Civility, Social Justice, Empathy & Social Networking in the 21st Century Classroom

My teaching mission is simple yet absolutely necessary to helping my students prepare for their futures. I began this school year with a list of questions that could help me envision, plan, reflect and maintain focus on where my students and I needed to be when the last bell rings in late May. Out of my personal questioning and reflection came what would be the essential question for my 11th grade social studies students during our time together: “What does it mean to be a citizen nationally, globally and digitally?”

KONY 2012: What Is Just Too Much?

I talked with my students about the KONY campaign. We looked at the way the story was evolving minute-by-minute and read three newspaper articles together. What I did not do was show my students the original video. Most of my students accepted this, but a few Grade 7 boys really took me on. They felt that if their classmates lost a little sleep, it was nothing compared to what those children were experiencing.

We Always Care about Kids at Testing Time

I’m thinking more than ever about my kids, who they are as whole children, and what the real worth of the schooling they receive might be. I’m wondering why we educators, both administration and faculty, don’t send these same kind of notes home all year long. Why aren’t sleep and nutrition and stress reduction equally important the other 171 days of the school year?

Dancing with the iGeneration

Face to face conversations are part of how human beings have interacted since the beginning of time. They will never go away even though the barrage of technology greatly expands how we communicate with one another. That said, I believe educators need to teach both ways of communication to students. We are obliged to do this because, as educators, we are preparing our students for the jobs of the future — and for lives in a digitally shifted world.

Pocket-Based Learning: My Cellphone Classroom

I am a proponent of BYOD (bring your own device) learning. I very rarely travel anywhere without my iPhone or iPad, and I can’t really blame my students if they do the same. I see the “addiction” students have to their cell phones as an opportunity to engage in learning since I view cell phones as another teaching tool, not a distraction. The technology is in their pockets. It’s a learning resource. Let’s use it!