A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Link to SlimeKids

Link to SlimeKids
This link came through because of my PortaPortal, which I have not updated in quite some time and hope to revisit when I get the chance. The site appears to be very well laid out, and I will be exploring it as I get time.

One of my major literacy goals is to engage in conversations, which is the ultimate purpose of social media, which expands the conversation internationally. Conversation is the why of literacy. What excites me is the possibility of generating responses, which is something that every teacher, writer, or performer is seeking. I want people to contact me.

Professor Ayers taught me about conversations that span time and space in my Freshman English class at Georgetown University in the fall of 1981. We analyzed allusions, images, and concepts shared between Dante and T. S. Eliot, and I came to see works, not in isolation, but as part of a grand conversation where even the dead or dying could participate, such as Boethius who found a future audience in Dante in his Consolation of Philosophy. What students need to learn is not so much how to read, but why to read, not so much how to write, but why to write. If they know why, students will learn how. That's why my mom taught herself how to read behind the barbed wire from within an internment camp, why Darwin's Origin of the Species became a just-right book.

Disengaged learners often do not understand the why, which is where all the power in learning resides. As I once heard Les Brown say on one of his magical motivational tapes, "if you have a strong enough why, you can achieve almost anything." That was the message of Paul McKellips yesterday, who explained to rising 8th graders along the Rt. 1 corridor about the importance of having a dream and having a plan. It is the message of Napoleon Hill, who I cannot wait to encounter, even in ghost form on a DVD, and the invitation I received to get some personal coaching from Nightingale-Conant, which is an opportunity that I find incredibly exciting. Conversations are fun!

My grandfather swam to shore across the shark-infested waters of San Francisco Bay at an age when so many of our high school students today can be seen sleep-walking through classes unmotivated, and unprepared. Owning nothing but the clothes on his back, Yunosuke Tsuchitani landed in America with a purpose, with a belief that anything was possible, which helps explain his "rags-to-riches" story. He rose to became known as "The Straw Flower King," which enabled him to amass a fleet of ocean going yachts, which were later burned by a mob after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Although my grandfather did not live to see his grandchildren become doctors, scientists, engineers, teachers, writers, etc., although all his possessions were burned, ultimately his wish came true, because his vision was generational. When Paul McKellips described a dream as a destination, which could not be observed for 99% of the time, I did not consider the possibility that a destination could be achieved even in death, which was the point of Boethius, who was facing execution.

When I teach students the art of writing letters, I plan to follow the example of Ron Clark, who describes the power of authentic letter writing in The Essential 55, which is one of the several books I am currently reading. Clark's students were able to get a response from a sitting U.S. President. By expanding the conversation, great things are possible. That is why I blog.