Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Fortunate Meeting and a Fortunate Discovery

I have been in North Battleford for the last couple of days and today was hi-lighted by a chance meeting with Leanne Merkowsky from North Battleford at Anthony Muhammad's presentation on PLC's. It was nice to be able to put a face and voice to a person that was known to me only through the the EC&I 831 Class. She was also able to meet Guy Penney, Jackie Durocher, and DD MacCullum who were also in attendance for todays professional development opportunity.

Anthony gave us a lot to think about as far as changing the culture of schools goes. The main thing is that he establishes the idea that there are things that can be done to turn schools around even in situations where it may not feel like it is possible. It is a hopeful presentation, but a presentation that forces educators to consider their own role in the failure of students; I would be lying if I didn't admit that the message forces you to recognize that what you may consider to be enough of an effort is not good enough when you have students failing. I know I will be reflecting on his message in the weeks and months ahead.

Anyway, I really wanted to blog about a new tool (at least to me) I discovered last night accidently as usual. The program is called MindMeister; it allows the user to make a web of their thoughts. It would be a great tool for English teachers teaching essay writing, it would be a great tool for students to use while preparing material for an essay, debate, or presentation of some sort, and it is a tool I will use for organizing my thoughts about this class for my final blog. For now, I have done a quick example of some of the things I have done with my AR project to give you an idea of its power (sorry the quality is not great for the space provided by the blog). I have to confess I actually considered not sharing this find as the evil competitive side of my nature reared its ugly head. Fortunately, because of the good example set by so many on Twitter, through blogs, and comments on blogs, I realized the right thing to do was share the resource with others. I hope it is something you think you can use.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I attended Dr. Muhammad's first presentation in NB on March 9. One comment which really resonated with me and made me stop to think about my own intentions as a teacher is that teaching is not a job - it is a service provided for students. Too often we take the things kids do and say very personally (and it's hard not to) and respond to the students on a personal "I'm going to give you what you deserve" basis rather than teaching students and meeting their needs - academic needs and social skills as well.