Thursday, August 5, 2010

A speech to remember

Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech
Last month, Erica Goldson graduated as valedictorian of Coxsackie-Athens High School. Instead of using her graduation speech to celebrate the triumph of her victory, the school, and the teachers that made it happen, she channeled her inner Ivan Illich and de-constructed the logic of a valedictorian and the whole educational system.

Erica originally posted her full speech on Sign of the Times, and without need for editing or cutting, here's the speech in its entirety:

Here I stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer - not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition - a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, "We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness - curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don't do that." Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not "to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. ... Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim ... is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States."

To illustrate this idea, doesn't it perturb you to learn about the idea of "critical thinking." Is there really such a thing as "uncritically thinking?" To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn't for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren't we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don't have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can't run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be - but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, "You have to learn this for the test" is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn't have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a "see you later" when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let's go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Technology Professional Development at OK State Department of Education

Thursday, July 1: Promethean for Educators: Promethean is the educators version of the business-minded Smart Board. It is designed for student interactivity. The ActivExpression component provides instant student responses. It has a website with lesson plans accessible for free. There is ongoing 'free" professional development. $2,000 will get a Promethean board at the Volunteer Center. I hope we will be able to find grant funding for this. It is amazing. I was not able to attend a Smart board training yet, but the tech people at the State Department would purchase a Promethean over a Smart Board for Ed. purposes. I think this board could also be used at Independent and Assisted Living facilities.

Tuesday, July 6: Motivating the Digital Natives I only attended an hour of this workshop. I had to take family to airport. I learned about, a social network for educators. I also learned about where students can take notes digitally. The so-called backchannelling is great. For a month we will be able see our notes on Skype, Delicious, Animoto/Edmoto, Ning, Jing project. I attended edmoto and how to use Manuel can be found at We signed up for his workshop at his ning. From the I gathered the following websites: Explaining Web 2.0:; -artwork (e.g. smartboard tools-ish); collaborative modem;use kisstunes to create music for videos. technology tips for teachers:, google;,; for free pics, sound, etc. that can be used in student projects; photo editing; for saving your Internet bookmarks or favorites online;; your thoughts on something in a shape instead of just a word cloud: : we use it with our elementary students and their weekly spelling lists; it jazzes up the boring spelling work for them; bibliography to create a bibliography; for bibliography citations also. Youtube videos: on selected youtube videos insert "kick" before you in youtube (ie. saves the file in flash. for download to save youtube videos as mp4 file to save on iPods or video files to show to students.

Wednesday, July 7: Audacity: facilitator: Manuel Gonzalez. Audacity is a free program. Manuel self-trained after a COV Training (Celebrate Oklahoma Voices.) Example of Mike and Mike podcast (a radio broadcast edited.) That is what audacity does. You can also use to do digital story telling. High Educational example: High School students mentoring in American History during the summer turned their poems into rap songs. They worked with headstar 4 year olds. Students still remember the experience and the CD creation.
Workshop process
Basic: Introduction..How to get it, what it looks like
Advance features: Change voice tones, etc.
Learn to export it compatible files
Record voice with music. Get songs that are royalty free

How do we find audacity? the 1.2.6 version, if you have windows 7 download the beta version. It saves it as a .aupfile. I can only play it in an audacity player
Types of files
audio files: .mp3; wav; .a+f; aup will be changed to .wav; .mp3
doc files: doc/docx; pdf, etc
Audacity control tools are the same as a VCR. Mikes are very sensitive. We recorded our introduction and how we spent our 4th of July weekend. Mute the first track unless you want to hear both at the same time.
Creative music, find, jamendo music to download legally music available for educators. Other sites for music: We downloaded the music we saved at the desktop. We learned how to edit, duplicate, edit, and undo. 30 seconds or 10% is the only allowed time to take legally for free. You avoid lawsuits that way.
The programs' difficulties are handling the tools. Photo story 3 for windows. You can import the audacity file for your pictures. Vokie was another site a tech teacher asked if she could use with audacity because it changes your voice. A good site for free sounds is
Think 2 minutes of content. Do not go over 3 because you lose your audience!
Effects tab...Helps you remove noise and unwanted sounds wuth noise removal and click removal, amplification will help the shy voices.
Fading under effects and silence under generate
What kind of headset? Shop carefully.
Other helpful sites provided by teachers, mostly media librarians: Site to keep track of URLS, Photo Story 3 does not accept MP3 only wave files: Sound convertor files: (with a webklipper annocation)

Thursday, July 8th: Digital Citizenship It is digital literacy on how to teach teachers and parents the abc of digital literacy. Our presenter is Perry Applegate who knows Jeanie.

The presenter shared her story of spagetti grew on trees.(spagetti harvest, bbc April fools video). She shared the video What is a browser: How you get to the internet: Internet explorer, Firebox, Chrome, Safari. Search Engine: How you use to look up stuff: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Wolfram Alpha. A search engine searches only their sites, not all the websites. Ranked by most searches, not for relevancy or reliability. Some are paid links. Search engines are paid for their link. cancer..$3 a hit for example.(leukemia, cancer with heat-probably not the most reputable.) So do not think the first findings are good. On Goggle it says, "paid results."
Look at the description..Google is the biggest, compares search engines. Relevance and segregation are part of Google. is good for educational purposes. No paid results, and gives Designed for high school students
Kids is a good one for younger kids. They can narrow it down by subject area. kids can put in whole sentences
bing: decision engine. Great for shopping. It is the microsoft search engine. Segregate subheadinds
WolframAlpha is a great search engine for math and science. Great for b-day info.

Being a good searcher:
1. Be specific
-Develop a search plan (bio, role, presidency,wife...What kind of info do we want: facts only) In addition to search engines, databases and books. Spelling does count!! N
-Narrow them, Boolean operators (passe) Help refine the search or(expands) and (narrows) not(eliminate certain related topics) The magazine databases require them, + and -
host searchers. gov. edu college, com, etc. It is changing now. The host domain name is changing. She provided domain names for other countries. Reviews technology
smokingabd Site searching
Google advance search should be taught to the students. You can find several pp on study skills. You do not have to reinvent the wheel.
Almost all uses advance searchers look at all possibilities in google advance search
How do we know if a website is good: Who, what, where, when,why
Who created the website, who is the responsible person?
What? Does the website meet your information needs? how easy is it to use? How well written is it? grammatical and spelling errors-not an expert in the field. Check simple fact.
When? when was initially posted and updated.
Where? .org is good,but not fair and balance edu,.k12, .me personal website
Why? was it created?...propaganda techniques...bandwagon approach...everybody believes this.
Fact and opinion differentiation Tons of good lessons recognized usage of strong words. tells who owns the website.
History of website: How web sites were web space sites to evaluate by perri

Friday, July 2, 2010

My experience at IT IS UP TO YOU conference

Sunday: Traveling, Sightseeing Day- Walking around Manhathan, An Evening with Sybil: I arrived on Sunday and shared a ride with a member of the Oklahoma City Community Service Commission. The man and his wife were staying at the Hilton so they left the taxi and I went on with my Russian taxi driver to my wonderful hotel, Washington/Jefferson Hotel at 51st and 8th. I highly recommend this hotel, if one does not mind walking to save taxi costs. Airpot taxi to and from hotel:$80. In town, anywhere from $10-20 per ride. I think rides start at $2.00, not sure because I walked as much as I could because the predicted rain never came and there was so much to see.

I walked to 88th and York to have dinner with Sybil, a friend of my daughther-in-law Julia. It was great to see Sybil's amazing collection of antiques and enjoy a fresh Maine lobster dinner, great wine, and a million dollar view from her terrace.

On my way to Sybil's, I walked by Central Park, discovered the Plaza Hotel, where I needed to go to a luncheon on Monday, and stumbled with Ben and Jerry and Target's promotional day for the new flavors exclusive to Target to celebrate volunteerism: Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder. I had my picture taken with a cow. I will place the picture somewhere in my office.

As I walked on a Sunday!!!!; I had a manicure, a pedicure, I had my hair done. All things I did not have time to do because I was moving my office. Everyone treated me with great kindness. I love the Upper East Side of NYC. I met Sybil at about 7:00p.m. and left her place by 11:00 p.m. Sybil described herself very well; she is the spirit of New York.

After a lovely time wiht Sybil learning about NYC and Julia's growing up years, I returned to my hotel at midnight. I could not avoid remembering Brian when he was in NYC for the first time and he wanted to take a taxi from the theater to the hotel because he was scared. I cannot believe, he has lived in NYC for two years and he is in his 10th year of living in Boston. How much he and I have changed in such a short period of time.

Monday: First Day of the Conference: I ate breakfast on the go from a small cafe next to the Hilton. I registered early and found out that the changes in schedule would not permit me to attend the first session Realizing your Dreams. I went to the workshop to network before it started. Left the workshop earlier to get ready for the Gala luncheon. I hated changing my sketchers for regular shoes, but it was a small price to pay for what I was about to experience.

On my way to the Plaza Hotel luncheon, I found my favorite jewelry store, Swarovski, and bought myself a treat! The heart shaped pendant complemented my favorite ear rings. As I entered the luncheon, I saw beautiful flowers and about 300+ people networking. The servers provided palatable delicacies and all the drinks one desired. Participants received a bag, especially designed for Shinnyo-en with a t-shirt, literature, and a beatiful name tag holder. I wonder why I was invited to such important event as Jody came to welcome me and introduced me to the team she had brought. Jody's work in service-learning focuses on teleconferencing global service-learning projects.

After about an hour of networking, we were called to lunch. The room was decorated for a platinum wedding! I was told to seat at a table number higher than 14. We had a beautiful program waiting for us. People from around the world began to eat a lobster based lunch. Every dish looked like a work of art. As the program developed, people received awards. The luncheon ended with a women's forum on volunteerism. The most amazing thing for me was being a couple of tables away from Shinso Ito, the very petit woman who heads the Shinnyo-En order: Borderless Garden of Truth. To describe her presence, one has to be a gifted writer, so I will stop there. I wanted to meet her, but for some reason I felt, it was not my time yet. I did meet Bishop Tsao Ito who gave me his card. He works out of the Shinnyo-en Grand Holy Temple, 2-13, 1-Chome, Shibazakicho, Tachigama-City, Tokyo 190-0023, phone 042-525-0111. As I heard Haru, CEO of Shinnyo-En Foundation in San Francisco, speak, I realized that there had been an ongoing interfaith service partnership between the head of the Shinnyo-En order and the Pope.

Her Holiness Shinso Ito presented the Prince Shotoku, a symbol of peace and harmony, to first deputy mayor, Patricia Hams, who accepted it on behalf of the city of NY. Her Holiness speech reminded all those in attendance about the shared bonds and strong connections between people, and the need for everyone to help each other. It was truly an inspiring moment. I could not help but feel her spirit of peace and harmony entering my little heart shaped pendant. When her holiness spoke at the opening plenary of the conference, the stage was transformed by the colors and the beauty of her petite, kind presence. Her speech, translated by telepromter, metioned hearts united in the quest for peace. I felt like I was taking a little bit of her spirit with me in my new heart shaped pendant.

As the lunch program continued, the recipient of the 2010 Pathfinders to Peace Award, an award which honors those who have dedicated their lives to bringing about a more peaceful world through their endeavors, was U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, who was honored for his lifelong commitment to service, including his important role in the formation of the Peace Corps, and his support of the civil rights movement working alongside the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. that are only a few of his many accomplishments.

Other awards presented were the Heart of Service Awards: the Daily Point of Light Award,the President's Volunteer Service Award, and the NY Governor's Rose Award.

The panel discussion (First Lady Michelle Paige Patterson, Kim Martin, Vice-President and General Manager of WE tv, Maya Enista, CEO,, and Mary McPhail, Chief Executive Worldwide Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) moderated by Ariana Huffington ( an interesting exchange of ideas, bringing together some of the most successful and important women in the community.

Thoughts to remember from the panel:
-Budget time, money, and make choices
-Make service part of your daily life
-Promote social innovation in civic participation
-Promote Let's Read, Let's Move in our communities
The lenght of the luncheon did not allow me to attend the workshop Video: Story telling and Strategy. I did not worry because I have Mr. Varela as an advisor in this area and I was planning to take a video making course as part of my free professional development from the State Department of Education in July.

I was glad to meet Jody's husband and co-workers as well as her superintendent who told me he would be happy to be an administrative resource for Casady. Christopher Clouet is the superintendent of White Plains Public Schools, At my table sat a woman who was a friend of Henry Lozano. Pat White is the Executive Director of the Community Anti Drug Coalitions Acros Tennnesse I hope to see her again at the retreat in San Francisco.

1:30-4:00 Radio City Music Hall: OPENING PLENARY

It was my first time attending a National Conference for service managers working in collaboration with the corporate, non-profit, government and faith-based groups. I discovered a world of empowered women and win-win collaborations with a common goal, solve community problems with a well-trained and committed volunteer force.

Every seat was filled in the legendary and historic Radio City Music Hall at the official kick off of the Conference, with close to 6,000 leaders of the business, nonprofit, government, and volunteer sector ready to embark on the three-day event. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a host of other dignitaries, community leaders, and volunteers from across the country gave words of encouragement, with emcees Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” kept the crowd entertained.

I wanted to meet Rupper, the man from the deli who is constantly interviewed by David Letterman, so I went there for dinner. $10 for a sandwich and Orangina served by Rupper's girlfriend who told me she had been volunteering for RSVP. I could not believe she was over 55 years old. It was late and she was closing the deli, but she prepared a sandwich and we talked for a while. I told her I would be back to taste her signature sandwich when the Deli was opened for lunch and to meet Rupper!!

8:30-11:00 Radio City Music Hall: HERE IS TO YOU Award Celebration
I wonder how the awards were selected because for the youth area, the Casady4H2ope deserves national recognition if you compare the scope and student involvement. All the awards and Broadway entertainment videos can be viewed at the National Conference website. The inspirational moments for me were


Things to remember:
-Let's Read, Let's Move Project
-Saint Bernard Project
-PS22 singing group (children..Stand by ME_YOU)
-Build institutional capacity, not just expand outreach efforts
-Participate in non-profit boards...Create more non-profit boards
-Engage with public officials
-Create a partnership with Target. They give $3 million every week. Participate in the Target Meals for Minds. Develop a colaboration between YAC, Students Against Hunger, Target Meals for Minds and create an amazing Big Sort Day 2010. Follow the example of Party for Good where 150,000 meals were packed. Reward volunteers with new volunteer Ben and Jerry ice cream flavors available exclusively at Target.
-Millenniums (born on 1980 and on) and baby boomers: A winning service collaboration
-We have the human capital to solve our community problems
-Engage on reduction of carbon footprint
-Utilize social media with innovation, purpose, and to build relationship based on audience interest.

2nd day of Conference: My day did not start until 10:30, so I went to see what was going on at the Hilton because my laptop stopped working. I am glad I did it because I was able to attend an interfaith networking breakfast.

8:30-10:30 Interfaith Forum: Sponsored by the Point of Light Institute and the Shinnyo-En Foundation:
Things to remember from this forum
-Kindness has no borders and people of different faiths can work together if they look at the connections in faith and find ways to build alliances.
-Do not focus on religious differences, instead focus on what inspires us to serve. Mercy, Kindness and Compassion are core values among religions. Interfaith service can make our world better.
-Work on the common humanity in all of us.
-Working together provides the opportunity to deepen one's faith and brings the unique spirituality of working as one for a common goal. We start listening with our heart.
-Joshua Dubois called for advancing interfaith based initiatives. Author of Acts of Faith asked: How can we create a sustainable interfaith service movement? What should our world look like and how do we build the bridge to get there?
-Let's have knowledge of the great interfaith service movements in history.MLK!
-Facilitate interfaith dialog and action
-Obama: Was an interfaith teacher. Connected to diversity being a force for peace., Fight Poverty: initiative.
-Neil Bush is a resource at the Points of Light Institute: More faith based initiatives for MLK Day, September 11: National Days of Service.

10:30-12:00 Creative Process: Using Arts Processes for Community Change: I attended a few minutes of this presentation, but it was an introduction to service-learning with connections to the arts. I left and look around and stumbled into an empowering workshop on promoting latinos into serving on non-profit boards. This workshop, led by Julian Posada, President of Cafe Media, was interesting.

Non-Hispanic Hispanic

How do we relate to people?
Minimize differences/Everybody is the same
Stress differences/Show respect

What do we stress in relationships?
Balance, Harmony,Competition, Informality
Respect, Cooperation,Formality

What do we value in people?

A person's achievements through special skills
A person's background

On whom do we rely for help?
Ourselves and institutions
Family, friends, community,"our social security"

The speaker provided the following advise:
UNDERSTAND – build knowledge of complexity of Latino demographic segments throughout your company
ATTRACT – be visible in community; foster community involvement; communicate your culture & brand; expand your word-of-mouth network; use existing online networks & tools; reach out to Latino youth
RETAIN – invest in leadership development opportunities; support affinity networks; create visible Latino company leadership

Visit to register for our weekly e-newsletter El Cafecito

2:30-4:00 Six Billion Path to Peace, the Journey to Global Engagement An inspirational panel discussed national and international service endevors with one message: You signed up for a new life, LISTEN TO PEACE. Find a path to connect to each other. Kyleigh Kuhn, 19 YEARS OLD, works to eliminate mine fields inspired by her parents work. She stated, "Our path to peace comes from the vision we have and the choices we make.

I want to remember what one of the panelist said, "The voice of peace is weaker than the trumpets of war. Young people have voices louder than the trumpets of war! There is a huge capacity at our finger tips, but it takes reflection to find out what you want to do."

At the end of the discussion,Riaz Simjee, Charter Member of from Johaneshburg, South Africa,; spoke about the power of a smile. I hope our youth leaders will meet at the San Francisco Retreat! We want to connect youth interesed in a Peace Education dialog. We hope they will decide to SKYPE after they meet in San Francisco or via e-mail.

4:30-6:00: Interfaith Dialog: Effective Service Reflection for a Diverse World Excellent techniques, but I had to leave early to get at least a little bit of the Let's Move, Let's Read Workshop. I was hoping to find resources for the for the mentoring projects at Casady. The Interfaith Dailog was facilitated by Hannah McConnaughay, and Amber Hacker of InterfaithYouty Core. The goal was to show how to incorporate interfaith dialog into the reflection piece of service-learning projects. Their approach has foundation on what religions share, the common values and what they struggle with? They asked participants how values affect who you are, but do not give facts and figures because we do not know everything. I have two website;

The facilitator started setting group guidelines of interaction. Some participants were reluctant to do this part of the workshop. (I will ask the library and or Father Blizzard to consider acquiring he Interfaith tool kit available at All information for youth committed to understanding religious pluralism can be found at
Process of the workshop:
1. Guidelines of interaction
2. Texts of the Shared value of Service: We read at loud, could pass if desired. Then we discussed: Any resonate? Did you find any challenging? Did any help you see service in a different way?
3. Role playing..Skills as a facilitator in challenging times..The art of listening and reflecting instead of providing judgement
4. Sharing non faith-based meaningful service experiences. What inspired the person to engage in such experience? How was that experience based on your faith tradition or moral values-human- perspective?
5. Read the texts again and ask participants if they think differently now that they have listened to stories about inspiration from different traditions. How did the themes of the texts played out in the stories told?
Baha'i Tradition of Service (from Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha)
One amongst His Teachings is this, that love and good faith must so dominate the human heart that men will regard the stranger as a familiar friend, the malefactor as one of their own, the alien even as a loved one, the enemy as a companion clear and close.

Buddhist Tradition of Service (From Itivuttaka 18)
If beings knew, as I know, the fruit of sharing gifts, they will not enjoy their use without sharing them, nor would the taint of stiginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last bit, their last morsel of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.

Christian Tradition of Service (Matthew 25:35)

"For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thristy and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcome me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the king will answer them,"Truly I tell you, just as you did it to the one of the least of these who are the members of my family, you did it to me."

Hindu Tradition of Service (from Bhagavad Gita 3.10)
At the beginning, mankind and the obligation of selfless service were created together. "Through selffless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires": this is the promise of the Creator...

Jain Tradition of Service (from Tattvarthasutra 5.21)
Rendering help to another is the function of all human beings.

Jewish Tradition of Service (Deuteronomy 10:17)
For the LORD your G-d is G-d supreme and Lord supreme, the great, the mighty, and the awsome G-d'who shows no favor and takes no bribe, but upholds the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and befriends the strange, providing him with food and clothing. You too must befriend the stranger,for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Muslin Tradition of Service(Surah 93:1-11)
I call to witness the early hours of morning, and the night when dark and still, your Lord has neither left you, nor despises you. What is to come is better for you than what has gone before; for your Lord will certainly give you, and you will be content. Did He not find you and orphan and take care of you? Did He not find you perplexed, and show you the way? Did He not find you poor and enrich you? So do not oppress the orphan, and do not drive the beggar away, and keep recounting the favors of your Lord.

Secular Humanism Tradition of Service (from the writing of Pablo Neruda)
To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fine that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown t ous, who ae watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses-that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being and unites all living things.

Sikh Tradition of Service (from Guru Granth Sahib)

The individual who performs selfless service without thought of reward shall attain God's salvation.

Let's Move Workshop: Great fruit salad (fruits with lime and cilantro). Jacelyn Fryer, Office of the First Lady; Carla Hall: Top Chef; Joe Briggs: NFL Players Association; Max Finger: USDA;John Kelly: CNCS, and Dough Swansn:4-H. Gave information about the White House Let's Read, Let's Move project.

6:00-11:00 p.m. Party For Good A mess to get there, 5000+people in buses! but an amazing Broadway production to pack 150,000 boxes to feed NYC hungry families for three days:each box. Incredibly well organized by Target volunteers in collaboration with other main conference sponsors. We met the goal by 10:00 a.m. The entretaiment, food, and Ben and Jerry ice cream unveiling were amazing.

Third Day: Closing and Traveling Day

7:00-8:30: Hands On Network Breakfast I arrived late and sat with two women who helped me realize the importance of looking for corporate partners for the Casady program. I met Theresa Teston, Commissioner, Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism, Silver Springs, MO, 301-529-4955, and from the Network Natalie Smith, Manager of Business training sessions. They all encourage me to contact the network for help with the intership program. I also met, Mark Farr, Senior Directot of the Faith-Based initiative at the network. I will follow-up with all of them after the 4th of July.

8:30-10:00: Tweets, Posts and Flips: Shaping the way you think about informing Amazing panel: Target, Tweeter, Facebook, Pepsi and Gap. The facilitators spoke about how social media affects service.
The cause is a conversation started
When organizations are consistent in posting and make it a top priority internally with a human dialog based on participants interest, simple, with the least # of stemps; the response is incredible..GAP

Pepsy Refresh Project: It is about sharing and listening to the engaged audience.
Target: Audience: mom's. It has more than just products to sell. It also has summer activities and gives 3 million away per week. Their social media has one voice, the voice of the company. There is NO control, but participants provide the needed monitoring when wrong information appears. They step back, listen, learn, and do not respond! Bottom Up approach! Process driven team..What do they want in return? Digital/social Media Person sits at every meeting and is part of the marketing team.

What is next? Force wear..Bull's Eye II for Target..mainstream..real time, reliable, easy, available. Target has ultimate happy hour...Employees can use social media..the millennials expected..golbal:World Cup example..sensitive to the country's culture. Life Stream: Engages global audiences..It is digital activism. The target person said she would have the public relations person for OKC contact me. If after the 14th I have not heard from here, I will search myself. I want to bring Party 4 Good to OKC.

10:30-12:00 Values-Based Reflection of Service: Incredible workshop!led by Lila Miller, Lisa Eisen,Rabbi Will Berkovitz, and Ted Marquis(Learn and Serve). It was sponsored by a Tulsa based foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Lisa Eisen told me she will contact me after the 4th.
Things to remember from this workshop:
1. High quality service programs enrich the service provider through values based reflection.
Evolution of service:
1.0 Volunteerism, community service without a reflective component
2.0 Service-Learning, classroom based, reflective cycle
3.0 Values based service reflection: Commitment based on values that solidifies identity and impacts life. Faith and spirituality responding to community needs with impacting values based-reflection process enhances citizenship, academic achievement, and sense of self-efficacy.
The Schusterman foundation helped the Rabbi take teachers to Israel to help them become better teachers. They reflected on their style of leadership and how they faced challenges and used their abilities to problem-solved what came their way. The Rabbi created the initiative called REPAIR THE WORLD. He drew from his experience as a former director of cultural, arts, and wilderness travel. I need to ask the Blumenthals' and Cox's if they know about Repair the World program?

Rabbi Berkowitz recommended to read the book THE SERVANT AS LEADER and he shared his process of values based reflection.
He shared the following texts
1. "...And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us this is the aim
Never here to be realized;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying..."
-T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages

2. You are not obligated to finish the task; neither are you free to neglected.
-Pirkei Avot (Teaching of the Sages), Chapter 2,21

Then, the Rabbi asked us to be in pairs, by stating, "Make a friend and acquire a teacher. Introduce yourself to the person you will meet. Pay attention to the answers. Place your heart to understand the other and yourself. The questions were:
1. What is the task that you have been trying to contemplate in the world? Why?
2. How would the world be different if you succeeded?
3. What motivates you to keep trying when it would be easier to quit?

My partner was a young man from a YAC at a university in Texas,Austin. His was respect for human dignity, mine was peace. Our reasoning was very similar. It was an amazing reflection which empowered us to keep on trying.

A few inspirational thoughts;
Are you a tourist or a traveler on service? Do you encounter the other? Do you tell their story, or just focus on yours? Do you challenge assumptions? Do you become a witness of the others' realities? Are you able to see it from their perspective?
You are also asking me questions and I hear you. I answer that I cannot answer, you must find answers yourself.

When you listen to storytelling, be a River Guide: Listen, create space for conversations, let the texts be the other voice in the room

Now I wash the stuff from your eyes, you must habit yourself to the dazzel of the light of every moment of your life. Teach people to see what they have been blind to..See the violinist in the subway!

Set-up the space for conversations: A candle in the room..creation of a sacred space..leave your cynicism at the door. Self-reflection: Why are you here? Where have you been? Where do you want to go?

Create team building opportunities: Trust walk..a safe environment..IF PROJECT (I must research this)

Share life stories: Leather bound communal journal

Top 10 list
1. Strike the right balance
2. Plant strong roots, yield strong branches
3. Challenge assumptions
4. Explore both particular and universal values
5. Create of sense of agency
6. Offer diverse options
7. Administer daily doses
8. Capture teachable moments
9. Let peers and texts speak
10. Find a great partner

Then we heard about the reflective process of Ameri Corps, City Year which now involves about 41,000 volunteers. Their big initiative this year is "Stay in School." They also have "Alternative Spring Break Programs."

This program is based on an idealistic journey; Give a Year; Change the Outer World through service and the Inner World through reflection and leadership development. DO, KNOW, BE
The presenter then described the Americ Corp City Year process of recruitment, training and retention.

12:00-2:00 Closing: Uneventful and disorganized. They did not even know where it was going to take place until a couple of days before. This was the only part that was dissapointing of the conference. We were directed to a wrong location at first by people dress in Mardi Grass attire as a hint of where the conference were to be next year. There I met a person who might be interested in helping Walk the World 2011: Aldustus Jordan,Director of Community Relations, Partnerships and Programs for ARAMARK in Philadelphia, This is a company that works with the United Nations World Food Programme and he was interested in finding more information, especially if this becomes an intergenerational, interfaith event.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oklahoma Memorial Museam Education Summit

TUESDAY, JUNE 8: FOOD BY WHAT IS COOKING 843-6530. Excellent menu
Introductions: Adonna facilitated with high, low, hello ice breaker. A question was different with every person we met. Nice quick way to do introductions.

First Person Account: Rev. Wendy Lambert. Her father died at the bombing. Powerful speech on peace found through observing the work of volunteers. Great speaker for National Volunteer Week because she focuses on how the person who gave her a cup of coffee make her focus on the humanity of the volunteers which somewhat helped her through the news of her father's death. She was there to be in one with the calmnes among the destruction. Her purpose was to be first hand witness as to the goodness of people. She was impacted by the person who gave her a sandwich, gave blood, gave a child a toy animal. Acts of kindness bring the best in us during the worst times or through momentary acts of evil.

Crisis Communication: We learned how the police department and the media interacted. Important words by Chief Bill Citty, Tony Stizza, Director of Video of the OKC Memorial Museum, and Terri Watkins, reporter, RELATIONSHIPS, RESPECT and TRUST.
Ability to communicate was easy because of long standing relationships, boundaries were clear, and accuracy of information was based on trust. Security and protection of crime scene allowed free exchange of accurate information. Local media is part of the fabric of the community. A documentary I must watch is TAPESTRY.

The Investigation: We learned about details of the arrest, research, and trail from Hank Gibbons, Retired FBI Agent, and Leon Gillum, Director of Safety and Security OKC Memorial Museum.
-Unintended consequence of the bombing...Memorial a testament to the common good
-Responsibility for your actions...Life is not like a video game
-Culture of Silence...One phone call from people who knew about the bombing could have spared lives.

Interactive Lesson: Creative Writing with a Purpose. Most applicable part of the day for my practice as a director of service-learning. OKC Memorial Museum Fellow, Andrew Smith, Sheffield Middle School, OH. 8th grade students are given a toy from the Memorial Fence. Then, they write a healing story with that toy as a character. The story book goes to kids in crisis providing a message and gift of hope and comfort. This could be applicable to Life Prep 101 next year. Fence toys are available by simply asking Lynn Roller to send as many as needed. The HOPE Chest is probably something we need to have at the library the first two weeks in September also, if we decide this to be the social action project for the ninth grade. Our homework was to create a story based on the toy we were given. I got a baby seal. My story's title was first D.J.'s Wish

Creating a Memorial: Power Presentation by the museum's CEO, Kari Watkins. 1995 Blow to the heart of the city. People wanted to see good over evil. HOPE was the hardest word to agree from family members. 623 designs, 23 different countries, one winner. The choice: To remember, to reflect, to teach...from anger to hope for peace

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 2010 : Food by Panera. Great Box sandwiches.

Homework discussion: It was amazing to see how the stories about the toys all had a moral to help children heal or have hope. My story, D.J.'s Wish is yet to be finished.

Cultural Memory: Experiencing History Through Creativity and Research: Most powerful presentation of the summit. Haley Thompson, Theatre/UCO Communication Education Coordinator related how she got involved in the Memorial (high school boyfriend's mother was a survivor. She went to the Memorial fence and noticed the poetry. She did performances on that poetry) and how she used a visit to the museum with archives research to empower her students to create a transforming play with personal talents(dance, music composition, song, poetry, photography.) Her students gave us a small vinegette and talked about how this project changed them.

This gave me the idea of having the third YAC Invitational at the museum. I will apply for a museum grant and ask Haley to share her process and experience to re-create her project with YAC students. Then I will like for YAC to have a professional development for the faculty on collaboration. I asked her students to be chapel speakers for September 11, Day of Remembrance and for the OKC Bombing Remembrace Day which YAC will promote. I hope to facilitate kids walking at the Memorial Marathon in 2011.

Process: Two days investigating to do a 45 minute presentation
1. Visit to the museum: What specific images/quotes/items caught your attention?
As students tour the museum they journal their reactions and feelings through their five senses. She asked them to go away from each other, to pay attention to their soul.
2. Visit and investigation at the archives: Explore and touch history. Journal through the senses. Recommendation: Buy gloves and bring copy paper because students will like to copy a lot of documents.
3. The Creative Process: The teacher's concern was offending somebody because the stories might be about someone who lived next door. Her directions: Treat it in a mature way and do justice to the story. She had performace rubrics.
Their performance has the following parts: Who were we before, what happened to us when we touched history and how were we transformed. The students created the show which included fences where audience left their thoughts after the show. The fence idea made me think about the Secrets Project and how to leave secrets without fears.

Teaching about the bombing: Program and Resources:
Called2Change Program: A result of Edmond students who lost parents. What happens when you choose violence.
Grants to take students to museum with transportation funding allocation. Archives for research. Reflective journals for every level.
Simple Truths Workshop coming up on September 29, date and time: TBA, but possibly Sunday afternoon.
Amanda Wrede from Cheyenne Middle School, 639-4596, is a great resource for Life Prep 101. She has worked with the museum and teaches ethics and leadership at the 8th grade level. She uses 7 Habits of High Effective Teens. Amanda also recommended Flip Flipping: Touching Kids Hearts, a book about compassion and loving versus discipline. Adonna Meyer is also willing to do a Colors Test for YAC. We need funding for her. I also met Robin Finnegan's mother who recommended me to to buy HOPE HAS THE LAST WORD.
The museum provides one complementary entrance to educators for every 7 students. Plan
1. Visit the museum
2. Visit the memorial
3. Have a first person presentation. Make an appointment for this presentation
Must see the TAPESTRY documentary

First Person Account of the Bombing by Amy Petty, Survivor (Chief Operations Officer and Senior Vice President of Lending Allegiance Credit Union). Powerful speaker. Stop often and evaluate your life. Where do you wish you had done if you were to die tomorrow. Live your life with purpose. Be the person who does something. Life is short, experience as much as you can. Where in the World is Amy Petty? She will be bicycling around Oklahoma.

Legislation and New Standards: Kelly Curtright, Director of Social Studies Edcuation State Department of Education. Studying the bombing and the memorial is a state mandate. It is our story. The memorial helps us learned what happened and how to cope. The only area that has not been documented is the educators' response to the bombing. I asked Kelly about financial literacy and he gave me and to contact the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education.

Hope Trunk: The Hope Trunk available just by asking for a period of 2 weeks. Contact Lynne Porter, Education Coordinator to place your week on her calendar. 13 trunks available

Responding to Children in Crisis: Dr. Robin Gurwitch via SKYPE. We can see fears and worries. Concerns with safety and security. Worries with state, community, world. Geometry is not as important as father in Iraq or fear of natural disaster and death. Stress signs are similar to children with ADHD: Problems with concentration, grades drop, small attention span, mood swings, hyperactivity, hupervigilant-jumpy at police sirens. Headaches, fatigue, stomach ache, flu like symptoms. Take the first step to start conversations. Open yourself to them. You cannot fix the situation, but you can be avaialble to talk. Google National Center for School Crisis and Bereatment. They have a manual. LISTEN, PROTECT, CONNECT. Psychological first aide is for every one. Avoid comparing. A good book to read is LEAVE ALONE, BUT FIRST TAKE ME and _______to the mall.

Archives and Research tour: I found a picture of Spivey's collage. Pam Bell, archivist
It was interesting to see how the museum has preserve the accounts and gifts from people all over the world. When I return with my students, I want to investigate Susan Ferrell because she spend time at 37 on two things I wish I had done with my life: Be an attorney and dance from ballet to belly dancer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I attended a free webinar sponsored by, as part of their project learning and service-learning. I hope the whole webinar will be made available to teachers because it had great pictures and a power Q/A with Greg.

What I remember of the experience was Greg's focus on placing importance of learning from elders. This is alive and well in Pakistan and Afganistan, but seems to be a lost treasure in the USA. He also stated that some of the balls kids play with in America are made with "slave child labor."

Greg shared what David Petreas learned from Three Cups of Tea:
Listen more
Build Relationships

Greg also stated that if you educate a boy, you educate the individual; if you educate a girl, you educate the community.

Another statement he made that really stayed in my mind was: "When your heart speaks, Take GOOD NOTES."

He talked about Pennies for Peace and service-learning projects generated from Pennies for Piece for local causes like the Little Red Wagon Foundation, an 8-year old kid who will walk for one million dollars to help homeless children.
He also mentioned that American pennies have the power to erradicate illiteracy.

Greg stated that the Taliban is affraid to destroy some of his schools because they were build by free labor from the communities where they stand.

He ended his presentation with a few suggestions

1. Empower elders
2. Do not shelter our kids from the realities of the world

He gave this quote from MLK, "Even if the world ends tomorrow, I will plant my see today."

I look forward to his presentation at Lloyd Noble, APRIL 21, 4:00 P.M. FREE ADMISSION.

The Pinwheels for peace and the Pennies for Peace Project will be the Casady YAC projects-all school project- for next year in the month of September. The project will start in August and culminate on September 21, International Day of Peace.

Circle the World (Inspired by Giant Doves of Roots and Shoots which inspired the Forest of Peace, Respect Diversity Foundation Symbol Exhibit, April 13, 2010

Circle the World
By Dana Lyons

What is we could circle the world
Flying peace doves beneath the sun
Giant twenty foot wings of fabric
That are hand made by everyone
Pmce a uear we circle the world
Saying ain't it time to burry the guns
Our time has come and we have begun
To Circle the World

Its a dream and its a vision
Its a prayer that we may see
When every person, every creature
Will be treated with dignity
When every war will be a memory
We never shall repeat
Our time has come and we have begun
To Circle the World

Its a parade and its a party
Giant puppets with many drums
Its a song with many rhythms
That is sung in many tongues
Its a giant snake dance
In every country beneath the sun
Our time has come and we have begun
To Circle the World

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Emerging Implementation of ISAS conference for 2010-2011 school year

1. Betances had a phrase to empower minority-diverse-children:
"Proud blended heritage children." As a consequence of my attendance to the conference, I hope to be an asset builder of that type of understanding of diversity.

2. YAC and I will see Wagner's video in the company of some teachers and create a YAC performance rubric for next year. I look forward to the outcome of our FEDEX time (One B-block and lunch.) The focus questions of the meeting will be:
a. How do we evolve "service learning" from 'learning about those being served' to 'servers learning about themselves'?
b. How can we connect our personal ideals, interests and passions to our school work?
c. How is our school work related to change, social justice, and peace?,
d. How can we become resources for social action experiences to peers, faculty, family, and community?

I will use the "free" ALPS learned web as my collaborative lesson planning tool.

3. This summer my personal and professional goal is attending the Six Billion Paths to Peace retreat because I want to have a focused exploration with a Casady intergenerational team of the following three questions:
a.How does change become peace?
b.How does service shape peace?
c.How do people change through peace?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quest High School Service-Learning Program

In the area of service-learning, I started with a question: What is Service Learning at Quest High School? "I had no idea when I started this experience how much real learning I would actually do...So much of the understanding of something is not found in book or classroom experience. It was only when I could actually experience the learning that it held true understanding and meaning for me." (Excerpt from a Quest student's reflection) Service-learning at Quest High School is learning outside the classroom walls while meeting a genuine community need. Although Quest operates on a much smaller scale in terms of a school, with merely a fraction of students compared to Humble High School or Kingwood High School, it operates at a much larger scale in terms of character development and community interaction. At Quest, our curriculum-supported service-learning model helps students to practice and master both affective and cognitive objectives from our curriculum.This model involves application of learning in a real world context. In addition, this model has the added benefit of actually addressing a community need, therefore giving the learning a deeper, more personal meaning to students.

At Quest every Wednesday, Quest students go out into the community to engage in service-learning. Sites range from elementary schools where students tutor and mentor children to a nature park where students perform historical reenactments for elementary children. Other sites include rest homes, women's shelters, and other non-profits. What our students do on Wednesdays is done in the context of our curriculum. Service-learning also exists within our courses. (See the Water Testing Project) The capstone service-learning experience would be within the Senior Exploratory, conducted in the second semester of the Senior Exploratory Foundations Class. (See Senior Service Plans) This Senior Exploratory takes service-learning to a much deeper level, where students are engaged in social action. They research a social issue and address this social issue by designing and implementing a project. Once completed, they evaluate their project for its effectiveness and sustainability. Service-learning really allows students to "live" our mission, "Quest High School will provide a personalized learning experience in partnership with the community to create life-long learners and productive members of society."-----

Friday, February 19, 2010

The courage to teach, the courage to change

We teach who we are, but we need to make the needed changes to be what our students need us to be to help them become 21st Century skills leaders.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

ISAS CONFERENCE:TEACHING MATTERS-Official blog of the conference at

ENSURING THE SUCESS OF ALL STUDENTS SAMUEL BETANCES: Contact:,; his firm is diversity consulting, and his motto is “strengthening the world of work through diversity.” He will return emails. Find his bio at

Stop stereotypes such as the way he is described when confused as Arab: Arabs:=3B's= billionaires belly dancers, bumps. Laugh and grow together as we deal with the top topics. Remember our President could have been legally own by the first 16 presidents. He was elected by the ballot not the bullet.

Proud blended heritage children! Let’s do not burden our children with the fear of opresion. Teach the children to reject rejection. Do not internalized separation. Schools are middle class places of learning…3500 words instead of 1000-2000 words from street children. Read, read. Read!!! Get inspired that this country-WORLD- does not owe a living, only an opportunity. Empower to have a middle class performance. If you do not read, you cannot lead! Make the impossible possible

YOU CANNOT BE TRANSFORMING UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED. Develop the capacity to preach. Read to enrich and to survive. Create coalisions of interest, not of gender. WHATEVER DOES NOT DESTROY YOU CAN BE MADE INTO A STEPPING STONE TO ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS!!!Create teams like "Remember the Titans"

Empower first generation students to have the tools to make in the “middle class” environment. Nobody knows what they want until they know what options they have! Guide inclusive teams across generations and races.

WEBB 2.0: REALITIES NOT A HYPE: Andrew Zucker: has had a long career in teaching and technology, beginning with years teaching at Milton Academy and the US Department of Education.

Take your time, you need to innovate, you cannot keep up with it.”
Write and share what you do globally! Everything is done in nanoseconds!
Transformation= People+process+technology. Change is a process not a purchase

Top three reasons our students’ homework is missing in the new century

I emailed it, didn’t you get it?
Tech support help was down
I had to delete, needed space for iTunes

Digital tools to transform schools: Why Innovate?
Independent schools have a higher proportion of great teachers than other schools!

TSL is significantly less at independent schools, (total student load).
Our schools and teachers have significantly more autonomy and less bureaucracy than public schools

Web 2.0 is still brand new, 1994: First practical web browser. Zucker argued that we are still only just learning. the early web was very slow and very much a broadcast, but it is now interactive and faster and richer and more engaging.

Zucker offered technologies, for free:Video, navigation of records, documents availability… effective use depends on the CREATIVITY OF THE TEACHER

Screen Recordings: This is a way to record video and voice, with a url, to share and email.,, camtasia (paid) http://www.jingproject.cohetm; SCREENCAST.COM 5 MINUTE limit, screen
Survey Monkey
Molecular workbench

Clickers are recommended, with a very brief discussion, and ExamView is also suggested, *but which is not free.” Poll Everywhere and Surveymonkey come next, as suggested tools for classroom use.Models and Simulations; Course Discussion and Management Tools Moodle and class blogmeister.

Daniel Pink: Education and the changing world


Biological motivation +Responding to environment+Part of the larger purpose
Education is not a contest to be won. It is a journey of exploration
How are we rewarding? What are we creating?

Rewards get attention in a focused way which restricts our ability to create. The motivation now is different.
The rule for high school students to be successful, in the old model: “Give the authority what they want, and get it in time, neatly.” “The ‘good’ kids comply and the ‘bad’ kids defy but no one engages;” is that school today?

First, the new rules require Autonomy!FedEx Days– An example is a company called Atlassian, in Australia, which provides employees a day when employees can spend their time doing whatever they like, but then have to, the next day (overnight) deliver something new. At Zappos, the call center employees have one mandate, and one only: Solve the customers’ problems. That’s it.

20% time: At Google, employees have 20% time, when they can do whatever they like, and gmail came out of it– in fact, one person at Google says that all the good ideas at Google come out of the 20% time.

Autonomy Ideas for Schools: FedEx days for Teachers. For the next 24 hours, we are going to come up with something NEW to do at school– a new class, a new system, a new process. We could create new projects. YAC organization and projects!!!

For Students: Students would go bonkers during a 20% day– and we in independent schools have the autonomy to do so. For 24 hours, do whatever you want (with some parameters): a new idea, a new offering for the school. Kids would really respond to this kind of autonomy! service-learning in the curriculum!!!

Mastery: Humans are mastery seeking guided missiles. The levels of worker disengagement (in the workplace) are frightening. People are bored. But not in Open-Source– where the engagement is high. Linux, firefox– these are projects that are technically sophisticated creating valuable products for which people are unpaid! Because these endeavors provide a sense of mastery! “Enjoyment based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on a project, is the strongest and most pervasive driver.” Reference to “Why Hackers do what they do” by Lakhani, et.
HBS researchers, published in HBR recently: “The Top Motivator at work, by far: Making Progress in One’s Work.” Not incentives, not rewards, not bonuses. Search for mastery and making progress is a great motivator.

How to do this for Teachers and Students: Performance Reviews: Nobody likes performance reviews, neither giving nor receiving.
DIY Performance Reviews– Do it yourself. Beginning of the month, beginning of the semester, set out your goals in writing (!), goals and objectives, and then you call yourself into the office– how am I faring? What do I need? What do I need in resources to do my job is better?
Grades ought to be a form of feedback to help you toward mastery. Can we encourage students to do this? (advisors-Congressional Award for Service)
Here is what I want to learn in Chemistry! Then self-assess regularly, and compare self-assessments with those of the teachers. Any great athlete, art, musician: they have ways to self-assess, to measure how they are doing. My question is how can they assess what they do not know...their potential in the course, maybe, but they do not know the content of the course..???

Purpose! We have lost a sense of doing things that serve a cause bigger than themselves. Pink thinks teachers are animated by purpose, more than in ANY other white collar profession in the US.

An idea for determining purpose, from Claire Booth Luce: A great man is a sentence. “The great President are not doing a lot of small things, they are doing one big thing. If you try to do too much, you don’t have a sentence, you have a muddled paragraph.

What is your sentence?” To determine your purpose, you must determine your sentence!

At the end of the day, was I better today than yesterday? Some days the answer is No. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is no. But, it is rarely "no" two or three days in a row.

THE GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP: Tony's contact information:

Teaching matters, learning matters more, mastery matters most!

VIDEO EXAMPLE FROM: Quest High School facilitators seek to use individualized knowledge of each student to shape student's schooling and to teach habits of the heart and mind through three core curriculum areas: Academic Foundations are based on state and national standards and include language arts, social studies, fine arts, mathematics, the sciences, health and Spanish. Learner Behaviors are affective proficiencies such as problem solving, critical thinking, self-discipline, social cooperation, communication and citizenship that are essential for student success in school and work. Workplace Tools teach technology and research skills such as computer graphics, word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software. Quest High School Contact:

VIDEO (Must get a copy) SUSTAINABLE LIVING GROUP…Very much like Challenge 20/20 has potential to be.

Tony asked us to answer the following questions after watching the video
What skills are these students learning?
How they are being motivated to learn?
What is the teacher’s role in how they are being asked to learn?

My notes: Senior exhibition: proceess to be a leader and be empowered as a citizen and a learner. More than writing a research paper…something that matters to you…if not is far less rewarding to you. What are the kinds of things that allow you to do that work? Seniors divide into groups. service learning….attached to the research paper
What are you interested in it? Combine them into one…What are you passionate about? What interest concerns you? Then, Interview experts in the community: Professional attitude, phone calls, environment sustainability. They find experts and mentors, they explore what they want to do in life. I saw a clear redefinition of my job-provided that every class has a senior exhibition! I think I now understand the "upgraded" role of YAC!

Practical suggestions from the lead adult facilitator:

Tony's recommendations
Harvard admissions changing: LEADERSHIP, EVIDENCNE OF SERVICE enhanced

Cornerstones of School Reinvention:

1. Holding ourselves accountable for What Matters Most.

Use the CWRA.
Survey recent graduates, and go beyond surveys, conduct video focus groups to show your faculty.
Monitor your student college graduation rates, using the National Student Clearinghouse.
2. Doing the new Work: Teaching and Testing the Skills that Matter Most

Start with the Three C’s: Critical Thinking, Communications, and Collaboration: in every class and at every grade level.
Require all students to do internships and group service projects, and consider
3. Doing the New Work in New Ways

Every teacher on teams for collaborative inquirey.
Video teaching, supervision, and meetings.
I want to see schools using for students Digital Porfolios, from K-12 , publishing each year four or five published, public documents on-line. And then we can link these fine published work to a teacher’s digital portfolio.

The flip video camera is the most disruptive (in a GOOD way) technology for teaching and learning today! We must videotape every lesson, and review them regularly with our colleagues.

A question is asked about how to define critical thinking, and Tony directs people to the Mission Hill School website, a project of the legendary Deborah Meier, which features this discussion of critical thinking.

REAL PRODUCTS FOR REAL AUDIENCES. Get rubrics and video from them.

WHAT DO I WANT STUDENTS TO REMEMBER A Year after …..what is that core knowledge for the development of core knowledge
Engaging the entire community in a conversation ENGAGE THE ADULTS IN A WORLD CAFÉ How has the world change and what our kids need to live there.

First Part of his presentation School change consulting:

How do we parent for kids to become entrepreneurs? The longer our kids are in this school, the less curious they are. The curriculum is test preparation….too much time in content driven…IB is a better system than AP.

Students lack of work effort: Keyser Family Study…They are motivated to be in the Internet…a bad day is a bad internet connection, why? It is is discovery driven learning and innovation. Experiencing learning and connectiveness. There is a global learning gap… Kids in science classes google to see if the information is still good. Engagement with adults: To empower them, to motivate them.

New Habits: Weighing Evidence: What tasks they were given and what students are producing….work collaborative, Qualities of questions being asked…

Do internships and service in groups. Video tape your lessons and sit down with a other faculty to discuss. We need laboratories of innovation… Common time in the summer…FEDEX and 20% in the summer: Strong incentives keeping a job in a jobless market, but most important making a real difference in the kids and through them in the world we live...the sense of purpose.

Critical thinking rubric: Habits of mind. Habits of question asking…A teacher's passion and care about students…the tasks you give, the passion you give, What is going on? What is not? What could be improved?

Introducing Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness: Shawn Achor

Tetrais Effect: Contact information:

Traditional psychology is about how we can move depressed people back up to average; but Achor worries that only reduces the purpose and project to only how we help people become average. If we study positive outliers, we can move up the average to a higher place, and help everyone to become happier. We need to stop focusing on ‘getting rid’ of the bad things and focus on “other side of the curve” towards thriving.

Our brains are not just hard-wired for sympathy, but we are also hard-wired for empathy. Just as we pick up smiles and yawns so quickly, and so powerfully, we also can mirror (in our mirroring nuerons) others’ anxiety, stress, sadness. We need to watch for this in our schools.

90% of our longterm happiness is affected by the lens through which people view the world around them, NOT by the actual realities of that world around them. So no matter how fabulous your external circumstances, 90% of your experience will be subject to how you see and feel those externalities.

Harvard is Achor’s focus: “the more I loved Harvard the better I did there:” we need students and teachers to love being in our schools.

So the project we have is how to help people see the world around them. Achor tells of a study of 1600 students at Harvard.

75% of your job success is predicted not by your intelligence, but by your positivity and performance. “If I know your level of intelligence, I can ONLY tell 25% of the reason you may or may not be a success in life.”

Dopamine, the happiness hormone in our brains, turns on all of our learning zones in our brain. A brain primed to be positive has higher success rates than one primed to be negative or neutral. Hapoiness is a precursor of success, NOT merely the result of it. If we can get teachers and students positive going into learning, we can have higher results.

The Happiness Advantage: better secure jobs, better keeping jobs, better productivity, more resilient, less burnout, less turnover, greater sales.

Another wonderful video about the value of joy in the world

Achor makes the point that when these people, happier, go into their classrooms, they are that much more primed to be successful in their day.

How create this happiness advantage?

Raise optimism and success rates for six months, after 21 days of training. 21 days is enough to create a habit.

3 Gratitudes: 2 minutes a day writing what you are grateful for.
Journaling: Five minutes a day about a positive experience.
Random Acts of Kindness: praise somebody, five minutes day, in a way different from usual.
What is the mental barrier that gets in the way of doing all the good ideas we have learned?

Achor urges people to retrain your brain, using these five tools, which are available at his site here.