Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday's Motivation: Flowers are Red (Harry Chapin)

Over the years I have collected quotes, poems, prayers, videos, excerpts of books...etc. related to things that I am passionate about.  Many of these are about teaching, school and/or disability.  I am required to have a spiritual goal as part of my professional growth plan so I'm going to spend some time each Monday either pulling something up that I already have or finding something new and then reflecting or spending time in prayer related to it.  Some of my thoughts I will share here, some will be private but each week I will share the video, prayer, poem, quote, exerpt...etc. that I am looking at that week. 

I'm starting with a song that I heard in a workshop the very first year that I was teaching.  Even back then we were talking about "Assessment for Learning" although at that time it was more focused on student led conferencing and learning styles as that is what the workshop was about.  I was teaching a variety of subjects in middle school at the time and was full of the ideals that are still so fresh before you have been in the trenches for a while.  I've learned through the years that with a lot of hard work, changing things up regularly and some heavy ignoring of toxic forces, you can maintain many of the ideals that you have in those first years.  This video spoke to me of the things that I saw wrong with the school system then and still speaks to me now of the same issues.  Our school systems work so hard to make students conform that they forget that it is in creativity that people learn.  I just read a post about life long learning over at Teaching Learners With Multiple Learning Disabilities and it reminded me of my belief in fostering creativity and allowing student's control over their learning being a couple of hte keys to life long learning for any student - and this is just as true for the population of students that I teach as it is for the "general education students".  Its actually easier to foster in my current job as I'm not sure if anyone can imagine how much of a challenge that is when you are teaching high school mathematics (as I did in my former career).  Really self-determination is one of my main focuses in my classroom so the flowers can be any color my students choose.  My final thought that I want to share on this video is how it speaks to allowing students their learning style and the tools that will help them along the way.  We are so much more aware now of this need but being aware and setting things up to allow for this seem to be two different things. 

Enjoy the video :).

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