Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summers Off?

As teachers, we are often told that all of our problems are not that big of a deal because we get "summers off". I've not had a "summer off" from education since I started teaching. I taught summer school for a few years, taken summer classes for a Masters Degree, worked camps, attended conferences and spent countless hours reading and writing blogs for personal professional development. I might get away fro a week or so, but the majority of my summer is working on making myself a better teacher and planning for the next school year. I also love every second of it. If I didn't, I wouldn't be a teacher.
I wanted to get one last post out there before I head off the grid (well as off the grid as I get) for the next week. I'm heading out to a local college to be a camp counselor at the Michigan Association of Student Councils/Michigan Association (MASC/MAHS) of Honor Societies Summer Leadership Camp. I get to spend a week working with high school students who want to improve their leadership skills so they can make their school a better place. There is nothing better than seeing students passionate about learning and making a difference. I'm going to spend a week teaching leadership skills, team building, singing camp songs and making new friends. Student Government can be stressful, but this camp makes everything worth it.

Anyway, I have some pretty exciting things in the cooker that I can't wait to tell everyone about once I get back from camp. Please take care of Blogosphere and Twitterverse while I'm out. :-)

- The Nerdy Teacher

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Case for Student Blogging

The Case for Student Blogging

I've heard that many people complain that kids do not read any more. I even hear students in my class claim to never read and that they hate writing. These people are right and wrong. Books and Magazines are the traditional reading materials and pens and notebooks are the traditional writing tools. Under the traditional standards, kids do not read ans write as much as the previous generations. If we expand the reading to include blog posts, online magazines and newspapers and even Facebook posts, students are reading more than the previous generations ever did. The amount that students are writing is much more than we ever suspect. Students are updating statuses, commenting on blog posts, writing reviews of music, movies, restaurants, etc. Students think they don't like to read and write because they have only been taught that reading is done in books and writing is formal pieces done for school. These ideas need to be changed in teachers so they can be changed in students.Instead of forcing dated views on what literacy is on our students, it is time to switch the focus from books, pen and paper to mobile devices, blogs and tweets. There is a new type of literacy out there and blogging is a way to help our students become literate 21st century learners.

Reading and writing alone no longer define literacy. Computer literacy is key in developing modern learners and thinkers. Computer literacy gives students easier access to creation tools instead of just consumption. According to Bloom's Taxonomy, Evaluation and Synthesis are the two highest learning objectives in education. Most classes stop half way on the scale with application. Students take notes, study their notebook the night before the test, take the test and move on to the next set of notes. It's a cycle of education that teachers continue to use and I used for many years. The students are great at spitting out facts they were taught. what will they do when they are given new material and are asked to create new meaning? They often struggle. Blogging can help reach the Higher Order Thinking that Bloom talks about.

Class blogs allow students to information given in a class or taken from a book and create their own opinion.  Once they have created their own ideas, they can evaluate the ideas in other blog posts and even use those to further evaluate their own ideas.The set up of every class blog will be different and will ask students to create and evaluate in different ways. A science class might focus more on interpreting data while an English Class will have students focus on more abstract concepts. Art, Music, Social Studies, Math and other subjects can all benefit from blogging. Blogging allows the teachers to tailor the system to their class and the students in the class. If you are a teacher, you are a teacher of literacy. Struggling students can only be helped if every teacher helps the students become literate. Blogging can do more than just help literacy in students.

Blogging allows students to take ownership of their learning. It taps into a medium that require little teaching in how to use. It connects students with others beyond the classroom walls. It encourages learning and exploration outside the school day. Class blogs/Twitter accounts provide real-time knowledge and feedback. As students are receiving varied bits of information from all over the world, students will be taking that information and creating something entirely new on a class blog. They will then be taking that new information and evaluating it.  Students will be working with the information instead of just memorizing facts. That interacting with the information will result in higher retention rates in all students. Think of it this way, do you remember those projects your favorite teacher gave you? Why? You remember them because you were immersed in the information. You were able to play around and create with it. Every teacher has a memory like that. Why do teachers move away from what clearly worked for them? Blogging is a tool that has students constantly working with information taught in the classroom instead of preparing for a couple of days for a test. The long term benefits of using the information will help students when they take state tests and other high stakes tests. Blogging has many other great benefits for the classroom.

Student engagement will increase as they strive to recap the days events for the class blog. Parents will be engaged in the on goings of every class period every day from a student's perspective. Embracing the tools students use provide validation to their generation. Blogging and Tweeting have limitless potential. Video blogs (vlogs), Skype, movies, discussion boards, cross curriculum projects; these are all possible with these tools. Literacy is no longer an English/Language Arts problem. It is an education problem. These free services can help create literate 21st Century Citizens.

I am currently working with Van Meter to connect my English Classes with theirs. We are setting up our Freshmen Curriculum so that we can teach the same units at roughly the same time. We have ideas for joint Poetry Slams and a joint class production of Romeo and Juliet. There is a good chance we will pair up students from the two districts to write opposing viewpoint research papers. The potential is limitless as we continue to meet online and discuss ideas. I haven't felt this excited about lesson planning since my first year of teaching. By connecting with another school,  my head is filling with ideas that will not only allow my students to create new ideas, but share them with people from all over the world. If you live in a small or isolated community, blogging is a great way to open the eyes of your students and that is what I hope happens after working with other schools.  Our students have a chance to a singular learning opportunity that could change the way people look at education. Blogging is helping me create a flat classroom that will allow my students to see around the world. They will read and write more than they ever have before and they will do it using tools they already use everyday. Blogging will be the gateway I will use to usher in a new era of learning for my students. They will love to blog and comment and will become literate 21st Century Learners while claiming to hate reading and writing.

I'm not suggesting that blogging is the cure to the literacy problems in schools across America, but it is a tool that can help many students work on needed skills. Instead of forcing traditional teaching methods on students, why not try and meet the students where they are and get them creating and evaluating. You might be surprised at what the students create. Hell, you might even surprise yourself a bit. :-)

I want to give a quick shout out to Shannon McClintock Miller (@ShannonMMiller) of Van Meter fame. She has worked very hard at connecting me to English teachers at Van Meter and we planning some amazing things. We will be tweeting ideas and posting updates on our Van Meter/Grosse Pointe South experiment. Our hash is #VMGPS. If you are not following her on Twitter, you are missing an important part of your Twitter Life. Thanks for being awesome Shannon. I can't wait to see where this crazy train takes us.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why I Tech

(Editor's Note: No, I did not spell teach wrong in the title of the post. I'm using the shortened version of technology as a verb. The English teacher in me is freaking, but it feel it makes sense. Now, on with the post.)

I was talking to someone the other day and they were asking me questions about teaching and then they asked me why I'm so into technology. I proceeded to explain of all of the benefits tech has to offer to students and schools worldwide, but that wasn't the questions they asked. They wanted to know why I like technology. I just smiled and said I'm a Mac because of my Dad.

Family. The one thing I love about my PLN is that when we talk about our students, we often refer to them as our kids. We take a parental role in their lives in the classroom and we defend them as if they were are own. I think that is what makes teachers amazing. I've met many great people who I consider family over the past 6 months and I'm proud to be in the same field as them. Having said all of that, We get our passion for what we do from somewhere and mine comes from my Dad.

I'm a Mac. I'm proud to say this. I have an iPhone, iPod, iBook, iMac and iPad. It seems over the top, but if you are a Mac, you know exactly why I have all of these things. It's not my fault though. It's my Dad's fault. When I was young, my Dad came to me and my brothers and asked if we would be willing to trade that years Christmas presents for a computer. My older brother and I were geeked! We thought about all of the hours we could spend dying of dysentery on the Oregon Trail. My younger brother was skeptical and said no way. Well, we got the computer and he got the toys. To this day I'm annoyed he got to play with the computer. Anyway, we just didn't get a computer, we got a Macintosh. I'll remember my Dad's words until the day I die. He said, "Nick, get used to using these because they are the future." Man, was he right.

He set up a program where I could record the daily rainfall and it would figure everything out after a year of entering in data. Even today, that is a really lame use of a Mac to me, but it was something that blew my mind. I could type up assignments and turn them into the teacher. This was huge for me because my handwriting was terrible! There was this weird betting Dove Race game that we would play. Although it was not educational, it was fun to watch birds fly across the screen. The computer even talked to you if you ran the right program. I quickly became comfortable using the Mac because my Dad told me it was important. I would use the computer as much as I could. I even stopped playing Contra to fool around with the computer. I couldn't help it. I was hooked the moment I say that smiling computer on the start up screen. It truly was an amazing device and my Dad's tech influence did not stop there.

I remember when we got the Internet. We had Prodigy. I would sit in his office and log into our newer Mac and access the Prodigy Network to play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? He encouraged us to use the Internet to look things up and to have fun with it. I stayed away from chat rooms and had no idea what email was all about, but I was pretty good at surfing the net at dial-up speed. By the time I got to college, I was a pro at using AOL and had two email addresses. I felt good about being a tech guy. College was going to be a breeze because I knew how to surf the web and find information. My school also had a Mac Lab. :-)

When it came to deciding my major, many family members said I should go into business and that teachers do not make any money. My Dad told me to do what I want, but strive to be the best. I feel that is what I'm doing by trying to infuse tech into my class and constantly trying to learn new things to bring to my school or district. I could have stopped exploring tech after getting to college. I could have been happy with easy searches for information. My mastery of Word was solid and that is all any teacher really needed at the time. I guess I knew that there was always more out there. I knew that I didn't have all of the answers and that someone else in cyberspace might have a better idea. I wanted to keep learning and tech was a way for me to continue to grow.

My Dad has always been supportive of my decision to be a teacher. I strive to be the best teacher every day of my life. I know that I do make a difference, in part, because of my Dad.

Dad, you are the reason I tech.

What is the reason you tech? Have you ever told this person? Write a similar post or leave a comment here. We all have a reason. Maybe it's time to let them know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Reform Symposium #rscon10

Well, it looks like I tricked some people into thinking I know what I'm talking about. I have been asked to present during an on-line conference. The focus of the conference this year is innovation in education and I will be presenting on Integrating Technology into the classroom. My session is on Sunday August 1 at 12:30 EST. My presentation is entitled, Everything I Learned about Tech Integration, I Learned from Movies. I'll be drawing from a couple of older posts and talking about tech integration and what it means to teachers.

I'm excited to be presenting and honored to be in a great group of educators participating in the conference. I've met many of these people at ISTE last month and I'm excited to see their presentations and Keynotes. They have great things to say about education and it's worth stopping by for a listen. I encourage all of you to sign up if you have the time and stop by and see what people have to say about innovation in the classroom. You might find something that changes your entire view of education or just something that will make a single lesson a little bit better for your students. either way, you will walk away with something that will make you a better teacher. Best of all, it's free! Stop by The Reform Symposium website and sign up and look around. Also, here is a video that will do a better job explaining the conference than I did.

I hope this helps answer any questions you might have about the conference. If you still have some, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you like what you see, please pass it along with the hashtag #rscon10. This will allow everyone to follow the awesomeness that is  going on.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Silly Movie Post for a Friend - Meatballs and Education

I never went to camp as a kid. Well, I went to Cub Scout Day camp and fired a bow and arrow and shot a pellet gun, but I never went to an overnight camp. I didn't see Meatballs until the mid 90's and I believe it was on TV, so I didn't get the full experience of the movie. As I look back on the movie, I realize that it is a great movie and filled with wonderful quotes that nail what education is all about today. Take a look at these great quotes and see if you agree.

Tripper: Attention. Here's an update on tonight's dinner. It was veal. I repeat, veal. The winner of tonight's mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin who guessed "some kind of beef." 

Education is filled with surprises. You enter a classroom and you have no idea what type of kids you are going to get and those kids change from day to to day. It's important to trust your instinct and make the best guess that you can. You were hired for a reason, you were the best person for the job or you were standing in the wrong line. Either way, you have a chance to make a difference and sometimes the best guess is the best thing you can do.

Tripper: And even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far above our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days; even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field; even if every man woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn't matter because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk because they've got all the money! It just doesn't matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER! Rest of group: IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER...

In education, we are going to be constantly fighting an uphill battle. We could do the best job in the world, but the community will always be critical of the job teachers and admins do in the school system. No matter how hard we try, we will never be on the top of the food chain, but that doesn't matter. Not a single person has entered education for the glory. Well, maybe one Secretary of Education, but that doesn't count. Does it? Anyway, we will continue to fight the good fight and move to change the educational world because even though it might not matter to most, it matters to us and that is important.

Tripper: Ok, the zone's not working. They're a little too big to play man-to-man. And we can't shoot for sh!t.

Change. Education is change. If educators do not see that, they will continue to lose the game and just claim the opponent is too tough to deal with. Nobody likes change. It's tough. Annoying. I want to change my weight and health by running. Running is not fun. Anyone that terlls you that running is fun is a liar. I tried track once. It was not fun. Why the heck would anyone want to run in a circle for a mile? I need some scenery. Luckily I live by a park that has beautiful scenery and I can run a couple of miles in a wooded area with trails. It's almost like Lord of the Rings except I'm not in New Zealand. Is there an Old Zealand. What was I talking about? Oh yea, running is not fun and neither is change. If you don't like change though you will become obsolete and that is not good. There are to many educators that need to be replaced with new models because they refuse to upgrade themselves. Constantly evaluate your operating system and upgrade when necessary, but never for upgrading sakes. (Editors Note: How the heck did I go from a a Meatballs Basketball analogy to a computer operating system reference? Answer: I'm just that awesome.)

Tripper: I'm takin' the C.I.T.s on an overnight for the next couple days so you're gonna have to do your own training, son. I want you to run two miles today and two and a half tomorrow.
Rudy: I've never run that far.
Tripper: Neither have I but somebody's gotta do it. I can't be expected to do it. Somebody's gotta do it, and it can't be me. Because I'm too busy. I've responsibilities. I'm the entertainment director for the overnight. 

Goal setting is so important for students. I'm not sure that you should ask them to do something that you can not do, but you need to set the goals high for the kids. Let them think they can't get there and explain how they need to get there. Positive motivation is key to student achievement. A bottle of wine is very important for teacher satisfaction. It's important to never forget that. (Editors Note: It's also important to not swap those last two ideas.)

Tripper: What's the matter? You're pacing like an expectant father with the clap. 

Stay calm in the face of stress. An educators life is never easy, but you cannot let the kids or parents see it in your face, or in this case, you pacing. Take some time and relax when the time is available. There is nothing worse than seeing a friend walk around with an STD look on their face. It's a face I've seen too many times. (Editor's Note: If you have to ask what an STD look is, you're not an educator or have never taught in a public school or really skanky Private schools.)

Roxanne: Are those Clorets in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

As always, education is about Passion and Excitement. Educators need to be excited and passionate about education to make a difference in the world. The bad seeds are the ones that get the press, but the good ones, the ones reading this blog, are the ones that make the most difference. These passionate ones are the educators that need to let the world know that they are passionate about education and they are going to make a difference. Educators should not be afraid to tell others they love their job. (Editor's Note: Please fight the urge to punch the person that makes the Summer School remark. However, don't fight the urge too much or you will end up with an STD face.) I love being an educator. I love telling everyone I'm a teacher. It's not embarrassing at all. Proudly show your passion in any way that you like. (Editor's Note: I highly suggest you do not show your passion the Tripper does.)

I hope everyone enjoyed this quick take on Education and Meatballs. It's been a while since I've done a Movie post, but this was fun. I hope everyone is having a great summer (or Winter for you Aussies) and are learning at a crazy pace. I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. (Editor's Note: Careful Nick, I think your passion is showing.)

- @TheNerdyTeacher

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blogger's Cafe Update and Then Some...

First of all, my PLN never ceases to amaze me. I cannot thank all of you enough for the tremendous feedback I have received over, what I thought, was a silly little idea. You have really given me the support to think that this Blogging area in my room could be something truly great.

I wanted to provide everyone that is interested in a few updates since I posted this idea. Over the past few days, Shannon Miller (@shannonmmiller) from Van Meter, IA has connected me with a couple of English Teachers that are interested in working together in some way. I never thought that I would be able to connect my Michigan students with Iowa students. I have no idea exactly what I'll do with this chance yet, but that is ok. The possibilities are truly endless.

I've been talking to some of my friends that teach in the building about my blogging idea and by the end of the night, I have a Math and Science Teacher ready to sign up. Yesterday, I convinced another Science teacher to give it a try. I couldn't be more thrilled! It only takes a few teachers to make a difference in any type of school reform and I seem to have got the ball rolling. I realized that by getting a few teachers on board, we are all going to have to support each other in the early days. It's too easy to give up on blogging and I know I wouldn't be doing it if it weren't for the support of my PLN. Thinking back to how lucky I was to be part of a great group of bloggers organized by Kelly Tenkely, I realized what I needed to do. I need to create a  Blogging Alliance  in my building. (I hope Kelly doesn't mind that I'm borrowing the name.) This way everyone can have the support they need. My brain didn't stop there though. Why stop at teachers supporting other teachers? What about our students?

As blogging teachers, we should encourage our students to read and comment on the blogs of the other teachers. Even though they are not in the class, they should be encouraged to check out what is going on in other subjects. Maybe students would end up commenting and helping younger students. Maybe a student will take an interest in a subject or topic they never thought about. The potential is endless.  English students reading Math Blogs and Math Students reading Science Blogs and so on. I want to create an actual cross-curriculum environment in my school and blogs seem like a natural and easy way to accomplish this task.

I would like to get some Social Studies, Art, and Music teachers blogging on a regular basis. By encouraging other students to check out other blogs, you can start to get students to read and experience different areas of school they might not have encountered otherwise. I still have plenty of work to do on this epic plan, but I thought Math and Science would be the tough sells, but they jumped on first. I'll keep everyone posted on this idea as I flesh it out. I think it could be a big deal. I'm talking Ron Burgundy type of Big Deal. ;-)

I still have tons of things to work out and my Principal is on vacation through next week, so I need to organize my thoughts a bit more. I hope by putting my scatter brained thoughts here, my wonderful PLN will help me make sense of them and offer many wonderful suggestions to make it even better.

People tell me that I've created something cool for the students. I agree that it will be cool, but I cannot take all of the credit for this and other ideas. My PLN has been a wonderful source of inspiration for me during the past 6 months and anything I come up with is based on an #edchat I participated in or a Twitter conversation over a couple of hours. Thanks to all of you that have made the ideas pour out of my head.

I will keep you posted on any further updates and I hopefully will have a couple of my ideas firmed up and posted so I can get your thoughts on them. If you think you might want your students to work with an English, Math or Science Class from Michigan, please do not hesitate to contact me with a comment or through Twitter.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Blogger's Cafe In My Classroom?

This is my school. It's 80 years old and beautiful. I'm changing rooms this year and I'm finally moving into the room of my dreams. I have wanted this room since I started at Grosse Pointe South High School 8 years ago.  Here are a couple of shots of the room I took with my phone.

This is taken from the stage toward the front of my room.

This is the stage taken from the front of the room.

When I first saw the room, I was filled with all of the crazy things I would do with a stage in my room. The teacher who had the room decided to use the area for storage and filling cabinets. That's not how I would have used it, but it worked for that teacher. I have some other plans for the stage though.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted The Nerdy Teacher's Epic Romeo and Juliet Lesson Idea. The lesson results in three separate sections of Freshmen English classes putting on full production of Romeo and Juliet. The stage would be a great place for students to rehearse and work on blocking and things. It will be an epic endeavor, but something I think I can pull off with the support of my wonderful Department. Using a stage for a theatrical production is not an innovative idea, but there has to be other ways to use this space a daily basis that would helpful to all students.

One of my favorite parts of ISTE, besides the awesome people (You know who you are), is the Blogger's Cafe. It was such a great meeting place for everyone getting together to chat and charge their respective electronics. After I got back from ISTE, I took a look at the room empty for the first time. It seemed much larger than I had realized upon first inspection. I looked at the stage with new eyes after ISTE and realized the full potential of the space.

A well placed set of cushy chairs or a couch would be a comfortable place for a few students, no more than 3, to sit and blog/tweet the discussions happening in class. I want to create a Blogger's Cafe on the stage. What better way to have students engaged in the content in class. Here are some of the ideas being tossed around in my head.

  • Each student would be designated as a class blogger on specific days and would take notes on what we covered in class. 
  • At the end of the class, the students would post their work for other students and parents to see later. 
  • Non-blogging students can then go back and add any information that was left out or comment on the overall class. 
  • Points would be awarded for completing the blog post. 
  • Students that add information or comment on the post will be entered in a drawing to earn extra credit for the current marking period.
  • I like the idea of having 2-3 Bloggers at a time to allow for varied views of the class discussion. 
  • Students will be given a template of what a post should look like. 
  • I like the idea of offering students the chance to Vlog if they want. I won an awesome Flip Cam from @SimpleK12 at ISTE and this would be a great way to use this wonderful tool. 
  • Students that want to film their post can check out the camera or film it after school. 
  • I could get some Green Screen that students could film in front of so they could have some fun with the video at home. 
Those are just some of the ideas in my head at the moment. I like the idea of a Blogger's Cafe on the Stage because it will get students thinking about the content in the class. They will need to decide what is important and worth posting and what can be left out. They will have to focus their listening skills as they search for key words and phrases to post. There will be a real sense of ownership of the work when it gets posted. Also, students will want to check the post to see if there is anything left out to see if they can get  a shot at the extra credit. Parents will get a daily play by play of what is happened in class that day.

We do not have open WiFi in the building, so I cannot have students just bring in their own laptops to access the network. That would be awesome so they could save things on their own computer and mess with it at home. That is a project I will be tackling at another time. The Blogger's Cafe on the Stage is a chance to start to create a tech friendly environment in a classroom for other teachers and administrators to see. If I can show the success of the Blogger's Stage (Just decided on the new name), maybe  I can persuade other teachers to start blogging in the classroom.

I will keep you posted as things progress with the Blogger's Stage. I need to think of some decorating ideas for the stage. We have a group of Mothers dedicated to restoring parts of the school and I might ask them to take a look at the stage. In the picture, you can see that the frame of the stage goes up in the shape of an arch but is covered by the lowered ceiling. I'm pretty sure the new ceiling covers up the upper stage lighting. I have about 4 extra light switches that work turn something on and off. It would be great if the entire stage could be refurbished to it's original form. Wishful thinking I guess.

If you have any ideas about how to use this space, a better name for the space or  how you would run a similar idea in your class, please leave me a comment. I'm creating on the fly and I would love to share ideas with others. Drop me a comment. Thanks!

- @TheNerdyTeacher


I want to thank everyone that has commented on this post. This is my most commented on post and it was just a random idea in my head. I guess it shows that you never know what is going to excite people when you write. Your ideas have inspired me to continue to evaluate the concept of a Blogger's Cafe in class. I'm leaning more towards making it a class expectation instead of a point based system, but still haven't decided.

I have a Math teacher and possibly a Science Teacher on board with having their students blog in their class. I couldn't be more thrilled. It's only been a week since ISTE and I have already made some minor steps in the right direction. Please keep up the comments and the support. I can't wait to hear from more of you as I continue to update this project.

Take care to all of you and I hope you are enjoying the summer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

#ISTE10: So, Now What?

Well, I'm back home. So, now what?

I've spent some of my most amazing days as an educator at #ISTE10. So, now what?

I talked to some amazing people and shared ideas about education and technology. So, now what?

I'm filled to the brim with ideas to change the education world. So, now what?

I've been inspired to look at my own practices in my classroom regarding IWB's, Tech integration and teaching in general. So, now what?

I've seen what a conference and an unconference can be. So, now what?

I know not what to do with Power Point. So, now what? (Still too soon?)

I realized that I'm not alone in the edtech world. So, now what?

It's now July and I have a couple of months before I will be able to get back to school and talk about these ideas with the powers that be. So, now what?

I'm not sure where this blog post is going to be honest. Probably going to lose a few readers for that sentence, but it needs to be said because I think it sums up where I am after the conference. I feel that there is so much to be done and I have no idea where to start. In my "Man in the Mirror" post, I stated that the change that we want has to start with yourself. I still believe that MJ's song still applies here, but I'm worried trying tackle all of these issues at once will force the situation to turn into "Beat It" or possibly "Thriller". So, now what?

After my mini freak out, I realized that it is going to be just fine. I don't have to change everyone in my district tomorrow or the next day. I don't have to rewrite all of my lessons by September. I don't need to contact every person I met and follow up with conversations we had. I don't need to reinvent my teaching style overnight. I don't need to do it all. I don't need to do it alone. So, now what?

Changing education is not an uphill battle, it's an all out war. People are on their side and will continue to fight for what they think is best for students and teachers. The battles is where the teachers can start to make a difference. The battles take place in the classrooms, the schools and the districts. If you can win those battles, we can start to win  the war. So, now what?

I need to pick my battles. I'm not sure which one those are going to be, but that's OK for now.  Take a few days and relax as you think about the battles you are going to choose. Know that we are all on the same team and will provide support for all of the battles you choose to face. If we all choose our battles carefully, we will win the war and change the educational landscape. Do you feel better? Calm? Relaxed? Have you picked your first battle? Good. So, now what?


I've opened up my Facebook account for a limited time to connect with my new friends. I'm the Nicholas Provenzano with the ISTE Bear in my Profile picture.

- @TheNerdyTeacher