Let Creativity Shine

screen shot 2019-01-22 at 5.33.05 pm
In our study of life in Europe during the Middle Ages, we explored the power of the Catholic Church. Students were given the task to choose a generalization from the Universal Theme of Power. From there, they were expected to sketchnote their understanding of the power the Catholic Church exerted over people living in feudal society.

I’m highlighting two of the exceptional sketchnotes from my talented GATE/PreAP World History class. Giving students the option to demonstrate their learning in a creative fashion allows students to showcase their talents. Not all students can draw, but some can…and these two students are among them. I am not only impressed with their work, but I can see that they are able to demonstrate their learning about the influence the Catholic Church exerted during that era.

screen shot 2019-01-22 at 5.33.41 pm

I am firm believer in student choice in the areas of content, process, and product. Differentiation is the means to support the individual needs of my middle schoolers. Not all of my students take me up on my offer of free choice, but I think that’s the by-product of the focus on test scores to measure learning. Would a quiz on the power of the Catholic Church show how much these students could recall? Would it have been faster to administer a quiz instead of allot multiple days to complete the sketchnotes? Of course, but would a quiz have allowed students the opportunity to engage in a bit of creativity? Rhetorical I know.

As this semester comes to a close and I get ready to say goodbye to these kiddoes, I’m glad that I have their work to remember them by. They not only inspire me, but they remind me of why I chose this profession in the first place.

I am truly blessed.


Equal Opportunity Tech Issues

flash-845848_1920Let me begin by stating that I am not a technology expert. I use technology quite a bit in my professional context as a teacher and educator, and I also use technology on a daily basis on a more personal level. I am good at troubleshooting basic issues at work and at home. In fact, technology has helped to teach me the art of patience. Both patience with myself and with the numerous customer service reps at Apple who are basically saints in my book.

This weekend I have been dealing with tech issues on my just over 1 y/o iMac. Weird things have been happening with my display, I’ve had three calls to Apple Support (and I’m waiting on the 4th call-back today), and I’ve been Googling and checking the Apple Community forums for help.

All this to say that even though I work with technology on a daily basis, I am by no means an expert on technology. In fact, I’ve come to the realization of just how much I don’t know about technology. However, I have learned how to be patient, and I have learned a few tricks of the trade to help me further troubleshoot issues before sending an SOS to Apple Support.

I guess I’m becoming quite the expert in patience…so there’s that.

I bring this up because I think most of us rely on technology for quite a few things. We rely on technology to tell us the time, weather, appointments, the name of that song for which we only have a partial lyric…you get my point. But that brings me to the question “Do we rely on technology too much?” “How much is too much?” “Where do we draw the line?” I’ve been better at unplugging in the evenings and the weekends, but even then…is it really unplugging when I’m reading a book on Kindle or watching a show that is being streamed from my Apple TV? It scares me a bit when considering just how much I rely on technology to do everyday things. But I don’t know that I can stop or even reduce the role that technology plays in my life.

This brings me to my other concern which is the use of AI. But that’s a post for another time. Right now, I have to get back to work on a rough draft of a manuscript which I’m writing on my iMac with Papers as my citation manager and Apple Music streaming in the background.