Its 2010… both feet in!

Its the middle of January, and I feel as though I’m just getting my feet firmly on the ground after flying into a new year, a new decade.   A new decade?  Wow, that one went quickly!  I’ve felt a little overwhelmed, disoriented even, starting back at work after the Christmas holiday break.  Before the break, I was fortunate to be working with a very capable intern, Ashley, who was teaching much of my course-load.  Needless to say, it was a bit of shock to come back to the full workload of teaching.  [Ashley, I really appreciated your help!]  My first day back to work was also, officially, my first day back to my graduate studies.  This winter semester is going to be very challenging.  I have decided to attempt to study two courses simultaneously, in addition to a full teaching load, and my other full-time life as a father and husband.   I’m not sure how this is going to work out.  Over the past year, my blog posts have been very much focused on sustainability and ESD.  This focus is not likely to change, as it seems to be the ultimate goal or purpose on any of my investigations in pedagogy.  Now I am heading down two new paths that may or may not overlap very much.  Many of my posts will be part of my reflection and studies as a part of EC&I 832 which will focus primarily on educational technologies and their links to pedagogy.  My other area of study is and independent directed study though which I am to explore several communities of artists that have had significant and shaping impact on their greater societies.  The aim is to discover common traits and characteristics that can be emulated and applied to my own pedagogical practices.  The end goal is to learn from significant communities of artists and find ways to create and inspire change in my community and society.  So, like everything else in my life, this might get a little messy.  It might get difficult to separate the two areas of study, after all and in the end, everything is related to pedagogy and making a difference with young people.  I think I have been a slightly afraid of the chaos that I have set in front of myself.  But here I go… I’m jumping in …  I’ve got my feet on the ground now.

2010 promises to be a great year.  It is a year in which eyes from around the world will be on my country, Canada, as the Olympics begin next month.  It is a year in which the world’s greatest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, kicks off this summer in South Africa.  It is the year in which my beautiful wife and I will witness our girls turn four.  I, myself, will turn thirty-three [which has always been one of my favourite numbers].  This is the year in which I plan to develop and execute a major project in my study of curriculum and instruction, thus culminating my graduate studies.  It is a year through which I plan to develop significantly as a professional, as a father, and as a person on this planet.  This is a year in which we are sure to see several very interesting and important global and political developments as the world populations realize that they cannot rely on their governments to respond responsibly to global climate crisis’.  It is shaping up to be a very exciting year, and so it is with enthusiasm and excitement that I jump in.  Here we go!


Blog by e-mail

A cool new feature that has been added since I last blogged, is the blogging by e-mail tool.   Apparently you can set up your blog space so that you can create a post simply by sending and e-mail.  Sounds very cool.  I must try this out.

Yes.  This works, and is very cool.  I’ve posted this update from my webmail account on my portable device (Archos 5).  This is pretty neat, although the next step could be even more cool.  I will  see if I can post from my cell phone.  If I can remember how to text to e-mail, this should work.

Students Thinking about Sustainability

My students have been thinking about the sustainability of our planet, and our ways of living on it.  I’ve had my English Language Arts students [grade ten students] working through a unit that I’ve called The Necessary Revolution.   The title is not very original, as I’ve lifted if from a great book by Peter Senge, but it works.  Students

Chris Jordan

began the unit with an introduction to Chris Jordan  and his work and message.   They watched short videos, viewed much of his artwork digitally, and read from his blog.  They were asked to respond to Chris’ message in writing by posting their thoughts and opinions as comments on my blog.  They also began to study a list of essential vocabulary; words like unsustainable, sustainability, necessary, revolution, citizenship, etc.  Next, the students viewed the documentary The 11th Hour.  While viewing, student took notes of important facts, information, and viewpoints, and we stopped the film constantly having good discussions.  After viewing, my students were expected to write a written response to the film.  Follow the link bellow to read their responses (please leave us some feedback).  

Another activity I’ve had on the go, is a small-scale tree planting project.  I’ve had students in three homerooms in the school planting white spruce tree seedlings.  We’ve planted them in small pots to keep in the room for the winter, to care for them, and then eventually move them to a more permanent home in the spring.  My students have been measuring, and watering their trees.   They’ve even tagged and named their trees. 

All of this is just a start, yet I feel that we are heading in the right direction.  

Follow the links below to read my students responses, and please, leave us some feedback. 

Student responses to Chris Jordan, his work and his message. 

Student responses to the film The 11th Hour.

On my rock… writing to… myself…

A portion of the assessment of my current graduate course is on the completion of an analysis journal.  Dr. Pickard has asked us (the students of EC&I 871 – Sustaining Wellbeing through H.O.P.E.) to find a space at least once a week to sit and reflect upon the readings, presentations, and activities that will be presented throughout the class.   Basically the premise is to “get on your rock” and reflect upon and analyse your development through the class.

In the past, I have found blogging to be a useful method of reflecting and analysis.  I have blogged as part of a network in which each member would regularly read and respond to eachothers’ blog entries.  Although there was much value to the presence of a network and an audience, much of the value of blogging was in the ability to communicate, develop, and articulate thoughts and ideas as they developed in relation to the readings and other course materials.  It is most likely that this most recent blogging activity will not have any audience (one is not intended).  I suppose in a way this is a sort of disclaimer to say that I am really writing to myself, journaling, in order to further develop my own thoughts.  Yet also this is meant to say that an audience is certainly welcome, as I do understand that there is much value when discussions arise.  So if you are reading any of my posts, and you are inclined to respond, please do.

At some point, as this develops, I may intend for this blog to reach and audience… perhaps my classes of high school students.  That is something I have not yet experienced.  We’ll see how this goes…