I am finding very quickly that the world of blogging, sharing, and tweeting is a lot bigger than I thought for teachers. My newest person I have been following, Mrs. Angela Maiers, is expressive and creative in her blog. Her posts are pretty short and contain videos and other links that elaborate on her topic she is blogging about.
The first post I read, Wishbone: A Platform For Student Passions, was a follow up post to an original post about passion. In this post her friend Beth Schmidt gives up information about a program she started to help her students discover what they are passionate about and challenges them to let that be what drives their desire to learn. She claims that doing what you are passionate about gives the reason for learning new meaning. Students who are passionate about something and given the opportunity to do what they are passionate about are more likely to succeed. Beth has this to say about Wishbone: "We created Wishbone, a new non-profit organization, for this very purpose. Wishbone sends at-risk and low-income high school students to out-of-school programs so that they can pursue their authentic passions. We aggregate funding from foundations, corporations, and micro-donations on our website to send these students to their programs of choice at no cost to their families."
This post along with the video was inspiring for me to read and watch. The idea of a program that allows students to experience what they are passionate about in a hands on way is brilliant. The students that went through the program in this video did graduate from high school most likely to pursue their future career in whatever they are passionate about. I commented to Angela that if I were given this opportunity during high school I probably would have liked to have learned more about my faith. It would be neat to have gone somewhere and explored different things about my faith--all in hopes to become stronger and live my faith more fervently.
Angela's second post took me back to my childhood days because there was such a strong emphasis on the concept of play. Angela stresses in this blog post through her video the importance of play in the 21st century classroom. Play is important for a 21st century learner because it is within this context that children learn relationally. In her video Angela draws a connection between the sandbox and our "new world." The sandbox is our new environment--the place where we learn some people skills, cooperation skills, and discover new things about ourselves. She spends time with children playing in the sandbox and records their speech and interactions. In her video she also outlines 10 points/rules about "playing in the sandbox."
1. Sharing is caring.
2. Messy is good.
3. Imagination is your biggest asset.
4. Sand is for filling buckets and never throwing because it hurts them and wastes your play time.
5. Hugs help and smiles matter.
6. Take it to the community (if you have problems--two head are better than one).
7. Strangers are future friends. (According to Aristotle, "One hour of play tells you more about an individual than 100 hours of intellectual conversation.
8. Be Remarkable!
9. You are the master of your universe and keeper of your soul. (I don't necessarily agree with this but see where she is going with it.)
10. Play is work.
As you can see, all of these things can be related to how we should be open to learning in our "new sandbox"--the new technology that is out there for us. I commented to Angela that I found it interesting that she stressed the need for play when that was one of the first things to go (besides nap time) in our school system. If children learn best while engaged with one another in play then what are we doing? I also thought it was interesting her emphasis on children playing in the sandbox. This means that these kids are not plugged up 24/7 into a piece of technology, but are outside getting dirty and solving the day's problems. As I've stated before--It is all about balance!