Celebrating Innovation

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Today I drove out to Bassett High School to attend San Gabriel Valley CUE’s annual conference called Innovation Celebration. In the past it’s been a “TechFest”, but I love how this year it included sessions on pedagogy that weren’t focused exclusively on edtech. As the numbers of teachers comfortable with edtech grow, so have the offerings for varied levels of tech experience. Pictured are my pals and mentors Alice Chen and Nancy Minicozzi, whom I met at my first CUE Rock Star Teacher Camp and who continue to inspire me with their expertise and curiosity.

While I have learned a ton online through edchats on Twitter and expanding my PLN (professional learning network), I love interacting face-to-face with my “tribe”, those willing and able to spend their weekends gathering ideas to enhance their students’ learning. Here’s a new friend who made me laugh with this tweet:

 

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Isn’t that adorable? And isn’t SHE? She’s wearing an Amelia and Joy by LuLaRoe! I always ask to take a picture with the name badge so I can recall the awesome folks I meet at conferences.

I had planned to debrief my new learning tonight, but I’m really tired. Guess I’ll allow myself a little more grace and get to bed early….

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Geeks of All Ages

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Yes, that’s *me* with the Moment and the War Doctor aka Sir John Hurt in February 2016 at Gallifrey One in LA.

Straightening up my classroom last Friday afternoon, I shared this photo in a lovely “moment” with a student and his friend that began with the statement, “Ms. Ozoa, I hear you’re a big geek. What’s your fandom?” I instantly shed my end-of-the-week weariness and happily geeked out over Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, the MCU and, of course, Doctor Who.  What a delightful way to connect with teenagers, to share non-academic interests and passions! The two boys then waxed poetic about Blizzard’s game Overwatch, which I do not play, but which I’ve learned about via the “secondhand smoke” of my gamer friends. The boys were also inordinately impressed by my knowing personally Scott Johnson, co-host of The Instance, the longest-running podcast about Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Thanks for that, Scott, et al.!

The point of my anecdote is to remind educators / coaches / parents / anyone who interacts with teens to stay open to those “moments” when we can step outside our official roles and simply connect authentically. It’s worth it.

Equal vs. Equitable Treatment

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http://secondlineblog.org/2016/11/the-elusive-pursuit-of-equity/

I love this variation on a widely-circulated image illustrating the difference between equality and equity. It explicitly acknowledges the presence and value and needs of people (i.e. students) with disabilities different abilities.

In several of my classes today I had to decide how to deal both equally and equitably with the content I had to cover and the behavior problems involving only a few students. I decided to treat all classes equally by setting out a standard for behavior and consequences. But I also equitably differentiated the treatment of Act I of Macbeth in my classes to support and to challenge my students. Let me tell you, it’s hard!

Teaching is truly more an art than a science. That’s the problem with a scripted curriculum that forces teachers to be lockstep with one another. Different classes are just different, and that applies to individuals as well.

On the other hand, (I’m a Libra, remember?) all students deserve equal access to the content and equal energy from their teachers to support equal opportunities to learn. No student should be deprived, for example, exposure to Macbeth if that’s the agreed-upon curriculum. Still, not every student needs to parse EVERY line to acquire the skill of paraphrasing Shakespeare’s language; nor does every student need to explore EVERY contemporary connection to the themes.

Achieving that balance (and I believe I accomplished it for at least today) takes understanding of one’s students, the content, and one’s own limitations. My head hurts and I’m REALLY grateful it’s Friday….

Hello (again), world!

 

*sigh* It’s been almost a year since my last blog post. To be honest, I am STILL processing the national nightmare that became our reality last November. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

It’s OCTOBER 1! It’s the beginning of a new month, a new start, and a new Inktober challenge. The rules are above, but the bottom line is to make an ink drawing each day in October. The creator, Jake Parker, provides a list of daily prompts, but in the past I’ve used it for only about half my drawings. I briefly considered making digital drawings using Procreate and my beloved Apple Pencil, but I think I’ll hold off on that variation.   “KISS”  🙂

I plan to extrapolate from Inktober 2017 and conduct my personal Blog-tober. It’s probably already a thing (too apathetic to Google it…) but to me it’s a promise to blog EVERY DAY. Yes, you heard it here, folks. I’m holding myself accountable for a DAILY practice, something which I’ve put on the back burner for way too long.

To cut myself a little slack, I will commit to posting my drawing on the day after, in case I don’t get to it until bedtime.

See you tomorrow!