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WinkWorld April 2013

Hello Friends,
In this issue, you will find:

Sugata Mitra: Build A School in the Cloud

Some of you may have heard of Sugata Mitra as the Hole in the Wall guy in India, or as The School in the Cloud guy. He has been conducting and publishing research for several years, so some of you are aware of him through professional journals. However, the TED talk is a great 20-minute summary of an amazing story of how one person can make a difference.

His office is beside a slum in India, and one day he shoved a computer in a hole in the wall so that the kids in the slum could come and touch it. And, then he left them alone, and you will be amazed at what happens.

Mitra now refers to this process as SOLE (self-organizing learning environments). I think that public libraries and books clubs often are other examples of SOLE. We have not heard the end of Mr. Mitra.

Loving those libraries
Last month in WinkWorld, I mentioned again the grassroots movement of tiny (or birdhouse) libraries, which people construct and post in front of their own homes.

Bring a Mini Library To Your Front Yard–Bring-a-Mini-Library-to-Your-Front-Yard

How To Build a Little Free Library

Hey, look what I found in the garage. What do you think this might be?

A Teacher Tells It Like It Is.
Last month in WinkWorld, I posted something, which I had previously written, about “the Benson Kids,” who really taught me to teach.

A teacher, Mrs. X, who lives in an evil state far, far away wrote the following after reading about the Benson kids.

I just read in WinkWorld about the Benson kids, and I absolutely loved it! After almost a full year of teaching Common Core this and Common Core that, I found your thoughts and reflections on the Benson kids to be so refreshing. I have increasingly found that the parts of the day I most look forward to and that my students enjoy learning the most are when they write in their journals, they read to themselves, and I read aloud to them. I love to answer their journals and put in stickers and write questions about their thinking.

I keep thinking that I can ‘do it all’ – I can continue to nurture a love of reading and writing and learning in my students, and I can meet Common Core standards and testing standards. Every day I doubt that belief more and more. I am now feeling like the rope in tug-of-war.

When and how did teaching become so complicated? I find myself bogged down in books and materials that I’m supposed to be matching to Common Core State Standards that meticulously list minute skills that students should know, understand, and do at every grade level. I feel a gravitational pull toward those books – I must conquer this mountain – I must pay attention to these materials. I read the standards and part of brain says, “Ok, this sounds reasonable.” On paper, they make sense – there is flow and direction – it is all there neat and tidy – it is a “cookie-cutter” mentality.

Then I look at my students, and I listen to them, and I read their journals. As your article stated – I have never seen a standardized student, either. Where are the standards for sense of humor, creativity, imagination, spirituality, personality, and character? Never mind – those things cannot be standardized, and I don’t want them to be! The gravitational pull of the books and standards is met with a pull on my heart-strings. These kids need me, they need to learn, they need to read, they need to write! They need a guide, not a dictator. They are why I teach – not those books. But, I feel that sometimes I let the books and standards win. I see report cards coming soon and begin thinking I need to frantically hand out worksheets on 1000 different skills in 10 days just to cover my bases. Each day is a struggle to decide what matters most. I know the true answer in my heart, but it is March, and I feel battle-worn and confused as to why there is even a battle to begin with. I learned many things in college, listened to hundreds of lectures from professors. Do I remember it all? No way. But I vividly remember one professor saying to me, “Do what is best for the kids.” That’s it, that’s what it all boils down to. That should be my guide. In the end, that is all that matters.

Thank you, Teachers, everywhere for all you do. The movement to resist standardized testing, Race To The Top, and corporate reforms is alive and well, but what fulltime teacher has time to read all of that every day? Your complex lives are very demanding with the kids and their needs right in front of you, not to mention your own families and your district mandates.

A Message to Parents from your Child’s Teacher
Thank you, Christine McCartney, for creating and posting on YouTube

I am thinking that if we can get Cristine McCartney, Mrs. X, and Sugata Mitra together, we will not have to waste billions of dollars on America’s new love affair with “corporate reform” of schools.

Save Our Schools
Many worthwhile groups and blogs exist to provide support: Maybe this month, you could find a little time to check out Save Our Schools.

TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages)
In the last issue of WinkWorld, I mentioned that we were going to Dallas for TESOL. In what follows is a little glance back a very successful conference.

I presented on Biliteracy: Our Best Bet, a lively, interesting, and interested group attended. Specifically, we worked on ways that mainstream or ESL/ENL teachers can incorporate effective biliteracy activities in their own classroom. We used (a) scaffolding and (b) affirming identity from Jim Cummins’ Multiliteracies framework.

From Critical Liteeracy to Multiliteracies
This is a little summary, which I wrote about Jim Cummins’ idea of Multiliteracies.

Biliteracy: Our Best Bet, the presentation

Biliteracy: Our Best Bet, the hand-out for participants

During the dialogue at the presentation, we focused also on the benefits of being bilingual. Those citations have since been added to the original handout, but I am including them right here also for those who are interested.

Updated Citations on The Benefits of Being Bilingual
Ellen Bialystok is the lead researcher on the cognitive benefits of being bilingual,
and Claudia Dreifus
and Steve Krashen (the text) (the video)

Lakota Writers’ Workshop with Melissa Behrens and Leah Krauth, the presentation, the handout

Again, we had a great group of participants, with much to share. The next time we do this, I’d like to add the notion of “literacy nests,”, which is part of the legacy of the Maori community in New Zealand. If you read this link, please know that the term, cultural literacy, in New Zealand, is not the same notion as cultural literacy, as it was used in the US about 10-15 years ago. . .

Dawn Wink, our daughter, did her presentation on “Veins of Turquoise: Migration, Immigration, and Language.

TESOL 2014, March 26-29, Portland, Oregon
How/where to submit proposals.

FVR (Free Voluntary Reading)
Red Rain: A Novel by RL Stine, for all your avid Goosebump series readers, who suddenly grew up. This one is for you.
Click here for your copy

Books For Teachers

Howard Gardner
I have shared Gardner’s work previously.

Many of you know him from his Multiple Intelligences work. Monique Preciado, a graduate student from CSU Stanislaus has generously shared a ppt., which she created on Gardner.

Now, Gardner is articulating the 5 types of minds needed in the future:
the Discipline Mind
the Synthesizing Mind
the Creating Mind
the Respectful Mind
the Ethical Mind.

You will note that Monique’s ppt. has the Multiple Intelligences and the 5 types of minds needed in the future.

Howard Gardner’s Five Minds for the Future
Click here for your copy

Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Click here for your copy

OK, even if you are not a teacher, you still might like to read Howard Gardner…

Where In The World…?
Sometimes I worry that we, Americans, have a bad case of geographic illiteracy-sometimes we just do not know where countries are. I am fortunate in that I have friends who travel and offer me the opportunity to come along ‘virtually,’ which I love. For example, since the publication of the last WinkWorld, I have had friends in Oman, in Nepal, and the Koh Islands. So, I was wondering…

Where in the world are the Koh Islands?
Thank you, Vici Egan, for sharing your photos with us. I note in one of your pictures that you have the rum in coconut and your writing journal. What a great day. I know that you were at Koh Samui, but that there are other Koh (sometimes spelled Ko) islands. Gorgeous.

Where in the world is Oman?

Thank you, Jenni Keller and Phillip Miller, I see that Oman is very different from your home in Switzerland.

Where in the world is Nepal?
And, here is Kathmandu, Nepal.

Thank you Melissa and Clinton Mitchell.

Where in the world is Thailand?
Find out here

Thank you, Aaron.
Aaron also attended NESA, New East South Asia, Spring Educators’ Conference

New Angels: Boston, MA and West, TX
The Boston Bruins’ fans sing their hearts out to the national anthem.

Welcome To The World

Kirra Rae (ND), Rio Roan (SD), River Marlene (CA), Carlitos (Hong Kong)

Notes from the Real World
Spring has sprung: Not.

Wink took this photo while yelling, “Jump higher.”

Shoot, he missed my back flip.*

So, Wink wanted to jump, too.

During our April snow storm, this calf went missing for 18 hours. Wink finally found her near Highway 34, and brought her home.

We brought her into the porch to warm up and dry off.

Finally, some nice warm milk.

But, what she also had in mind was to get into that kitchen so she could stop shivering, and finally take a nap.

This kid seems to end up in the news, as all three of the following photos have been published in various places.
When he went to the children’s museum in Madison, WI

When he went to the Dr. in Boise…

When he went to the hospital, and Miss American came to visit him…

Who knows what might be next?

Here is Austin with his signed copy of RL Stine’s autograph.

I was able to get RL Stine’s autograph when I went to the Tucson Book Festival,

3 ‘Lil New Mexicans when they went walking…

Dawn Wink, DewDrops
Meadowlark: A Novel, Publication Announcement

Congratulations, Dawn!

All previous blogs are available,

*just kidding.