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Showing posts from June, 2016

Day 43: 5 Powerful Questions to Own

Alber, R. (2013, October 31). 5 powerful questions teachers can ask students. [Web log]. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
Now that I have been observing teachers, both veteran and new for over five years, I am hyper aware of the questions that I ask in my own classroom. Every time one of my students asks their class, "any questions?" or "understand?" and then moves on, I cringe just a little and vow to model better questions in class later that week. It does not help to scold them or point it out, I just think if better questions are important and if part of humility as a teacher is to ask questions out of mutual curiosity on thinking and not as assessment, that awareness has to come from the teachers themselves.

Still, students learning to be teachers need specific guidance and sometimes need neon signs to the watering hole, so thi…

Day 42: Busy is an Excuse

The point:

In this American society, we use busy-ness as an excuse but really, we are not bees. Our need to fill time is a fear of the alternative. Busy does not make us happy. So what is the alternative?

What is sacred:

the present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it's something we've chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.  I've always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it's possible I'll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn't work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I'll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too s…

Day 41:The Obvious First Step to Behavior Management

My practicum students meet once a week for class and the last 10 minutes or so of class are spent in our kāko'o circle where students are able to bring a problem of practice up to their colleagues and we spend some time in supportive, problem solving conversations. This weekʻs POP was about getting students to stop blurting and yelling out answers.
Different students gave their input until I realized that the root of the problem might really be the first step to finding the solution. 
Here's the question I asked to my student: did you tell your students that you did not appreciate their behavior? 
Her answer:  long pause, slight grin. . ."no."
Me: well then, start there and have a conversation of what you would like to see instead.
Coincidentally, I got an article in my feeder and lo and behold, here is the first tip:
Here's a process along with a few starter ideas to move you in the right direction, whether you're an individual teacher or thinking about this…

Day 40 Deeper-Learning Outcomes

Source: Martinez, M. (2014, November 13). 6 Rules to break for better, deeper-learning outcomes. Edutopia. Retrieved by
What is Sacred: There are a bunch of short blog articles that I am using as practice for the annotated bibliographies I want my students in intro to teaching to do so this is the first one. Not hard reading, just a practice into reading about teaching.
This one is a break down of rules to break in order to allow deeper learning to happen. The post explains each thing more and links to the author's book. 
 There is an evolving research base that continues to validate what happens in the classroom when we reimagine teaching and learning to be more active and relevant. So go ahead and break rules, particularly those 20th-century rules that stop us from moving to a place where students not only tune in, but are empowered to self-direct their learning. How it Connects:
I'm trying to do severa…

Day 39 - Wobblers and Bouncers

Light, N. (2016, November 11). Wobble chairs, bouncy balls let students wiggle while they work. The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
I don't know about sacred, but this article is about flexible seating, specifically using seating options other than the traditional chair or desk with table that some of the high schools still use. Instead, at about $70/chair, teachers are bringing in these wobble chairs. The article is about why they do that and what the results are.
1. It's not for every child, so if you got rid of all of your old chairs or stools, retrieve them back
2. It does help as a differentiation strategy for some students who need to fidget to think

Connections to my Current/Future Work:
I observed this particular chair at one of the Hawaii elementary schools. I was doing a lesson observation of one of my students and at the back of the room, there was one child with this chair. Everyone else…

Day 38: For Love of Words

Source: Bhabha, H. K. (2012). The location of culture. Routledge.

What is Sacred:
I am slowly going through this because it is too much to gorge. But the writing is beautiful and I am attracted to the beauty of prose. Here is a snippet from the beginning of chapter 8 DissemiNation. This chapter starts with his musings on his own migration.

Day 37: Warming and Cooling the Classroom

Source:  Dicicco, M. & Cook, C. (2015, September). Community warming: Creating a climate that engages all students. American Middle Level Educators 3 (2), 24-26. 
What is Sacred: I am trying to create my own "book" of resources for my introduction to middle/secondary level education so I am going through my stash of AMLE magazines because they are written like middle school teachers - short, to the point, with useful information that can be implemented tomorrow.
There isn't much that is totally new, or that I don't already have in some shape or form in my own teaching toolbox, but I'm not making this for me, but rather for my teacher education students who are going into their second field experience of their journey. 
This article is about cooling the classroom, warming the classroom, keeping it warm - in other words it is about how to create relationships, strategies that can help that as well as how to keep it up even when you are doing curriculum.
I like t…

Day 36 Defining Cultural Humility

Source:  Waters, A. & Asbill, L. (2013, August). Reflections on cultural humility. CYF NEWS: American Psychological Association. Retrieved from
What is Sacred: I have been sitting on this little one page article for months and I'm not sure why. I kept reading and re-reading the first line, knowing that I was going to use it, but it has been an open tab on my Chrome for a long time. 
This is a short definition piece for cultural humility. It is the written elevator speech that helps to define what I am trying to do and what I need to do. 
So nutshell of an already shortened piece: Cultural humility - "ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the [person]" (Hook, Davis, Owen, Worthington, & Utsey, 2013, p.2).  3 factors guide a sojourner toward cultural humilitylifel…

Day 35: Teacher Education Program Assessments

Source:  Ronfeldt, M. & Campbell, S. (2016, June 13). Evaluating teacher preparation using graduates' observational ratings. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 20(10), 1-23.
What is Sacred: Our department likes to collect data from our students, from our mentor teachers, from our alumni. I am a self-proclaimed anti-data person, but I am also in charge of new teacher induction so I need to know what our new alumni need to know. Also with different teacher preparation programs popping up in Hawaiʻi, what makes us different? Which program is more effective for our teachers and our community? What makes a program more effective?
These are the questions I was looking for but the answer is always more complex than just do this or don't do that. The research really looked at using both observational ratings from graduates as well as other data like how much experience student teachers have before they graduate to try and create a clearer picture.
The conclusion was that th…

Day 34: This is Just to Say

Source: Parker, I. (2016, Sept. 12). Pete Wells has his knives out: How the New York Times critic writes the reviews that make and break restaurants [Online Profiles]. Retrieved from
What is Sacred:  I don't know about sacred except that good writing is sacred. Writers who can write for the The New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post - they have figured out how to post three columns a week and still produce writing worth reading. This is a profile of Pete Wells, the restaurant critic for the Times and what his process is. It is a lot of eating out and many balls in the air, many unwritten articles waiting for the right ball to land. It is also about compassion when delivering bad news for chefs. It reminds me of the movie Chef. It reminds me of my philosophy of feedback and how as I get older and have been in this longer, it is about compassion without compromise. I will still say I thin…

Day 33: What to Teach in Methods Courses

Source: Ours, K.E. (2015) "I learned it in my methods course": How secondary English/language arts teachers learn about writing instruction before graduation. Masters Essays. 
What is Sacred: This paper is on a study of what kinds of skills/strategies should be taught in an English/language arts methods course. One agreement and one surprise:
Although philosophy of the content is important, writing process is very important. Agree. 
Bring in language arts teachers from the community to talk about their craft. Duh. Why didn't I think about that.
Connections to Current/Future Work: The writing process, what it feels like, how it can be done is important for my content area teachers because it demystifies the mystery. It takes the stigma of reading and writing  out of the language arts realms.
For my methods courses, definitely start looking for those mentor teachers that I want to invite to speak in the classroom. 

Day 32: Life Before the Internet

Source: Mirani, L. (2014, August 21). Going Walden: What it feel like to be the last generation to remember life before the internet [Web log]. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
I am reading a lot of summaries. I think it is about teaching the course on literature reviews which is all about being able to summarize larger works, so my tolerance for larger works is giving way to just wanting to read the summaries and see people put their thoughts together as model texts for what I want my master's students to do. More like wishful hoping?

This summary of Michael Harris' (above) book The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection gives a fair reading of the book. It is balanced and does not fall into the trap of personalizing someone else's message in order to tout your own agenda. Nice.

Connections to Current/Future Work:
This really is a r…

Day 31: Kranzberg's Six Laws

Source:  Sacasas, M. (2011, August 25). Kranzberg's six laws of technology, a metaphor, and a story [Web log]. Retrieved from
What is Sacred: This is a link from a link from a link. As someone born before 1985, and a dying breed of humans who exist as both BI and AI navigators (before internet - after internet), Kranzberg's six laws of technology are indeed both metaphor and story. 
I have been on an annotated bibliography, summary kick, but the writing is superb. Go read the link from the source instead as my writing a summary of Sacasas' summary will be disrespectful of the words on screen. 
Connections to Current/Future Work: I hone in on the fifth law: all history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant. 
Let's talk about that. I want to have that conversation with my secondary social studies candidates. My colleague and I want to produce secondar…

Day 30: Habit is a Cable

Source: Costa, A. & Kalick, B. (2009). Habit is a cable. In A. Costa & B. Kalick (Eds.), Habits of mind across the curriculum: Practical and creative strategies for teachers (2-7). Alexandria: ASCD.
What is Sacred: This is the first chapter of a book with an obvious title and it is just going over what the rest of the book will be talking about.
The need to know: Habits of Mind can weave through every content. It serves as the "warp" for the curriculum and the content or courses of study are the "weft."  I had to look it up since it doesn't really explain that analogy in this chapter. Basically, the warp and weft make up the basic elements of all textile weaving, so that is the metaphor.
Connections to Current/Future Work:
I think I will try this out in my courses as a reflection piece, but then as I learn and they learn, perhaps it can be a warp and weft throughout.

Day 29: Multi-genre Texts as a Political Statement

Source: Jung, J. (2005). Do I belong "in" rhet/comp? Revision, identity and multigenre texts. Studies in writing and rhetoric: Revisionary rhetoric, feminist pedagogy, and multigenre texts (29-55) Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press.
What is Sacred: Sometimes (most times) I do things a certain way because I know it's right for me and I know what my intentions are, but they are still hidden. Then I read something that has been sitting in my must read folder and the skies open up because someone wrote something that I was thinking. This is one of those. This is a complicated, look up words in the dictionary chapter to a very long titled book, but it was highlight AND take notes worthy, so I am putting it in my highlighted folder in Evernote for now until I figure out where to put it.
This is about the multigenre essay form as a rhetorical strategy to be heard through disruption and juxtaposition. It specifically talks about the metadiscursive commentary and inter…

Day 28: Effective Reflective Practice

Source:  Loughran, J. J. (2002). Effective reflective practice in search of meaning in learning about teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(1), 33-43. 
What is Sacred: What I know for sure is that a reflective teacher is an effective teacher, so I have been working on upping the reflection game from the intro to teaching course up to the last practicum in an attempt to get teacher candidates not just practicing reflection on their experience, but sharing it and now, according to this article, using what is shared to create some common assertions around a problem of practice. That is a new aha for me. 
I think what is most sacred about this is its emphasis on examining a variety of view points by first "seeing." That is easier said than done sometimes because we have to get rid of our assumptions in order to really see and be able to spot problems. I like this rationale the most: To counter the likelihood that practice may be routinized, teacher educators and their studen…

Day 27: Being a Mindful Chef

Source: DʻAglas, N. (2009). Cooking habits. In A. Costa & Kalick, B. (Eds.), Habits of Mind Across the Curriculum: Practical and Cretive Strategies for Teachers (8-13). Alexandria: ASCD.
What is Sacred: I have been thinking about incorporating habits of mind in the student reflections as a lens to look at growth, so I am reading some of the chapters. This chapter is about how the individual habits of mind can relate to becoming a better chef.
Connections to Current/Future Work: I am going to give the habits of mind with some of the examples of the cook to the students or just give them this short chapter and have them use the similar metaphor to come up with their own connections. One week done.

Day 26: Social Justice Reminders

DellʻAngelo, T. (2014, September 29). Creating classrooms for social justice. [Web log]. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
This is not really an article, more a reminder - social justice, defined as recognizing and acting on the power that we have for making positive change - is a good thing. It is necessary. Some of us spend all of our careers fighting for social justice in education. This is just a gentle reminder.

when making curriculum decisions, consider, value, build on the diverse prior learning experiences of students Other focuses - creating community, making learning relevant, creating authentic assessment

Connections to Current/Future Work:
This does not replace the social justice focus that I talk about throughout the pre-service journey, but I can use this along with a TEDx talk to create a discussion point.

If parents were educators themselves, I think what they want for their chil…