Do I belong here? Am I what’s wrong here? The Black Flamingo follows a British Greek Cypriot/Jamaican boy from youth to his first year at Uni. The book, written in prose and including poetry written by the main character, chronicles his path towards his identity, sexuality, and gender expression; finally becoming the on-stage persona, The Black Flamingo. The book was easily read in a single sitting and clips at a quick pace. This book is a must for fans of Kinky Boots, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and/or the forthcoming movie Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Lyrics and quotes from all three came to mind while reading this book… Listen up at your own freedom calling, Calling you to a day where you’re shining
This book is a charming book filled with LGBTQ+ representation that takes place at a summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth. The main character, Randy, has worked over the school year to transform to Del, in the hopes of attracting another camper, in a different cabin, far different from his friends in the drama cabin. This book touches on themes of identity and how far one will go to attract a crush.
This week, I was interviewed by Joe Hong, KPBS Education reporter about the role of teacher-librarians in Sweetwater Union High School district, especially during this pandemic. For five of my teacher-librarian colleagues, including myself, we are counting down the days until we are pink-slipped along with 190 other teachers across the district.
PearDeck is a tool that can be used to solicit feedback or measure learning during presentations. Using either Powerpoint or Google Chrome, questions can be asked to participants before, during, or after presentations. Students are able to respond using text or numbers, drawing, multiple-choice questions, and drag-able items to label an image. Items submitted can be reviewed by the instructor and then showed anonymously for discussion and review. Once the presentation is finished, a document can be made for each student (if using Google Slides/Docs) for review later.
FlipGrid is a video curating platform for students to record and respond to questions and prompts. Students use personal devices to record videos anywhere between 30-90 seconds. Once completed they can add stickers and drawings over their video. Videos are reviewed and can be posted for class review and responses. Students are able to respond to other’s responses. Teachers are able to grade the responses in person as well. For students that may have difficulty or apprehensiveness writing, this is a different modality for students to show learning or to discuss topics.
This video must be required viewing for all teacher candidates, or if not, should be viewed yearly, at the beginning of the school year, as your reminder of the great task that you have the privilege and responsibility ahead of you. The central tenet of this video is that fact that students do not learn from teachers they do not like. Students may disagree with your teaching practices or grading or opinions on material, but teachers should still be approachable and available to support all students. One must strongly caution teachers that in trying to be liked, that should not be confused with trying to be a student’s (best) friend. There is a difference.
This video will leave you with some laughs, some tears, and some insights or “A-ha”s. I remember first viewing this video and my first take away was the portion around 5:00 into the video where Ms. Pierson puts a +2 out of 20 on a quiz. The student is shocked because of a smiley face next to the grade that is an F. ” ‘-18’ sucks the life out of you; a +2 said, ‘I ain’t all bad.'” It gives your students the mindset that with review and reteaching that would be necessary on a “-18,” that perhaps, a +2 and a smiley face on a paper shows to the student to celebrate what they can do and then do it better with teacher guidance.
Today, in my US History course, as we closed our look at the Roaring 20s, I fired up a quizlet live to do some review! There was something new on the screen:
A QR code that when scanned, automatically adds students to the match. OR, if your student scans the QR code with their camera in iOS, it will take them to the app (if installed) or to a webpage so they can get into the game.
I knew in my AP Government class, I wanted to add more to the slides used during lecture. I wanted to be able to ask questions to my students, to have them expand upon concepts presented as well as provide a way to review concepts closer to exams. Enter Pear Deck which gives teachers the ability to not only present previously created Powerpoints and Google Slides presentations, but to include interactive slides where participants can write text and numbers, draw on a digital whitboard, answer multiple choice and drag to label an image. Even though I teach seniors, Pear Deck let’s them be kids again. I have had my students draw visual representations when asked about Constitutional Amendments. Even recent participants during a district PD took part in telling me what they taught and where:
Recently, Pear Deck launched a Google Slides Add-On which allows for editing and creating of both static and interactive slides, right in Google Slides. I’m blown away by the fact that I can create a slide, adding my own flair, and then add the interactive (draw, write, respond, drag) layer right on top. Even better, Pear Deck has included a library of starter slides, organized by beginning, middle or end of the lesson, which can be edited for your presentation. In my casual glance, there were ideas for the interactive slides I had not even thought of, including drawing/typing on a mind map.
Both of these forces combined allows for out-of-the-box and interactive presentations which can be used in any classroom to give students something different, beyond the standard presentation of facts.