Be Happy On Your Own

Photo: Flickr

Kid Alone

As a part of the reading for EDUC932, Professor Steve Katz provided a list of articles to read regarding 21st century skills for young learners. I went through several articles, and most of them seemed like lists of certain traits with a few changes between authors, but I ran across a post by Leo Babauta that mentioned Be Happy On Your Own as a 21st century skill. I was somewhat flabbergasted, but after some thought, it seemed practical. In a world where we are so connected, it would be beneficial to have a skill which allows you to be happy even when you’re uncomfortable or alone. As traveling becomes more popular, we will have experiences when we are away from our friends. As studying abroad becomes more available and necessary (depending on your course of study), students will need to be able to adjust to situations in which they aren’t used to their surroundings, particularly when abroad. Being comfortable with discomfort is something we all need to learn to accept, embrace, and thrive on!

Hour of Code

Hour of Code Certificate

Being a technology newbie, I had never thought of doing any kind of code! As a part of my graduate course, however, we were instructed to complete an hour of code. Although I chose the easiest option, I found it very interesting and … dare I say … FUN!

I can definitely understand why students enjoy this, and I will definitely be using this in my classroom in the very near future!

Presentation Project

Each year, Uchon has a period of time in which every student at the school will give a presentation. The ability to speak publicly is important, and we believe it’s a great way for students to begin getting used to speaking in front of bigger groups. Students are required to write a speech and create an accompanying PowerPoint presentation.

I have created a sample for students to follow along with a short rubric. The presentations this year will occur in early November, so this rubric may be adjusted between now and then.

Let me know what you think.


Presentation Rubric


Ideas = Property?


Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Currently, I’m taking a technology, and the Professor, Mr. Steve Katz (@stevekatz), encouraged us to take a look at a video entitled “Everything is a Remix” by Kirby Ferguson in order to get a sense of whether or not ideas should be considered property. As I was navigating to the link he’d sent me, I was saying, “Duh, if it were me, I wouldn’t want anyone taking my ideas!” After watching the video, though, I feel more conflicted than assured about this stance.

I completely understand an entrepreneurial spirit wanting to have exclusive rights to their ideas. If someone has invested their time, money, or supplies into something, they should have the right to make a profit off of it.

However, results don’t lie. Humans had copied each other for centuries with the intent of creating a massive pool of information in which people could contribute to, scrutinize, experiment with, and ultimately make better. Some of the greatest thinkers in history didn’t have the same protections we do now, yet we continue to credit them for their ideas. They were able to create some of the greatest theories, advance our world and thought processes more than anyone would have imagined at the time, but they were able to do it without being bogged down by poachers (i.e. trolls) and didn’t have to worry about the trustworthiness of those around them or who was chomping at the bit to use their ideas. They just created, worked, made things better, and grew.

Now, we have to worry about the poachers, our associates, and sometimes our own family more than we worry about creating. It has stifled our ability to create. That slowdown has been hidden somewhat because of the nature of the technologies being created and their capabilities. Imagine, though, if all of these companies knew that others would use their stuff, or even encouraged it, and were able to use others’ ideas to create even greater things. What would our world look like? Would the bigger companies lose some profit? Probably so. Would the world of creation be better off? I’m inclined to think so.

If everyone were to get on the same page, move in the same direction, stop worrying so much about what’s his or hers or theirs and just create using every means available, we would be able to do much more at a much faster pace with greater accuracy than we do now. I’m sure that some companies would lose their profitability; however, I’m also convinced the world would be much better off.

Given my opinion, what would be my solution? Well, I still think creators need some time to be able to make a profit off of their inventions. However, the current copyright laws don’t really make sense. I believe they’re highly detrimental, actually! In some countries, a work can’t be used until 100 years after the creator’s death!

Here is a quote from the video that more eloquently sums up my thought process: “In the United States, the introduction of copyrights and patents was intended to address this imbalance (i.e. the fact that original creations can’t compete with copies from a financial standpoint). Copyrights covered media. Patents covered inventions. Both aimed to encourage the creation and proliferation of new ideas by providing a brief and limited period of exclusivity. … This gave creators a window in which to cover their investment and earn a profit.”

I believe that 25 years is plenty of time for someone to invent, perfect, produce, and profit from an idea or creation. If you can’t do it in that amount of time, I’m not sure you should be able to hold the idea hostage. Someone else would have most likely had a similar idea in that amount of time. They should have the right to use their idea, too, rather than having it held hostage and remain undeveloped. While I believe creators should have a period of time to use their idea to make a profit, they should not be able to hold ideas hostage for an excess of two lifetimes.


Google Form

I created a Google Form to be used to evaluate my students on their presentation performance. This is very simple and “bare bones”, but it should be a good tool (after some development) I can use to more efficiently check their work and provide feedback more quickly. If you have any suggestions on how I can improve it, please, let me know!


My First Screencast

Look out world! I have a YouTube channel and the ability to screencast!

I have a poor man’s version of a game where they can move around a race track when they read books, get high scores on homework, do extra work, etc. I also like my students to experience English authentically outside the boundaries of our studies, so I offer them the opportunity to listen to videos and take quizzes. The website I use is It’s great because the videos are created by teachers and leveled.

So, this screencast explains how my students can access the video and send me their scores.

Let me know what you think.


Math Whiz, I’m Not!

When people think about their favorite subject matter to teach, most would tell you about something they are passionate about themselves. That’s not the case for me. In my classroom, I have really enjoyed teaching Math despite the fact that I am neither a whiz in the subject nor passionate about it. After getting through the basic four operations, teaching students how to solve an equation with several different operations (PEMDAS) is always fun for me.

My favorite part of the lesson is PEMDAS Bingo. After going through the process and doing some practice, students are given a card and asked to fill it in with numbers of their choice according to column (B is for 1-10, I is for 11-20, etc.). This introduces some randomness to the game, but because the students choose their own numbers, any blame for losing is on themselves. The teacher writes down an expression for each number (1-50), or you can find some on the internet (saves a lot of time!). Then, the teacher will draw them out of a hat and write the expression (don’t write the answer) on the board or reveal it via media. Students must find the value of the expression and circle that number on their card if they have written it. A student wins if they have 5 consecutive numbers (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal).

Having small incentives for the winner adds some intensity to the game, and the students really get into it!