During a fake recruiting call with University of Michigan women's basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico, Josh Finn (8) laughs at his response to one of her questions. Arico spent time telling students about all that it takes to be a college athlete. Evening phone calls to recruits are a regular part of her coaching routine.
2015 SMS Career Fair
On November 5, Saline Middle School held their 3rd annual Career Fair. This was an excellent opportunity for SMS students to hear about different careers and interact with employees from many different walks of life. Many thanks to Kimberly Bryant from The University of Michigan for all of her efforts to organize this event. Also, thanks to all of the wonderful presenters that shared a slice of their life with our students. This is an invaluable experience for them and we hope that they see all the benefits of putting in the hard work now to be able to pursue these careers.
"...we're not destined to be passive and compliant. We're designed to be active and engaged. And we know that the richest experiences in our lives aren't when we're clamoring for validation from others, but when we're listening to our own voice - doing something that matters, doing it well, and doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves."
I put Daniel Pink's "Drive" on my summer reading list after hearing several positive recommendations from my colleagues. I think it was an excellent commentary on human motivation and the lack of attention that this gets in important arenas such as business and education. Pink asserts 3 main concepts: we all have a desire to direct our own lives (autonomy), we all want to get better at something that has value (mastery), and we all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves (purpose). Throughout the book, Pink promotes the concept that we cannot truly entertain the thought of achieving mastery if we continue on as drones in the compliant manner that we so readily accept in society today. When people are provided autonomous, purposeful opportunities, the likelihood for positive outcomes greatly increases. External, carrot-and-stick motivators have no long-term benefits and need to be reconsidered immediately.
After reading this poignant piece on "the surprising truth about what motivates us," it doesn't seem like much of a surprise after all. Extrinsic motivators have always seemed like distractions from the true point of completing a task. Students have frequently asked, "what do I get now?" after completing various tasks or showing their skills in my math class. My patented response to this question has become a "high-five" or a "pat on the back." In other words, congrats on accomplishing your goal! I have never believed in providing outside rewards beyond the sheer satisfaction of completing the task itself. Study after study reveals that people lose the desire to complete tasks when rewards are removed, thus squashing any hope for a surge of intrinsic motivation.
The book continually points to the fact that trends in fields such as business and education have not caught up to what science knows after decades of research on human motivation. This unfortunate truth leaves many employees and students lacking adequate opportunities to live up their full potential. Hopefully we will start to see the slow shift to self-directed, purpose-driven environments that will lead us to more success, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
Here are a few takeaways that I hope to consider more often as an educator:
Finally, a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives."
"If we pluck people out of controlling environments, when they've known nothing else, and plop them in a ROWE (results-only work environment) or an environment of undiluted autonomy, they'll struggle. Organization must provide...'scaffolding' to help every (student) find his footing to make the transition."
"When the reward is the activity itself.....there are no shortcuts."
"Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible."
"....it's often difficult to do something exceptionally well if we don't know the reasons we're doing it in the first place."
Additional Resources for Daniel Pink's "Drive"
2009 TED Talk: The Puzzle of Motivation
RSA Animate for "Drive"
There are 120 students in the program who are all very interested in the production of different forms of multimedia. Thanks to advertisements and sponsorships from last year we were able to start to buy some new photography and videography equipment to help our program. We are able to use these resources to produce our video announcements show, yearbook, and online newspaper. The goal this year is to continue to purchase more resources so that more students can use the equipment on a daily basis. In return for your support, we can advertise your business to the Saline community in our yearbook. Our goal is to sell over 1000 yearbooks this year so you can be confident that your advertisement will be in many households in the Saline area! If you are able, please consider the following options for supporting us:
Your business/name in our sponsor section: $25
1/8 page ad in the yearbook: $50
1/4 page ad in the yearbook: $100
1/2 page ad in the yearbook: $175
Full page ad in the yearbook: $300
We will also put your name in our sponsor section if you purchase an ad.
Please let me know if you are interested in this opportunity or not at this time. If you are interested, I will follow up with instructions on how to start the ad creation and payment process.
We appreciate your consideration in helping us here at Saline Middle School!
-Saline Middle School Multimedia Crew
On Monday (2/24), I went to the 8th grade blue girls basketball game to watch 10 of my students play. With this victory against Tecumseh, they maintained their undefeated record! Great job girls! It was fun to see them all in action on the court. I was very impressed by their hard work, teamwork, and basketball skills. Here are some of the pictures I took of them in action - enjoy! I will also be posting an online album for parents to download individual/team pictures and to purchase prints if they would like.
This Friday, Algebra 1 students will be taking their Trimester 2 Final Exam which will cover Chapters 7, 8, and 9. Here is the schedule for the week:
Monday - Chapter 9 Quiz redos and Chapter 9 Review
Tuesday - Chapter 8 Review
Wednesday - EXPLORE Test for all 8th graders
Thursday - Chapter 7 Review
Friday - Tri 2 Final Exam
Here are links to all of the filled-in notes from each of the chapters:
Chapter 7 - Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
Chapter 8 - Exponents and Exponential Functions
Chapter 9 - Polynomials and Factoring
In case your students need some extra help, here are some useful websites on systems of linear equations and inequalities, exponents and exponential functions, factoring polynomials, adding/subtracting polynomials, and multiplying polynomials.
Also, you can check out my YouTube channel, MrDReevesTV, for helpful videos on these topics. The playlist for each of these chapters is embedded at the bottom of this post as well as the links here:
Chapter 7 YouTube Playlist
Chapter 8 YouTube Playlist
Chapter 9 YouTube Playlist
Students received a review packet on Friday to help them start preparing for the exam. This packet will be due on Friday. I will also be posting answers to this packet as a checking resource for students later this week.
Good luck as you prepare for Friday's exam!
Tri 2 Final Exam Review Packet
Chapter 7 YouTube Playlist
Chapter 8 YouTube Playlist
Chapter 9 YouTube Playlist
Today, my first hour Multimedia students got to experience an "Hour of Code" as part of Computer Science Education Week sponsored by Code.org. It was an awesome time for students to experience the exploding field of Computer Science. Students were led through tutorials that included videos from influential leaders such as BIll Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and Angry Birds coding tasks. It was great to see them celebrating their successes and enjoying a new challenge. Hopefully they will continue to use the resources on Code.org and some will grow a passion for future opportunities in Computer Science.
This Friday, students will be taking their Trimester 1 Final Exam. The exam will cover everything from the first 6 chapters of Algebra 1. Here are the answers to the review that is due on Thursday. This may be used as a checking resource to help students prepare for Friday.
Today was the SMS Spelling Bee. Congrats to all of the participants for making it this far. Congrats to the top 6 in each grade that will be moving on to the county wide Spelling Bee at Wylie Middle School in Dexter on Saturday, November 16.
Here are the top 6 from each grade:
What an exciting day for the SMS Multimedia Crew! With the funds that students raised last year through yearbook ads, we were able to purchase lots of new equipment including a Nikon DSLR camera with 2 lenses and a Panasonic AVCHD Camcorder. These new items will be a great addition to the equipment that is available to my Multimedia students. I'm excited to train students on using these high-powered pieces of technology and witness the awesome products they will create.
As several students noted today, the SMS Multimedia Crew is...
Well, the first day of the 2013-2014 school year is under our belts and, like usual, my voice is shot! It was an exciting day to meet all of my new students. I decided to do something a little different on the first day of school since I knew students would be listening to class policies and procedures all day long. I definitely weaved that into the discussion today because it is important to lay the groundwork for the year on the first day, but also found some time to get students communicating with their neighbors and sharing their opinions on some items for class this year. I asked students to answer the topic on the poster boards one at a time. After they came up with an answer, they discussed their thoughts with their seatmate. After a few minutes of discussion, one of the students took their sticky notes and placed them on the poster board. After all the sticky notes were on the poster board (each class is in a different color), I opened up the discussion to the class to get feedback. It was good to get the kids talking on day one and to hear their thoughts on the following topics:
1. I learn the best/most when...
2. Our classroom should be ________________ every day.
3. My goal for math is...
I will be posting these throughout the room as a reminder for the remainder of the school year. I will be posting the 'I learn the best/most when..." in my office so I can reflect on their thoughts and try to tailor the environment to meet their needs. I look forward to learning more about my students as the first week progresses and creating a beneficial learning environment for the students in all of my classes.
My Multimedia students will get a chance to do a similar exercise with the sticky notes on Thursday and Friday. I have many duplicate students between Math and Multimedia so I didn't want them to feel like they were doing the same thing in both of my classes. We spent the first day discussing class policies and expectations, learning students' names, discussing the responsibilities of the 3-Headed Multimedia Monster (announcements, online newspaper, and yearbook - more to come on these in a later blog post), and touring the new technology and classroom spaces designed for the SMS Multimedia Crew.
I look forward to another successful year working with the 2013-2014 SMS Multimedia Crew!