Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Edublog 2012 Nominations

Here are my nominations for Edublog Awards 2012


Group Blog: http://twolibrariesonevoice.blogspot.com/
  John and Shannon are the model of collaboration. Although their blogging isn't a regular thing (daily) thing, the posts are always informative.

Class Blog: http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/
  Mr. Chamberlain and his class are awesome examples of what classrooms should look like. They regularly share what is going on in their class and it is always awesome.

Teacher Blog: http://blogush.edublogs.org/
  Brave, smart, and so very talented, Paul Bogush is a teacher with a huge heart and allows us all to have a peak inside his head and heart. I frequently read his blog and nod along. Things I have thought and felt are shared there and the message always makes me think (and frequently thing a different way). 

Library/Librarian Blog: http://mrschureads.blogspot.com/
  I am pretty sure that Mr. Schu never sleeps! His blog is a treasure trove about books and he has introduced me to many of my current favorite books and authors (Like "The One and Only Ivan" @kaaauthor, "Boy + Bot" @amedyckman and "Wonder" @rjpalacio) Sharing books is one of the most amazing things people can do for each other and Mr. Schu is a great champion for books and reading.

Influential Post: http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2012/11/you-may-be-walking-wounded-but-teacher.html 
  I greatly admire Vicki Davis because she is a teacher and she is not afraid to say the things that need to be said (see Lifetime Achievement below). This post absolutely hit me at exactly the right time and I think it is an amazing example of what blogs can be.

Individual Tweeter: @wmchamberlain and @dmcordell
  William is one person I can always count on to answer a tweet. He is a great connector of people and a classroom teacher who shows us a glimpse inside of what classrooms COULD be like. I also admire him because he sometimes pushes back on the things I tweet (always respectful), especially if I am having a very bad day...he reminds me why I do what I do.

(Wait, I can have two, right??)

I call Diane "The Great One" of Twitter because she is so willing to help people. This past summer, I required my class of future teachers to be on Twitter. MANY of my students reported back how Diane had answered every question they had and had helped them to help students. I seriously love this woman, she is a great friend to have.

Twitter Hashtag: #thewonderofwonder & #choosekind
  If you follow my tweets, you have seen that I love the book "Wonder" by @rjpalacio. The reason I love this hashtag is because the book has spawned an entire movement of people who #Choosekind. Classrooms around the world are reading the book, and making changes in their school.

Lifetime Achievement: 
Vicki Davis
  Flat Classroom . . . Blogger . . . Wiki-Expert . . . CLASSROOM TEACHER. You will notice a trend in my responses, I love people who are in classrooms (and libraries) who take time from their overly busy schedules to make the world a better place. Vicki is an outstanding example of that. She speaks from her vast experience, and also from her heart. Education is not just a way for her to make money or make herself known, but her passion. I deeply admire and respect everything Vicki has done...and although I think everyone I know is too young for "life-time" achievement, Vicki has the breadth of work that makes up for her lack of chronological years.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Not Me...It's You (all of you)

Last month was International Dot Day (week). It was an amazing week filled with creative wonders from around the globe. The spotlight was turned toward me on several occasions and it's important for me to talk about that and to clarify. This year, there was a new website dedicated to Dot Day and it featured a story about how I started the event. There was a news story on the local news and Dot Day was read into the Congressional Record. All truly amazing and wonderful.

Although the initial idea may have been mine, what happened next was all you. There were literally thousands of tweets about #dotday and too many Facebook messages to count. I initially tried to comment or retweet and lost the battle (I am a full-time teacher). I did read each and every message and blogpost. Each of those messages carried a seed of opportunity and hope.

The picture above was sent to me from a pediatric unit in Vietnam where Dot Day was celebrated. When this year started, I didn't know anyone there...so I couldn't have made this happen. YOU made this happen. I didn't know a person on every continent or in every state of the United States...but the day was celebrated there. YOU are driving force for good and hope in this project. YOU made this what it is.

I would like to thank every single person by name. I WILL thank everyone that I can (and tried to on Twitter). I have joked on Twitter that after I retire, I want to travel to every single site that hosted a Dot Day event...what a dream that would be! Below I am going to list some Dot Day Heroes....but trust me, there are many more. I have waited an entire month to post this because I was afraid of leaving someone out. If you have ever tweeted, facebooked, talked about, emailed, or nudged anyone about this project, you should consider yourself a hero.

Peter H. Reynolds @peterhreynolds . . . Who made this all happen by writing an inspiring book

Paul Reynolds @fablevision. . . The driving force for change and a tireless advocate for creativity

FableVision Learning @fablelearn . . . Julia and Becky did an awesome job of helping to spread the word about Dot Day.

Bill Norris . . . Bill was the organizing force behind the huge Boston event! He spent hundreds of hours making everything work. Bill ways also my spiritual guide and my star that helped guide me.

John Schumacher @mrschureads and Shannon Miller @shannonmmiller... Two of the original Dot Day heroes! I can't begin to tell you how much these two have made the day grow!

Diane Cordell @dmcordell "The Great One" of Twitter. She has such a great heart and has connected so many people!

Karen McMillan @mcteach I love this girl! She is a force and she also has students who inspire me a great deal. They came up with a list of ways to celebrate that was phenomenal!

Matthew Winner @MatthewWinner I got to meet Matthew last summer at ISTE and he brought an entirely new angle to this worldwide celebration, he invited schools to Skype! It was AWESOME!! I appreciate his efforts so much. I was even lucky enough to be able to Skype in to one of his classes!

Erika Victor @victortweets Erika did an awesome job of getting the schools in her area (of Germany) to sign on to participate!! She also was a champion retweeter!

Suzanne Earley @ntredhawks One of the things that made this year extra special was that my school celebrated in a big way. In part do to the elementary principal, but also because of Suzanne. She is the secondary secretary and also the cheerleading coach. This year, Dot Day fell on Homecoming and Suzanne helped us celebrate in a huge way. The Thursday dress-up day was "Dot Day", the banner the boys ran through at the game had dots, and the locker/door signs also were dots.

William Chamberlain @wmchamberlain William is an awesome teacher and an excellent advocate for kids. He is one of my greatest retweeters as well as mentors in the Twitter arena. He is always there when I need him!

Sharon Creech @ciaobellacreech If you have followed me on Twitter for more than a day, you know I LOVE Sharon Creech!! She is an amazing author and amazing person. She was the inspiration behind the Celebridot movement and was a champion of retweeting and sharing. When I was telling people about Celebridots, I always mentioned Sharon and always got a rather large smile that she was the inspiration (guess I am not alone in loving her work!)

Kristin Tubb @ktubb Kristin was one of the early celebridots. She did so much to promote both Dot Day and Celebridots.

Katie Davis @katiedavisburps Katie was also a celebridotter. In addition, she featured Dot Day in her famous "Brain Burps about Books" podcast and LOTS of people came exploring after that!

Jodi Glucksman the driving force behind "Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project" was instrumental in getting us a lot of Celebridots!

Pippin Properties @LovethePippins is a talent agency and they helped so much with spreading the word about Dot Day as well as helping us find Celebridots!

Candlewick Press @candlewick is the publisher of "The Dot" and they helped spread the word about Dot Day.

All the Celebridots   www.celebridots.com


and YOU. ALL of you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Filled With Hope


I have shared the growing numbers of kids participating in Dot Day. Please know that the numbers really don't tell the whole story for me. It's not about the numbers, it's about the shift in schools....even if it is only for one day or one week. To think of kids totally immersed in creative expression makes me deeply happy. It is a thing filled with hope. This project, for me, is also about brave teachers willing to lay the curriculum aside for one hour/day/week and embrace creativity. There is great pressure on teachers with high stakes state tests, so any time spent away from that is a risk.

At this second, there are 65,653+ kids expected to participate, that's more than 65,000 chances for kids to be artists and dreamers. If the number doesn't grow any more, and I am sure it will, it will be enough. Sorry if you have grown tired of my constant sharing....but it's who I am and it's important to me.

Life is good...I appreciate all my fellow dreamers who have Facebooked, tweeted, emailed, and talked about this project. They deserve all the credit for making this happen. Creativity rocks!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Celebrating Books That Touch Our Humanity

This week, I tweeted this, "Books that touch our humanity need to be celebrated." Constrained by 140 characters, that was all I could manage (in addition to mentioning three authors that inspired the tweet.) I decided to spend a little more time  and give a bit of a description of each. Since these books have impacted me so greatly, I want to share them with my blog readers. There are a million books in the bookstore, everything from vampires, to teen drama, to mindless drivel... I think it's important to share the books that touch our humanity and make us want to be better people.




The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 

   Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.Website
I loved this book from the very first paragraph. I never know what it is about a book that does this, but I loved every single word and I hated when it ended. As soon as I finished it, I told every single person I met to read it.

I first learned about this book from two super Twitter members, John @mrschureads and Colby @colbysharp. If you are not following them, you MUST. Mr Schu has been on an amazing journey with another awesome Twitter friend, Donna @akgal68 and they visited the real Ivan! Read about that part of the adventure on the "Let's Go South" blog I had a great time vicariously traveling with John and Donna.




Wonder by R.J. Palacio

   August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances? Website

Wonder is a one-of-a-kind sort of a book. It seems to have everything from laughs to tears. It's told from multiple perspectives and that really enhances the impact of the story. I have also shared this book with nearly everyone.

Wonder is such an amazing book, it inspired the Choose Kind movement.


The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds Website 

     Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."
Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw - she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us. Source


The Dot is a book that absolutely inspired me the first time I read it. I believe it is a book every person who wants to be a teacher must read and I share it with my college class of future teachers. To me, the beauty is how close it is to real life...Sometimes a rather small act by a significant person can truly change a kid. It's a message every single teacher needs to hear.


The Dot was so inspiring, a day was created to inspire kids to create dots called, "International Dot Day". You can read more about it here. As of today, 7/31, over 33,000 kids are expected to participate this year.




I'm Here by Peter H. Reynolds Website

 I'm here.
And you're there.
And that's okay.

But…


maybe there will be a gentle wind that pulls us together. 

And then I'll be here and you'll be here, too.
Pure, powerful, and deceptively simple, best-selling author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds reminds us that children — and the friendships they make — can take flight in unexpected ways. With a strong anti-bullying message, I'm Here teaches children to stand up for others who may not seem to belong. Source
If you have read this blog before, you know In December I held a contest for people who bought the book and gave it to a school...I think it's that important of a book. You simply must read this book and share it with the kids in your life. It was originally written with autism in mind, I believe it is applicable for every kid.

What books have touched your humanity?? List them in the comments!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Am Not Nice

Due to some recent conversations, I am feeling the need to explain one thing...I am not that nice. When I recommend a book or an author, I often get the comment, "you are so nice." The truth is, I am not that nice. What I am is passionate...annoyingly so. If you friend or follow me, you will know what truly engages me...and what feeds my passion in life.

Although I tweet often about FableVision Learning and Peter H. Reynolds, it's because they share my passion for helping kids reach their true potential. I lead an educator program, but that does not involve what I do on Twitter and Facebook, that is ALL based on passion for education and helping kids.

Follow me for 15 minutes, and you will hear a LOT about International Dot Day...a global event to celebrate creativity in schools....again, passionate about creativity in schools. I could not love that day more for what it brings to the world of education.

Finally, authors and books that I love get a LOT of of attention from me. I adore Sharon Creech and her writing style. Katie Davis and the book trailer for "Little Chicken's Big Day"...huge fan. All of the dear authors and illustrators who have created "Celebridots" are going to have my gratitude forever because they volunteered for a project to help kids after a simple invitation from someone they don't know and will probably never meet. Kristin Tubb is A+ with me because she not only created a dot, she helped spread the word.

What you can always count on is truth and honesty. I will never promote anything I don't believe in with my whole heart. Ever. I never say anything to 'be nice', I say what I am thinking and what is important to me.

I often tell former students and friends that I love them or I am proud of them. I mean every single word every single time.

I love big and loud....but I am not that nice. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Discovering The Treasure

I returned last week from ISTE and spending time with some of my favorite people on earth, my Fable Family and the FableVision Ambassadors. The theme for our booth was "Discover the treasure in every student." This resonated with me, because I believe that's what I try to do in my 'real' job as an educator.

I was driving across town last night when it occurred to me just how true this is and I took the analogy a bit further. Sometimes, you walk along and you find something valuable quite by accident. I remember walking through the library one day and finding the diamond pendant my friend had lost. I wasn't really searching for it, it was just there. Some kids are like that. Their inherent beauty is just there, right on the surface and easy to spot.

Then, I thought of some other kids...the kids who make teaching a little bit like an Indiana Jones movie.  It's a perilous journey to find the true and amazing person at the core. There are boulders chasing you down tiny corridors, snakes hissing, and all manner of obstacle. No judgment goes along with the Indiana Jones analogy. I have always believed if I had been brought up exactly like the troubled kids that I deal with, I would act the same way.


But, after twenty-six years I can say without a shadow of a doubt....it's worth it. Finding that amazing person underneath the defensiveness and drama is absolutely worth every effort it takes to get there.


Does this make sense to you?? Are you on that same journey??


Luckily for me, I have Peter H. Reynolds and the Fable Family who cheer me on. I have a strong Twitter support team. I have awesome students who make the journey worthwhile.




By the way, I lead an educator program for FableVision Learning, but I don't benefit from sales. The poster above is available in a t-shirt. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It All Started With a Dot

If you follow me on Twitter or 'friend' me on Facebook, you will often see mention of "International Dot Day". If you are new to following, you might wonder what it is all about. You can find out much more on  the FableVision Learning website. But, really, why the focus on dots?

Peter H. Reynolds wrote a book called "The Dot". The first time I read it, I got tears in my eyes. You see, it is the story of a girl, Vashti, who has an amazing teacher. The basic premise is that the teacher does a relatively small (though fabulously thoughtful) thing that transforms Vashti into a super-creative wonder. I love that idea.

The official FableVision Learning press release says, "One teacher, Terry Shay in Iowa, believed so fully in the power of The Dot that in 2009 he “made his mark” by declaring September 15th as International Dot Day. To commemorate The Dot’s publication date, he encouraged fellow teachers to read the book and then create their own dots." That's the story...but it was only the beginning. 

The amazing thing is that it started with a Facebook message to Peter H. Reynolds and what I called a 'crazy idea'. (I have a lot of those). I thought it would be fun to create little event where kids could put down their standardized tests and just spend some time being creative. What it has developed into exceeds my wildest dreams. 

The first year was a sweet little celebration with friends around the country. I marveled at the creativity of teachers wearing dot shirts ( <3 Maryann), decorating their school with dots, and I was thrilled to that many people sent me photos commemorating the day. I held an event in my school with fourth graders and the school counselor was there to help. 

Fast forward three years, my good friend, Bill Norris, suggested we come up with some sort of form to find out who was celebrating and where they were. Again, I am a pretty good at dreaming, but I never dreamed 17,000 kids and 1000 adults on six continents would be participating...and those are only the ones who filled out the form. We were helped out a lot last year by dear friends Shannon Miller and John Schumacher, who made a weeks worth of activities and got a lot of new people on board.

Now for something I have never said to anyone. I feel like I should label this section "Dear Diary". . . at least one time per celebration, a tiny negative voice creeps into my brain and says, "really... dots... is that it? No one has ever changed the world by making a dot." Then, fortunately, that little voice is shouted down by a barrage of emails, tweets, and Facebook messages with kids proudly holding their creations. And, as I always say, if there is something better than a kid with a beaming smile, proudly holding their creation, I don't know what it is. I do believe with my whole heart and 99.9% of my brain that this day can be a launching pad for future creative classrooms. I know it has worked for mine. 

Last year, another event made a huge difference to me. The lovely and talented author, Sharon Creech, did a simple act of love and kindness that changed something in me. She sent me a dot on dot day. I am just a teacher in a tiny school in Iowa, and this amazing person who is loved by every single person who has picked up one of her books, is taking part in this special day. That special email launched the next project I am working on, Celebri-dots. In my mind I can picture kids going to that site and seeing famous people creating dots just like they did in school. Again, wildly exceeding my expectations, the creativity on that site has blown me away. Apple pie dot, raspberry juice dot, clay dot....what better example could their be for children than a wide variety of creative responses?

I could go on and on....and I have. I am grateful beyond words for Peter H. Reynolds the author of the Dot and a champion of creativity. I am grateful for friends like Shannon M. Miller and John Schumacher who have taken the dot and run with it. I am honored to have awesome celebrity friends who inspire me every day, following the model of Sharon Creech, whom I adore. 

I dream of taking this day even farther....to 170,000 students, then 170 million . .. to pick up that last continent (because 6 continents is SO last year). I dream of the day that a student will say, 'hey, remember when we celebrated dot day, that launched a journey of unimagined proportions for me' . . because it has done that for me. 



Best of all... PARTICIPATE THIS YEAR!! September 15ish.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Celebri-dots!



International Dot Day is a celebration of creativity around the globe which was inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' book, "The Dot." The Dot is a sweet story about a girl who thinks she can't draw and the teacher encourages her to "make a dot and see where it takes you." I personally believe it belongs in every library in the world.

Last year, over 17,000 students and 1,000 adults on six continents 'made their mark' by creating a dot on or around International Dot Day, September 15. Next year we want to have an even bigger and better celebration!

Inspired by a very special dot created by Newbery Award Winning (and all around amazing human being) Sharon Creech last year, I am creating a very special blog for Celebri-dots. I would love for authors, illustrators, and any kind of celebrity to create a dot to be shown in this special online gallery. You may create this using any medium and email it to me. Be sure to 'sign it' like Vashti does in "The Dot".

I think it will be really cool for kids to see a bunch of different awesome people contributing to this. Please help spreading the word. Within the post about your signed dot, I would like to include books you have written, shows you have been on, anything you are willing to share. This is a love-fest!

You can email your submissions any time, but would love to have them soon so I can start building. Be BRAVE, you don't have to have the world's best looking dot, just 'make your mark and see where it takes you!"

You can email me at tjshay (at) gmail (dot) com

Peter H. Reynolds has given his blessing for this project.

Thank you in advance!!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Peter H. Reynolds and Carrie Hillman- Conspiring to Inspire

Today I had lunch with my favorite boy, my nine year old great-nephew. He can be pretty shy around other people, so I was shocked when he told me he wanted me to ask Peter H. Reynolds if he would illustrate the book he was writing. I sent Peter a text message and the boy smiled from ear to ear.

I was asked to find the blog post he had written in school on my phone and send that along to Peter to help encourage him to be his illustrator. Yes, a lot of nine year old's have dreams, but in the beginning of this year, this little boy thought blogs were stupid and he hated to write....now he wants to be an author.

Fortunately for me, my favorite boy has the world's best teacher, Mrs. Hillman. Almost every day I wonder what the world would be like if every kid had a teacher like her. She encourages the kids, nudges them to take steps outside of their comfort zone, and loves them into success. I had the good fortune to be able to spend a morning in her classroom and I was just amazed by the way she handled the class.

I am also blessed with a dear friend in Peter H. Reynolds. An inspiring author and illustrator and a great human. My favorite boy has many books signed by Peter and he loves them. I love the gentle nature of the books and how they inspire kids to greatness. His work encourages kids by letting them know they matter, that they are important, that they can make mistakes and move on.

Today, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to these amazing people and the gift they have given children everywhere, and especially my favorite boy. Imagine a world where every kid thinks they can be an author (or painter, astronaut, chemist, etc) and being surrounded by loving caring people who made them think anything was possible.

Dream Big!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lucky

Sometimes, even on the worst days, something happens to make you feel really lucky to be where you are and doing what you are doing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Slow Down: Personal Reflection

This morning, I had the 'pleasure' of going in for a blood draw. I admit, it is NOT my favorite thing to do (I can't imagine anyone who enjoys it). I go at 7 a.m. because there is never a line....UNTIL today. I was about the third person in line and I had exactly 30 minutes to get it done and on the road for school. I was NOT a happy camper.

The waiting area is tiny. Really it is ridiculously tiny. I did all the important things in life while I waited, like read the emails that had come in over night and checked Twitter. Some people had come in after me, but I was OH so BUSY to notice. I was shocked into awakening from my Twitterific fog by a voice that had grown louder. I realized that there was an older man behind me and he couldn't sit down because everyone in line was blocking the chairs (I told you the place was small). I moved so he could sit and I apologized.

When it was finally my turn at the window, I had to give my date of birth and address. I signed the form (why is everything still on paper -- one blood draw had to be at least 5 pieces of paper) and moved to the other side of the room. Back to my alternating between staring at the clock, sighing, and looking disapprovingly at the workers who were in a conversation about the cost of stampers and how someone farther up the food chain was angry about the cost. (More sighing and staring here by me.)

I finally got into the little room and there are actually two stations. I sat and was finally 'in the moment' as the person trying to draw my blood poked and poked. Apparently if I am fasting, my blood doesn't work right. I faded again into unconsciousness. The older gentleman had come into the room and was at the other station. I started paying attention when the man used the word 'he' and I was the only other male in the room. It turns out he was paying attention as I gave my birthdate at the counter and we have the same birthday. His was in 1927, but the same day. He beamed as he told me. His bloodgirl (can't spell what they are really called) said something to him in a condescending tone about how he had paved the way (it annoys me how people talk to very small children and old people as if there brain doesn't work).

The older gentleman and I walked out together. I called him my birthday buddy and his smile grew. My smile grew larger...He was going to get some breakfast and I was going to work.

As I drove away and for the first few miles, I was smiling....deeply. Then I became conscious of the fact that I was smiling. (you have NO idea how rare it is at 7:30 in the morning) I wondered how many other encounters I have been 'too busy' or 'self-important' to notice.

Making connections, even momentary ones, is partially why we are here on this earth. Why do we spend so little time valuing them?

It was nice to meet you, birthday buddy, I learned a lot from you in those five minutes.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Characteristics of a Great Teacher (2012)

The most popular post in the history of this blog was called "Qualities of a Great Teacher". In that post, I asked students to list qualities of a great teacher. With all the talk lately about good and bad teachers (and the demoralizing bashing that they receive at the hands of legislators, public figures, and former software giants), I decided to ask again. This time, I added the words 'effective' in my inquiry. What are the qualities of a teacher who kids learn the most from. The current Department of Ed chief and Governor seem to think that a test can be given to help determine who would make an effective teacher. Here is a Wordle I created from the results:

Looking at this, I imagine everyone expected nice, funny, fun to be large. Did you imagine strict would be?? There are a lot of reasons for that locally, but it matches what I have always known: Kids want to have fun and have someone who cares about them, but they also want structure. 

I summarized the information in this way: Students want a positive, caring and fun teacher that can reteach things that are confusing students and can control the classroom. Isn't that what YOU want too? I admit as I read through the list and tabulated the results, I wondered which of the words would describe me and which ones would not.

With the exception of "Knows what they are talking about", NONE of the things on the kids' list could be measured on a test. Remember I asked them who they learned the most from, not who they liked.

Here is the actual list. Items with numbers behind them is how many other people had that same comment:

Takes time to make sure each person understands what’s going on
Being strict at times, though they can be very easy going if we listen and do as told.
Has humor-1
Cares -1
Hands on
Finds unique ways to teach-1
Explains things thoroughly -2
Not too smart
Listens to students
Has structure/rules
Positive all the time 2
Happy person 3
Fun to be in class with
Teacher you lessons you use later in life
Fun - 4
Obey the rules but aren’t strict
Do repetitive activities
Nice 12
They do fun stuff with us -1
They show many ways of solving a problem
Helpful
Does activities-1
Caring-4
Trusting
Always willing to help
I like a teacher that gives many examples so I can learn them better
A teacher that knows how to have fun-3
Funny-8
Happy all the time
Confidence-2
Know your lesson
Isn’t afraid to break things down
Let us talk-1
Intelligent
Good speaker
Helpful
Discipline 2
Let us work in groups
Doesn’t get mad at students
Positive-3
Puts in extra time with you
A person that is willing to teach it to you
Tough but reasonable
Doesn’t yell-1
Is kind to all kids-2
Doesn’t judge
Treats you like a student and sometimes a friend
Someone you can joke with
Someone that keeps order in the classroom
Passionate about their work
Cheerful
Doesn’t hate children
Likes what they teach
Always outgoing
Willing to listen to my thoughts
Appropriate
Puts their best effort into their teaching
Knows what he/she is doing/talking about-2
Not strict
Can be stern at times-1
Must be willing to help a student
Good grading scale
Professional but friendly
Smart
Bonds with students
Not really old
Likes sports
Relates to students
Engages in classroom activities
Takes student feedback and tries to adjust to it within reason
Teaches the lessons with analogies that don’t relate to the subject
Relaxed yet strict environment
Helps you out when you need it and makes sure you understand it before you continue
Doesn’t ignore any student
Doesn’t pick favorites-3
Helps you one on one
Not always serious
Relate things to life experiences
Supportive
Creative
Easy going and a little strict at times-1
Doesn’t bring personal problems in the class
Treats people as equal
Makes things fun
Has an orderly classroom with structure
A teacher that understands me-4
Appropriate-1
Cares for/about students-1
Loving
Determined
A good taste in shoes
Wears a nice pair of slacks
Has a good haircut
Teachers who go back and reteach criteria if students don’t understand
Teacher that wants the kids to learn. A lot of teachers just give you a book and expect you to know and won’t answer questions
Cares about student grades
A teacher who tells it like it is
Trustworthy
Someone that knows how to discipline enough that we’re still having fun
Willing to listen
Someone who doesn’t just talk all the time
Doesn’t leave people out
Good sense of humor-2
Teaches in a fun way while still keeping it all appropriate
Isn’t afraid to laugh or sound stupid
Is a good example
Knows how to tell a joke about they they’re teaching
Keeps class interesting
Can keep control of the class
Words things so we can understand them

Thursday, January 5, 2012

After "The Dot"

On September 15, my school and other schools around the World celebrated International Dot Day. Dot Day is a fantastic way to start a creativity movement in your school. You can read more about Dot Day here and here. More than 17000 students and 1000 adults participated in Dot Day this year.

As I was reading through the tweets and Facebook messages, I was struck by two great quotes: @MrSchuReads "Quote of the day: 'Every day should be #dotday.' -2nd grader" and @karacornejo "One dot can launch the journey."


One dot can launch a journey and every day should be dot day....so why isn't it? Both quotes and the whole idea of dot day got me thinking of ways I could add more creativity to my classroom (it has been a creative place....but why not add more?). So, in high school chorus we have done a few artsy type projects. 

We were singing a song called "The Heavenly Road" so, one option for an activity was to draw HIS/HER Heavenly Road. . . What would it look like, what would be on it?








They could also capture a scene from other songs....

like "Winter Song"

It was exciting to see the words of the songs creativity captured in art. It was even more exciting to have the students deeply involved in the words to the song!

Dot Day is a great start to a journey!

How are you going to ramp up creativity in your classroom??