Friday, April 24, 2015

There's No Such Thing As a Stupid Question!

...Really?

I know that many of us have been taught that there is no such thing as a stupid question.  If you don't know something, you should ask.  Asking and receiving answers is how you learn new things.  And if you don't ask, you'll never know.  Plus, if you're in a classroom and a teacher asks if you have any questions, you should be brave enough to raise your hand and ask a question that's on your mind because (chances are) someone else in the classroom is wondering the same thing you are, but they're too shy to say so.

Sound familiar?

Based on the questions I read that come up on Google's Autocomplete, I'm not so sure that there really is no such thing as a stupid question.  And this is coming from the self-proclaimed Queen of Stupid Questions.  (I ask Nick the dumbest and most inane questions while we're watching television or movies...  Trust me.  But that's in the comfort of my own home with the person I'm most comfortable with in the world.)

But my question is...  Based on the availability and anonymity Google (and other search engines) provide for us, are we, as a society, becoming more informed as a whole?  Are we able to learn more new facts?  Are we able to ask more questions?  Do we feel comfortable typing a question into Google and finding the answer as opposed to admitting to another human being that we don't know what something is or the definition of a word or what that actor's name is?  Or do we just come up with queries like, "Does that cat really play the keyboard?"

Personally, I know that there are many education buzzwords that I don't know the meaning of.  It happens.  Education evolves rapidly and there are so many acronyms, terms, and labels that aren't always on the top of my head while reading or having a conversation.  You can bet that when I don't know what something means, however, I run and look it up right away!  And that way, I can do it without letting anyone know I'm ignorant of anything.  I don't know about you, but I know that I have learned a great deal by asking "the internet" when I've been too shy to ask a person.

Questions to Consider:

  • Are you comfortable asking a question when you don't know an answer?
  • Does Googling a question make it easier to ask?
  • Do you believe there is such a thing as a stupid question?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Do As I Do

Mom has a headache.
What can we do?
     Let's try to help her.
     You can help us, too!

Mom has a headache.
Does she want a snack?
     Mom says, "No thanks."
     So we take the snack back.

Mom has a headache.
Does she want to watch TV?
     Mom says, "Not now."
     Good thing it's a repeat.

Mom has a headache.
Does she want to play a game?
     Mom says, "Maybe later."
     Sounds like more of the same.

Mom has a headache.
Does she want a drink?
     Mom says, "Another time."
     Now we really have to think.

Mom has a headache.
I have a bright idea!
     Let's ask HER what she wants.
     Mom says, "Just c'mere."

Cuddling and napping
     with her favorite pair of kids
          was just exactly what Mom needed
               to cure her aching head!



No, poetry is not my regular genre.  I'm very uncomfortable writing it and even more uncomfortable sharing it.  So why did I share this poem?  Why did I even write it?

Whenever I facilitate a writing workshop, I write alongside the kids in my group.  I think it's important that, as educators, we don't just ask our students to "do as I say", but actually "do as I do".  It gives added value to the activity if we show them that we're taking the time to do it, too.  Too often, I've observed teachers explaining the directions for an activity, then going to their desk and sitting down to monitor the activity.  This has led students to ask questions, such as: "What's the point of this activity?"; "Am I ever going to use this in my real life?"; "Why do we need to know how to do this?"; and the like.  But when we, as adults, also do the same activity, it shows them that we value the skill, we use it in our every day lives, and we find it important to know how to do.  And, the more we practice various skills which we are teaching, the better we'll get.  I don't know about you, but I've always found that it's a whole lot easier teaching something that I know how to do and understand rather than something I just "sort of get", so ultimately, it's a win-win for everyone.

Now I know what you might be thinking.  Not everyone needs to write.  Not everyone needs to know how to write poetry.  It's not something that anyone really needs or uses after they graduate from high school or college.  Sure, maybe a dental hygienist rarely writes a haiku in her day to day life.  I doubt a marine biologist is found penning an acrostic regularly.  I've never visited a grocery store and found the manager working on a sonnet.  It's true that many professions will not utilize a poetry-writing skill on a daily basis.  But does everyone need "basic writing skills" to function in today's society?  I would say so.  Even if you just want to casually communicate with an acquaintance, you're going to find yourself writing.  Maybe it's going to be a short literary piece, limited to 160 characters in a text message, but you will still be writing.  So why not gain the basic skills needed to do so?

As teachers, we don't know which skills are going to be necessary in your future endeavors, but we can help you build a strong foundation in a little bit of a lot of areas so that you can decide to go forth and learn more.  You only get one education, so why not soak it all in while you have the chance and see where the knowledge takes you?  And teachers, take advantage of the time you spend with your students to show them that the skills are important - you just might be making a difference in a student's opinion of the skill at hand.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Things That Are... PURPLE

Here is a list of things that are purple off the top of my head...
  1. eggplant
  2. One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater
  3. grapes
  4. my bedroom walls when I was a kid
  5. the trim of my sneakers
  6. one of my purses
  7. my pom-pom pen
  8. a set of t-shirt sheets I have
  9. one of the new Paper Mate pens I ordered from Amazon
  10. Beebe Bluff
  11. one of our mixing bowls
  12. my gigantic water bottle
  13. the bottom of a rainbow
  14. the question mark on the poster in this Spanish classroom I'm subbing in today
  15. my old iPhone case
  16. my old flip phone (before I finally gave in to the iPhone)
  17. a visited link on most websites
List generation is a great way to exercise your mind.  Give yourself 5-10 minutes, a sheet of paper or a page in your notebook and think of as many things as you can that fit the parameters!  Good luck.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Writing Challenge #4


April's writing challenge is here!  This month is all about making lists.  And who knows, maybe after reviewing each list, you'll take one of the items and write a whole lot about it!

Spring v. Winter List

I think we all have a bit of cabin fever after being cooped up inside throughout the long winter.  The good news is, spring weather is nearly here!  Make a list of things you can do in the spring that you cannot do in the winter.  If you live in a moderate climate, try to imagine a drastic change in seasonal weather, from snow storms to sunny days.

Past & Present Pets

Make a list of pets you've had throughout your lifetime.  Pets at home, classroom pets, etc.  Never had a pet before?  Make a list of pets you'd wished you had throughout your life or pets your close friends or family members have had.

Millionaire Shopping Spree

Nick and I have been trying to rationalize purchasing a 3D printer from Sam's Club ever since we saw it there.  (Of course, it's probably not going to happen, but we can dream.)  Make a list of items you would purchase if you had the money to burn.  Get as creative as you can - you have an unlimited budget for gadgets and gizmos!