"For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate." President Obama
This is the first Presidential Inauguration since the Carnival's inception, in June of 2005. While the festivities last night in Washington D.C. were as open and democratic as any, not many garden-variety educators could be in attendance. Too far away, too cold, too expensive--and of course, teachers who might love to go would have to round up a sub. So--welcome to the first-ever Virtual Inaugural Balls for EdBloggers!!
We've set up each "ballroom" so teachers will feel at home but festive: there are delicious hot lunches on Styrofoam trays, drinking fountains (without gum wads), functioning copy machines everyplace and no lunch duty. Sheer luxury, for those whose faith and determination in the classroom decides the fate of children every day.
In the auditorium, the Inspiration Ball is in full swing. YoYo Ma and Itzhak Perlman are playing on stage with Anthony McGill and Gabriela Montero. Listen for a moment--then stroll around to hear the words of educators who are moved to eloquence by this historic day. While you're still listening to the music, think with Susan Graham about Simple Gifts, and the fact that the next president may be sitting in your classroom.
Mary Tedrow reflects on Inauguration Day posted at her blog Walking to School. Mary, who lives in Virginia, sees the day's snow delay in her district as serendipitous but providential--tests were canceled, and students can now witness history. Cindi Rigsbee, North Carolina Teacher of the Year and finalist for National Teacher of the Year, thinks about the past and the promise of the future through the words of Langston Hughes in Holding Dreams... posted at The Dream Teacher.
Australian Penny Ryder takes us on a whimsical tour of the important and very influential teachers in her personal history in Good Teachers - Primary School found on her blog, Teaching Challenges. And over in the corner, the Honorable John Lewis is deep in conversation with Public School Insights, talking about the stirring example set by Martin Luther King, Jr. Renee Moore of TeachMoore joins them, asking What About the Children?
The Education Optimists are there, too, musing about The Dream and The Inauguration. Cossondra George appears with a letter to President Obama in her hand sharing her ideas from Middle School, day by day from a teacher's point of view. Then Tracy Rosen of Leading From The Heart joins them, urging them to Cherish the quiet moments. Click on her post to see a photograph that will stir your soul.
of stirring the soul, see Michaele Sommerville's touching An
Incredible Inauguration posted at Kindergarten's 3 R's: Respect,
Resources, & Rants. Watching the Inauguration on television, Michaele's
kiddos obediently stand up when Dianne Feinstein asks the audience to stand--and
when Michaele explains that the new president is "...promising us that he'll do a good job,
protect us, and help us help ourselves and others," they ask
"Does he promise
everybody, or just the grown-ups?" As
we drift out of the Inspiration Ball, members of the Teacher Leaders Network,
in their TLN
Teacher Voices, are attempting to condense inspiration into Six-Word
With stars in our eyes, the next stop is a dose of cold reality: the Challenges Ball, held (naturally) in the basement boiler room. Here's teacherken meeting us at the door and reminding us that the victory only begins at the ballot box, and is incomplete until we fulfill that goal of delivering a better life for people on the ground in The Election Isn't Democracy.
Mathew Needleman shares the overwhelming problems faced by schools in California in A Bailout for LAUSD? posted at his Open Court Resources.com Blog. Meanwhile, woodlassnyc is teaching 50 kids at a time (because the NYC contract allows it) in Breaking my silence, musically speaking which you can find at Under Assault: Teaching in NYC.
Heather Wolpert-Gawron wonders about how to solve those problems in urban schools in NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: Michelle Rhee posted at tweenteacher.com--is getting tough the answer? And Larry Ferlazzo asks about Charter Schools As Immigrant Havens--is this what charter schools were designed to do?
Nothing's a more serious challenge in 2009 than school safety, but Carol Richtsmeier's wry Fatsos, Lockdowns & Stella posted at Bellringers will make you laugh out loud. Stelllllaaaah! And Mister Teacher of Learn Me Good who says I love teaching vocabulary will build yours with ten new synonyms for alcohol. Finally, Mark Perry at Just a Substitute Teacher Blog....., throws down a new and hilarious challenge: the Freeze Faker…. You can't make this stuff up.
Enough with the challenges--time to roll up sleeves and put that inspiration to work. Let's move into the very crowded teachers' workroom, where the Creative Solutions Ball is ongoing. First: a ceremonial presentation of the Robert Heinlein Medal of Commendation to Darren of Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher for his blog Grokking Trig, which includes a short video of some strangers, er, students in math land. Very cool--and way to suck up to the Carnival host, Darren.
Travis A. Wittwer thoughtfully suggests a universal solution-- Collaboration, not Isolation posted at Stories from School: Practice meets Policy, in which he (correctly) uses the word Sisyphistic. And speaking of collaboration, Pat presents Survival Tips for Student Teachers posted at Successful Teaching--good stuff, indeed. And A Guide to Raising Great Kids proposes starting with Truthfulness. Excellent advice.
Larry Ferlazzo's back upstairs--this time he's got some social studies and history videos that won't get blocked by filters--check these out because Larry's the master of useful tools. Then, Marcus Smith show us 3 Quick Ways to Dramatically Enhance Your Creativity. Handy.
Speaking of practical tools, Steve Spangler's Blog is all about Oklahoma Hands-on Science Boot Camp for Teachers. Oklahoma, you're OK. Chanman says this classroom management tool appears to be working...so far: I have a better idea: how about YOU tell your parents! posted at Buckhorn Road. And I really liked Jason Dyer's Hint Tokens (Getting Students to Struggle) posted at The Number Warrior. Jason says it's a method that may help if your students like to give up when the going gets tough. Don't all students resist struggling?
As we leave
the Creative Solutions Ball, there's a final resource being shared: One
Family presents Kids
With Special Needs and Learning Disabilities – Teaching and Student Educational
Resources posted at One Family's
Let's make a quick stop in the technology lab to see who's tap-dancing (virtually, of course) at the 21st Century Learning Ball. It's Bill Ferriter, who's just hosted a Conversation on Readicide at The Tempered Radical, with readers and author Kelly Gallagher on the impact that standardized testing has had on reading instruction in the American classroom. This link will connect readers a rich conversation---and to a series of posts Bill's written about Gallagher's new book, Readicide: How schools are killing reading and what you can do about it." Jim McGuire also presents Why Skimming Matters Most posted at The Reading Workshop, saying, "This post looks considers if skimming is the most important reading skill in today's Web 2.0 world."
Lots of reading going on at the ball tonight--Angela presents The Internet vs. "Real" Reading on her The Cornerstone Blog, and HappyCampers at Reese's View Of The World introduce another literacy tool: LookyBook: Bibliovores Beware!
Tom DeRosa offers the second part of a year-long collaborative project for teachers: 52 Teachers, 52 Lessons: Week 2 posted at I Want to Teach Forever. This is cool stuff. And if you're not blogged out already, Kelly Sonora presents Top 50 Educational Policy Blogs posted at Online University Lowdown.
A serious and sobering 21st Century story at NY Education Examiner: 'I want to share with you my son’s cyber bullying experience.' posted by ball attendee Lorri Giovinco-Harte: "A mother discusses her son's experience of becoming a victim of an impostor profile on MySpace." And finally, we see Andrew Heath who is using only technology tools in his quest for Learning Vietnamese in Eight Months. Read A New Project to Learn Vietnamese--it's fascinating.
Even the most enthusiastic ball-goer needs a quiet moment to escape. Let's sit for a moment in the library Dialogue Lounge, where bloggers have come to discuss important issues with their dancing shoes off.
Tom White is musing about What To Do About Homework through his amusing post on Stories from School: Practice meets Policy. Says Tom: As a junior, I completely neglected my history report on the Reconstruction. It was due on a Monday, and I had plans for the weekend that did not include Rebuilding the South on my IBM Selectric." Andrea Hermitt goes further, considering: Should homework be abolished? on Education Examiner at Examiner.com.
Supervision vs. Observation is the topic at Circle Time "Lead From The Start" with John Holland intelligently pondering the purposes and differences between supervision and observation. And Greg wonders And Where Does He Get His Life Back? posted at Rhymes With Right--what happens when someone may have been falsely accused?
Should we be Asking Teachers to be Therapists? Andrew Bernardin thinks that putting the onus on teachers for first graders' self-esteem may come back to haunt us later, in The Evolving Mind. Hall monitor presents an uncharacteristically sober assessment of severing teachers for financial reasons in Mt. Pleasant school to offer buyouts to senior faculty, staff posted at DetentionSlip.org, saying, "It seems some schools have already put a price on the future of education." And Joanne Jacobs is deconstructing real life vs. Friday Night Lights in TV is a poor college counselor posted at the eponymous Joanne Jacobs.
One last ball--the Higher Education Ball, which is on the third floor. Because the third floor is...higher, of course. siobhan curious presents a fun introspection, in which I do not become a Unitarian after all posted at Siobhan Curious, saying, "This post is the conclusion of a three-part story in which my search for a community comes full circle and ends in the classroom. Bob O'Hara offers Academic Advising in House Systems and Residential College Systems from Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way. Says Bob: "Many colleges and universities around the world are establishing "house" or "residential college" systems. Here's how to arrange academic advising in such a system."
More higher ed chat: Richard Adams tells us How To Select The Best University For You, and Mark Montgomery shares Weighted GPA, Unweighted GPA, Class Rank, and College Admission at Great College Advice.
It's getting late. School tomorrow. The EdBloggers Virtual Balls have been civilized affairs--no frozen canaries or coat-check rebellions. But then, educators have lots of practice in dealing with crises. They know how to make people line up in an orderly fashion and keep their hands to themselves.
On the way out the door, we can amuse ourselves with rip-snorting Inauguration Trivia from Mamacita posted at Scheiss Weekly. Mamacita, you rock! And John Holland shares the most amazing coda: Kids Say Amazing Things: Tell Us! This is why we're in the biz, folks.
And here's a marketplace of educational products and services, presented to the Carnival:
Jim presents Best Student Credit Cards posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. Rob Stone presents Education - advice videos on School posted at VideoJug: LIfe Explained. On Film. Denise presents Free Online Math for Middle School and Up posted at Let's play math! Matthew Paulson presents Teach Values While Shopping for Your Kids Clothes posted at American Consumer News. College Degrees presents Top online accredited Colleges, Accredited online Degree Programs, Associates, Bachelors, Masters » The College Degrees . Com posted at TheCollegeDegrees.Com Blog. William James presents Content Creation Workshop..You Think It Makes Sense? posted at Internet Marketing | Information Marketing | Blog Marketing | Business Success. Simone presents How to get a higher band for IELTS Speaking | IELTS-Blog posted at IELTS-Blog. Jacob Richman presents Learn Hebrew with Pictures and Audio posted at Good News from Israel.
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of education using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
Images: Swells_catskillgirlll@flickr, creative commons; disco email@example.com