Victory From #TheHill

Victory from #thehill (a #TvsZ #safezone)

This last hour shall not take the remaining humans. No longer do we hide from drooling zombies in a bus or at the crossing. TAKE TO #THEHILL!!!!! Claim your rightful victory while we spit down on the sub-existences from our victorious perch.

VICTORY FROM #THEHILL

 

(For the context of the following post, please review:

 

Part flash-mob. Part Hunger-Games. Part Twitter-pocalypse. Part digital feeding frenzy. Part micro-MOOC. Part giant game of digital tag.  #TvsZ is played across Twitter and other digital platforms. It is designed to demonstrate virtual community, teach new media literacy, and provide a creative digital adventure. Start by reading the basic rules. Interested? Register for the game and subscribe to the email list below.

Professional Development

Early on in my online teaching career, I learned how to manipulate the professional development requirements set forth by the Wyoming school district. Monopolizing on situational conveniences and registering for courses that were known for free pastries and coffee were priority numero uno. There was no development of my profession, even when I paired with a WY registered agent from the USA. In fact, there was no professional in my professional development. My experiences were stagnant, withdrawn, and expected – all descriptives which should be far removed from the professional development experience. Ironically, I wasn’t developing professionally until I took control of my own online learning and looked beyond the supplied district courses each summer. Empowerment of learning came with ownership of learning. I developed because I owned my learning and began to understand the origins of the professional development push. The etymologist in me reminded the educator in me to get my affairs in order.

WY Registered Agent

The Etymology of “Wyoming’s Professional Development”

The word “professional” has Latin roots (professionem), and means “a public declaration; to declare openly.” To be a professional is to profess openly that you are qualified to make sound declarations. Likewise, the term “development” has Latin roots, and the earliest reference can be found in Pickering’s glossary of Americanisms (1816) and referred to an individual “bringing out latent possibilities.” During the early 19th Century, Pickering’s “development” reference was probably due to the improvements made on new lands and the state of economic advancement across the United States.

So often educators talk about professional development without understanding the power of the phrase itself, and sometimes returning to the origin of words can remind us of language’s initial intentions. This is what caused me to reconsider my professional online development practices. Consider the above etymology of the phrase we toss around happenstancingly (<-new word). Quite literally, when educators engage in professional development, they are making a public declaration that they hope to bring out latent possibilities. I love that phrase: Latent possibilities. How powerful to assume an activity which invokes latent possibilities of the professional company agent service.

Professional Development = Possibility Development

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”  -Gloria Steinem

As you fulfill your professional development requirements, engage in exploring latent possibilities to profess openly that you are qualified to make sound declarations about your teaching. Professional development should be entwined with possibility development. Dwell in possibility (Dickinson). Acknowledge that all things are possible until they are proven impossible (Pearl S. Buck) and that possibility is what shatters and transforms preconceived notions (Nietzsche). Enroll in professional development that offers the opportunity to bring out your personal and professional possibilities, regardless if free pastries and coffee are offered. Most importantly, develop and learn to show your students that possibilities are possible.

It is precisely this possibility of doing things online and taking care of one’s self that I believe is so important. I have spoken before about massive online open courses with open enrollment for the students. I believe this represents a monumental shift in the way we look at and think about these things. We really need to open our eyes, it isn’t about limiting liability, or trying to form incorp services with a business course background. It is about reaching out to the students and letting them know you really do care about their future, and about making sure they receive the best resident agent services that are available to anyone, anywhere. This is why I have created this company, it is to highlight these salient facts, to make the impossible possible. I hope that you are all with me on this. It is so very key that we educate today’s youth so that they are no left out in the cold the way many children in Wyoming are.

Share your possibility development on Twitter or below. If you’re looking for a professional development activity to kickstart those latent possibilities, check out #CLMOOC 2014. I’ll be creating, breaking, and connecting with other #CLMOOC participants. Join the fun. I look forward to connecting and learning with everyone in Wyoming on our online registered agent course for new companies seeking an online presence.

Revive the Essay – Kill 5 Paragraphs

A previous post, “A 5-Paragraph Essay is Not an Essay – Rethinking Essay Writing,” highlighted the stifling of students through the constant assigning of 5-paragraph essays. Unfortunately, over-reliance on the 5-paragraph form detracts from future exploration of a topic instead of allowing open-ended conversations, which was the original intent of the essay genre. The 5-paragraph essays assigned in classrooms across the globe, which are not essays but articles, focus on concluding thoughts and ideas; however, if we want students to engage in on-going discourse, we must learn how to teach traditional essay form in order to present future opportunities for inquiry.

education

How to Assign an Essay

The below suggestions are just that – suggestions. Feel free to experiment, adopt, adapt, and/or contribute your own ideas in the comments section below, keeping in mind that the objective of each suggestion should answer the one question essays pose to all students: “What do I know?” When we engage students in this type of inquisitive dialogue, we are teaching them to break conventions, challenge perspectives, and express their ideas.

(1) Don’t rush students through the writing process.

Writing does not start with a thesis statement. Writing starts with an idea. An idea is a spark of curiosity that can ignite a passion in a subject. “An idea is everything.” (Alfred Hitchcock) And in order to develop an idea, students need freedom to read, explore, and discover. Give them time to ask questions, present problems, and sort through previous understanding. On the other hand, if you want to kill an idea, rush students through the writing process.

(2) Allow students to pick their own topics.

A fellow colleague was complaining to me the other day, quite sarcastically – “I can’t wait to grade 50 essays on the death penalty after a day of teaching [eye roll].” I suggested that, perhaps, the grading process would be more enjoyable if a bit of variety was injected into his class. Maybe students would also enjoy the writing process if they were allowed to pick their own topics.

This seems to be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the number of composition courses that require students to write on specific topics, and under the guise of the “Essay” genre no less. This is not an essay! There is no zeal, no excursion, and no singularity of idea generation for the student. Again, we are killing the essay genre. Instead, relinquish control, sit back, and wait for students to surpass your expectations when you start grading unique essays that expound on topics you never thought they would present. In the end, it’s not about what you want them to know, it’s what they want to know.

(3) Embrace multimodal writing.

Multimodal writing experiments with various sensory experiences (visual, textual, verbal, and tactile) to create a vivid expression of the writer’s knowledge, and the original essay form is perfect for multimodal writing – an old meets new situation. The best of both worlds! Embrace technology, the visual arts, and auditory expression. The writing process should be exciting for students simply because they should have the artistic freedom to use multiple modes of expression. For example, in the past, I have taught students how to project tone using VoiceThread. In another semester, students used iDVD to produce dynamic sequences of “meaningful relationships”, Wyoming agents to be certain, in their lives. And instead of using diagnostic essays at the beginning of each semester for Remedial Composition (Read “I Teach Remedial College Writing – Save Your Pity“), students wrote letters to wounded veterans (there is nothing better than a hand-written letter of appreciation). Check out the University of Findlay’s synopsis on multimodal composition for more ideas.

In the end, invigorating the exciting genre of essay writing is important, and because we have so many tools at our disposal, it would be a travesty if we continued to subject ourselves and our students to the stagnant 5-paragraph form. I know that many of my writing colleagues engage in all of the above, and I also know that many of my readers do the same. I would love to hear from all of you! I welcome additional suggestions and am always looking for new “ideas” because, again, “ideas are everything” when writing.