Last week I wrote a post about Daniel Pink's book Drive. In the book he spends a significant time discussing FLOW. Here is the link to the post. Flow is the aspects of life that bring us satisfaction or those things that invigorate us and bring us to our happy place. This week we are going to explore FLOW.
Violence, unfortunately, is nothing new in the world, and especially in America. One thing I think may be changing is our view on violence. The nation mourned as we bare witness to the school shooting at Columbine. We were confused and unsure of the how and why after the Virginia Tech shooting. Then Sandy Hook Elementary happened, and while some vowed Never Again, others said now is not the time to discuss guns. Each time we heard it is a time for thoughts and prayers. Unfortunately, thoughts and prayers didn't bring about the end to school Violence. So we find ourselves in what is becoming a familiar place, the aftermath of another act of senseless violence against children. This time, however, the children are demanding change. They are spearheading a movement to not only bring attention to the issue, but to demand action. They are doing what the adults have neglected to do for too long and that is take a stand, and take action to make their demands a reality.
This group of courageous young people are using their first amendment rights to shine a light on the failings of our elected leaders, and other adults in our society to protect them. They are attacking the inaction, the apathy these adults have shown to making sure our children, our young people can attend school and be safe. They are using their voice to call out those who have failed them and all children in this country.
If you have been following this movement, you see the courage of these young people, but you also see the dark side of any push back against the status quo. You have some of the adults in the room, especially elected officials whose job it is to represent and protect all citizens of this country acting like infants. I don't use the world child because the children in this movement are through their actions, and words representing our nation in such a positive manner that I don't want to tarnish them. The adults are acting like infants as they attack these young people. They attack them for the way they look, dress, or for being an immigrant. They attack the movement as being anti-second amendment, when the conversation is so much more than guns. They show how out of touch they are by telling students to stop protesting and learn CPR. They provide classrooms with buckets of rocks. They want to arm teachers, as the idea of more guns in schools is the answer. It is not!
The young people and all those who have joined the movement across the country are helping move the dialogue from thoughts and prayers to a discussion of action. It is still early, but it is my hope that the outrage by our children, will force the adults in Washington and the rest of America to sit down and really discuss the issue and come up with a viable plan to protect our students. We must encourage our students to stand up for what they believe in to fight injustice and make this world better for all of us. While we give them the tools to find their voice, we must join their cause and make sure school shootings never happen again!
This week I attended the WCSS, Wisconsin Council for Social Studies in Madison. It was a great conference filled with young and veteran educators exchanging ideas and connecting. I was fortunate to get to hang out with amazing educators, including Chuck Taft and Michael Matera. These two are incredibly talented, creative and most of all passionate about education and kids. Each time I get to connect with them I am filled with energy and inspiration.
I was also fortunate to hang out with Erin Patchak who is an incredible middle school teacher and an Ambassador for National History Day. Between sessions she and I were talking and she shared that she was working on a Presidential March Madness project for her students. I shared that I had done a similar project a few years ago. As we were talking through the activity, she mentioned that she was struggling to find a bracket that you could enter the names in and edit it beyond the first round. So many allow you to enter the information in for your first round teams and then you have to print the bracket and record the subsequent rounds by hand. I started to search for an alternative and found an example made in Excel. It didn't do what I wanted, but it provided the inspiration to create my own version.
I worked Sunday and Monday during the conference when I had some free time to fine tune the bracket so that teachers would have a template that would meet multiple needs. I created a sheet that can be used for multiple bracket configurations. You can do an 8, 16, 32, 44, and 64 team bracket. To use you go to the Team Names tab and enter the names of the teams in column B. These names will then populate each of the various brackets. If you want to use the 32 team bracket, you need to enter 32 team names. You can delete the names in column B for 33 to 64. The same is true for each of the other brackets. Only enter the number of teams, people, topics that you want to use.
If you want to use images instead, you can add the url of the image in column C on the Team Names page. This will put images into the brackets just like the names. I put examples of numbers and images to show that you can use numbers to outline the seeds for your tourney, or you could even use the team logo instead of team names as you move through the bracket.
When you click on the brackets there are additional directions to help you set up the brackets.
I am including the link to the Team Bracket Tourney. Please let me know if you use it and what you think. I appreciate your feedback and how you used it with students.
Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and the list goes on. And unfortunately the list goes on. We say never again, and yet just weeks ago we witnessed another tragic loss of life. Each time the typical response from our elected officials is "Thoughts and Prayers" or it isn't time to talk about guns, or it's a mental health issue. Each time the difficult conversation that would lead to change never happens.
This time a group of young people have said enough is enough. They have begun to mobilize and call for action, no they have begun to demand action. Unfortunately, some who are afraid of engaging in the conversation attack these students instead of hearing them and try to change the narrative or distract us from solving the problem.
I am seeing a different response to school violence than I have seen in the past. Maybe, hopefully we engage in conversation that results in real action, real change and ends school violence. I have children of my own and knowing they have to do ALICE and active shooter drills. That they have to think about what they would do in those situations, or hearing people talk about adding more guns to schools, Tonight I want to engage in conversation about what we can do to prevent these events from happening. How many children have to lose their lives before we say enough?
In case you missed it, the Winter Olympics has been showcasing the best athletes in the world. I am a huge fan of the Winter Olympics because of the unique events. I mean you have a huge range of events, most I can't do. I tried downhill skiing once and left with a badly sprained ankle. #neveragain And the halfpipe where they contort themselves and complete insane tricks is even more amazing as it calls for not just ability but a little insanity that you would fly out of a halfpipe of snow that is 22 feet high and propel yourself another 14-17 feet higher revolving and flipping before coming landing on a curved wall of the pipe to do it another 5 times before your run is done. Then there are all the games on ice. Well most of them are again mind boggling to me. Ice skating, speed skating and hockey take talent to be able to run and jump while on the ice. It is inspiring to watch the figure skaters leap in the air, much like the snow boarders flying through the air with reckless abandon.
The one event that I could remotely have a chance at participating it is Curling. I have gone curling. And while I only did it once, I didn't leave with any injuries. I don't want to portray curling as easy, as my experience demonstrated to me that there is a lot of skill involved. However seeing people of all ages participate in curling provides hope that this could be an activity that I do participate in for years. While I don't have delusions of grandeur that I would be an Olympic athlete, I love the fact that the winter Olympics has such a variety of events that inspire people to get up and move even when temperatures fall.
One great example of this was the Men's Cross Country event where one of the athlete's fell down after getting tangled with a group in the front of the race only 150 meters into the race. He fell, was hit in the head and had another athlete fall on top of him. This athlete upon getting back on his feet found himself at the end of the pack, in last place. The question for him at this point is what to do next? He could have given up. I am sure he was hurting from the blow to the head and the rest of the fall. He could have given into the pain and disappointment. He didn't chose to give up, instead he decided that he came to the Olympics to do his best. As the race went on the announcers discussed the leaders, strategy, and the back and forth action of the lead group trading places in the front. The race continued with little notice of the racers who fell so long ago. It wasn't until the final leg of the race that this determined individual was able to catch the lead pack. Then incredibly he was able to move up to the front of the pack, but even more amazing was that he broke away from the pack and was able to win by a sizable margin.
The Olympics has been an inspiration experience for me and the basis of this week's chat.
Check out the questions here.