Sun(Fun)day Night Post: How to Watch the Oscar Nominated Films and Who Should Have Won Best Picture

Oscar List

Since you and I may be watching the 88th Academy Awards tomorrow evening, I thought I’d get this post completed early. Plus, you’ll find a link below which both ranks all of the films nominated this year and tells you how/where to watch them now!

Or perhaps, you feel like me and may very well #boycottoscars because this year it’s blatantly #oscarssowhite . It may be useful to watch just to see how Chris Rock handles this reality.

If you’re not too busy planning what to teach in next week’s classes, you may want to hustle and watch some of the nominees between now and about 8pm Sunday night.

 Vox (pictured above) has a very cool article in which their film critic both ranks all of the nominees across the categories and lists where/how to view each one right now. For even more fun(ctionality), you can filter the films various ways and reconfigure the list as you wish.

If you like speculating on the Best Picture Oscar woulda, coulda, shoulda’s  check out this fun post from the Washington Post.  Two film critics go through the Best Picture nominees and winner for each of the last 40 years. They then speculate on who should have won each year. A few times they believe the actual best picture of the year won the Best Picture Oscar, but more often than not, this is not the case.

Here’s one year with which I really agree with their conclusion:

Oscars 1981

Can you guess which film my eleven year old self LOVED in 1981 (and my 46 year old self still loves) and which one I couldn’t even sit through today – 35 years later!

And who starred in Chariots of Fire anyway?  Oh yeah, Ben Cross, Ian Charleston and Nigel Havers.

50 Small Things to Make a Perfect Day w/#51- Use Interesting Weather Apps

50 Small Things That Make Up A Perfect Day

What makes a perfect day for an educator like me (and you too?) – A SNOW DAY (sort of)!

Well, I went to bed last night suspecting the possibility and woke up at 5:30 am confirming it. Lately though, here in Central Ohio, we’ve had more “calamity days” the past couple of school years due to sub-zero temps with wind chill rather than because of the more traditional – ice/snow covering the streets in the early morning.

On a day such as this, I’d much rather be either creative or lazy rather than productive. In other words, I’d rather write or read instead of grade (the 50+ freshman mid-term essays from before Christmas Break). So, I’m going to create a few posts here and also over at my personal blog too. And I have until Tuesday of next week to get those essays graded!

What makes your perfect day? One thing high on my list is echoed in this great list from Lifehack at #11 – “Take a walk in nature.” I’m hoping to do this today – so that I can meet my Fitbit goal of 10,000 steps for today. But, my WeatherUnderground iPad app tells me that it’s currently 15 degrees, but it feels like 7 degrees. Ugh – I may have to go for a walk indoors at a nearby mall instead.

BTW: Now that it may or may not feel like winter in your neck of the woods, you might want to update your weather apps. In addition to the aforementioned WeatherUnderground app, I’ve also begun enjoying on my Android phone – 1Weather (which has great widgets with it), Weather Timeline and the social-media inspired Sunnycomb 

Oh yeah, here’s the list from Lifehack:

1. Once you wake up, just stay in bed for a couple of minutes and relax.

2. Always have a book with you, we never know when boredom might decide to appear.

3. Set mood playlists on your device of choice.

4. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

5. Smile to a stranger and see what happens!

6. Have a quick fresh shower first thing in the morning.

7. Show your love to someone else.

8. Before you go to bed, say thanks for everything you have and don’t have.

9. Connect to yourself, by using a journal: write, draw, make collages, let your mind wander.

10. On your nightstand, put something that makes you smile.

11. Take a walk in nature.

12. Do yoga.

13. Make a to-do list to help you achieve your main goal for the day. And stick to it.

14. Eat healthily and accordingly to your own taste.

15. Take an hour and do as you please.

16. Write 3 good things that happened to you and what you can do to see it happen again.

17. Put some fresh flowers in the room you spend time in the most.

18. Take a long and warm shower before going to bed.

19. Get out of the house and explore your neighborhood.

20. Sleep naked to feel sexier.

21. Boost your confidence by engaging in your favorite hobby.

22. Act crazy, put the music on loud and start dancing like there’s no tomorrow.

23. Take a 30 minute nap after lunch; as an alternative, engage in a different relaxing activity.

24. Giggle with your friends– make time for them in your day.

25. Read an inspiring quote and incorporate it into your day.

26. Declutter you life by asking “Do I really need this? Why?”.

27. Be kind anytime you can and don’t expect anything back.

28. Meditate and write down everything you’ve found out.

29. Learn something new, even if it’s just a different way of doing stuff.

30. Have some sweat and exercise. Do it mindfully by choosing an activity you enjoy.

31. Sleep a bit more if you feel tired or you’re in the middle of a situation that you can’t solve.

32. Smile. Smile. Smile. And smile some more.

33. Walk barefoot.

34. Experience flow by working at something you’re passionate about.

35. Make your surroundings a little bit better: declutter, reuse and recycle.

36. Plan a trip, even if you can’t travel right now.

37. Be aware of your emotions, but don’t control them: understand them.

38. Remember your accomplishments every time you feel like a failure.

39. Lower your expectations, little by little — most of them are unrealistic.

40. Be offline for as long as you can.

41. Enjoy the now.

42. Challenge yourself!

43. Don’t worry about your problems, but work toward a solution.

44. See everything as an opportunity to learn and grow.

45. Forgive yourself and forgive others.

46. Don’t quit: make baby steps.

47. Do your best.

48. Slow down.

49. Put everything you are into everything you do.

50. Follow your heart.

70 Practical Things Teachers Should Know

Apple for the teacher cartoon

Yes, another list.  I promise the next post here won’t be a list (but I can’t promise this for the post after that…).

Again, another great post from the veteran educators at Te@chThought.  This list is a good refresher for us experienced folks and likely a great primer for the rookies.

Which of these items is the most true for you?  Which ones make you laugh?  Which ones make you cry? Which ones do you think are most vital for a teacher to remember?

 

70 Practical Things Every Teacher Should Know

  1. How to manage their time with military-like precision
  2. The difference between complex, rigorous, and just plain hard
  3. How to deliver instruction to students from a wide range of religious, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds
  4. How to authenticate and contextualize academic content for students
  5. How to use class walls effectively
  6. How to deliver lessons and activities from units that are based on a scope and sequence or pacing guide
  7. The purpose of assessment
  8. How to fake it or pretend (that you gave the probe, watched the video, read the email, etc.)
  9. How to promote ideal behaviors in students
  10. How to get out of the students’ way
  11. That students come to school for different reasons
  12. How to collect money (and how to respond when a student doesn’t have any)
  13. How to self-direct their own professional development
  14. How to best spend the 1-2 planning periods a week they’ll actually get
  15. Where your mailbox is, and when to send attendance and to whom
  16. How to differentiate otherwise standardized content based on readiness or interest
  17. How to work with/on multiple committees, teams, and related groups
  18. How to bypass district internet filters, if only so you know how the students will do it
  19. That they’ll likely have to sponsor and support one or more extra-curricular activities
  20. How to master and maintain software for class rosters, grading, parent communication, etc.
  21. Where teaching has been, where it is, and where it’s going
  22. How to wash their hands
  23. When they’re working too hard
  24. That every student has something really, really special in them
  25. The difference between teaching, covering, and learning
  26. When to push, and when to pull back
  27. That your time with a child is just a blink of an eye in the span of their life
  28. What it means to understand something
  29. How to see students, not a class
  30. That students love the water fountain so very much
  31. When during the day to make copies, or how to go paperless
  32. How to fix a broken copier
  33. Which meetings you can skip, and which you can’t
  34. How to use technology better than the students
  35. When to say no
  36. What to do when you suspect a child is being abused at home, or bullied in school or online
  37. Who to go to for what
  38. How not to get caught sitting at your desk by the administrators
  39. How to organize and optimize digital and physical learning spaces
  40. How to organize physical and digital documents
  41. That you can’t save them all, but that can’t stop you from trying
  42. How to build a compelling classroom library (and this goes for any content area or grade level)
  43. How to balance content knowledge with knowledge of learning models, instructional strategies, and student needs and backgrounds
  44. How to really, truly evaluate assessment data
  45. How to capture a child’s imagination
  46. When a student is about to puke
  47. How to help parents and families understand and support
  48. How to motivate students like it’s your job, because it kind of is
  49. How important it is to not to get on the librarian’s bad side
  50. How to have a short memory for student mistakes
  51. How to give literacy probes and other “non-content”-based assessment
  52. How to work with resource teachers to meet IEP and 504 needs
  53. How to hide in their room so they can actually get something done
  54. What they can say, in person and online, that will get them fired
  55. How to meet IEP and 504 needs without a resource teacher
  56. How to use the best parts of their personality to craft a teacher voice and personality that works
  57. How to demonstrate leadership within team and department activities and initiatives
  58. How to keep students safe while making sure each student is heard and related to
  59. To be aware of and respond to all student medical conditions
  60. How to do the dog-and-pony show (in case they want to)
  61. Dozens of team-building exercises
  62. How to entertain students
  63. The best ways to get a busy, loud, disruptive, or otherwise inattentive classroom’s attention
  64. How to begin, end, and dismiss class
  65. How to eat fast
  66. How to coordinate and execute a field trip
  67. How to get the class to school activities (gym, assemblies, library, cafeteria, etc.) efficiently
  68. How to teach every second of every day with the awareness that a single word, gesture, or missed connection can stay with a student forever
  69. How to be accountable to students, colleagues, administrators, media, communities and other sources of what is at best, well-intentioned support and, and is in worst cases, pressure
  70. How to reflect on and refine one’s view of one’s self as a growing educator

 

Educational Technology Trends for SY 2015-2016

3d_printing-Image

Before we think about the specific tech tools to use in class (I’ll soon post many, many lists of valuable tools), it’s useful to step back and get the big picture of the trends which are shaping the broader educational landscape.  So here’s a few lists telling the present ed tech story:

Upside Learning offers a succinct presentation of “10 eLearning Trends for 2015,” along with compelling, supporting evidence.

  1. It’s a Multi-device World
  2. Out with Flash. In with HTML5
  3. Of Games and Gamification
  4. Augmenting Reality
  5. Book a MOOC
  6. Learning Management
  7. Learn at Your Own Pace
  8. BYO Device
  9. Wearable Learning
  10. Learning on the Go

From the always informative, Edudemic blog here’s “6 Important Trends in Educational Technology”:

  1. The need to develop cultures of innovation
  2. Increasing collaboration between institutions – a. Tech is expensive, but also increasingly important.  b. Schools can share data and content
  3. Possibilities of assessment and measurement
  4. Proliferation of Open Educational Resources
  5. Increase in blended learning
  6. Redesigning Learning Spaces

Here’s a categorized and opinionated list: “Education Technology: Your Cheat Sheet to 10 Fads, Trends and WTF’s!”

Trends:

  • BYO Device
  • Open Educational Resources
  • Freemium
  • Flipped classrooms
  • Student data privacy
  • Edtech investment bubble

Fads:

  • Going 100 percent digital
  • Coding classes and camps

WTF’s:

  • Open Badges
  • MOOC’s

From a slightly difference perspective, Forbes offers “What Cutting Edge Looks Like in a School in 2015”

Clue 1: The teachers are resourceful and creative.  They can turn anything into a tool for teaching.

Clue 2: The school invests in effective delivery, not just quality content.

Clue 3: Technology is purchased wisely and used efficiently.

Clue 4: You see kids actually playing at school because the school understands that play is not a treat.

Note: This list looks sparse here.  Do check out the article as the author gives links to great examples of each “clue.”

Here’s a piping hot fresh list from edSurge: “Get on Top of these Four Edtech Teaching Trends:”

  1. Open Educational Resources
  2. Formative assessment with live analytics
  3. Paperless workflow
  4. Collaborative, real-time learning

Again, visit the article for descriptions of each point along with links to tools.

One final list for this post, again with a slightly different slant: “30 Examples of Disruption in the Classroom”

My two favorite, which I don’t think I can figure out how to work into my Religion classroom are: #21: 3D printing and #26: Robotics in the classroom.

 

 

10 1st Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class

10 Religion Class Mistakes

Today was the first in-service for where Rachel, Tera and I teach.  It was a valuable, focused session on key classroom technology that all of use.  Tomorrow is our full day, full faculty in-service on The Big Picture for the year. Monday has the faculty/staff business meetings.  I see my freshmen briefly on Tuesday and Wed is the first full day of school.

So, I need to get focused on the technology I plan to use in my classes this year.  I’ve gathered lots of links which will help me with this.  As I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well, I’ll make a number of posts today.

For the Religion teachers out there, here’s a great list courtesy of Jared Dees and his excellent The Religion Teacher blog.

10 First Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class:

  1. Not sharing why you became a teacher/catechist
  2. Teaching on the first day
  3. Only talking about what you will teach and how they will be graded (In other words, just sharing your syllabus)
  4. Explaining how a class will run (rules & procedures), but not why they are there.
  5. Not praying
  6. Ignoring what the students want out of your class
  7. Forgetting the students’ names
  8. Not smiling
  9. Not reaching out to parents
  10. Teaching your lessons without a purpose

A good list, I must say.  Compare it to the other “don’t” list I posted recently and you’ll see some clear similarities.

If you’re still getting ready for 2015-2016 – Blessings on your preparation!

If you’re already rolling with students in 2015-2016 – Blessings on today and every day of this school year!

Top Ten Tips for Those Starting Teaching

Tips for Starting Teachers

Thanks to the bloggers at Teaching Science Today who share these “Top 10 Tips for Those Starting Teaching in September:

  1. Use your summer to rest and improve subject knowledge
  2. Make well being targets.
  3. Radiators (energy givers) and drains (energy takers)
  4. Don’t be blinkered.
  5. Get the objectives right
  6. Find the right shoulder to cry on
  7. Practice activities/experiments before delivering them.
  8. Professional persona
  9. Get to know people around the school
  10. Learn to love it

A great list to review and practice even for those of us who have been teaching for a decade or more!

 

What Catholicism & Baseball Have in Common

Baseball-Conclave

Happy Easter!  I’ve been away from blogging for a few days as I was visiting family over the holiday weekend.  This week, I’m on break from school, so I’m hoping to post more regularly.

Although I missed posting this great list by Vatican reporter extraordinaire and one of my heroes, John L. Allen Jr. on MLB’s Opening Day, it’s definitely worth checking out:

Baseball Catholic Boy

  • 1. Both baseball and Catholicism venerate the past. Both cherish the memories of a Communion of Saints, including popular shrines and holy cards.

  • 2. Both feature obscure rules that make sense only to initiates. (Think the infield fly rule for baseball fans and the Pauline privilege for Catholics.)

  • 3. Both have a keen sense of ritual, in which pace is critically important. (As a footnote, that’s why basketball is more akin to Pentecostalism, since both are breathless affairs premised largely on ecstatic experience. I’d go into why football is pagan, but that’s a different conversation.)

  • 4. Both baseball and Catholicism generate oceans of statistics, arcana, and lore. For entry-level examples, try: Who has the highest lifetime batting average, with a minimum of 1,000 at-bats? (Ty Cobb). Which popes had the longest and the shortest reigns? (Pius IX and Urban VII).

  • 5. In both baseball and Catholicism, you can dip in and out, but for serious devotees, the liturgy is a daily affair.

  • 6. Both are global games especially big in Latin America. The Detroit Tigers are thought to have one of the most potent batting orders in baseball, featuring two Venezuelans, a Cuban, and six Americans of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Take a look at the presbyterates in many American dioceses, and the mix isn’t that different.

  • 7. Both baseball and Catholicism have been badly tainted by scandal, with the legacies of erstwhile superstars utterly ruined. Yet both have proved surprisingly resilient – perhaps demonstrating that the game is great enough to survive even the best efforts of those in charge at any given moment to ruin it.

  • 8. Both have a complex farm system, and fans love to speculate about who the next hot commodity will be in “The Show.”

  • 9. Both reward patience. If you’re the kind of person who needs immediate results, neither baseball nor Catholicism is really your game.

Baseball Nuns

Baseball Priest

The first part of the article, reflecting on what Christians and atheists have in common in combating religious extremism, is worth reading as well.

FYI: The fact that it is the Cardinals in the image above in no way implies that I’m a fan.  My fandom leans strongly in this direction:

Baseball - Red Sox

Baseball - Red Sox 2

And now that the NCAA Men’s March Madness is concluded, so is Crux’s Saint’s Madness.   And the winner is…

 

 

Edutopia’s Top 10 Articles for 2014

It’s time for another year-end list – this one from Edutopia.  It provides an interesting snapshot into the topics that educators found most pertinent this year.

Edutopia’s Top 10 for 2014

  1. 6 Scaffolding Strategies to Use With Your Students
  2. 7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills
  3. Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding
  4. 30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class
  5. 8 Myths that Undermine Educational Effectiveness
  6. Doing it Differently: Tips for Teaching Vocabulary
  7. 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout
  8. 8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom
  9. What I Wish I’d Known as a New Teacher
  10. Classroom Management: The Intervention Two-Step