Tuesday, June 24, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 11: Kid Voices

Dodger Game. Age: Adorable

#WeirdEd this week, as promised, will be a little lighter and more fun than two weeks ago. We always talk about giving the students a voice. Kids having voices is important. But what about us? What about our inner child? You know, the one you let run rampant all the time (or at least Weds nights from 7-8pst). What about their voices?
#WeirdEd is about them. Us. The Them inside of Us. Unless you're pregnant. Because that kid doesn't have an opinion on the education system yet. Your fetus is as informed about the education system as Christy Clark is, but cares more about teachers (shout-out to my #bced brothers and sisters, keep the faith).
So this week I want you to pick an age and run with it. We are reverting, answering questions as though we are the children we once were (and, let's be honest, still are some of the time).

**Things to think about**
Who is the best superhero? Tetherball is the best recess game. Memorizing is hard but the teacher makes me do it. How do you do it? Is school boooooring? What's going on with the teacher's shoes? You didn't tag me. Nuh uh! No, I moved. Taggin my shirt doesn't countNOITDOESN'T! We got a lot of computers in class. How come we don't use 'em? I don't like that teacher, she's scary.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 10- A Weirdeder-Led Experiment

#WeirdEd is always an experiment. Sometimes it's an experiment in foolishness, sometimes it's to see how serious a topic we can cover respectfully (which you all did incredibly).

This week I'm on vacation. My first thought was that means there would be no #WeirdEd this week. The family I'm with would not be thrilled with my disappearing for an hour.

However, after a talk with a few loyal Weirdeders has me convinced we can experiment with a Weirdeder-led, Doug-less #WeirdEd.

So here's the plan: If you want to ask a question write it in the comments section below. That way there's a little bit of organization and the chat isn't just a free-for-all of Qs and As flying all over the place for an hour. I think that would be interesting, but it would also get old and confusing really quickly.

At 7PST open the blog and check out the Q list in the comments section. Whoever wrote the first Q gets to ask it. Then whoever wrote the second Q gets to ask it. Repeat. No theme for the Qs, no time-limit on how long a discussion on each Q goes. Have fun. Be respectful. One Q per person please, unless it is getting close to time and the list is thin.

Let's experiment.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 9: Safe Schools and Gun Storify

This week's #WeirdEd was incredible, touching, and honest. It was a conversation that needed to be had and I'm so proud of every who participated for keeping it on topic and respectful, even though the things we talked about are hot button and easily blown up.
I think this Storify is the entire conversation. The website crashed a dozen time while I was trying to upload and it never worked the way it was supposed to. I need to find another option other than Storify, especially when so much of the conversation was as valuable as this one was. It's too much for a crap website to throw away good stuff randomly.
We didn't solve anything, but we started a conversation even politicians are unwilling to have. Once again Teachers > Politicians.

Original write-up for the chat with Qs

#WeirdEd Week 9 Storify: Safe Schools and Guns

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 9: School Safety

***Fair Warning: This will probably be a more sober than normal chat. I'm struggling to make it fun. I don't think I'll be successful.***

Today (Tuesday, 6/10/14) there was a shooting at a high school in Portland. One student was killed.

The shooter also died. It took almost no time.

It wasn't the first school shooting this year.

It wasn't the first school shooting this month, that would be the shooting at Seattle Pacific University on the 5th.

We all know the only reason it might be the last school shooting of the month is because most schools are out for summer break, or will be soon.

I can't not talk about this. It's how I mourn and how I process.

I conceived #WeirdEd to be a place where I tackled topics other edchats don't, predominantly though a sideways, skewed, fun lens. Teachers take ourselves very seriously, and we take the profession very seriously. And we should, it's an important job. But edchats needed to lighten up. That's what #WeirdEd is for.

But #WeirdEd is also mine. It does, has, and will continue to act at least partially as a soapbox for me. I've already had topics that are only topics because they are close to my heart. That's how I plan to keep the chat fresh and interesting.

So this week I want to talk school safety. Honestly, I really want to talk guns, gun rights, and gun
restrictions. But this is an edchat. I can't focus so tightly. If I did it wouldn't be a chat, like all of the previous #WeirdEd chats have been, full of sharing ideas and bonding and cross-pollination. It would be an hour long screed no one wants to be a part of.

#WeirdEd this week will be about how we keep our students safe at school. What are the dangers, immediate and hidden? What can we as teachers do? What can we as caring humans do? At what point does personal politics intersect with the good of the whole? Do the fences we see springing up around schools help? What is our job and what is our choice and do we really have a choice? 

I want to try and keep it teacher-centric. Yes, there are Big Picture things we can do. Laws and legislation. We'll go there a little. But small picture, in your classroom, school, district, what can we do?

I'm going to ask if you think teachers should be allowed to carry on campus. I do not. I think that's the worst idea since giving Robert Orci control of Star Trek. I think it will only cause more death, more pain, more panic. But while this is my soapbox it is our chat.

That chat is probably going to be full of tough answers people feel strongly about. I must stress that everyone at #WeirdEd is safe. There will be no bullying, no ganging up, no attacking other people. I don't think my #WeirdEd family would do that, but this is one of those topics that makes people different. I'll ban and block anyone who violates our safety.

The only way to start making things better is to confront the problem. I think there will be a question that asks you to ask a question. Teachers need to come together on this issue. For ourselves and our kids. Not teacher's unions and not ed-lobbyists and policy makers. We need to come together as a profession and acknowledge that this is becoming a situation which is untenable. Terrorists who attack schools, and yes attacking a school is an act of terror, let's not call them anything else, are real. I don't want to be afraid. I spit in the face of someone who wants to hurt me and my kids. I don't know if we can make a difference with one chat, but we can come together to mourn, to seek strength from one another, and to have a real, actual, serious conversation.

Next week we'll talk about something exceedingly silly. I promise.

I don't normally do this, but here are the planned Qs for tonight. I want anyone who wants the time to have the time to think about their answers. The Qs might change slightly, but these are 90% final.

#WeirdEd Q1 Let’s get it out early. There was another shooting Tuesday at a HS in Portland. In 140, how does this make you feel?

#WeirdEd Q2 We know the names of a few tragedies. Columbine. Sandy Hook. Should we know all the names? Is that important?

#WeirdEd Q3 Would you describe your specific school as a safe place for students NORMALLY, not under unexpected crisis conditions?

#WeirdEd Q4 What makes your school safe against attack? Would you want to work at and let Ss go to a school that is also 100% protected?

#WeirdEd Q4.5 Is 100% protected from shooters/attackers possible? What’s reasonable?

#WeirdEd Q5 Should teachers be allowed to be armed on campus? Should ANYBODY? What if they are concealed carry licensed?

#WeirdEd Q6 What real life steps can we take to make ourselves and our students safer from attacks on our school? Activism?

#WeirdEd Q7 Open forum. Share thoughts, experiences, mourning, venting, fears. We need an honest expression.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 8- School's Out

I was told by @tritonkory that today's #WeirdEd should be in honor of a certain Alice everyone loves. I couldn't agree more.
So the theme for tonight's #WeirdEd is the one, the only, Alice Cooper. If you haven't figured out why yet maybe you should listen here.

Of course we're going to talk about the one and only Alice Cooper tonight! In honor of school being out for summer, save for those of us teaching summer school (which is a much longer and more unwieldy title), tonight's chat is All Alice. We're going to take some classic Alice tracks and run with them.

Here's a track listing for your listening pleasure:

School's Out
Billion Dollar Babies
I'm Eighteen
Welcome to My Nightmare
Hey Stoopid
Feed My Frankenstein
The Black Widow

Using these rock standards as jumping off points we will be discussing guest speakers, summer trainings, staying young, money in education, dopey classroom stories, taking many pieces of other lessons to create your own, and being in charge. Listen to those songs. Be like Alice in the classroom. Think of new things. Try them out. Whenever anyone does something in rock they think is new you can say, "Nope, Alice did that thirty years ago." Be that teachers. And keep experimenting. Alice's show today is different than his show on any other tour. Similar themes and beats, but a brand new show for a brand new audience. Be Alice.

We might talk about golf too.