Five Things: If I Were Brave…

I originally considered this to be an analysis of many of the things Rick Wormeli mentioned in his Keynote address back at the North Carolina Middle School Conference in March.  Thanks to a comment on my original “Braver Teaching” post, I thought this would make a good blog meme.  So, what five things would you do in education/the classroom if you were brave enough? Here’s my list:

  1. Go Paperless – A large part of activities I have my students work on could be done in a paperless environment. The rest would need to be modified slightly. The lack of an “always available” computing solution makes this one difficult. Our school has several labs, and I could probably wind up in one most days, but there are still a significant number of days where my students wouldn’t have access making this one something I’ve not attempted yet. Also, would I have to stop having my kids build paper roller coasters?
  2. Get my Master’s in Education Technology, and not leave the classroom – This may actually be two brave things wrapped into one. With two small children at home my Master’s has been put on hold. I’ve long thought I would get it in Middle Grades Education, but have recently thought more about Ed Tech.  The struggle for me is not wanting to leave the regular classroom.  I get the feeling that use of technology by a classroom teacher goes further with a staff than someone who’s primary job is to incorporate tech into class activities. I also don’t want the hassle of being viewed as a technician rather than an educator.
  3. Teach on a two teacher team – I’m currently on a four person team and really enjoy working with my teammates. However, I’d love to try out a two person team where I taught both math and science. I think the opportunities for integration between subject areas would be much more plentiful when coordinating with only one other person. Also, the number of students would be more manageable with only about 50 rather than 100.
  4. Overseas travel experience – I’m so not there yet, but wish I were. I have the utmost respect for Chad Brannon taking groups of middle schoolers all over the place through EF Tours. I went on my own European tour with EF after high school and it was one of the most memorable and fantastic times of my life. I would love to have the courage to take 10 to 15 middle school kids on a similar experience, but just haven’t quite gotten up the nerve to really consider it yet.
  5. Blogging with students – One of the recent things I’ve seen discussed was that of using a blog for a digital portfolio.  Our school community is not quite on board yet with the idea of student blogging. Evidence of that was my attempt earlier this year to pilot the program with 6 or 7 kids.  We discussed it over lunch one day, they went home and talked it over with their parents, and 1 came back the next day saying her parents were willing to let her give it a try.  This is one I definitely plan to continue pushing toward for the next school year.

I’m specifically tagging Kelly Hines, Chad Brannon, Ben Grey, Paul Bogush (thanks for the idea), and anyone else who would like to be a bit more brave in their teaching lives.


6 Responses

  1. Todd, you too can travel with EF. The key is to take an adult friend along. Check out this blog post if you haven’t already:

  2. Hey Todd,

    Re: #1, #2 & #3. Consider switching to middle school biotech education and partially fulfill all three dreams. Since the course is run out of the Career and Technology Education Department, you’ll have a mandate to explore the latest technologies with your students. Besides, since the public still needs to be educated about biotechnology, your student numbers will go down until your program gets a reputation as an outstanding elective.

    Check out my website (just click on my name) to see the kinds of paperless exercises I use with my students. I’d start with the left menu item called Dancing Particles and after you view the video, check out the Interactivties subpage.

    A great example of how one teacher used a class blog for a topic dear to biotechnology just came in from the twitter stream. See

    You just have to keep an eye out for openings. There’s no better place to teach middle school biotech than in NC. I predict a few positions will open up once the economy recovers.

    In the meantime, consider joining our little Molecular Visions group on the Synapse Ning. You’ll find it at:

  3. This is super! I just found this and didn’t see that tag come back as a ping back–I will get on it.

  4. I have my Master’s in Ed Tech and am still a classroom science teacher. I signed up for the program when it first became available in 1998 in NJ. It took 5 years while working and raising 2 small children, but I did it with help from my husband and our families. Go for it and best of luck!!

  5. I am actually very close to finishing this….

  6. […] back in May, Todd Williamson tagged me with the meme “Five Things You Would Do If You Were Not Afraid.”  That’s a darn […]

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