Think Big and Dream Big. I want my life to mirror the energy in my heart to change the world. I want everyday to be a quest to inspire those around me, kids and adults, to lean into the big, hairy problems of our time. How do we feed 9 billion people? How can we quench the thirsty of those without water? How can we create the clean energy necessary to promote peace and health? I believe that the solutions to these things are trapped inside the collective wisdom of our planet, and it will take curators and cross-pollinators to get the pieces of the puzzle in the right buckets to make a difference. Enough with the stuff that consumes our drive to live, learn, and love. Let us lead classrooms, schools, and other learning spaces that get the opportunity to Dare to Imagine.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The holidays are a very difficult space for many of our kids. It is a time of financial and familial stress. I feel like I have to remind myself of this every year as we approach these weeks leading into winter break. Do you have strengths to support kids in this space? Are you able to care for kids the way that you would like? Teachers, educators, and learners are caregivers first. Make it a priority to find a moment to slow down and focus on the heart of our children. The video below reminds us of the importance of social emotional growth as part of our work.
I was in a school the other night and walked the walls looking at projects that the students had completed. I recognized during my walk that lots of time had been spent to make sure that all of work displayed looked great and that everything was labeled and straight. I was visually impressed. I was impressed that projects served as the summative assessments for the learning in the classroom. I paused at this point to realize that the content of learning was shocking. The heart of excellent project based learning has to be rich, meaty, robust, rigorous topics of learning. I'm sorry, but phases of the moon, Egyptians, and sunlight and shadows doesn't cut it, not for a five year old or a 15 year old. These are topics worth exploring, but not built for robust projects. Finding great project based learning isn't hard. It is about tying students to life and expanding the walls of the classroom. I recently read about the Super Zip Codes, see link below, a concept that explores poverty, education, and more. The graphic interface in the article allows students to explore their neighborhoods and surrounding neighborhoods in an engaging and interacting way. These are some of the themes of great learning. Interview officials, take pictures that represent the learning, share with other zip codes, reflect, and build more learning on top. If time is short, make every second count with BIG LEARNING. THE SUPER ZIPS
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Before April jumps into our laps and we all become consumed by the need to show improvements on our test scores, it seems like a good time to step back and think about the numeracy that we really want for our children. Instead of celebrating statistically insignificant increases in your state test math scores (which I think is comical and proves the point of how we have reduced math to comparing two numbers with no context or true analysis), let's rethink the mathematical thinking that we want to fill the conversations of children and adults alike. I am purposeful about using the term mathematical thinking as opposed to math as the critical thinking and problem solving of math has been my true passion surrounding the subject for a long time. No one becomes a better mathematical thinker by doing more problems or becoming a computational speed champion, but the growth comes from conversations around patterns, seeing math in spaces not traditional to the topic, playing with the numbers, and molding data to become educative for others. The beauty of mathematical thinking gets squeezes out of the system as preparation for state tests, ACT, and AP Stats or Calculus accelerates over the top of the beauty of mathematical thinking. We need children and adults that are good consumers of numbers, see patterns for design, and know how to take the complexity of math to larger audiences through elegant explanations. This isn't easy with the testing industrial complex rooted in its primary sphere of influence, math, but I believe that our students deserve more courage in this area. Let the video below push your thinking.
Friday, November 29, 2013
We live in an open world where privacy as previously defined is gone forever. We are building digital footprints with each click of our devices each day. It is a time of digital mistakes that don't go away. It is a time when action precedes rational thought. It is a time when ideas and thoughts are on display well before they are in their final form, and we are in time when less and less context exists to the digital fragments that flow through the information firehouse. In this time and space, it is essential that we are grace filled in our actions with others by listening to explanations, accepting apologies for honest mistakes, and working through misunderstandings caused by the challenges of information curation. How are you building this capacity in your organization? Does your school or business have grace as a part of its culture? The video below launched me into this thinking as it explores the complexity of our connected world.
Monday, November 25, 2013
I am always talking about how it is important for us to change the narrative in education in the community and beyond. This video and the rest of the videos from the Ad Council in this channel seem like they are a step in the right direction. How careful are you with your language when talking about school? Legacy language about schools is helping to maintain the current mental models about schools. A fresh language and a fresh narrative is essential to provides the space for innovation.