Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Do Something for Teens

Do Something is a non-profit organization in the intersection of teens and social change, activism.

There are tons of ideas on their site to help young people take action. I especially liked one about what makes you mad and the call for changing things around. 

As I have a tight schedule, I was considering adapting the idea to something simpler:

>> Groups decide what make them really mad
>> They make a fact sheet with 8 facts about their issue, starting with, "Did you know that...?"
>> They create a motto about the situation
>> Students then write a manifesto about their topic to raise awareness and finishes the manifesto with the life motto they've created.
>> Taking a step further, we could vote for the best group motto and then create posters and even print T-shirts with the motto on it.

Simple and sweet. I guess this would be a great opportunity to talk about community issues, have students as agents of awareness & change, all that being done in English. What do teachers think?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Teen Educator Failing Miserably

For some, I might seem confident and a bit tech-savvy.
However, with teens it seems that I'm bond to failure. That's how I feel so often. Teaching them is like a roller coaster. Yes, don't get me wrong! Sometimes I fear I won't reach them. Every time I prepare my classes I have the feeling that I'm about to fail miserably. It is like that first part of the ride in the roller coaster when you really don't know what's next and your stomach swirls.

Roller Coaster My classes are always a box of surprise. Teens never stop to amaze me when I get to that adrenaline part of the ride - being in the classroom. They are always surprising me with their wittiness, creativity, eagerness to do something different. What I've come to realize in my ride is that every time I take for granted what they like, what moves them, what ticks them, that's when I fail. There's no way out. I use the book, but I can't just follow as it is. Why? The topics are totally apart from my teens' dreams, reality, daily lives. So, just like they have to adapt to me, to my own teaching style, I must be open to adapt to them, right?

Last class, for example, I wanted to give an example on the board and invited them to give a name of a famous person. Oh my! I could see the sparkle in their eyes talking about Megan Fox and Ian-I-Don't-know-who! They wanted to show me photos, they wanted to know if I thought they were cute. And when I said they were not my style. They wanted to know who I liked. Well, "besides my husband??? Andy Garcia!" . "Andy, who, teacher?!" "Oh never mind..." This is exactly the bridge we need to cross to enjoy the ride until our next failure or until our next adrenaline rush.

So, how do you feel about teaching teens?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Being an Educator of the 21st Century

Much have been told about the competencies and skills educators should develop to "survive" and thrive in a classroom nowadays. High on my list are some that should have always been there:

>> developing listening skills
>> practicing our empathy at all times, even when we feel like giving up
>> preparing lessons that are brain-friendly, helping our students emerge as engaged learners

To complement my list, I've come across this wonderful chart from an edudemic post:

Is there any other skill you think educators should work on to become full-fledged professionals in our times?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Learning is About Understanding Relationships

The power of Rita Pierson's words still echo in my mind. What a wonderful, powerful, inspiring talk in which she pours her heart in a call for educators to make a difference, to connect and to be part of their learners' worlds. I can't think of anything more brain-friendly than that.

Are you doing your share to make a difference? How?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Remix of the Web2.0

Serendipity is always the best resource.

I was looking for some resources to the online course I'm teaching right now, Web Tools for Educators, when I came across this MOOC - Teach the Web. Just as I was browsing through their resources (Mozilla guys know how to make it simple, exciting and connected),  I came across Popcorn Maker. a remix video tool that I had heard about, but just very recently it has been released.

Glued, hooked immediately. That's how I felt when I started playing around with the tool. Very intuitive, user-friendly and with tons of possibilities for collaboration through remix.

So, here's my call: I want to show my students the power of the Web, and I need your help.
Could you access the video and remix it, adding your view of what the Web is all about?
I can't wait to see what the results will be and what this remix tool will lead us...
Just click on the link and start playing around.

Feel free to take risks, to change, to edit, to add your voice to this collaborative experiment. Invite others to join the remix movement.