Saturday, November 30, 2013

What If...?

What if we let students design their own schools? Would there be tests? Quizzes? Teachers? Ambition? You would be surprised to see how these students in a Massachusetts high school took on taking on their education with "The Independent Project."The Independent Project What if online courses became more of a norm? For many people, this educator included, online education is become more and more popular in this day and age. This info-graphic shown on the following Edudemic link shows the progress and evolution of education since 1995. I will let this link speak for itself. Edudemic Infograph

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tiny Desk Concert

When I first read about a tiny desk concert, I immediately imagined a kindergarten student with their pencils jamming away in his or her little desk. However, it is so much more than that. It is a whole series set up by NPR that introduces sets by amazing artists that you've likely never heard of. With that, I leave you to the link to watch Waxahatchee do a ten minute stripped down, fantastic performance. Secondly, a completely different sound comes to fruition when thinking of the atonal composer Penderecki. He has turned 80, and the dramatic screeching sounds of his music is being celebrated in a Warsaw music festival. This article found in the link at the end of this paragraph celebrates Penderecki the best way it can. What a great lead-in to 20th century music and difference of interpretation with some older students. Whether they love it or hate it, they will certainly have an opinion on his music.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why Do Today What You Can ... Do...Sometime...

          Procrastination.  A topic I know a bit too well.  I always start with the greatest of intentions and end up on Woot searching for the daily deal that I will probably not end up buying because I am so cheap.  How many of you educators have started a web search in hopes of doing a great lesson plan for your class and ended up twenty youtube videos down the line, completely forgetting what your original search was intended to do?
          If it can happen to adults, it certainly can happen to students.  At my school, we have a 1:1 Macbook initiative with our 6-12 grade students.  It is an absolute blessing and curse because it allows for unlimited information, both practical and impractical.  Of course we have the ability to put limits on certain sites, but if we blocked every source of mindless time wasters, our tech squad would never leave their desks blocking and unblocking websites.  This is where Edudemic has come in to save the day!  They have given us a list of four different procrastination depleting tools to help keep both us and our students on the right task.  That is, if we put them on our laptops now and not when we have a chance to get around to it.
Click this link to find your saving grace. Now, not later, when it will eventually "slip your mind."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Netiquette.  "What is that strange word?" you may ask.  Well, netiquette is internet etiquette, and it is an important thing to understand in this day and age.  Whatever you say, even if it has been deleted, may still be lingering around on the web until the end of days.  This link shares a wonderful article from Edudemic about proper Twitter etiquette.  I think this is extremely important not only to educators but to the students that have Twitter accounts as well.  Those angry messages and non-responses can get in the hands of a future school or employer and portray you in a light that is not all that pleasant.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


For my Music Technology in Education class, I am learning to use Noteflight, a web based music notation sharing program. I am able to collaborate with other composers on songs as well as create my own songs. Here's a link to one of my assignments, turning a PDF of "Bicycle Built for Two" and put it onto a Noteflight page.

Opportunity Looks A Lot Like Hard Work

Educators spend lifetimes trying to mold young people into productive members of the community. Some students are able to achieve that status. Others, unfortunately, become part of the "propaganda machine" that makes them feel entitled to whatever they want without putting in the work. As much as I would love to be able to help students achieve every goal, I know I cannot do it on my own. Sometimes it takes the voice of someone else who has worked hard to achieve their level of success. This is where my link comes into place. Ashton Kutcher, a fellow Iowa native, received a Teen Choice Award in August for Lifetime Achievement. His speech on insider secrets to being a great achiever went viral, and I think it is a great way to inspire students. You want to show this to your students? Here's the link. The principal at Burlington HS posted this wonderful blog about Mr. Ed Garety, a motivational speaker, that came to speak to students recently. His words on hard work, acceptance, and appreciation seemed to strike a chord with a number of students who tweeted their excitement. Some of Mr. Garety's speech and thankful tweets from students can be found at this principal's link. Hard work and dedication are the true way to success. Fame does not equal success. People can be unspoken and still be a hero. This little survival technique will hopefully keep all of us in the education industry motivated and inspired to help new students day after day.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Earning Respect

So often, young teachers want to be liked by their students. In order to make it successfully through their day to day teaching life, they also need to be respected by their students. This link will take you to a wonderful blog entry on how to find that balance between like and respect. In the meantime, check out this link on how to help bring your students or coworkers closer together by trying this iPad Scavenger hunt. Even though I teach music, I think it is important to reach out to a variety of educational sources to get the full realm of what can happen to make students and adults more well-rounded individuals. This comes from a guidance counselor's blog, but it is still has great ideas on how to work together.