This Icebreaker is from Rob Walker, TAoN. I think I will use this in class, especially with the 2nd big summer heat wave upon us.
The back story: Mallory says she was talking to friends about the recent record-breaking temperatures in Canada — presumably a record most of us would prefer not to be part of. But that led her to this question. “I think it would be a neat little insight into what someone thinks is cool, and into their interests and personality,” she explains. “Do they want to break a solo, risky record (e.g., highest dive), or a goofy one (e.g., most straws in the mouth), or a big group one (e.g., largest round of ‘Ring Around the Rosie’), or a serious one (e.g., most patents owned)?”
It is summer now, the year is behind me. I am a survivor and it is a thing to be proud of. Someone told me this and it rings true and frees me from my own ruminations about the nature of self. The summer is to reset, from the pandemic, and a brutal year.
When the year started, somewhere in July of last summer, when I was hired and dashed up to Bellevue and grabbed a laptop to use in a class they had signed me up for, and found a condo and purchased it (yes, all in the same day) and launched my year…one of the things I realized is that I was in for change and it might well be approached with a Beginner’s Mind in all facets. It was a great plan. I remain attached to it now. The pandemic was hard and it isn’t clear that any alterations to the plan would have changed that.
It is day one of summer. Three days ago began a journey that surprised me. An interesting experience with Moodle has begun. I have used Moodle since 2005 after it was chosen by students completing a research project for me into what Learning Management System I should use.
I am sure I have reloaded before and yet, often it is with courses and configurations and methods I have used in the past. This time I simply did a clean install, taking all the features in that Moodle now utilizes, keeping no legacy files, classes, or organization and just starting again.
It is configured and sits working through backups again tonight and each day I have added one thing so far and am easing into making it a productive system. Starting with making it a working system. The possibilities, of starting with a Dashboard, and having Learning Plans up front and all manners of things is simply so cool and energizing. To look at this with my experience but also beginning again, from the beginning with nothing to remain attached to, this is so cool and makes it so easy to simply flow through the short activity this morning, it was so engaging, a reminder that the entire plan was to approach things with a beginners mind was the essential piece.
The rest happened and was mean spirited and for the most part punishing. But that is fine, it need not define me or my teaching practices and teaching students.
NYTimes.com posted 300 Questions and Images to Inspire Argument Writing, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/01/learning/300-questions-and-images-to-inspire-argument-writing.html, and having used a few of the prompts I find them intriguing. Complex to work on in this pandemic, teaching virtual environment, but worthwhile to consider.
A number of the points in 8 Strategies to Prevent Teaching Burnout resonated. Worth revisiting for strategies and self-review of practice.
Disclaimer: I really liked the 40 Colleges That Changed Lives and it seems to have stood my own children in good stead.
This one, also from the NYTimes takes a different take on it but even the quick blurb of look at the costs differences in schools makes one realize that the decision needs care.
The Price You Pay for College by Ron Leiber