Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 4 - Blog #4 - Response to Jen

Jen Alman writes:
The last four chapters of this week's reading seem to have been designed to inspire the reader to be the change they want to see in the world. The Zanders encourage the reader to create a spark and framework for that change and enroll others in that vision. It is not about manipulating people or situations to accomplish something, but using your passion to inspire others.

I also liked the chapters on being the board and telling the we story. It is so easy to blame others for what we perceive to be wrong. Instead the Zanders challenge the reader to take responsibility for what happens in your life and find a way to transform situations and see things in a different light. Doing this brings more compassion to a world full of human beings all trying to co-exist.

My response:
I agree that the last four chapters are meant to inspire us to go out and change the way we perceive the world.  The message is simple, yet not always so easy to do.  The idea of taking responsibility for everything, good and bad, that happens in our life is foreign to most of us.  Yet the implications are boundless if we take the challenge.  I am impressed that you were able to sum up a very complicated section of the book in so few words.  Excellent job!

Week 4 - Blog #3 - Response to Kathy

Kathy said,
I didn’t get very far into the reading this week before I found the focus for my blog… lighting a spark. According to Ben Zander, “…our universe is alive with sparks. We have at our fingertips an infinite capacity to light a spark of possibility” (p125). This fits perfectly in with the tech conference I sent a proposal to and seems to be the ‘sign’ I needed that says- this is the place you need to be to help light that spark of possibility in others! Zander went on to list some steps and two of those remind me of what my mantra needs to be: “Offer that which lights you up… [and] have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark” (p126). This pretty much sums up my passion for what I do and all that I have learned throughout my journey both as a student and a teacher. I have always been full of passion and the desire to pass that onto others has been burned deep inside because of how others have inspired or ‘enrolled’ me in this educational trip. They have been my roadmap and their sparks have ignited mine. By offering to others what I discovered along my personal journey and through my research, I can only hope that my light will spark someone else to carry on their own passion and pass the sparks onto others.

Zander, R. & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility. Harvard Business School Press: Boston, MA.

Postscript: I just wanted to say I loved this book! It had so many wonderful stories and themes I could relate to. It was a very enjoyable and entertaining read.

My response:
Kathy, you have a passion and a spark that will ignite many people as you share your knowledge and experience with others.  I agree that when we are able to pursue interests that we have passion for we share that spark and spread the excitement.  I wish you well as you present your AR project.  The audience will surely catch the spark and go on to ignite others as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Week 4 – Blog #2 – Reading: the rest of The Art of Possibility

Be the board, not one of the pieces!

I have to start by saying that I love this book!  I have enjoyed every chapter and know that, although I am familiar with many of the themes in this book, I loved the way that they were presented in this book.  It also served to remind me that I need to live in the moment and give the situation I find myself in it’s due; it is what it is!  Judgement and bitterness over situations we find ourselves in serves nobody, especially me.

The idea of enrollment is very enticing to me.  You know it when you see it, but it is something that almost always is seen in person.  Zander writes, “ Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share.”  This is what we hope to share with our students.  I think enrollment is what launches a good teacher to a great teacher because they are able to launch their students into the mindset of possibility.

The chapter on being the board was the hardest for me to understand, but once I got the idea that it was really about taking the responsibility of being a part of the situation.  It isn’t about taking all of the responsibility for the situation or blame.  It is about seeing what part you did have in the situation and what can be done to alleviate the blame game.  What can be done to get the participants in the situation back in the same game.  By taking the responsibility of being the board, you are able to see the situation for what it is, minus any blame or resentment.  If both participants take the stance of being the board the situation is more likely to be solved in a mutually beneficial way.  It becomes a WE story instead of an I story.  What can WE do about this so that we can both find a suitable solution for everyone.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week 4 Publishing_Leadership Project

My Action Research Project focusses on using digital social stories to teach social nuances and rules to students on the autistic spectrum.  I have decided to pursue publishing my finding with the following two journals.  Both have links to Autism Speaks and are valuable resources to parents, teachers and specialist who work with autistic students.

  1.   Autism – Asperger’s Digest Magazine
  2.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Here is the link to my Leadership Project that I wish to publish:

Here are the links to my think-aloud posts about my AR project:


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 3 – Blog #5 – Publishing my AR Findings

c. Sophia Winters -

Here is a list of magazines and professional journals that I am going to submit my AR findings to in hopes of having them published 
  1.   Autism – Asperger’s Digest Magazine
  2.   Autism Spectrum Quarterly
  3.  International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
  4.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

It is my hope that I might help an educator, a family and a child through sharing digital social stories through these publications.  I think that I have something to share with educators and parents because I am an educator and a parent of a child with autism.  It is not necessarily a unique view, however it is one worth sharing.  Autism has been around for a long time and Asperger’s, although diagnosed relatively recently, has always been there too.  Our schools are struggling with the current influx of students with autism.  Schools need to learn how to help students on the spectrum learn social skills in order to get along with neurotypical students.  Truth be told, I think the schools need to change a little and social skills need to be taught to all students.  Students on the spectrum may need a little more specific language and modeling, but all students benefit from learning to look at another’s perspective and turn taking skills.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Week 3 - Blog #4 - Publishing a paper or Presentation?

Paul, age 8, at a cabin in Lake Tahoe
we rented last summer.

My action research project is on making social stories digital to increase their effectiveness with students with Asperger's or high-end autism.  Although, my project is in the special education realm I am not a special education teacher.  My son has Asperger's and that is my connection to this topic.  Although. . . I did teach one year of special education in a private school about ten years ago.  I'm not sure that one year qualifies me to be a presenter or a writer of special education issues.  But, I know that parenting a nine year old with this disorder does.  Many educators and parents are interested in positive and effective ways of teaching social skills to students on the autistic spectrum.

I have presented in several conferences and although the reaction from others makes you feel good, it is a lot of work with little or no financial gain.  Most conferences pay your way into the conference for presenting in the conference.  The presenters that make money at conferences have products that they sell after or before their presentation.  I know that sharing information isn't about money, but there is a lot of work to do to prepare for a presentation at a conference.  This is not the time to throw something together and run with it.  You need to have a well thought out plan, presentation, handout, and door prizes.  That's right, educators love getting something for free.  Especially if what you are offering has something to do with implementing what you are presenting.

So. . . the paper is a lot of work too, but it would be done at the end of this class and I wouldn't have to spend any more money to prepare it for publishing.  I might have to do a re-write, but that is just time, not money.  I think that I am leaning towards writing a paper with my findings from my action research project.  Now I need to narrow my focus and look at the publications that would be interested in the information I have to offer.

Week 3 – Blog #3 – Response to Melissa

photo by: Nicole Gurley

Melissa wrote:
Week 3 Reading: Seriously?
During the last few days, I have spent a substantial amount of time asking myself, “Are you taking yourself too seriously?”  In most cases, the answer is yes.  When things don’t go the way they should or the way I think that they should, my normal reaction is frustration.  This is usually a result of being driven by the calculating self instead of the central self.  This weeks reading has sharpened my awareness of internal motivation. 

In many ways the reading from The Art of Possibility mirrors concepts delivered in Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.  Instead of calculating self, Eckhart uses the term ego.  Realizing when this aspect of personality is at work is a major step in redirecting thought patterns.  The calculating self, or ego, is really just a survival mechanism that loses its purpose in adulthood and serves to hinder relationships.

These steps are not easy but reading them again has helped me to refocus on awareness and presence.  Breaking habits in behavior and in thought is a challenging endeavor but is the only way for me to evolve as an individual.

My response:
I applaud your connection with the calculating self and the ego.  You are right that they served a purpose in our youth, but as an adult they tend to get in the way when we take them to seriously.    I think it is human nature to not like it when things don’t go our way or don’t end up the way we think that they should.  I too, am trying to break those habits in behavior by making myself aware of the now and how things really are.  I think this is something that I will need to continually work on because it is so easy to forget and slip back into old habits.  Here’s to keeping to how things really are, not taking ourselves to seriously and to new possibilities!