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.

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Look in the Mirror

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I suppose the image above could relate to my not feeling like a stereotyped 60 year-old as of today, but I actually selected it because of yet another news item revealing stunning hypocrisy. The supposedly pro-life GOP congressman who urged his mistress to get an abortion is retiring. My friend Scott Johnson, podcaster and morning show host, posits the theory that a politician who “doth protest too much” often practices the behavior he supposedly abhors. Politicians aren’t the only ones; they’re just the most visible of folks who clearly view their own behavior through a different lens than the rest of society.

But before I (or anyone) throws stones, we should all look in the mirror. Are we indeed seeing ourselves and others as we really are OR are we being unnecessarily “judgey”?

As an educator, I strive to teach my students to observe first, conclude later, supporting their conclusions with evidence. We practice describing photos factually before imagining different viewers’ varied interpretations.

When I catch myself being overly judgey, I try to step back and look in the mirror. Wouldn’t it be nice if “certain politicians” did the same?

(Note: I just realized I wrote about this topic almost exactly one year ago, during the last presidential election. *sigh* There is indeed nothing new under the sun….)

 

We’re Number 1

CatsListeningToMusicianhttp://geekologie.com/2016/05/meow-meow-4-kittens-come-to-watch-street.php

Normally folks are proud to be number 1. Last night the Las Vegas strip became the site of the number 1 deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, only fourteen months after the previous worst shooting occurred in Florida. Not good.

So much confusing news and fake news has been coming out about this event that I plan to wait a few days for the narrative to gel. In the meantime, I’m asking my students to watch and identify the difference between factual observations and interpretations or conclusions. We have been using a photograph each day to practice critical thinking. We’re predicting that both sides of the gun control debate will use the same facts to justify different conclusions.

In more cheerful news, above is the pair of images we analyzed today. Some students jumped to the conclusion it took place inside until we identified details such as the lighting, the night sky, and the proximity of motorized vehicles.

Finally, Day 1 of Inktober 2017 is my reference drawing.

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UHS Homecoming 2016

16uhshcspiritMy high school site is unique in its tradition of decorating entire hallways for Spirit Week. Each day all students dress up according to a theme, culminating in Spirit Night on Thursday where class councils bring in the decorations they’ve been working on all quarter. On Friday morning students tour around and a committee of staff have the difficult task of awarding points. This year the Seniors won, followed by Juniors, Sophomores and Freshmen. My few pictures here fail to do their amazing work justice. EVERY locker mural was outstanding, and many of the smaller elements such as Cinderella’s coach and  the working WALL-E robot were impressive. But below, from 12-9th grade are a few tastes of Homecoming 2016.

Seniors: Disney Princesses — Rapunzel’s tower, Beauty and the Beast mural

Juniors: Imagination– Peter Pan mural, Jolly Roger pirate ship

Sophomores: Lion King / Finding Nemo / Ratatouille / A Bug’s Life —  Pride Rock, Finding Nemo painting

Freshmen: Video Games — Sugar Rush mural, Wreck It Ralph model

 

Simple Sunset Celebration


A few days ago my DH and I celebrated my birthday on a weeknight. We dropped in at Skyloft in Laguna Beach and enjoyed the rooftop view and generous happy hour appetizer portions. Then we got gelato to nibble on as we strolled the boardwalk. A lovely tourist from Spain offered to take our picture and she caught us in a wonderful light. I’m lucky to have enjoyed many wonderful birthday celebrations, but this simple and low-key early evening with my best friend was one of the most special. Sometimes less truly is more.

As the sun set, we drove home and I spent the rest of the night entering progress grades that were due the next morning. *sigh* Life is… ironic. But mostly in a really good way. 🙂

Two Sides of the Same Coin

This image of a spinning coin reveals not only that it’s possible to view both sides of a coin simultaneously, but that it’s lovely. Reading and writing are two sides of the same cognitive coin. Carol Booth Olson’s book,  The Reading/Writing Connection, has helped me teach reading and writing skills hand in hand for years. Similarly, as I pursue my Innovative Educator Certificate with CUE, I realize that Exploring and Sharing are both sides of a different coin called Learning. So, as I explore, expect me to share with my cohort colleagues in social media and in this blog as well as the one I’m creating for my e-portfolio, not just to document my learning but to expand it with the comments of others. I’m already finding that, as I spin and blend the sides, it’s lovely.

Warm Fuzzies

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My top Google search is “baby animals” because I choose a new image every day to project as my students walk into my classroom. This was today’s “awww-inspiring” picture. I explained to my classes that I picked it because I had spent the weekend visiting my mom. As she gets older, having survived my dad and most of her friends, I cherish every day I can still talk to her.

I joke about my blatant emotional manipulation, but finding a fresh, happy baby animal to share every day sets MY mood as well as my students’. I certainly prefer it to my former practice of projecting my agenda for each class. It’s also less demanding cognitively than, say, a quote of the day. Several teachers, as part of our WASC data collection, shadowed students one day. How daunting to have to switch rooms and gears within a six-minute passing period from taking a geometry test, to analyzing Wuthering Heights, to setting up a science lab, then performing a skit in Spanish, THEN lunch, learning a history lesson, and working out at sports practice. The least I can do is provide a visual warm fuzzy as they transition to English class.