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Showing posts from July, 2014

Are These Really "Atrocities"?

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Chris Jordan is a photographer and artist making bold statements with images.

At about the 7 minute 30 second mark he calls the statistics surrounding prescription drug consumption, imprisonment, and breast augmentation surgeries "atrocities" in our culture. Is he right?  Since I teach teenage girls and see their daily struggles (not to mention that I vividly remember my own), the stats on breast augmentation surgeries for women under the age of 21, and given as a gift for high school graduation.... well, I'm not sure what to say.

Once we have gotten past our first five days and students have set up their initial tech, critical research, and analysis skills; I'd really love to dive into history with these images of today's statistics.  The lesson is that we have arrived at this place because of our history.  My job is to teach kids the history and to help them understand how it affected the present.  Their job is to help create change that will move us in a pos…

Leaders Communicate, Plan, and Act Together

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During our final day of the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Student Leadership Institute, BOLT students learned about the importance of communication, planning, and working with others. A leader does not have to be the smartest person in the room, just the person that can recognize others' talents and figure out how those talents will help everyone reach their goals.

On Thursday afternoon one of our last activities, facilitated by Christian Huizenga, was aimed at teaching the kids to communicate and plan before attacking a problem.  Their hands were tied together with yarn and then intertwined with someone else. They had to find a way out.

We kicked off Friday morning with MouseQuest in Epcot.  Continuing the theme of thinking and acting together, students worked in groups of 6-7 to solve clues, find answers, complete tasks, and answer challenges all morning. They had to take on roles within their groups based on their strengths.

We celebrated with a group picture in front of Sp…

Student Leaders & the American Spirit

Our BOLT student leaders embarked on a new adventure with the YES program in the Magic Kingdom this morning.  They visited the Hall of Presidents and learned about how leaders have helped shaped the American Spirit.  Four core sources of the American Spirit were the focus:
optimismdeterminationrugged individualismcourage After a day full of investigations, brainstorming, and creating, I put together this video about their latest ideas of leadership.

Kids Get Perspective on Leadership

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Our first full day of the Blue Ribbon BOLT program was all about perspective.  We asked students to consider how people of differing perspectives might look as community/global issues.

Example 1: Scientists
We started the day with the Disney YES Properties of Motion program in the Magic Kingdom.  Kids learned about how gravity, inertia, centripetal force, hydraulics, and pneumonics all play a role in what make rides and roller coasters fun.
We got to ride Space Mountain twice before the park even opened to the public to learn about potential and kinetic energy.  Then we check out Buzz Lightyear to learn about how hydraulic valves create a different effect in moving attractions than pneumonic valves.
Finally, they rode Thunder Mountain to feel centripetal force around those tight curves and while being thrown up and down. Throughout the process, Disney YES professional Rick reminded the kids that scientists use the scientific method to:

ObserveHypothesizeExperimentRecordConclude After m…

Kids Voice Their Thoughts on Leadership

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I have the privilege of working with 24 young leaders this week in Walt Disney World as part of the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Student Leadership Institute.  These leaders are from Alabama, Illinois, North Carolina, and many other states all over the country.  I have no doubt that, with their combined talents, they will create something powerful to bring home to their communities.

As part of our short kick-off session this evening each young leader defined what the word leadership means to him/her.

The result is this powerful podcast.

Click that link, download from Google, listen, and have hope for our future when these young leaders are taking action and making positive change.

I encourage you to leave comments below for them and check back here each evening this week for more of their phenomenal work!

The More I Let Go, the More I Get Back

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Five of my freshmen and sophomores chose to spend their third day of summer break in school with me.

It wasn't our school, but it was a high school.
They weren't the students, they were the teachers.

We collaborated in person and from home on a Google Doc to design an experiential workshop for the CPS Educational Excellence Institute in which teachers heard why they preferred to learn and produce unique media based projects with their mobile devices.  On the right side of the screenshot of our initial brainstorm you can see that all of us were editing and creating on the same document.  I found that the more I let them drive the content, the more detailed the list became.

The result was this presentation, which we also created collaboratively using Google Drive.

During the actual event, in addition to explaining the reasons they liked a paperless history class this year and demonstrating some of their favorite tools, they also interacted with attendees via backchannel.  Click …

The Ultimate Web

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A web is made up of interconnected strands. The strands are somewhat strong on their own, but together they are capable of much more. For example, if one strand breaks, the others can bear the extra stress for a while until it is repaired. If several strands are broken, though, the entire web is at risk.


This giant rock, Earth, and all the people sitting on it make up the ultimate web.  Although the Internet, the other "web", is a big part of what connects us, it is really just a part of the greater global web. Other strands that make up our global web include food supply, environmental health, trade and economics, and energy. In order for our global web to remain strong, all people on Earth need access to all of these things and more.
If our students are to grow into adults who can understand and contribute to the strength of the global web, we must be sure that they are global citizens who have a firm grasp of the concept of the interconnectedness of the web.
Global Citize…