Lessons from Superhero Movies: Teachers’ Edition

As the recent surge of superhero films is showing no signs of stopping, I felt that now was probably a good time to share lessons that I have gleaned from the current batch of superhero movies and apply them to the teaching realm.

The Dark Knight Trilogy

1. Always have tools in your utility belt. You never know when you may need to switch tracks quickly or scale a wall*.
2. You will have obstacles. Sometimes, lessons simply do not go as planned. You will occasionally fail. But as Thomas Wayne said (which Alfred would later repeat), “Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”**

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to a 1:1 Classroom* (Lessons Learned from Year 1)

As I was watching The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the way to New York City on Sunday, I came across this piece of dialogue:

Mr. Prosser: This bypass has got to be built and it’s going to be built!
Arthur Dent: Why has it got to be built?
Mr. Prosser: It’s a bypass. You’ve got to build bypasses.

This exchange happens when Arthur Dent attempts to save his house from demolishment for the sake of progress. Arthur, who was quite attached to his house, wanted to find out the reason why it was going to be demolished and was unsatisfied with Mr. Prosser’s answer.

This past year, my school went 1:1 (one student per device) with iPads. When I started the year, at times I acted like Mr. Prosser. I did not always think about the reason for using the iPad. “I’ve got to use technology because technology is great to be used!” I thought, “Why? Because it is there!” However, over the course of the year I have realized that technology is not a panacea. It is merely a tool in my utility belt. As a result I have taken a look back on my year and created tangible new strategies that will help make my management of a 1:1 iPad classroom much more effective. 

(image: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Lesson #1 

Avoid using technology solely as a gimmick

or…What’s tech got to do, got to do with it?

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My Season Finale: The Ending of the School Year as a TV Show

If the closing of my first year school year was a season finale what would it be like? This thought popped in my head during my morning run as I was anticipating receiving my contract for the upcoming year. Here is what I came up with!

Note: some of the events are overdramatized in order to add suspense.

Scene 1: The Mail Room

(MR. MILTON opens an envelope that contains his contract for the next year with two checkboxes – one indicating that he will return and one indicating that he will not. MR. MILTON sighs heavily appearing unsure of whether or not he will return.

MS. PALMER enters the mailroom and tears upon a similar letter)

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How I Found a Job: Episode 4 ~ Tales from the Road

While applying for a teaching job a few years ago, I posted a few notes on Facebook about the experience. I wrote them in an attempt to keep my sanity and sense of humor while facing a series of setbacks. As it seems like many people that I know are in this position, I have decided to post them here over the next few weeks. I wish all searching for jobs the best of luck. 

Three years ago in a state not so far away…

“Tales from the Road”

As you probably know, searching for a job can be very daunting…and can occasionally bring you to tears in interviews (a friend said this may have been her downfall in one of hers). To keep my sanity while seeking gainful employment, I am keeping this “job journal” with the belief that this will help me move past the difficult times (and, hopefully, then laugh about them).

This weekend I found two districts that were looking for social studies teachers. One is a smaller school that is looking for one social studies teacher; while the other is much larger and looking for five social studies teachers. Today, I hand-delivered my application packets to both of these districts. The odds seemed to be in my favor as I ventured out this morning in my navy blue Brooks Brothers suit.

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As Andy Marcinek and I are attempting to launch a website that highlights tech-integrated lessons (learn more about it on Edutopia!), I wanted to (re) share a lesson that my students enjoyed which uses Twitter.

Michael K. Milton ~ @42ThinkDeep

Edit: I have transitioned this to using todaysmeet.com rather than Twitter. The activity works the same, but we are in a walled garden that is much easier to set up than Twitter is.

In groups, students were assigned a country that became industrialized during the 18th and 19th centuries. The group’s job was to be the mouthpiece of that country with the task of letting the world know of their progress in industrializing using a common hashtag #MrMHWH. This was not the first time my class has used Twitter in class, so there was no need to explain how to use it. While the majority my students have personal Twitter accounts they elected to create new ones with the name of their country and used an image of their flag for the profile picture.

Getting started in this activity was a bit slow at first. With the exception of Britain, countries…

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How I Found a Job: Epsode 3 ~ Advice from Mom

While applying for a teaching job a few years ago, I posted a few notes on Facebook about the experience. I wrote them in an attempt to keep my sanity and sense of humor while facing a series of setbacks. As it seems like many people that I know are in this position, I have decided to post them here over the next few weeks. I wish all searching for jobs the best of luck. 

Three years ago in a state not so far away…

“Advice from Mom”

My mother is absolutely wonderful. She also means well. She really wants to help me find a position. At first, I begged her off; believing that using personal connections is cheating. One of her friends has a friend whose wife occasionally has coffee with one superintendent. An old acquaintance was a former superintendent and principal. A retired teacher walks around her neighborhood every so often. I told her, “thank you, but I think I am ok.” This, or course, was when I was a hot shot and believed that I could find a position in no time.

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How I Found a Job: Episode 2 “A Highly Qualified Applicant”

While applying for a teaching job a few years ago, I posted a few notes on Facebook about the experience. I wrote them in an attempt to keep my sanity and sense of humor while facing a series of setbacks. As it seems like many people that I know are in this position, I have decided to post them here over the next few weeks. I wish all searching for jobs the best of luck. 

Three years ago in a state not so far away…

“A Highly Qualified Applicant”

In the middle of May, I received a phone call for my second job interview. Like the previous time, I researched as much as I could on the school system and my interviewers. Along the way, I fell in love with this school district (as they put into place some forward thinking initiatives). “This is it!” I thought.

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