Week 2 Comment #2: Jamie Anderson

Wk 2 Reading “My Possibilities”

We can think outside of the box we live in by changing our own perspective of what we see. We are the builders of what we see and can change the story by removing or adding to your story to bring yourself out of the box. We make assumptions that certain things are bad or good are based on the story we state in our mind. We can shift what we think by thinking differently. We are not magicians but we can be designers of results by renewing our ideas and concepts to bring us what we desire.

 Does the viewer see a mind emptying out thoughts or a mind that is confused? You decide what you perceive.

I have to say that my thoughts and actions have made a complete difference in the measurement of the world that I perceive. I constantly look to see the bright side to every story even when things do not seem as if they are going in a direction that I would have originally planned. For example, when I first found out that I was pregnant again and on top of that I was pregnant with twins I couldn’t do anything but laugh.  I had just a masters program at a different school and it was hard enough. During the pregnancy I lost one of the babies and I was told I was going to lose the other one. I constantly told myself that everything is going to be fine and it will work out in the end. Today I have an energetic and happy 19 months old that runs my house. Your universe is a small as you want to make it but doors of possibilities are always opening up when you seek for greater things.

Giving myself an A as a musician was always very hard. I was told that I could sing and play the trombone great but I always thought I was just getting by and should be seen as a C student. There are singers better than me. There are people out there that can make me look like a first grader at singing. I would practice and sing at different places and people would tell me that my singing made them cry tears of joy and yet I still felt that I was a singer just getting by. It was not until I was in front of two men during an audition for the World Tour Scholarship at Berkley College of music that my perception changed greatly. I stood in front of two men with no music just my voice and my ear to stay on the right notes. I sung my first song and then my second with my face looking straight into the ceiling. I finally got the courage to look at the two men and one stood and clapped the other sat and was crying. They told me of all the years that they had been doing auditions they had never been moved by such range and emotions. At that point I gave myself an A because my perception changed. It was not longer others that saw the A but myself. At that point it wasn’t about how much music that I knew but where I could go from this point. They said no matter what it takes they wanted me to join the program. They knew I didn’t know much about treble clef or if I could hear the difference between a major and a minor scale. They just knew that they had seen a gift, a talent that needed nurturing.

My Comment to Jamie:

It’s amazing what can happen when you get that boost of confidence. It sounds like you are your own biggest critic, but I’m pleased to know that your perception of yourself changed after your talent was recognized and greatly acknowledged. That story of yours reminds me how important it is for educators to encourage each student’s special talents and skills. It’s so hard when I have to give grades and there are just some students who don’t do well even though they are trying as hard as possible. In my class, 12 of my 32 students are English Language Learners who need extra language support. That puts them at a disadvantage in every subject and it’s heartbreaking to see them lose confidence in themselves when they see other students getting better grades. I wish it were easier to change their perception of themselves. I can give encouragement and meaningful feedback to my students, but when grades tell them differently, it’s difficult for many of them to keep a positive outlook. For those students, I try to give them different experiences and opportunities and hopefully find an area where they can use their talent to shine.

I love your outlook on life and appreciate that you shared your inspirational stories in your blog. Your little girl is absolutely precious and I’m sure she keeps you busy, but brings so much joy to your life.


Week 2 Comment #1: Ben Witter

Week 2 Reading

Posted in Week 2 on October 31, 2012 by benwitter

I am very exited to read this book. I watched the TED talk Benjamin Zander gave and was blown away. I was immediately drawn in with his affinity for music and how he wove that into the point he was trying to make. I’m glad this isn’t a regular textbook. I think this will really propel me into whatever it is that awaits me after this program.

Chapter 1: It’s All Invented

I have always fancied myself as a rather free thinker, someone who is so far outside the box that the box ceases to exist. I totally get the undertones that are being played throughout this chapter. The constraints that we place on ourselves are just that, self-inflicted. I understand that some people are dealt unfair things from life, but it all boils down to perceptions. I am a firm believer that perceptions are what determine our life, our reality. The world itself is real to us because of how we perceive it. Along with perception includes perspective and relativity. If more people could understand that the perceptions they have are invented from society and their surroundings, as well as innate personal qualities, there would be less concern for how others perceive us and more focus on living our lives as our lives and not someone else’s. People just need to invent new perceptions. Actually, people just need to invent new realities.

Read more on Ben’s blog page

My Response to Ben

I love your views on life and I have such a huge respect for you! Ever since your first bio video in month one of this program, I knew that you were the creative, out of the box thinker, and the one that I could look up to and draw inspiration from. Sometimes I find myself getting caught up with the rules and what’s right and what’s wrong. When I catch myself doing that, I’m finding that it really limits my possibilities. If I was just completing assignments to meet the requirements of a rubric that will get me an A, then I know that I would come up with good work, but it would be boring work. That’s exactly how I made my way through college. Did I learn much in my quest for a liberal studies degree? I can’t think of one memorable project or assignment that I did in those 4 years.

I have to say that getting my master’s degree in a subject area that I’m truly passionate about, being surrounded by amazingly talented teaching professionals, and getting words of wisdom from online professors who are paving the way for an educational technology movement has been the most rewarding experience of my life! Even though I’m working so hard that most days I feel like I want to break down in tears, this online education experience through Full Sail University has made me look at education in a brand new way. We might as well not be getting grades because I’m never worried about getting a bad grade on a project. Completing projects, while not easy, has been so rewarding, giving me practical and useful knowledge that I will take with me in my next quest for a new job. I’m finding myself not really looking at the rubrics, but instead pushing myself to rise to my own high standard to try and come up with new and incredible things. Ben, I’m so thankful to have you there to share your perspective that shows us that it is so cool to do things your own way.


Week 2 Leadership: Where do I present?

It’s just my luck that most of the conferences that I am interested in are not accepting proposals. This task was a lot harder than I thought it would be. At first I thought that I wanted to submit a proposal for the Early Education and Technology for Children (EETC) Conference that is taking place between April 2-4, 2013, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference seemed perfect for a presentation about using LiveBinders in elementary education, and they are accepting proposals! Upon closer investigation, I realized that the due date is next Tuesday, November 6th. Although I will have a first draft of a Leadership Project presentation document by that date, I’m not trying to rush the process in order to get a final proposal completed in less than a week.

My Plan A

With that first thought thrown out the window, I decided that my first choice would be to submit my work for the Sloan Consortium’s 6th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium. This conference will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada April 9-11, 2013 and they are accepting submissions until December 10, 2012. Besides the fact that Las Vegas is a short plane trip away from California, and the symposium is located right on the Vegas strip in a month where the weather is actually bearable, the symposium tracks seem to fit perfectly with my presentation material. Categories that will fit with the use of LiveBinders are: Learning Spaces and Communities, Faculty and Student Development, and Innovative Media and Tools. Finding the category that interests me most will help me narrow down my topic for this Leadership Project.

My Plan B

My backup plan will be to submit a proposal for the Orange County CUE (Computer Using Educators) Technology Festival that will be held on February 2, 2013. The deadline for this submission is December 2, 2012. This would be a good second option for me because I could fly or drive down to Orange County and I have plenty of friends and some family who live down in that area. Orange County CUE is affiliated with CUE located in Walnut Creek, California, a city that is a 15-20 minute drive away from where I grew up. Originally I wanted to submit a proposal for the annual CUE conference in 2013, but I just missed the submission date. I’m very interested in technology conferences in California because this is where I hope to make a big impact in the field of technology and education. This OC CUE Technology Festival seems a lot smaller, but I do plan on looking into it as a possible option.


Week 2 Reading: Rethinking Letter Grades & Becoming a Contributor

Rethinking Letter Grades

This week we read the first four chapters in Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life. This really got me thinking about letter grades and the pressure that it puts on students.

I teach 4th grade to 32 students who start the school year full of excitement, wonder, potential, and possibilities. Throughout the school year, while I know that they still all have those characteristics inside of them, that same spark and fire gradually fades in students who see themselves not meeting up to the standards that we measure them up against. As much as I try my best to encourage them, some of them get so used to seeing bad grades that they stop working up to their potential and stop trying so that they don’t disappoint themselves. Why try and fail when you can not try and get the same results?

What could I do to take the pressure off of these 4th graders? Would it be realistic to tell 4th graders that they all get an A in my class if they show up, do the work, and then write me a reflection about everything that they learned? I can imagine complaints from other teachers at my school and the numerous amount of complaints that I would get from parents. Maybe taking grades away completely isn’t the solution, but there has to be a better option for these students.

As my school begins to align our standards with Common Core, we are now moving into a 4 point rubric, and our students won’t even see letter grades on their report card this year. Our upper grade teachers, myself included, are so used to putting percentages and letter grades on everything. As a result, students see those letter grades on all of their papers, tests, and progress reports, however they will not see any of that on their actual report card. Would writing a score of a 1, 2, 3, or 4 on a paper make a difference, or would it be the same as writing a letter grade? I plan on testing this out for our next trimester so that I can see for myself if it makes a difference.

Becoming a Contributor

If you’ve never heard the words of wisdom from a young Steve Jobs, I recommend that you watch the short YouTube videos Steve Jobs: Secrets of Life and Steve Jobs on Failure. In the first video he talks about how we all have the ability to change and influence this thing that we called life. The video on failures talks about the difference between doers and dreamers, which relates perfectly to Zander and Zander’s chapter about being a contributor. Steve Jobs was definitely a contributor who definitely left his mark in this world. I’ve always been a dreamer, but Steve Jobs and this EMDT program have inspired me to become a doer, a contributor in this world.