Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

TCEA 7 2015 Conference Materials

Here is the material for my TCEA Region 7 Conference Materials.
I also wish the TCEA website was easier to update. This is my current bio, in case you are burning with curiosity:

Sarah McManus is a teacher in Henderson, Texas. Last year, she taught Computer Applications, Career Education, and Texas History. Next year, she looks forward to teaching just Career Education and having time to use the restroom ever (traveling teachers, I know you feel me). An East Texas transplant, she has worked in Maintenance at Southwest Airlines, the sales department at HEB's Central Market, the swimming pool at Texas Instruments, and, for six years, in Plano Independent School District's Jasper High School ESL Department. 

Actually, it's a long story and just leads to more questions. Stick with the outdated bio; it makes more sense.

Monday, June 16, 2014

On my first conference presentation

Let's just take a minute and think about the time when I didn't have sound linked to my Mac so I made the Instant Chewbaca sound for my attendees. Twice.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Conference Materials

Exit Ticket @ TCEA Region 7 June 13, 2014

  • Presentation

  • Coffitivity - Get quiet groups talking and help set a decent volume level in your classroom with this easy background app.
  • Instant Chewbacca Everyone needs a fun signal that tells kids to take their hands off their devices and to put eyes on the teacher. I use this one. Because what's not awesome about Chewbacca?
  • Exit Ticket Pinterest board of thoughtful, masterful classroom applications 
  • Symbaloo board for example and with great Project Based Learning tools    

  • Monday, June 2, 2014

    Learn How, and Learn Why: On Not Giving Up on Liberal Education

    In the spirit of that esteemed internet phenomenon Let's Rush to Judgement, let's talk about a book I haven't read yet, Michael S. Roth's Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters

    I caught the author, Wesleyan president Michael S. Roth, in a long interview on KERA radio. You can catch it too, here.

    He was talking about the tension between practical and liberal arts education. 

    TJ came up as the author asked a question I don't know the answer to: shold we be preparing students for work or for understanding the world in general?  TJ, of course, wanted it both ways. 

    "For Jefferson and his successors," Roth says in the interview, "liberal education had to have a pragmatic value just like science has a pragmatic value.  You learn very deep basic modes of inquiry in science, but those modes turn out to have extraordinary productive power." 

    I love that. It's what got me through Algebra -- my teacher swore that it would make my mind more disciplined and ...something...useful...later...actually I don't remember what she said but the idea was it was good for me in a long-term kind of way. 

    I took her word for it, which is hard for a lot of kids to do.  Roth talks about this. 

    "When liberal education has been at its best in the United States, there's been a tension between inquiry and reverence.  On the one hand, inquiry, you go wherever the truth takes you. You cultivate a suspicion toward the world and its powers... But there's another part of liberal education that Bruce Kimball has called reverence, which is that you get introduced to things that many people for a long time have held in high esteem, and you ought to try to figure out why they have done so rather than try to tear it down."

    \We make a big effort to teach critical thinking, and that's so important since marketers and politicians and skanky singers want to steal our kids' souls. 

    But how can we help grow reverence in that same context? How to help our students find their place as total noobs in the world and to listen up until they've learned a thing or two?  That's at least as important as self expression. 

    The President has proposed we rate universities like blenders: are grads working? Great. You get an A.  But will he grade on a curve on citizenship?

    What if all a school's grads are ready for their first job, but can't tell that it's a terrible idea to get a payday loan between their first and second paychecks? What if the entire country becomes populated by the kind of people who go to art museums and dismissively say, "I could totally do that" to all but the "highest" kind of art? (Don't laugh; it happened). 

    Roth says, "Today, because of the pace of change, going to college to prepare for the first job you're going to have after school, which is likely to be the worst job you'll ever have, that's a terrible investment...I think it's much healthier to take the route of college being a time where you learn the skills that will enable you to have a  career over the rest of your life,and  not just to get that first job. Because chances are in our economy, the skills you need for that first job, in five years, won't be the skills that you'll need to advance your career. "

    What does Roth think kids do need to know how to do? Well, I think TJ would totally agree: "Learning how to create change, find opportunities and to get the skills that are immediately useful - that's the sweet spot."