Week 45 - Vision: Show Half

(310/365) Shift Freedom

Shift Freedom

"Freedom was a thing that shifted as you looked at it..." - Colson Whitehead #dogwood52 #dogwoodweek45

As Long as It's Black

August 11, 2018 (223/365)

“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” - Henry Ford

My Type of Project

July 2, 2018 (183/365)

"There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris." - Ernest Hemingway

Thanks to Eric, I finally have the vintage Royal typewriter that I have wanted for years. Ernest Hemingway wrote both The Old Man and the Sea and my favorite A Moveable Feast on his Royal Quiet de Luxe. Hemingway's 1940's Royal was still at his home in Havana (now a museum) until 2007 when it sold at auction for $2750. Mine sits on a card catalogue in our living room along with a few favorite books including A Moveable Feast. I'm not very crafty, but I love today's little project -- a framed copy of my favorite Hemingway quote, typed on my Royal.

Tools of the Trade

November 13, 2017 (317/365)

"Opening the door to each child's future." - Mission of the Pewaukee School District

Steve Jobs famously stated, "Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them." And so I begin another week of helping to provide tools to the very good and very smart colleagues with whom I work, so that together we can "open the door to each child's future." 

Back to the Drawing Board

August 28, 2017 (240/365)

This morning as faculty and staff gathered to begin the 2017-2018 school year, we watched Most Likely to Succeed, a documentary "examining education in America and inspiring school communities to re-imagine what students and teachers are capable of doing" (IMDb). The film explores the challenge of providing students with the tools to be successful in the 21st Century and beyond. The Pewaukee School District has identified Personalized Learning Guiding Principles "to create an environment that supports and challenges students on their individual pathways towards maximizing their knowledge and skills based on individual interest, motivation, and readiness." These principles include standards-based instruction and assessment, focusing on higher order thinking and student agency, authentic and relevant learning experiences that are digitally rich and tech-infused, and flexible learning spaces and structures.

As I begin my twenty-fourth year in the Pewaukee School District and my fifth year as an instructional coach, I have been reflecting on the idea of iteration. Merriam-Webster defines iteration as "a process of iterating or repeating, such as a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result or the repetition of a sequence of instructions until a condition is met." Each new school year, each new day, each new lesson is an iteration, an opportunity to get closer to our desired result -- the District's mission to "Opening the Door to Each Child's Future." 

At the end of each academic year we gather again to celebrate our successes. Yet, as school begins again in the fall, we also examine what we could do differently to prepare students to be successful beyond our doors. An iteration isn't merely a do-over of what's been done before. It requires thoughtful reflection, critical evaluation, and a spirit of innovation to create a new, even better version of the learning experiences that we provide. Iteration also requires perseverance; to use educational buzzwords, iteration requires a growth mindset and grit. As I watched Most Likely to Succeed, I was most impressed by Brian and the High Tech High educators who worked with him. Despite a lot of hard work, time, and determination, Brian's project was not ready for the showcase at the end of the school year. While the other students reflected on their successes, Brian and his teachers continued to work well into the summer until he finally met his goal. What an authentic, lasting lesson for both students and educators! 

Learning should not be confined within the walls of an institution. It isn't time-bound or even summative. So, it is with determination and excitement that I begin yet another iteration -- another attempt at helping teachers leverage technology to maximize student engagement and achievement, another opportunity to make mistakes, to learn from successes as well as failures, to grow as an educator and a person. This is my WHY!

Learning the Ropes

August 22, 2017 (234/365)

This week, new teachers are joining us in Pewaukee to learn the ropes. I wish them smooth sailing, yet there will likely be rough seas as well as fair winds. As a coach and mentor, this is my philosophy: "Be a lighthouse rather than a lifeboat. Do not rescue, but instead, help others to find their own way to shore, guiding them by your example." 

Just My Type

May 24, 2017 (144/365)

"It is easily overlooked that what is now called vintage was once brand new." - Tony Visconti

Nothing changes faster than technology. A decade ago we didn't even have smart phones. That's hard to imagine given that there have been fifteen iterations of iPhone since its inception in 2007.  I am often an early adopter, yet I still find myself charmed by vintage technology, especially cameras and typewriters -- technology that enables creativity. I'm always on the lookout for vintage cameras to add to my mini collection (If you see any Beau Brownies or Kodak Bantam Specials, let me know!), and I'm still searching for the ideal typewriter -- one that helps me channel my inner Hemingway. This WWII-era Royal comes pretty close.

When your geekiest dreams come true...

March 15, 2016 (075/366)

It's like this book was written for me! I can't even begin to explain, so I'll let the book speak for itself: "What if William Shakespeare were asked to generate the Fibonacci series or Jane Austen had to write a factorial program? In If Hemingway Wrote JavaScript, author Angus Croll imagines short JavaScript programs as written by famous wordsmiths[*]. The result is a peculiar and charming combination of prose, poetry, and programming. The best authors are those who obsess about language and the same goes for JavaScript developers. To master either craft, you must experiment with language to develop your own style, your own idioms, and your own expressions. To that end, f Hemingway Wrote JavaScript playfully bridges the worlds of programming and literature for the literary geek in all of us."

*Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, André Breton (in translation), Roberto Bolaño, Dan Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, Samuel Johnson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, J.D. Salinger, Tupac Shakur, Virginia Woolf, Geoffrey Chaucer, Vladimir Nabokov, Dylan Thomas, Jorge Luis Borges, Lewis Carrol, Douglas Adams, Charles Dickens, David Foster Wallace, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Italo Calvino, J.K. Rowling, Arundhati Roy, and Franz Kafka

If Hemingway were to generate the Fibonocci serices