Saturday, November 12, 2016

Making My Way in K: Dear President Elect: It's time to clean it up.

Making My Way in K: Dear President Elect: It's time to clean it up.: You don't know me. Call me stranger 10 million. Oddly, a high school friend of mine met you at a friend's birthday party and recentl...

Dear President Elect: It's time to clean it up.

You don't know me. Call me stranger 10 million. Oddly, a high school friend of mine met you at a friend's birthday party and recently posted the pic she had taken. So it's kind like 8 degrees of Donald Trump, but not really.

I've amassed an extensive collection of family history and there's one quote that has always stuck with me over the years. Extended family in Utah remarked, "Don't throw a rock, you might hit a relative." It's partially funny, because it's based on the small town nature of Utah, and the constant intermarriage of many a neighbor. You could, literally, hit a relative. However, it's premise rings true: we should treat others as if they are our brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins. You get the picture.

My friend commented how nice you are in person. That the presumed apocalypse to come is highly unlikely. I hope she's right, I'm not as worried about the apocalypse, I know who is my King, but I am worried for my kids. And that's why I want to say it's time to raise the bar and clean it up.

You see I teach...kindergarten. I am the beginning of their adventure in learning and each year I gain 20 or so kids, not students, because once they cross that threshold we have relationships akin to families. I am their part time mom, in addition to their teacher, and for some I can be the only stability in their lives. So when someone hurts my kids, I don't take it lightly.

I had several kids show up the day after the election worried they would be deported. DEPORTED for God's sake. These are kids from mixed families who ARE citizens and should have absolutely no reason to have this on their mind. They should be enthralled with our unit on spiders. They should be overly excited about what game will be played at recess. They should be naive, carefree, and enjoying a youth that goes much too fast in our society. They should not be coming to me with huge, soulful eyes that speak volumes of their worry. They shouldn't have to worry about what will happen to them because of an election. They shouldn't have to fear their heritage.

I wish you could have been there the day they approached me...full of fear and fright...not comprehending that it was an election, not a death sentence.

I canceled the rest of my lessons on voting. I will not bring up a subject likely to bring emotional turmoil to 5  year olds. FIVE YEAR OLDS. So I say step forward boldly, own your words, repent, and make it right. Let them know that draining the swamp doesn't mean shipping them somewhere. because we were all immigrants at one point. My Irish ancestors faced with starvation left Ireland. My Danish ancestors, converted in their country, came as LDS members. My German great grandfather resided in a Baltimore orphanage before being raised by an uncle. When WWII hit, all 5 of his sons went to battle the country he was from, because it was the right thing to do, HUMANITY was at stake.

Funny thing: I am still worried about humanity.

Today, while working 10 unpaid hours in my classroom, on a legal holiday, because my job entails far more work than 1 can get done in a work day (I invite you to stop by any time if you are up to the challenge, it's not for the faint of heart) I asked my 6 year old daughter what she had heard about the new president.

She said, "I heard he says it's OK to grab girls by the vagina." Oh, HELL no.

Let that marinate a bit with you. Imagine your daughter coming home and saying that to you. Would you be livid? You should be. People say things to be funny or to fit in that later bite them back. And some just say how they feel without caring how it impacts others because those "others" aren't important to them. Irregardless, you cannot be any of those people anymore. You have stepped up to a place where those traits should not be. You need to tell the masses that being hurtful to others, based on skin color, lifestyle, or gender is not OK.   Making "America Great Again" needs to start with KINDNESS. Set the example, tow the line, because no one gets out of the swamp without it.

Sincerely, a flabbergasted mom

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Making My Way in K: A Box and a Dream: Thank you Kevin Honeycutt!

Making My Way in K: A Box and a Dream: Thank you Kevin Honeycutt!: This week, for STREAMing into Learning (my summer learning camp), my daughter wanted to learn about TVs. As I pondered how we could make a...

A Box and a Dream: Thank you Kevin Honeycutt!

This week, for STREAMing into Learning (my summer learning camp), my daughter wanted to learn about TVs.

As I pondered how we could make a TV (knowing full well an electronic version was out of the question) I had a vision pop into my head. Maybe we could make one with a box? What would it look like? I knew it wouldn't be a true version of a TV, but something akin, and then the A-Ha moment hit.

In February of this year I had the very good luck of being sponsored by the NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education) to attend their annual Pacific Northwest tech conference (it ROCKS by the way). While there I was able to hear keynote speaker Kevin Honeycutt talk. I was connected with Kevin on Twitter (the GREATEST place to find teacher PLNs) but I wasn't prepared for his awe inspiring presentation. Turns out Kevin is a man of many skills: speaking, teaching, creating, mentoring, writing, just to name a few. Seriously, Kevin makes you want to be a better person!

I was eagerly listening to Kevin when a picture popped up on the ginormous screen: it was of a box of some sort, that young, school age Kevin had turned into a TV-esque book report. I remember it had knobs, and rollers of some sort. He turned the roller and the book report rotated through the front of the box. Duplicating a live TV show of the book in question.

I was mesmerized.

I thought it was the coolest idea, so unique, so simple, yet so creative...

I thought Kevin was about to talk about creativity or thinking outside of the box (or with a box :).

Instead he spoke of how he struggled through school, how he created his book report design only to be told later that it wasn't the "right" way: the way the teacher wanted it.

I was deflated. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Teachers teaching to the middle in a my-way or the highway fashion, running over creativity in the process. I could see why it happens: a teacher assigns a project, it has a rubric, a project presented doesn't match the rubric. Now what?

At that point...when faced with what to do (Do I follow the "rules" and deem it inappropriate even though it met the same end goal?) I would always default to human, as in, I'm not omnipotent and I don't pretend to be. Rather than channeling Darth Maul, who is unable to get past following a prescribed set of instructions (i.e. the rubric, the rules) and declaring full compliance is mandatory (as in no room for creativity~ the master is all powerful), I choose to channel Obi-Wan, able to take in information (the rules, the rubric), think about it (the TV-esque book report), ponder it (Damn, that's creative!) and respond with a positive mindset (This isn't what I imagined, it's even better).

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I tend to believe that they are like me when it comes to teaching: they have an open mind, they differentiate, they acknowledge strengths and needs of students and provide appropriate instruction. They advocate for their students when needed, just as a parent would. When a student does something unexpectedly incredible they rejoice with full-on joy. When a student makes a mistake, as we all do, they respond with compassion and assistance. When a student does something disappointing (i.e. being unkind, or violent) they pause with sadness and then immediately begin to brainstorm ways to change the behavior to a positive. Most importantly, and in tandem, they reflect upon themselves and search for ways to grow. Knowing that, just like their students, they are never perfect, never finished, always a learner.

What I realized, from Kevin's extraordinary keynote (Did I mention how inspiring it was? EVERY school district should have Kevin present; I was THAT impressed.) is that these are not common traits amongst all teachers and that greatly saddens me. As a profession we need to be tasked to be listeners of our students, their lives, and their needs; this will help keep individuals from becoming invisible.

 I use a new lens now... to look at teachers... one in which I am no longer naive. One in which I acknowledge that, as much as I'd like it to be true, not every teacher is flexible. Not every teacher is looking to grow from what their students can teach them. Not every teacher sees their self as merely another student in a different school (Life) from which to learn. And so as I finish dual summer learning camps, camps based on learning through nature & interest (project based), and reflect upon their incredible success to spark kids and teachers alike I hope to carry the torch forward. My only desire: to inspire flexibility and growth in others so that creativity is never stifled and students, all students, at all levels, feel successful.

Kevin--Thank you for inspiring me to do better, to be better, and to realize I can make a difference to so many. If you are ever this way, and enjoy towns with lots of cows, stop by and see us. And without further adieu, here are our Honeycutt inspired TVs. Rock On, Friend :)

Painting with our favorite colors.

The finished project. This one is called, "Me, Sierra, SiSi."
Sierra took pride in that hers is vertical rather than horizontal.

D's finished project is titled, "9 Little Monkeys."
 It includes tree branches to propel the paper forward for viewing. 
A hole in the back allows for highlight via flashlight. 
Pride is evident. :)

Friday, July 22, 2016

STREAMing into Learning: Perfumy Goodness

We just finished our 4th class at my Summer Learning Camp aptly called, STREAMing into Learning. STREAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math. Educators may recall the term STEM, which is still widely use, for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Then someone said, Why not art? And I started to hear not only STEM but STEAM. Well, not to be left out, reading finally joined the acronym to create STREAM. Now, from what I hear, it's all in. And I like it that way. I do. I think a good teacher meshes all of it anyway.

I started this camp to help scaffold my unwilling learner (my daughter) into learning. I made it in a way I would want to learn: hands on learning, nature centered, student driven. And its been a hit, not only for my daughter, but for the kiddos involved.

The first week (two days) we identified trees, plants, and flowers. Dissected a Shasta Daisy, explored a terrarium filled with millipedes, pill bugs, and earth worms. Painted water color scenes of what we saw. Built a robotic bug and talked A LOT because by sharing we learn :)

At the end of our second day (first week), I asked the kiddos what they were interested in doing the following week. They, amazingly, all at once said Potions! And thus the ideas for Chemistry week started.

Now we have ended with two days of authentic learning, and project based discovery. What I had was high engagement and knowledge retention. They don't forget as they are in charge (mostly! ;)

I don't know about you, but I get BORED with the same thing...I like to think outside the box, explore topics of interest, go PLACES, spend time learning about what interests ME, not what someone tells me I need to know. And do it in a calming atmosphere. Nature does it for me, it might not for you, and that's OK as long as we can both get what we need via DIFFERENTIATION.

For those not familiar with the "D" word, it equates to each person getting what they need, but at their level. We want everyone to soar. Sadly, differentiation is not used to it's full potential. Folks still talk about teaching to the middle. Which equates to leaving out the high kids as they already know it, and leaving the most struggling learners to sink or float. Yet, there are new ways of thinking, new bridges to adventure, if we are willing to take the time to stop and check them out. Kinda like pulling alongside the road and checking out something interesting while knowing nothing about it. There is beauty to be found by trying.

I get change can be hard, but keeping the brain in motion is good. Same ol' Same ol' = Your Brain Not Exercising. As teachers we should model what we want our students to do. If we want our kids to learn, we need to become learners.

And with that I created my first quote using Word Swag :)

Happy Adventures!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

All Aboard the Grumpy Train!

Maybe it's the late night working on my National Boards
Or the amount of times I heard, "No. I don't want to" yesterday

It could be my swollen, painful ankle caused by nothing
Or the amount of time I've wasted this week trying to solve my own problems 

Possibly it's the inability to find my tribe
Or maybe, just maybe, it's because the goat ate the tiny tree seedlings I was growing....

But I definitely have a one way ticket on the Grumpy Train today.
I realized it when I work up at 530 yet failed to get out of the bed until 630. 

It happens.

I'm usually a positive person. I espouse the good of Mindfulness and zest for life on most days.
 But today, today I'm grumpy.

How do you get over your grumpy days?

Image result for teacher at the end of the year

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Earth Day in K: Pre & Post

As usual, school starts too soon in the morning for me (How about a 9:00-3:30 schedule? Research would back me on this...) and I never finished my blog here is a PRE and POST Earth Day rambling because it's just that good.

April 22, 6:30am:
I'm sitting here in my pj's all excited over Earth Day. I love Earth Day!! I bet there is some eye rolling and some realizations occurring right now ("I thought she was a little crazy") but on Earth Day I am happy that I am a teacher of kinders because I can get as goofy as I wanna be and no one will be anything but excited.

This is the day I drag in my personal recycle box with things in it, that are really being recycled, and we sort, and we ponder, and we discuss. Then I get out my "magic," blue, cloth (of course) bag with all the fantasmic things I have found over the years that make my enviromental heart happy--like the first paper straw I encountered (at Sea World, no less), and the first biodegradable plastic bag I got (from M&M world in Las Vegas) and we "oooohhhh" and "aaaahhhh" together. Yes, in many ways I am easy to please. Slap that "compostable" label on something and my heart glows like ET.

See...I am truly a proponent of all forms. Because expressing and modeling the importance of kindness and empathy is what will make our world better.

Kindness comes from within and isn't meant to be only relegated to people. I teach my students that kindness should be to all things: people, animals, and the environment. And I also throw in a clause: real or inanimate, it doesn't matter. To the kiddo who just threw the toy baby down because, "it's not real," I say, "Doesn't matter: We treat all things with kindness." Because what we do in jest can actually desensitize us later in life.

So, Dear Follower on Twitter whose name I have lost, but promised to blog about kindness: kindness comes through every avenue possibly throughout the year (Bucket filling, Christmas, Valentines, Earth Day...) & is achieved through extensive modeling & reinforcing activities.

Today, we will pick up litter and beautiful our school grounds for the joy it brings us. The kinders don't know it will bring them joy. Matter of fact, if I polled parents last night about the last time their kiddo bothered to pick up litter or trash, I'd likely have gotten a bunch of "can't remember" or "never happened"'s. YET, I promise you, after we discuss why it is so important, the impact the litter has on the environment and wildlife around us, those kids will be picking up trash with a gleam in their eye, a proud smile, and ultimate LOVE for the world. The reason: Because I took the time to model it. Because I showed them why it matters.

So, to those teachers who don't bother to notice, or celebrate, Earth Day: You're missing out. You're missing out on authentic learning. You're missing out on creating passion and excitement. You're missing out on connecting kids to nature--even if it's for a brief moment of cleaning and noticing the amount of bugs found (that we will not smash :).

April 23: 10:24pm
Wow...Earth Day in K was GREAT.

We explored that recycle bin & all it's used items. The kids fought, and literally teared up, because, "I didn't get to sort anything... everyone grabbed it all." Yes, that is them complaining over not getting to handle used, potentially germy (albeit rinsed) glass, newspaper, and cardboard.

When I asked who recycles, at home, or at the transfer station, I got a scant reply of maybe 5 hands. Most kiddos had no clue about recycling and were awestruck to find out there is no "AWAY" as in, "Throw it away." That "away" is actually a hole in the ground in somebody's backyard and while not entirely avoidable, we need to do everything we can to keep items out of the hole.

We watched the old version of the Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, eyes glued to the screen, wheels turning as they espouse what is happening to the beautiful valley as the movie progresses. We talk about the link to clear cutting practices in the 70s and how trees were not always replanted. What happened to the wildlife there? What happened to the air there? What happened to the soil?

Why is it that we really don't need a Thneed? What is important in life?

Such serious talk in K, but I would argue so necessary...if they never hear WHY it matters, it won't matter to them.

As I took out a box of rubber gloves and a bag of plastic bags, the room grew quiet. "Everyone will get a glove to handle trash (enter discussion of germs) and a bag to hold it." As I called up each kiddo, they wiggled with excitement. As the door to the classroom opened upon the playground: they broke out with reckless abandon. It was as if it was an Easter egg hunt, and yet the excitement was for trash.

Kids roved in each direction, their excitement unable to be contained, I settled myself with the knowledge that all gates were locked.

The melee continued for 10 minutes. I could barely gather them up for a photo...As a good teacher, I worried that the classrooms with windows open might be distracted by the noise...but then I saw the smiles, the joy in helping, the eagerness to make the world better and I let go of my worry.

For was not about was about the world.

Earth Day 2016!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The NCCE Conference: How to Know You Don't Travel Enough

I'm so lucky to be writing you from the 26th floor of the Sheraton in Seattle! I am attending my second #NCCE conference. Last year it was in Portland, Oregon. I made some great new friends and learned a lot, so I planned to go again as soon as it ended!

It's a good thing...because it is completely apparent that I do not travel enough to keep my big city schema up to date! Here are 6 ways I know.

1. When I entered the elevator, and pushed the button for my floor, it wouldn't work. The next guy that came in slid his room key into a slot and then pushed the button. Oh, is that how that works.

2. I didn't realize the hotel had more than one tower and therefore more than one set of elevators. Whoops!

3. When I talked to my daughter, I said I was at the "motel" as in Motel 6. LOL Big difference between a motel and a hotel!

3. Every time I left the conference center, I went any direction besides the right one.

4. I was blown away by everything in Leslie Fisher's sessions. Apparently, I have been living under a rock.

5. I suggested we go to Target so we could watch the escalator for carts.

6. At the conference center I got in an elevator and panicked when floor 4 was not an option. I still don't know where that elevator was going. I stuck to stairs...

Thank you NCCE for another EPIC conference!

I met several new friends, meet several Twitter friends in real time, had an awesome team bonding during the scavenger hunt, and broadened my knowledge base on Seesaw, Twitter, Evernote, and Augmented Reality. I came home way cooler.

See you in Portland next year! Maybe I can work again answering questions I didn't know the answers for (it was actually a lot of fun!).

*Disclaimer: Yes, I was having too much fun at the conference to finish the blog post. It's just about a month late. :)

I LOVE STUDENT TEACHERS: The Myths, The Truths, and The Legacy.

When the new tech comes out that allows your thoughts to be sent to paper, or document, without stopping other chores, tasks, and minutiae (ie vacuuming) I will be the first one to sign up.

I get so many great ideas for my blog that I want to write down, but other things take constant priority. And if you are like the end of  a long day...last thing I want is to do some heavy thinking.

It is spring break here (can I get an amen?) and while my "To Do" list is still TOO long, I have a little less rushing around and consequently, decided the last fleeting thought for my blog deserved recognition.

I'm not sure about your week before spring break, but mine was a killer. I have a student teacher and so I was having these beautiful dreams of finaling finding the actual top of my desk, you know before all the paper piles started in September. I know it's there, but it has become akin to an archaeological dig.

However, Monday came and Monday went. Tuesday came and Tuesday went. You get the drift.

In kindergarten we describe our problems as big problems or little problems and there was an abundance of big problems. Ones I had to jump right in and solve, try to solve, find someone to help me solve them, etc.

And each day I would say..."Today, today is that day I am getting X done." And yet "today" never came. My days were full of problems clear up to 3pm on Friday. And, here is what gets me, there were TWO adults in the class! Two teachers for the love of all things holy. Typically, there is one, who must survive...amidst the chaos...on her (or his) own.

Which gets me to the point of this blog...I LOVE STUDENT TEACHERS.

When you teach K you love anyone with a heartbeat that can help out in your class, because you realize two arms, two ears, and one mouth is not enough. You know what I'm sayin?

And in weeks like this last one I realize why student teachers are the bomb.

1. You actually see things that happen when you are usually too busy teaching. Like Billy glueing pencils to his chair and Blaire tripping kids on purpose. (Names have been changed to protect the guilty) I then get to bring up these topics with my St Ts and we laugh about how little we are able to see, when we really do think we see everything.

2. You get more done. I was serious and kidding about my desk. I didn't get done nearly what I hoped to have done, but when you are finally able to go through and pitch the mimeograph copies in files that have lived there since someone so graciously gifted them to you, you jump for joy (not really as I'd hurt something, but I do in my mind).

3. You leave a legacy. This week I had the privilege of watching two former St Ts on Facebook, posting pics of things they did with their classes, things I did with them when they co-taught in my class, and it hit me...I made a difference. I helped grow another teacher. They planted the seed. I watered and tended the sprout and seedling and watched it bloom into a sunflower, radiating promise and belief in the profession. Their students enjoyed celebrating St. Patrick's Day, as we enjoy celebrating it in my class. They made art and traps (STEM people, STEM!!) just like us and what I saw was kids loving learning, and Ts loving teaching. It made my heart happy.

The Myths: I hear people say they don't want student teachers. They say it's too much work (really? because they are the ones who have to create a portfolio, not you). They say they had a bad one (it happens--which is why I am a proponent of meeting the St T ahead of time and seeing if your personalities match). If you feel you and your padawan are sympatico the more likely you are to enjoy the experience. But, no matter what, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

The Truths: I am on my 4th student teacher and each has brought me great joy. My first was interviewed by my principle. It was a great match. Both Amber and I had been "non-traditional" students (code word for old). She did a great community outreach that netted us plants from the garden club. We put them in the much neglected planters outside our school. Our legacy lives on in them. My second, Amy, I was allowed to interview and she brought her wonderful skill of art to the class. She reminded me of the joy in homemade cards and in the eternal joy she brought to every event. We started a list of funny kid sayings that year. My third was Jo. She was a former TESL practicum who asked to student teach with me. I was honored. She was all over everything but had to learn the art of being a teacher not a friend (everyone does- we jokingly call it "getting mean" as that's how student teachers feel). She taught our class (and me) about football. She shared the love of the Patriots in tandem with the class majority love of the Seahawks and the kids were the winners. And now there is Meagan...she came to me under different circumstances, but the result has been the same: learning for her, learning for me, and a friend for life.

When we help others grow in the profession, it in turn helps us grow...and so just like every year, I am about ready to remind my principal, "Now remember, I'd REALLY love a year long student in the fall...."

From my class...

From Aimee's

From Jo's

I am creating a legacy...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Just Say No to Homework in K

Tonight, during my most recent bout with insomnia, I came across a FB article pertaining to homework in kindergarten. A teacher shared a blog from a parent who said, in essence, that she didn't have time for homework (busy work, aka worksheets). Her kindergartener is exhausted, she has other children and (gasp) things like dinner and laundry to do, and forcing said kiddo to do some boring worksheets is not her idea of a fun time. I wholeheartedly agree.

I attended the I Teach K! national conference in Las Vegas a few years ago. The biggest take away was that homework in kindergarten did not help kids. The kids who did it didn't need it and the ones who did didn't do it.

It's been 3 years since I heard that epiphany and quite frankly I am awestruck by the number of kindergarten teachers who either haven't heard what research says, don't care that research says it's not helpful, or are are required by districts to provide homework in the form of take home sheets (busy work).

Kindergarteners (and young minds in general) learn best from hands on immersion into units of interest. They also learn best from living and doing. In a sense, they do tons of homework each day: it's called dramatic play, exploration, creativity, and environmental study. It's done in the backyards, parks, grocery stores, and libraries in our communities. It's done when parents read 3 books at night time, play Barbies to help develop oral language,and interpersonal skills, and play games that incorporate turn taking, manners, and problem solving. Things no worksheet provides.

When I meet with my new parents at the beginning of the year I stress the lack of "home" work and explain to them all the learning opportunities provided through life on a daily basis. These are only limited by their imagination. Putting away dishing is sorting. Adding 4 cans of green beans to the grocery cart is counting and one-to-one correspondence. Making a picture or card for grandma or auntie is authentic writing. Reading words on signs is word identification. Hiking, walking to the park, exploring the dirt in the backyard are all segways to science. Making a plan and creating a cardboard vehicle or spaceship is engineering in real life. These are much more enjoyable, and meaningful, than any cut and paste worksheet.

What I do emphasize to my parents, via a handout, that I don't think they honestly realize, is the importance of reading to their child at home. Think about it. I can totally see why someone thinks, It's just a book I am reading out loud. How much can it possibly help? But it does help...immensely. Reading together not only provides a time for bonding and mindfulness with your child (you do realize how fast they grow, right? Notice those small hands, the wide eyed interest, the laugh and the smile, the intense look of anticipation. I'm already teary eyed that my 5 year old is almost 6), but it enlarges vocabulary (What does ginormous mean Mommy?), facilitates interest and conversation (Are dinosaurs still alive?), allows children to hear how language is used to convey meaning, implies feelings through tone, and allows them to see what all those alphabet letters are used for. Amazing things happen from simply reading a book.

So please, next time you are thinking of sending home that packet of worksheets to do during winter break, spring break, or summer vacation, save trees and don't do it. We need to learn through our 5 senses and authentic learning experiences. :)

Now go forth and be advocates for hands on learning, learning via living, learning in real life context and leave the kind in kindergarten.

PS-I do believe in helping parents be teachers by letting them know the areas of need to focus on for their child. I.e. penmanship/letter formation a struggle? = a recommended fun app on a tablet or kindle. Sight word memorization lacking? = suggestions on how to help use various methods to learn them. Shape identification lacking? Go on a shape hunt. Differentiation in instruction is needed; 1 size (worksheet) does not fit all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#HappyClassroom: Technology, 1988 and My Continuing Math Nightmares

So...right prior to winter break I received some fantastic news.

My grant request to attend the NCCE (Tech) conference was approved. It allowed me to guarantee myself a spot at the Northwest's biggest Technology event. I am so thrilled! Honestly, I had forgotten I applied (the story of my life, "The Absent Minded Teacher.") So when I read the email (luckily I checked the "social" tab in my Gmail!) I was over the moon. I am that teacher. You know, the one who isn't ok with the doing the same old thing, because it is the same old thing. The one that doesn't believe living in a rural town should mean inequality when it comes to children and education. The one that is willing to embrace change when it is backed with sound research. We are teaching kids for the future; for jobs that are yet to exist. Yet so many are reluctant to incorporate any technology at all. And yet, tech is the cobblestone on which the path to the future is laid!

 Don't get me wrong. I still love the smell of musty books. I still love to create things out of pattern blocks. I still love to smell and taste at the science center (I mean touch, touch is what I meant). But I do not love story problems. I still have nightmares of being called to the board in 10th grade math. (Nothing helps an introvert learn like forcing them to answer a previously unseen problem in front of the class, in FRONT of the cute guy, at any given time.) It's actually called public humiliation, not teaching. And it haunts me to this day, in 2016.

I was meant to write. I love to read, but math, higher level math, was never my strong suit and that is OK. We are all unique. We are all individuals with different needs and strengths. Had the internet existed in 1988 (also known as the Stone Age) I could have avoided the 20 years of nightmares to follow that regularly included me failing math, 20 assignments behind, a book in front of me that might as well be in Latin because it makes no sense, wondering how I will catch up.

With the internet I could have Googled how to calculate when 2 trains meet in the night. I could have watched a video on YouTube of how to solve train problems. I could have Twittered or Facebooked for help from friends who love math like I love writing. Asking them why it was even relevant to know when two trains pass each other.

Technology levels the playing field for learners. It allows all of us to learn in our own way, in our own time, with as many rewinds as necessary (is that still a word?). Nurturing us in ways we feel comfortable, without shaming, without negatively impacting our self-esteem. It allows us to expand our knowledge in creative and authentic ways. And it also allows us to become masters of our knowledge and turn our knowledge into life changing projects and careers. Such learning is truly the sign of progressive education and guaranteed not to cause nightmares.