Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
New Milford High School has presented me with more than enough opportunities to develop my leadership skills. From the humbling and eye-opening experience of the Holocaust Study Tour to the American Legion Boy State retreat to even something as simple as our school’s Peer Leadership program, NMHS goes above and beyond in developing the character, integrity, and leadership capabilities of students across the board. What stands out to me in particular is the way in which kids throughout the student body can take a stand on issues that they are passionate about, looking to bring about change. Two years ago, peer leaders set up a table at the Hackensack Street Festival and held a pasta night with a volunteer doctor from the Sudan as the guest speaker. Each activity was designed to spread awareness of the genocide in Darfur. Our efforts and fundraising was a way of domesticating a foreign problem and aiding the fight against it. A problem closer to home for us is the increasing number of kids smoking cigarettes. Our REBEL chapter, led by a student assistant counselor, functions through the actions of the student body and looks to greatly reduce the number of high school kids that smoke. My time here has truly defined my idea of leadership as the power to unite people with similar emotions and incite meaningful change.
find the uses that they see as most beneficial because that leads to passionate use and a more holistic learning experience.
The Peter Parker motto of power and responsibility falls on the teachers more so than anyone else in the school system. Each teacher has almost seven hours a week to mold our future interests and to teach us to think transcendently. Their tone and attitude towards their respective subjects can change the way each student in the class sees the topic. For example, math should be taught as a practical skill and not as forced memorization, and viewpoints in history should be presented from both sides of an argument, leaving the ultimate verdict on history’s most ambivalent topics to the growing mind of the student. True teaching extends beyond indoctrination and into the facilitation of educational discussion. This is where the true skill of teachers and their own leadership abilities are left to give us the most meaningful high school education possible.
Filip's piece contains many important lessons as well as practical advice for schools that want to empower and engage students. Please share this with your colleagues. Filip will be reading your comments so please let him know what you think of this piece and some of the points that he has made.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
1. Information hub (core curriculum standards, access to digital textbooks, notes, syllabus, proficiencies, etc.)
2. Access to content 24/7. Students that are absent can quickly and easily acquire missed assignments without having to ask the teacher upon their return. This is also great for students that might have missed something during class, want to work on reinforcing the material at home or when away, and to prepare for tests/quizzes.
3. Calendar of events (assignment due dates, meetings, practice/game schedules).
4. Links to printable forms, assignments, etc. Google forms can be embedded onto the sites as a self-grading quiz. Polls and questionnaires can also be included to collect useful information. View a quiz that Mr. Devereaux created using Google forms to go along with the Electricity and Magnetism Google site mentioned above here.
5. Links to supplemental resources.
6. Promote student achievements and accomplishments.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
In addition to the iPods, my teachers also took a Kodak Zi8 with them to document the learning experience on this field trip. This activity illustrates how to successfully create an interdisciplinary lesson and integrate technology in order to ensure that students are actively engaged while on a field trip. It should be noted that this is the first time my two teachers have not only used the iPods, but created a podcast of this nature. As I have stated in previous posts, taking risks is essential in order to spur innovation and change. I commend teachers like April and Lisette who are willing to move beyond their comfort zone in order to make learning engaging, lasting, and most importantly fun!
Monday, May 3, 2010
With that being said, I was very taken back recently by multiple media outlets covering a story about a NJ Middle School Principal who had asked his parents to ban Facebook and other forms of social media at home. Banning students from accessing social media will only push them to utilize these sites in secret, which will not provide a solution to cyberbullying. Just look at the negative effect Prohibition had on adults! I commend this Principal for truly exhibiting a genuine concern for the safety and well-being of his students, but remain perplexed about the path he has chosen to take. As educators it is our task to teach students how to make responsible decisions, think critically, solve problems and communicate effectively in order to succeed in society. Instead of rolling up our sleeves and tackling an issue such as cyberbullying head on, it is used as an excuse to prohibit students from potential meaningful learning experiences both in and outside of school.
A few years ago I would have been leading the charge on banning all types of social media, both in and out of school. As a matter of fact, I was instrumental in getting sites like Facebook and YouTube banned at my school. So why the change? It’s simple, I became educated on the many positive ways in which these resources could be used to connect with students on their level and how I could leverage them for my own professional growth. I finally opened my eyes, stopped making excuses, and decided to actually pursue innovative change. In recent discussions with students at NMHS they revealed how much social media technology is a part of their lives and asked me to create a school Facebook page. This page is now used as a model for students to see and learn how to properly use this resource. Not only did I create the page, but I finally created a personal Facebook account after six years of resistance. I have even provided training to parents and students on how to use Twitter educationally.
All school communities have issues with irresponsible social media use and mine in not exempt. However, we can seize this opportunity by working with all stakeholders to actually teach a meaningful lesson on social responsibility. I encourage school leaders to inform parents on how they can create environments at home that promote acceptable use, rewrite curriculum, model effective use, and include student perspectives on creating best social media practices. In the 21st Century social media use will only continue to increase. Communication, collaboration, and information are essential in decreasing cyberbullying, not banning.