Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jellywashers: Endangered Breed

When someone roots for you or compliments you, how does that make you feel? Great, comfortable, proud or uncomfortable? or something else?

It seems to me that many people feel uncomfortable, even angry around people who give appropriate comments or work to boost morale.

These people are called JellyWashers. Why? Because they will tell you when you have jelly (real and metaphorical) on your face when no one else will. They will compliment you. They will support you. They will trust you. THEY WILL BELIEVE.

Photo by Ɓukasz Strachanowski
Attribution-NonCommercial License

They have expectations that others are jellywashers, but that is so far from the truth. Jellywashers are a rare, endangered group. So how do these grown-ups do it? How do they live in a world where people are often working against their own best interests on a regular basis?

It seems to me that JellyWashers are a rare, endangered variety in our species who need to be celebrated, not denigrated. They can do something few others can do. They can suspend cynicism and develop learned naivete'...imagination that the world can be a better place by encouraging others with appropriate comments to help enlighten and improve their daily life.

Do you know any of these people? How do you treat them? Do you shake your head? Do they embarrass you? Do you celebrate them? Do you join them?

Think about YOUR attitude and ask questions before you assume that Jellywashers are naive pawns who remain ignorant of a world where bad things happen. They are not. They are the people who are able to overcome diversity to push on through the dark world to encourage the rest of us to push on also.

Jellywashers CHOOSE to live in a world of positive ethos. They CHOOSE to work to improve their own life, so they can help others wash the clay from their eyes. Jellywashers choose to help fellow humans see themselves and others as worthy of respect and care. Thank goodness for the jellywashers of the world. What ethical behaviors can you CHOOSE today?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Warriors to End Poverty

Photo by carf
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
Over the years, many people have influenced the way I think about poverty and react to those in poverty. I think of these people as Warriors to End Poverty, because they must go against the never-ending myths that perpetuate poverty.

One of these myths is that those in poverty deserve their lot. That somehow through their own devices these people have caused their own poverty. One Warrior to End Poverty who fought this myth was Jane Addams, the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She addressed this myth in her speech entitled, A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil where she discusses the ancient evil of slavery of women through ancient, slave rules of forced marriages, rape and forced prostitution...what we would call HUMAN TRAFFICKING today.

During Jane Addams' lifetime, these evil acts were blamed on the woman and her offspring of these heinous acts were treated with disrespect also. Is this situation any better today? Look around and " the change you want to see in the world..." (Ghandi). Help where you can. One of the most important ways to help is to protect women by making sure their privacy and rights are as well protected and respected as those of all other humans.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blog Action Day Returns in 2008

It is that time of year again. Blog Action Day Returns in 2008 with a new topic but the same mission. Have as many people around the world post their blog on a single topic on a single day. If you have never participated in Blog Action Day, this is your year to begin. If you have already participated, this is the year to continue. The topic of Blog Action Day 2008 is Poverty. Will you talk about how rampant it is? How we can eliminate it? Groups and programs that are successfully working to eliminate poverty? You decide and write your blog post on Poverty for Blog Action Day 2008 on October 15, 2008. Click on this badge to go to the Blog Action Day website and register your blog right now. Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Graphic Organizers Revealed

Photo by Kaptain Kobold
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
When you SEE objects in your mind, do you sort them by their characteristics? by color or shape or size? OR Do you sort them in groups?

When you do this, you are VISUALIZING a graphic organizer that you can create in the World of Matter. The best graphic organizers are those that spring up organically in the course of working. The words and phrases can be organized as you think about them when the need arrives. You can put "stuff" together or to separate "stuff".

While there are many types of graphic organizers, the most common is probably the simplest to use. It is the T-Chart. Not only is it easy to use, it is also extremely effective in a wide range of applications, from brainstorming to assessment.

The T-Chart is a binary checklist, but it also has an advantage of providing data to develop questions that can guide the learner and teacher in more effective learning opportunities. Because of this characteristic, it is a great organizer.

What we know about graphic organizers, in general, ranks them, among instructional strategies, the best, most effective, and easy to implement in real world situations. In the seminal meta-analysis of learning strategies, Classroom Instruction That Works: Research Based Instructional Strategies, Dr. Robert Marzano, et al, dedicate an entire chapter to Graphic Organizers. They discuss the data, the instructional strategy and what implementation looks like in the classroom.

While the T-chart can be helpful in many areas, there is a use that relates to just-in-time learning and teaching which must happen at various moments in any form of constructivist paradigm, including project based learning. For instance, an important part of project is working as a team. If the team doesn't function well, the project will not meet expectations of the team or the supervisor/advisor.

Here is how a T-Chart can help. First ask team members questions...not too many questions, but questions like:
1. What does a team look like?
2. What does a team sound like?
Let each make lists, then join the lists in a brainstorming session USING THE judging or eliminating anyone's ideas.

Once the ideas are listed on the T-chart in the TWO categories, let each team member have an opportunity to explain or defend their ideas. Some may decide that their idea is similar to another. All team members will listen to each explanation, before they say anything negative or positive.

The team may think of other ideas while they are in discussion mode. When they are finished, the supervisor/advisor asks, "Do you see these ideas being implemented by your team? If not, how could you help to make your team look and sound more like the ideas discussed today?

If the team members aren't sure how they might help make the ideas come true, use another graphic organizer to plan how the team can fit their ideal.

Here is the point where the team interactions may dissolve into individual actions and distractions. Stop the conversation. Let them each take home a copy of the completed T-chart. Encourage them to think how can we (they) as a team can implement these ideas. Encourage them to get feedback from their part of the community (parents, siblings, friends, etc).

The next day, work through the process again. If this doesn't work, then "direct instruction" strategies must be put into play. For instance, advisor/supervisor will state: "Our teams WILL look like this". "Our teams WILL sound like this". "Here are the activities that must occur to make these ideas work". Then the team members will study this T-Chart and implement the ideas in their team interactions to be evaluated daily, using a rubric with goals developed from the T-Chart.

T-Charts are simple. T-Charts are cool. T-Charts are effective. Let's all use T-Charts.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Plurkadian Tag Cloud: Part 2

This screenshot is part 2 of my Plurkadian tag cloud. I am really still looking for an rss feed. Another aspect of this second part of my tag cloud, is that I noticed that some words are topics that I am against, not just what I am for...this is my story.