Stop Learning?

Today’s assignment was to watch a TED talk of our choice.  I chose “Forget what you know” by Jacob Barnett, a 14 year old that is also a PhD student in quantum physics.  If that’s not astonishing enough, he was diagnosed with Autism. {This can really reshape your view of “special needs” if you think about it!}

Jacob’s main idea was to stop learning in order to think.  At first, this doesn’t make sense. However, as he explained his thinking it became clear.  He gave two great examples, as well as his personal story.  Isaac Newton was forced to stop learning because the college he was attending shut down because of the plague.  During this time, he thought of several things that added greatly to what we know about science today. {I’m not sure exactly what they all are, but you can click here to read all about it!}

His next example was Albert Einstein. He wasn’t allowed into college because he was a Jew living in the pre-war era with Nazis.  Once again, he had to stop formal education, but that didn’t stop him.  He kept thinking and did more amazing things! {Here is a link to where you can read more details about him!}

Jacob was put in the Special Education at room where he said he didn’t learn anything.  Instead of sitting there and doing nothing, he read and learned high-level math and science by himself.  He then went on to solve a science problem on his own as well as several other accomplishments, earning him much publicity. {Don’t ask what it all is; It’s all above my head! This is an interesting article about him!}

I love history, but never knew about Newton or Einstein’s experiences.  I find it amazing that two of the “fathers of science” are most famous for things they did on their own, without support of an advisor or anyone else “teaching” them.  This really makes me think of my own students.  What could they accomplish if I gave them time to truly think on their own. How can I help instill that desire to learn and do things in them?!



Diggin’ the Digital Dos

Something I really struggle with as a teacher is seeing the good in technology and using it in my classroom.  To be honest, I have very rarely used it.  I grew up in a house that thought internet and cell phones were horrible things and I truly see how they can be.  Because of that, I’m having a hard time realizing all of the good that it can also offer.

My assignment today was to research “Digital Literacy.” During my searching, I found an interesting video that went a step further.  This video shows the importance of being a teacher with digital competency to help our students succeed. I love the weaving metaphor Claire uses to explain how teachers need to have {and use!} technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge.  One skill is good, but if we put them all together we are strong and successful! She then goes on to push people like me to use a growth plan to continually push to improve.  I guess I’m not the only one that needs to work on this!

I found this picture on this website. Notice the other website in the corner.

I find it fascinating that we now have an entire branch of education focused on technology.  Unfortunately, my school has banned cell phones in the classrooms starting this year. {That’s caused by the abuse I’m worried about!} We also don’t have desktops, tablets, or clickers.  All we have are Chromebooks. {I will keep my opinions to myself concerning these…}  Does anyone know of fantastic programs that are available for them?

Another thing I looked up was Digital Fluency.  This goes a step beyond Digital Literacy.  Think of it like learning a language.  When we learned to read in elementary school, we became literate.  We weren’t fluent right away though! That takes much more time and effort to achieve.  This is another good visual that I found.  (Wenmoth, 2015)


Since there are several ways students {and adults} abuse digital resources, it is our responsibility to teach them the proper way of using them.  I like that this diagram states “Is my digital behavior respectful of others and do I demonstrate the technical and social skills to enable me to be successful and safe in a digital world?”  These are key words and skills that we need to teach! {Which is great because it also aligns with Nebraska State Standards for Language Arts (10).4!}

Along with the NE Multiple Literacy Standards, the ISTE Standards are standards for the use of technology in teaching and learning {AKA integrating technology}. has a great document for teachers of exactly what to do. Thankfully, there are only 5 areas for us to focus on:

  • 1 Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity {This ties into yesterday’s learning of not squishing creativity in our students, but helping them flourish!},
  • 2 Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments,
  • 3 Model digital age work and learning,
  • 4 Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility, and
  • 5 Engage in professional growth and leadership.

I find it almost scary that I need to model and promote digital citizenship to my students. I will definitely need to get more comfortable with technology!

There are so many things I have yet to learn and incorporate into my classroom.  Pinterest is my lifeline.  I don’t think I could have made it through my first year of teaching without it! Although digital education is going to be difficult for me to do, it is made easier by pinteresting things.  Here is another visual that I think will be a nice starting spot for me.  Maybe it will be helpful for you, too! digital

Throughout this course I am hoping to learn more positives of technology in the classroom and some exact ways of how I can use it in my high school English room. {If you have any ideas, please let me know!}  As I said, I’m not good at doing anything as of right now, so I’m open to possibilities! I know digital literacy is essential for teachers of the future, so I guess this is a perfect class for me to get with it!

Cinco momentos that shaped me into the learner {and teacher} I am today

I’m sorry for the horrible Spanglish, but I’ll explain it if you keep reading!

There are certain thing that impact us throughout our lives: a cookie that inspires one to become an amazing baker, an athlete that makes one want to be the next olympic champion, or the couch that begs us to be a couch potato.  My assignment today was to think of 5 key moments that shaped me into the learner I am today.

arrow-686315_640Life’s Arrows:

When I was in high school, there were several things that pointed me towards teaching.    There were several people as well {teachers, coaches, parents, friends} and each of these pushed me to be the best student I could be, knowing that I would be in the teachers’ shoes eventually.  There was a girl on my basketball team that said she thought I would be a great teacher. That moment specifically stands out to me.  Perhaps it’s because that was my junior year and I was actually starting to feel the pressure of deciding what I would do with my life.


The thought of going to college and the costs involved is tremendous.  I was blessed enough to earn several scholarships.  These scholarships were for grades and involvement.  Receiving these scholarships spurred me on to study even harder, take better notes, and do even more than I thought I could.  I remained involved in extra curricular activities throughout college, which prepared me to be the coach that I am today.  I’m still able to get my homework done, do my lesson planning and grading, and prepare activities outside of school because I had the experience from before.

spanish-761512_640La classe de espanol:

When I was in high school I could only fit in one year of Spanish class.  I thought it would’t be a problem to take a year in college. Boy, was I wrong! I had a wonderful and sweet professor, but I guess my brain just wasn’t built for learning foreign languages! I literally cried the entire day of my final- before, during, and after. What could this have taught me?  I’m a people pleasing perfectionist.  I always have to be good at things.  In this case I had to work even harder than I have for any other class in my life to get the A.  It wasn’t a strong A that I wanted, but it was an A to keep my 4.0.  I realized that, no, I won’t always be good at things.  But that doesn’t mean that I won’t try.  That class taught me perseverance as well as acceptance.  I will always do my absolute best, but I realize that that might not always turn out the way I want!

application-1915343_640New Job:

I recently received a job that isn’t exactly in my degree focus. Because of that, I’ve had to go back for continuing education!  This has encouraged me to study extra hard on topics that I never thought I would focus on!  Luckily I’m not a Spanish teacher, but it is still a class that I always struggled with in school.  It’s also a class several people hate.  Yep, I’m the high school English teacher!  I am relearning everything I learned in high school, plus SO much more! I’m also trying to find new ways of teaching it that are more fun and interesting.

computer-1295358_640Students’ Struggles:

Now that I’m a teacher, I see students struggle learning new concepts.  I have to look at the concept I’m trying to teach and think of a different way to teach it.  I also have to go back and research things, learning it for myself before I can expect my students to learn it.  It’s funny how life can be full-circle because, as I’ve said, I struggled with English in high school.  I hated it. {A few months back, some of my students asked me what class I hated in high school.  They were amazed when I replied with “English!”  I even had to show them when my Facebook time-hop popped up a memory from my senior year: “i hate senior english…”  (Please notice the horrible grammar as well!)}  Since I struggled with and hated it, I am actually able to understand the students’ problems and their frustrations with the language.  Because of this, I am eager to learn something different to help them learn as well.


~All pictures are public domain!~