Value Mind Map – Learning – April 20th – 26th

Learning is great!  Abbie chose for us to focus on our value of Learning this week.  Below is the mind map I created to help me keep track.Learning mind map

Looks like I need a better camera!  That picture is hard to read.  But here are the key ideas I took away each day this past week.

The endless library thought experiment caused me to realize the difficulty in unlimited choices.  Our lives are sometimes too open and we become stagnant instead of taking action.  Creating a sense of limited resources will improve our productivity.

I was meditating and realized that doing is required.  Specifically, I was thinking about how fast paced society is and how we rarely take time to appreciate it.  I had an urge to get up and go tell people to slow down.  However, this would cause me to become fast paced and not act how I believe we should live, which in this case was slowing down and appreciating what I did have.

We should all take a vow to do the important tasks first thing in the morning.  If we put them off, then they suddenly become something to do later.

We must play within our values.  I sprayed some water in my students’ face when they wouldn’t be quiet today.  I did it with a smile on my face.  Guess what happened?  Students began doing it to one another.  I wouldn’t like that either.  My “play” was disrespectful.  We must keep our values in mind for all our actions.

I often become lethargic when thinking about work.  I want to do anything but it.  I realized I am missing having a purpose in my educating students.  Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  In anything we do, I think it is best we have some sort of purpose to fuel us.

Oddly, I often find myself ruminating over my work.  This is draining.  I realized I need downtime to help keep myself energized for my important, yet challenging, tasks.

Lastly, I learned about physical computer manipulations.  I watched a TED talk about a using physical objects to work with computers.  For example, he showed how we could have 3 different objects representing Fire, Ambulance, and Police units and physically place them on a map.  Also, there is a way to learn about protein structures by having the objects respond when moved (i.e. feeling the way proteins are folded).

Overall, it was a great week.  And I am glad I had this moment to reflect upon my learning again.

From Stagnant to Growth – Set Some Goals

We must grow!  Feeling our bodies becoming healthier.  Feeling our minds expanding.  Feeling like we are beating away our fears.  These feelings are what I consider growth.

What happens when we do not get this feeling?  Well, I can tell you how I feel.  Stagnant.  Lost.  Severe confusion.  Then, I fail to act because I have limited fuel to power me.  Surprisingly, the feeling of being lost is extremely draining.

How can we overcome this feeling?  We must set a new goal we know we can achieve.  If you are severely drained, then the goal might have to be extremely easy.  For example, going for a walk is a good goal.  The walk allows the environment to change and with new stimuli come new thoughts and feelings.  Or, writing down the fact you are lost and that you will begin brainstorming ways to get going again is an easy step.  Make your goal to choose a goal.  A last option might be to make your goal reviewing your goals.  Seek the motivation.

The one aspect of goal achieving I largely fail to do is to measure my progress.  If you do not measure, then you will not know if you are growing.  I am trying to think of ways to measure my goals for students.  I am failing in this aspect.

But, now I know my next step!

See the Good, Feel Important

Teaching is a lonely profession.  This is an odd phrase because teachers are with students all day.  But, people can feel lonely even in a crowd.  The feeling of loneliness comes from feeling a lack of importance in life.  How can teachers be lacking a feeling of importance?  We shape the minds of the young and this is a very important undertaking.  However, the day-to-day battles are intense.  The students can be vicious.

Constant negative feedback is tough to swallow.  I had students not trying after discussing biking, which I thought would be applicable to their lives.  I had a student tell me she doesn’t do work in my class because it is boring.  Today we were building an environment out of Legos and other pieces to understand watersheds and pollution.  I had a student write “Mr. Hingstrum is a bitch” on the desk after I took her book away because she wasn’t doing her assignment.  These constant negative actions cause me to feel unimportant, and thus, lonely.

Changing our mindset in order to see the good we did is hard in these situations.  I had excellent visuals for gears for the students to see.  I tried to make the problem applicable to their life.  I gathered the resources for the students to be able to build the environment.  I did have some students interested and trying.  I was important to some!

We all must note when we feel stress or anger begin to rise. More importantly, we must use it as a trigger to begin looking for the good around us.  This will help steer us toward a positive mood, which in turn will help the environment around us.

What are some good things you did today?

Important Questions

I’m interested in you.  What are you thinking?  What do you feel?  What goals are you aiming for?  What values do you try to live by?  What great lessons have you learned and what caused you to learn them?  How do you combat fear?  What do you want to do each day immediately when you awake?  What do you think motivates you?  How can I treat you better?

Are these types of questions rare to you?  I rarely ask them and rarely get asked them.  We should attempt to make them more common.

Learning Toward Happiness

How do we learn things?  What causes us to remember events?  Why are these questions not mandated in the public school’s curriculum?

There are two primary types of events we remember: 1. A cause of happiness and 2. A cause of severe suffering.  Our brains have evolved in order to repeat happiness.  To see this, be mindful of your habits.  Why are you doing what you are doing?  Why are you drinking one more beer?  Why are you eating ice cream?  Why are you listening to music on your way home from work?  I may be wrong, but the answer to all of these is for enjoyment.  We’ve learned to act in a certain way in order to feel happiness.  And according to The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business  by Charles Duhigg, the easiest way to change a habit, in other words learn, is to maintain the same reward but change the act.

I understand if you think this is difficult.  I love ice cream and it makes me happy.  In order to maintain that happiness, I decided to switch to portion-controlled yogurt AND add the thought of the benefit to my health.  These two things results in a happiness feeling.  Though it is a struggle from time to time.

On the other hand, we have memories full of moments of intense suffering.  For me, I remember watching my mom convulse before she died.  The feeling of guilt washed over me as I realized I hid from her the months prior.  And I remember the time I smashed a milk carton and received 5 minutes on the wall during recess.  Plus, the breakups of my life.  Oh, the tragedies!

We remember tragedies in order to avoid the suffering which follows.  Again, we want happiness.  And remembering the causes of great pain helps steer us on a, hopefully, happier path if we are ever to come across a similar situation.

Powerful emotions are connected to our learning.  Yes, repetition can help us learn skills, but if they do not have a strong emotional attachment, then those skills will soon be, at least partly, forgotten.  We learn toward happiness and away from suffering.

What have you learned today?