The Day After

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Today in my high school Contemporary Lit elective we began as usual discussing the news of the day. My students described the facts, then asked questions and made observations (respectfully to each other) about the election in which a few of them had voted. I’m happy that most felt safe to discuss their fears, their satisfaction, and even conflicts in their own homes.

They also expressed themselves in writing, either a letter to President-elect Trump or a journal entry on their thoughts and feelings today. Some of these PRIVATE comments were heart-wrenching. Many Muslim, Latino, and even Chinese students expressed worry about family deportations or inability of relatives ever to travel to the US. Some shared taunting online comments they’d seen. One girl feared (as a minority woman) the potential effect on her college experience, the “most important years” of her life. A few felt the drama was overblown.

I concluded the segment with some historical perspective and a reminder and reassurances to keep reaching out. We can continue to be patient and kind to each other and those close to us. It felt right for my classes and me. Moving forward….

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“The Last Lecture” — Help People


As part of our unit on The Value of Life, my elective class called Contemporary Studies watched Randy Pausch’s lecture called “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Knowing he was dying of liver cancer, Pausch delivered a funny, moving, and inspirational talk on how to live a good life in which he described some highlights of his journey as a family man, a student and a professor. The best-selling book he published called The Last Lecture expands on the stories and lessons of his 75-minute speech. 

Pausch’s lecture contains so many meaningful lessons, but the one message that most resonated with me on this viewing was HELP PEOPLE. That’s a given in an educator’s job description, but it also describes an attitude for anyone in any profession or any role, including student. We can learn so much from connecting with others without expectation of personal gain. The beautiful irony is that, with that mindset, we often get back more than we give. Pausch calls that a “head fake” or indirect learning, where in the doing of a fun task we learn something difficult. My own beloved father Angelo Ozoa preached that lesson and lived it, as a doctor and community leader whose legacy includes an annual medical mission to needy areas in the Philippines. So go do what Randy and Angelo said — help people!

October is Filipino American History Month


My parents came to the United States as medical interns from the University of the Philippines to the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, a suburb of Chicago. After having four children and establishing themselves at the University of Chicago as a PhD in pathology and a pediatrician La Rabida, a tertiary care facility, they became citizens. We moved to Northern California, and we children all pursued advanced degrees, becoming a lawyer/teacher, nurse/manager, engineer and human resources training consultant. 

Filipino American History Month celebrates the work ethic and strong family values that have produced similar success stories in the Filipino-American community for over 4oo years. I’m very proud that my family, my “calabash” aunties and uncles and cousins, my community (geographic and online)  have contributed so much to the immense mixed salad that is our diverse and democratic country. May it continue to strenghthen and grow!

Home


I Teach to Learn

Several recent events led me to choose this topic and title and to write about it. One was Facebook reminding me what I did on each day several years before. I USED to blog every day, even if only about silly, apparently trivial observations. But those old posts reminded me of certain moments of learning in my life that I did (or didn’t! absorb into my common practice today.

Another was hearing an interview on NPR’s The Frame of Casey Affleck at Telluride this year. John Horn asked Casey if he enjoyed watching himself in his movies over his 20-year career and Casey replied “not really” and that he wasn’t sure why. Rather, he recounted a story of doing construction work summers in his youth in Boston, and of one job where they had to build a short flight of stairs. No one, not even the foreman, knew what they were doing, but they figured it out together. It’s still there, and Casey points it out to friends when they go by. Casey analogized that to making movies. It’s not the product he finds inspiring, but the conversations and creativity that are part of the process.

I’ve blogged on process over product before. I, too, am not a fan of reliving past successes or dwelling on past failures. EXCEPT insofar as they inform what I DO NOW. For example, I’m quite proud of a short music video I made at a summer CUE Rock Star Teacher Camp with parody lyrics and a green screen, not because it’s great (it’s not!), but because it’s a useful teaching tool. I don’t recount many legal war stories from when I was in private practice or a legal editor in the Bay Area, except for those that illustrate a point about good writing. (“Know your audience” and “Always read the statute first.”)

A third event was a fleeting reference to the concept of “flow” which quantifies why people are happiest when fully engaged in a challenging activity. I see it in my students (pictured above) when they solve puzzles with our BreakoutEDU kits. I feel it in myself when I’m researching and designing and executing new lesson plans with new students and tech tools and educational priorities each year.

The final event was flipping my calendar page to October. Even though this school year began in late-August, it still feels like we just started a few weeks ago. Time flies! And so does the opportunity to document my learning each day.

So that’s why I’m blogging again. I want to remember my learning each day. I teach to learn.

No Time Like the Present


Photo credit: bina.au

Me, again! Not uncommonly, I go through bouts of writing paralysis and writing … prolificness. I found the past school year incredibly demanding and the summer crazy busy, but have decided that writing is too important to me NOT to take out a few minutes at least five days a week to document my thoughts. 

On family:

  • Appreciate each other daily. The health challenges plagueing our elderly parents have forced me and my DH into thinking about our own planning for the future. Perhaps this is TMI (too morbid info) but our Christmas gift to ourselves last year was a funeral plot and prepaid plan that saves a ton of money on an inevitable expense. More importantly, we are more careful of our own health. My Pokemon GO obsession comes just in time to encourage me to walk around more.

On work:

  • I love my job! I’m so lucky to be an educator. My DH and I have a standing bet that I can’t go more than an hour at a time without mentioning “my kids” or considering how something I just learned can be adapted to my classroom. I spent a ton of time as both a presenter and participant in a number of EdTech workshops this summer from CUE Rock Star Teacher Camps and a GAFE Summit in Riverside to a day-long training with Code.org and planning with my grant partner Freya on how we’ll use our 1:1 Chromebooks in our classes next year.
  • Breakout EDU is a fun, fabulous tool to teach and reinforce key skills in future-ready students. THIS ARTICLE emphasizes that automation cannot replace a human’s ability to, among other skills, solve mysteries.

Knitting content: 

  • Op-Art baby blanket. I’m making great progress for the newest niece, Adeline. Hope she won’t be too old to appreciate it by the time I get it delivered!

Words and Images

What Makes a Good Infographic?

From Visually.

 

Hi, My name is Teresa and I’m a word nerd. However, I also believe in the power of images and drawings — hence my unnatural love for infographics. Here’s a great collection from Brain Pickings. One of my favorite books ever, that I used often with AP Language, is Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen.

In my classroom I like to promote the use of sketchnotes, a way of personalizing learning by taking meaningful, graphics-based notes rather than linear text-based notes. I introduce the concept with this TEDed talk called Drawing in Class.   Mike Rohde’s book is a great intro and tutorial. My friend JoAnn Fox teaches sketchnoting and has some great examples here.

Most of my own sketchnotes are in a Moleskine journal. I’m transitioning to digital with an app called Paper by Fifty-Three. The beautiful possibilities are endless.

Go forth and think beyond Cornell notes!

Adulting

  

I have a love/hate relationship with this word. On the one hand, it’s a brilliant, ironic verb expressing our obligation to be responsible. On the other, I hate when I have to do it. 

Like now. I’m miserably, hideously, uncomfortably sick. All I want to do is sleep and drink tea, and surf the interwebitubes when my headache abated. But I have work (or at least prepare sub plans) and cook meals for my family and empty the litter box. 
Adulting….. Ugh.