Do you TED?

We had a snow-cation last week with three consecutive snow days. I don’t typically like missing that much school but I did enjoy the way I was able to play catch up with my PLN/PD resources. I caught up on 200+ blog posts on my reader and found an array of resources to share. (I’m sure my colleagues just loved having two or three “check this out” emails from me upon return yesterday.)

I also watched a good handful of TED talks both sitting on the couch and while running on the treadmill. I am in love with these talks. It has provided an intellectual stimulation that fits with my fast-moving brain. Snippets of inspiration or innovation that keep my mind swirling with possibilities. The vast array of topics allows me to explore a variety of ideas some of which are in my wheelhouse and some of which are not, but I find help me access new ideas in a positive way.

TED is not new. The talks have been around for several years and are exploding globally through TEDx events. If you have not “TED’d”, I highly recommend it. They are free via their website, YouTube, or my favorite, the iPad app.

To get you started, here is a talk I watched last week that reminded me to stay on the sunny side of life, no matter what the situation.

If you don’t TED, you should; you’ll be glad you did!

The Inspirer in Chief

Last night, President Obama spent quite a bit of his SotU speech waxing about education. I’ll save my gush filled praise and constructive critique for a bit later in my snow day today! Here is a section:

That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. (Applause.) We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all 50 states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

(section omitted)

You see, we know what’s possible from our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals, school boards and communities. Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado — located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97 percent of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their families to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said, “Thank you, Ms. Waters, for showing that we are smart and we can make it.” (Applause.) That’s what good schools can do, and we want good schools all across the country.

Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. (Applause.) We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. (Applause.) And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math. (Applause.)

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child — become a teacher. Your country needs you. (Applause.)

Full Text: