The Rosters are Posted

Well, the numbers and class schedule for this year are posted. And as it looks right now, I’ve got about 130 students spread out over 6 classes (four sections of AP and 2 creative writing). I’m afraid of burning out. Last year was a hard year and going into my 15th year, I’m wondering how long I can keep up the pace.

It’s funny because I made mention of my burnout to the department chair and she listened with due diligence. As the time set in for next year (this year), the creative writing question came up and I said yes. I would like to build a program and get something really special going. To do so would be a challenge and I’m up for it, I’m just afraid of burning out.

When I started teaching, I would complain to my father about how I was surrounded by teachers who were burned out and complained all the time. I would talk about how passion is necessary and how fatigue can be overcome, etc…. My dad’s response was that most of those teachers started out just like me but had been chewed up and spit out by the system. At 23, I believed it, but didn’t understand it. Vygotsky would say I had a pseudo-concept of burnout. Well, I’m moving through the zone of proximal development and, 15 years on, am seeing and feeling what it really looks like.

Working with four new teachers (three officially and one unofficially) this past year was a pleasure. Each of them posses their own unique voice and vision as educators. And each of them are very dynamic in their own right. As such, working with them, I saw various aspects of myself across the personalities as they were discovering their voice, tempo, and aesthetic as teachers and pedagogues. It was through moments with them as a collective and in one on one conferences that I realized how far I’d come. 14 years is a long time and much changes. Part of the journey has been a concerted effort to not become cynical, not to burn out, not to jade. I hope I was successful modeling how beautifully challenging the journey can be. In doing so, I didn’t gloss over the frustrations or the complications of our charge. However, I hope I didn’t come across as a cynic.

I don’t want to feel like I’ve lost to the machine, that hope has been blown out by numbers and stoic administrators.

magnoliapearl:

mrmolasses:

anipendragon:

jpbrammer:

George R. R. Martin everyone.

My favourite thing about this gifset is that George R. R. Martin acknowledges both of these methods without insulting or dismissing the other. He is a fantastic writer and I know that some other fantastic writers swear by their methods and discount the others, which can be really disheartening as a young writer. Hearing him describe both of these methods without dismissing the other makes me very, very happy, as I am very much an architect and I always get so sad when every writer I look up to is like “NO PLANNING. PLANNING BAD. WRITERS DONT PLAN.”

So thank you, Mr. Martin.

how can there be any ideal but to work somewhere between the two extremes

I love Gurm

Crushed it.

(via little-miss-student-teacher)

"

New research by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer demonstrates that students who write out their notes on paper actually learn more. Across three experiments, Mueller and Oppenheimer had students take notes in a classroom setting and then tested students on their memory for factual detail, their conceptual understanding of the material, and their ability to synthesize and generalize the information. Half of the students were instructed to take notes with a laptop, and the other half were instructed to write the notes out by hand. As in other studies, students who used laptops took more notes. In each study, however, those who wrote out their notes by hand had a stronger conceptual understanding and were more successful in applying and integrating the material than those who used took notes with their laptops.

What drives this paradoxical finding? Mueller and Oppenheimer postulate that taking notes by hand requires different types of cognitive processing than taking notes on a laptop, and these different processes have consequences for learning. Writing by hand is slower and more cumbersome than typing, and students cannot possibly write down every word in a lecture. Instead, they listen, digest, and summarize so that they can succinctly capture the essence of the information. Thus, taking notes by hand forces the brain to engage in some heavy “mental lifting,” and these efforts foster comprehension and retention. By contrast, when typing students can easily produce a written record of the lecture without processing its meaning, as faster typing speeds allow students to transcribe a lecture word for word without devoting much thought to the content.

"

Study finds writing by hand helps learning. It also boosts creativity. (via explore-blog)

Great read. It is well worth reading the whole article. This will be part of my first week of class in the fall.

explore-blog:

Pixar cofounder Ed Catmull on failure and why fostering a fearless culture is the key to groundbreaking creative work – absolutely fantastic read.

I agree with this, I really do, but how in the hell does one make this work in a school system where grades are required? I would love my students to take risks and fail on their papers so they can have something original and take the time to invent and discover their voice.

explore-blog:

Pixar cofounder Ed Catmull on failure and why fostering a fearless culture is the key to groundbreaking creative work – absolutely fantastic read.

I agree with this, I really do, but how in the hell does one make this work in a school system where grades are required? I would love my students to take risks and fail on their papers so they can have something original and take the time to invent and discover their voice.

My annotations are about to photobomb your essay.

"

Sian Beilock, a psychologist who has studied and written about choking, argues that when we’re under a tremendous amount of pressure, anxiety over the prospect of failure floods the prefrontal cortex and overwhelms the brain’s capacity to do what should be second-nature.

"If we’re doing a task that normally operates largely outside of conscious awareness, such as an easy golf swing, what screws us up is the impulse to think about and control our actions," Beilock [says]. "Suddenly we’re too attentive to what we’re doing, and all the training that has improved our motor skills is for naught, since our conscious attention is essentially hijacking motor memory."

[…]

There’s also evidence that the brain’s hemispheres play a role in making us over-think. Automatic performance behaviors seem to be controlled by the right hemisphere, and “rumination” by the left. Because the right hemisphere controls movements of the left side of the body, one study found that athletes who squeezed a ball in their left hand before competing were less likely to choke. The squeezing somehow helped activate the automatic portion of the brain on the right.

"

The psychology of why we – and even Olympic athletes – choke

Still, autopilot might prevent us from choking, but it also prevents us from improving

Pair with this beautiful meditation on courage and the fear of failure

(via explore-blog)

There is fascinating stuff here for teaching. Perhaps this can explain some test anxiety for students who perform well in class, but not on tests. 

(via kenyatta)

elementarymydearpenguin:

(via Looking From Third to Fourth: What’s the Question - Tried it Tuesday)

This is a great journal topic. Great. Can’t wait to use it. 
jtotheizzoe:

yearinreview:

These blogs became books!
Coolness Graphed
Future Cities
Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen
Maddie on Things
STFU, Parents- The Jaw-Dropping, Self-Indulgent, and Occasionally Rage-Inducing World of Parent Overshare
Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers
PhiLOLZophy: The Book
Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps
Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood
Just Little Things: A Celebration of Life’s Simple Pleasures
The Working Class Foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 per Person
Animals Talking in All Caps: It’s Just What It Sounds Like
I’m Only Here for the WiFi: A Complete Guide to Reluctant Adulthood
Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives
Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter (And Why)
Texts from Bennett: A Novel
P.S.-You’re Invited …: 40+DIY Projects for All of Your Fashion, Home Décor & Entertaining Needs
Bun B’s Jumbo Coloring And Rap Activity Book
Love & Misadventure
Dogshaming
Alice in Tumblr-land: And Other Fairy Tales for the Next Generation
I See Kitty
Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century
But You Like Really Dated?!: The Celebropedia of Hollywood Hookups
Humans of New York
WHITE WHINE: A Study of First World Problems
The Way We Ate: 100 Chefs Celebrate a Century at the American Table
Review of my Cat
Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans
These blogs are making their way to the small screen!
It’s Okay To Be Smart is making videos for PBS Digital Studios
Texts From Bennett is going to TV on FX
Did we miss any blog achievements?  Please email us!

Closing out 2013 next to Texts From Bennett? Mark that one off the bucket list!

jtotheizzoe:

yearinreview:

These blogs became books!

These blogs are making their way to the small screen!

Did we miss any blog achievements?  Please email us!

Closing out 2013 next to Texts From Bennett? Mark that one off the bucket list!

austinkleon:

Hmmmmm. I’ve always liked this diagram by Nigel Holmes. Whether you believe in the right brain / left brain split (it’s really more of a metaphor than an actual biological truth), I’ve always felt like I had “easy access to both sides of the brain.”

Making art and writing about art are two totally different things—which is why a lot of great artists can’t tell you shit about how they work.

As for the short stories: I don’t write them anymore, and I hope to God nobody finds the ones I used to write. They were terrible.

Ask me anything you can’t Google.

Good stuff to think about when teaching kids and developing your own ideas about creativity and its role in education.

"It comes back to the question, whom are you writing for? Who are the readers you want? Who are the people you want to engage with the things that matter most to you? And for me, it’s people who don’t need it all spelled out because they know it, they understand it. That’s why there’s so much I can’t read because I get so exasperated. Someone starts describing the character boarding the plane and pulling the seat back. And I just want to say, Babe, I have been downtown. (laughter) I have been up in a plane. Give me some credit."

Amy Hempel (via)

All to often, because students tend to write for an audience of one, they miss out on this important part of craft. This type of thing has been echoed by a number of authors.

Thanks to Austin Kleon for this great find.

(via austinkleon)