Monday, August 22, 2016

Day 83: The Homework Dilemma

Kauffman, G. (2016, August 23). Should second-graders get homework? Maybe not, says Texas teacher. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
This elementary teacher is saying no to homework in a video to parents that has gone viral. Basically, the only homework her students will be bringing home are the things that they do not finish in class. Radical? No. Notable? Yes.

Connections to Current/Future Work:

Here is the thing about secondary teachers. Our content is our god. Our content, compared to all other content areas, is the most important content IN THE WORLD. I raise my hand as one of the guilty ones who gave my students half an hour of reading every night and defended it up and down because - "hey math teacher, don't complain to me that students in your class can't read. Research shows that students read better when they read, and write better when they write. " So add my half an hour to your half an hour and the half an hour for PE and the half an hour for science, and the long project that they have for social studies that will take them five hours on the Sunday before it is due, or 10 days of half an hours if they actually space it out like they are supposed to. . .

I coached veteran teachers for many years. Grading is deeply personal. It is like hanging your panties out on the line in the middle of the hallways and every colleague of yours comes and comments on the state of your panties. It is a problem. People need to read Rick Wormeli Fair Isn't Always Equal on differentiated assessment (and differentiated homework, and just what the purpose of homework is for and why not every child deserves or needs the same homework).

I think this will be one of the practicum discussions which could lead to a response paper. . I will pair this article, the video and an article by Rick, have them observe what goes on in their own secondary classroom, ask some students about homework and yep, sounds like a plan.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Day 82: Teaching in Your Own Community

Will, M. (2016, August 18). Teacher diversity gap not easily closed, report warns. [Web log]. Teaching Now. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
This article is a review of a report by the Brookings Institution on High hopes and harsh realities The real challenges to building a diverse workforce.

In a nutshell, the gap between what the students look like and what the teachers look like (racial mix/identity/culture) is not only out of sync, but even up to 2060, based on the predictions for African American and Hispanic students, the gap will continue at its current pace.

Connections to Current/Future Work:
I have been meeting with a lot of possible mentor teachers this past week, as well as having a meeting at Nanakuli High with a teacher interested in starting a teacher academy. After 23 years of teaching in my own community and ingraining myself in the life of that community, I moved to somewhere that is not my community to do this work. Funny thing is the meetings I had this week, for the most part are with mentor teachers who also are not from the community in which they work. We may look "local," but I feel like we bring the culture of our own communities with us and sometimes there is a disconnect in values and experiences.

What does this have to do with this article? I think this is a good discussion starter for my class. Maybe my intro to teaching. Why wait to have the conversation? Who knows where the conversation will lead but I'm willing to put aside my own "prejudices" to let the students voice their own thoughts.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Day 73: Not What I'm Looking For

Aseron, J, Greymorning, S.N., Miller, A. & Wilde, S. (2013). Cultural safety circles and indigenou peoplesʻ perspectives: Inclusive practices for participation in higher education. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 6(4), 409-416.

What is Sacred:
The title is sacred. I had high hopes that I found my answer. 

Not quite.
So here is what is sacred. The abstract, especially,
 The application of Cultural Safety Circles can help provide a collective space where definitions for cultural and educational exchange can take place and be
identified. It is through this application that a discussion is presented on how the inherent issue of cultural safety, as it pertains to participation in higher education, can be explored to a deeper understanding.
Like the movie trailers that put their best stuff in the trailers and when you go to the movie, you are disappointed that the best thing about the movie was the trailer, you know that feeling. Yeah.

Connections to Current/Future Work:
This is what I am looking for - sanctuaries within the university where all people who want to can come and discuss issues important to the culture of our teaching, to the culture of our university. I am looking for a kuahuokalā that writes the paper and expresses my manaʻo for me. That is what I want. To not have to write my own story and explain everything. I want to write poetry, not "peer-reviewed journal articles." I am looking for a journal article that can write my article.

Why this is not what I am looking for: it is focused on cultural safety circles for Indigenous people. We have that. I don't need to write about that. I want to break out of our safety circle by inviting other non-Hawaiians in who are just as invested to learn without colonizing us and then bring it into their own university classrooms to practice what you learn and respect the place you work in by helping to create a safe culture in your own classroom.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Day 72: Attendance

Foster, L. (2016, August 5). Builidng community with attendance questions. (Web log). Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
I guess I chose to read this because the picture of the Native American boarding schools kind of haunt me and I just wrote about the NMAI. We have the same type of pictures, but I also focused on being present and not absent, which then led me to this attendance article on the Edutopia blog.

This article is about using attendance as a community builder and a way to create a safe environment for students to really learn.

This teacher uses an attendance question to create an open space for sharing. It is not connected to curriculum and there are no right or wrong answers. What got me excited was the focus on the word attend.
When we trace back the meaning of attend through Old French (atendre) to its Latin root (attendere), we can see that when we attend, we are "stretching our mind toward" something. 
When we take attendance, we are essentially asking each student, "Are you here?" But are students actually present when their minds are elsewhere? By asking attendance question, I am indirectly asking my students, "Who are you? How are you? What matters to you?" Through their consideration of a response, I hope they stretch their minds toward presence in the classroom.

Connections to Current/Future Work:
I would like to focus on a more transparent and active use of metaphor in my classes. I find I learn best when I can identify a metaphor, so I want to use it. This is in addition to my emphasis on culture-based and relationships building, so I think this can fit into all.

I like the idea of attend as a stretching of the mind towards. I want to share that insight. I also agree in the ability to be present. I like the potential of asking metaphoric questions to get to the how are you and what matters to you?

What is the color of your classroom experience this week? What number are you today?

I don't care if they think I'm weird. At least they think.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Day 71 We Did Not Just Survive

Atalay, S. (2006). No sense of the struggle: Creating a context for survivance at the NMAI. The American India Quarterly, 30 (3,4), 597-618.

What is Sacred:
NMAI is the National Museum of the American Indian, one of our nation's free Smithsonian museums and my favorite place to grab lunch when in DC. It is a beautiful building at the end of the mall but I just flit in and out and don't read too closely. It feels like I am walking on graves sometimes.
This article is a loving critique of the NMAI from an Indigenous archeologist and focuses on the gaps in the story, specifically around survivance, versus just colonization and survival.

Survivance is defined by Gerald Vizenor as "more than survival, more than endurance or mere response; the stories of survivance are an active presence. . .The native stories of survivance are successive and natural estates; survivance is an active repudiation of dominance, tragedy, and victimry" (15).

Read his stories in Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence

What I took from this article:
We as native peoples, have many stories to tell. We have a unique way of viewing the world, and it is one that has been severely affected by colonization yet is ever changing and resilient. Bringing Native voices to the foreground to share these experiences and worldviews is a critical part of readjusting the power balance to ensure that Native people control their own heritage, representation, and histories. (p.615)
Connections to Current/Future Work:
I used Vizenor's term survivance in the chapter I just submitted with my Mana Wahine group, Stories of  Native Educators in Hawaiʻi Navigating Their EdD Journeys: 
Out of “survivance” (Vizenor, 1998), a group of women, like magnets, formed a group to hold on to each other, eat, laugh, and cry together, and fuse our stories together as Mana Wahine.
I just wanted to read more articles with that concept to make sure that I am using it in the same intent, and yes, I am, but you know, check, check.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Day 70: Learning Value of Pokemon Go

Doran, L. & Davis, M.R. (2016, August 2). Educators weigh learning value of Pokemon Go. Education Week. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
I don't know about sacred, but what I know for sure is that Pokemon Go has taken over my household. I am a proud non-user, however, my son and my husband will suddenly yell out, hey there's a (insert Pokemon name here) in the garage, etc. When my husband wants me to go to the store with him, it means that I need to co-pilot by spinning the icon at Poke stops.

So as a long time educator in middle and secondary, even if I do not play, I need to be able to understand the trends and memes and quickly incorporate this into the classroom as part of the curriculum as well as part of creating relationships, so I was interested in hearing what other educators had to say.

Connection to Current/Future Work:
I'm thinking that this definitely needs to be woven into my EDEF 345: Introduction to middle/secondary education course as well as my practicum or reading and writing across the curriculum class. I think for the reading and writing across the curriculum, we could use some of the features of Pokemon Go - the mapping, the emphasis on historical landmarks and statues in order to incorporate some of these elements in their multi-genre research project.

For the practicum course, they could go into their community that they are teaching at, find some Poke stops and tell us about it and what role/impact that stop has on their community.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Day 69: The Skills That Must Be Taught

Kamentz, A. (2016, August 2). 3 things people can do in the classroom that robots can't. nprEd. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
A 2013 study from Oxford University famously estimated that 47 percent of all jobs are in danger of automation. And earlier this year, the World Economic Forum said 5 million jobs might be gone in just the next four years.
These changes create a huge challenge for schools and teachers. But there are also some intriguing indicators of the way forward.
Kamentz puts it this way, the skills that must be taught, those skills that make us "unautomatable" in our work is the ability to:
Give a hug, solve a mystery, tell a story.
Hug: empathy, collaboration, communication and leadership skills
Mystery: generating questions, curiosity, problem solving
Story: finding what's relevant, applying values, ethics, orals to a situation. Creating using aesthetic principles.

Connection to Current/Future Work:
I need to read the Oxford longer report that this was generated from (it's already in my daily reading folder)
I think I will include this short article in one of my EDEF 201 Introduction to teaching online discussions.