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Lightning Bug

What it is: Lightning Bug is a fantastic resource for the writing classroom.  The tag-line of Lightning Bug is, “Your writing partner, helping you write a story from beginning to THE END”.  That is exactly what it does.  For each stage of the writing process, students have access to excellent guides and resources to aid the process.  Students can get help finding a story idea, developing the idea, and finishing the story.  Students can even have a look at what kind of writer they might be based on their personalities.  Lightning Bug has a great collection of writing resources.  Students can explore author blogs, search for character names, get some exercises in creativity, get help with grammar and spelling, and even get help for publishing their written work.  The teacher resources are equally helpful for teaching writing. How to integrate Lightening Bug into the classroom: Lightning Bug is a great resource to have going on your classroom computers as a writing/publishing center.  Students can visit the site to get help with every stage of writing.  This is an excellent site to send home and alert parents to, it would be enormously helpful for at-home writing projects.  If you have access to a computer lab or 1 to 1 setting, allow your students to walk through this website as they work on any piece of writing.  The site is organized really well and easy to navigate independently.  Be sure to take a look at the teacher resources. A few of the recommendations for the writing process include worksheets such as mind maps.  Instead of using a worksheet for students to map their ideas, consider using online tools that will let students organize their thoughts and collaborate with others as they write.  Try using online mind mapping tools such as Creza’s Mindomo or  Comapping.  Students can use tools such as Zoho, Google Docs, or Kerpoof to collaborate as they write. Tips: Many of the ideas and resources found on Lightning Bug are useful for digital storytelling. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Lightning Bug in your classroom.

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Shocking! The real purpose of your life! or What are we preparing for?

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, education reform, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, video | Posted on 26-11-2012

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Today @lancefinkbeiner shared this video with me.  It is too good not to share!  Now…how to make this the reality of what learning is really about in schools.  I can’t tell you how often in education that the answer for why something is done is, “we are preparing kids for…”  For example, we give 3 hours of homework to elementary students because we are “preparing them for middle school.”   In middle school we give additional homework and weekly tests because we are “preparing them for high school.”  High school has it’s own set of ridiculous standards in preparation for college.

My question: when are we preparing kids for life?  When are we preparing them to engage in the world around them?  When are we preparing them for healthy relationships with others?  When are we preparing them to ask good questions and seek answers?  When are we preparing them for what to do with failure?

The problem for preparing kids for the next system they will encounter is that the next system isn’t really the goal.  That goal is this imaginary place we call “success” and “perfection”.  Neither exist.  How do we prepare kids to live honest, meaningful lives?  THAT is what I am interested in preparing for.

Comments (4)

Aren’t we *always* preparing kids to live honest, meaningful lives? I find your question a bit strange, I admit. Your preamble implies that kids require formal education (school) to learn to live honest, meaningful lives. I don’t think this is the case today, nor has it ever been. Kids need to learn many things outside of school. The best way to teach your kids to lead an honest, meaningful life, is to live one yourself -its amazing what kids will pick up from their surroundings. Formal education and life-lessons shouldn’t be conflated

Dave, this can be the trouble with a blog post…all of the nuances of thought can’t be wrapped up neatly in a few words. Judging by your comment here, my guess is that you don’t follow my work regularly. Sometimes I make the mistake of assuming that my readers know my background and previous thoughts that bleed into this one.
In answer to your comment: I don’t know that I agree that we are always intentionally preparing kids to live honest meaningful lives. I think that assigning hours of homework to an elementary student, for example, doesn’t lead to honesty (in learning for the pleasure of learning) or for working toward a meaningful life. I’m actually not saying that kids require formal school to learn to live honest, meaningful lives. In fact, quite the opposite. I believe that kids can learn this in spite of their formal schooling. What I am suggesting is that schools should stop telling kids that the purpose of learning is for the next institution of learning. What I am suggesting here is that learning (in schools) look more like life. I would agree, the best way to teach a child to live an honest and meaningful life is by modeling that ourselves. The question I pose to you: How is that possible in a system that leads children to believe that the purpose of learning is to prepare them for the next system? I started a school, http://anastasisacademy.com, to free up teachers to lead by example and to give students the freedom to explore what it means to live and honest, meaningful life.

I thoroughly agree with the video AND this post! Children aren’t able to learn and enjoy school anymore because they are bombarded with testing. State testing, this and that testing. It’s ridiculous. This is also having a negative affect on teachers because they cannot TEACH what they want, and they cannot really enjoy the career. We should reevaluate how our education system is working. Too many people graduate with Bachelor’s degrees that are useless. This needs to change! Great post!

I think it’s quite true that schools have to prepare children not only for next grade or level but also to prepare them for life and job skills that require worldwide awareness, collaboration, communication, problem solving…etc. Some people call those skills “The 21st century skills”.

Testing is not the olny way to assess students success at school. Teachers are using different tools such as daily observation of pair and group work. I am sure that there are many projects running worldwide are concerned about enhancing students’ life skills.

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