Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I love the phrase "love/hate relationship" (and the phrase "Amen, sister/friend" -- but that's another post). But, sometimes I worry I over use it -- someday someone is going to ask me if I love/hate everything. And I will be stuck with nothing to say. But until I'm found out, I'm going to continue to overuse it.

One of the few things I have a true love/hate relationship with is the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulson. I love it when kids (especially reluctant tweenage boys) get excited to read about Brian and his quest. I love how Hatchet fits perfectly into my Katie Wood-Ray genre study of adventure. I love that we can go out to the Kuehn conservation area in Dallas County and watch the kids build a shelter or make fire the way Brian did.

But as a general rule, I hate Hatchet. I hate that it's too choppy and has too much internal monologue to read out loud. I hate that kids get very excited to read Hatchet and go check out The River, Brian's Winter, Brian's Hunt, and Brian's Return but I have to pull them back to discuss plain, old Hatchet in class. And, I hate that we have to make it last 9 long (excruciating) weeks to get from the first adventure genre lesson to Kuehn.

This week, my kids go to Kuehn and we (my team included) get a 10 month Hatchet vacation. Is it wrong for me to change the words of Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead to "Ding, Dong Hatchet's dead..."? I may or may not be humming that tune through the wilderness.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This I believe...

As a first day activity of the Iowa Writing Project Technology Institute, our facilitators asked us to write our beliefs on technology and education using the format from the book This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women.
The following is what I chose to share...

I believe that technology will not replace the tools of education; it will only evolve them.

I believe that there will still be a need for educators and classrooms years from now but they may look very different from the classrooms that we have now. I think the tools that we use to communicate will evolve, but that students will still need the basic skills of communication and writing that all generations have learned: the importance of public speech, one-on-one conversation, hand written language, interview skills, etc.

I believe that in the future, the way people think and do their jobs will change, but there will still be a need for thinking and creativity. I believe that we are moving to a world where it is more important to think about the big picture and to synthesize information then to analyze smaller parts or be able to recall specific details. I believe that most jobs of the future will be jobs that involve creativity and autonomy and because of this, the work place will change from a 9 to 5 office to a situation where employees will work more freely in different place, perhaps on their own schedules. I believe that it is important that we teach students how to be creative and most importantly how to create because the future will be successful for those who are independent thinkers and not those who wish to do repetitive, mundane tasks.

I believe that we are preparing students for a world and for jobs that don’t exist, yet. I believe that people will have technology integrated into their entire lives, into every task they do, but that technology will never be able to replace healthy relationships or the creativity of the human mind. I believe that in the future, a successful adult or successful student will need to be skilled to communicate with others both with technology and without.