Amazing Transgender Training by @VentureOut_ ‏

May 30, 2018 Leave a comment

Today at Fountain Valley School of Colorado we had 3 hours of training from Venture Out Project. Perry and Malcolm were our facilitators and they were amazing.  Venture Out started as an Outward Bound type company for the transgender community.  They have since expanded to help schools learn more about the individuals who identify as transgender.  The first exercise consisted of matching words with their definitions.  These included non-binary, intersex, cisgender, transgender, ally, etc.  The second exercise was defining “Fitting In”, descriptions included external, others say whether, others judge, you fit in, you sacrifice or conform.  The third exercise was defining “Belonging” descriptions used were more internal, personal, you feel like you belong.

We then overviewed the Genderbread Person and how each of the pieces interact together or don’t.

Genderbread-Person-3.3.jpgWe then did some scenarios about pronouns.  Typical pronouns are He, him, his; she her, hers; they, them, theirs (this last three are sometimes used instead of gender specific ones). Ze, zir, zirs are the non-gender pronouns that some individuals want to use.

Oregon in 2017 became the first state to add the option of X as your sex on it’s drivers’ license.  We could have students inquiry this on why the letter ?  Why would someone choose it?  Why do you think they did this?  For more info, read here.

FVS is looking at overall guiding rules and principals to make our campus a safe place for all students.

In the FVS library, we have many fiction and non-fiction books.  “This book is gay” and “Rethinking Normal” are both great non-fiction to understand more terminology and experiences.  “Gracefully Grayson”, “Everyday”,  “The Symptoms of Being Human” and “None of the Above” are all great fiction that explores experiences of our youth.


Tech Tools (weekly)

May 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tech Tools (weekly)

May 5, 2018 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Global Symposium in NOLA

May 3, 2018 Leave a comment

This is a little rambling, but I wanted to post this before I forget it all….


For two days, I attended the Global Symposium hosted by TABS and NAIS.  This is a conference that caters to Admission people who work with international families, ESL teachers, teachers who travel with students and teachers who teach about being a global citizen.  I fall under the last of those four groups and to me it seemed like the most under-represented group at the conference.  The opening session was with Dr. Chris Thurber and Szu-Hui Lee both from Exeter. Szu-Hui discussed that most teachers fall under two categories (and you can flip back and forth) The Selmas (from The Simpsons) or The Rockies (as in Rocky). The Selmas believe they don’t understand the Linkster generation and the Rockies are stunned and wowed by their abilities.  The linksters are connecters. They know how to consume, but not how to create.  They feel passionate about causes but are not always informed on how to make an impact.  Teachers need to discuss the meaning of “a cause”, share diverse ideas and experiences, create different roles for different voices, be mindful of parental concerns and values and give students agency in the school’s care.  Linksters are globally connected but individualistic and competitive.  They have global access but not always global interest.  They believe native traditions and values are precious.

Linksters are more realistic and private than other groups.  If its digital, it is duplicatable.  Photographs are not acceptable everywhere.  Social platforms are different everywhere – the Chinese have developed WeChat which has it all.  We must keep teaching cyber safety, provide a healthy example, discuss presentation of self, use privacy savvy for good, and temper the virtual self.  We would not need a Facebook Friend policy if all people presented a good digital food print. Linksters best friend may be a stay-at-home parent.  Teachers need to remember that cultures vary within family relationships, close doesn’t equal enmeshed, prevent homesickness, provide confidence building, facilitate parental contact and involvement and always maintain a professional teacher/student relationship.

Linksters are used to a fast pace environment, where multi tasking is the norm.  Some cultures find this rude.  Teachers need to provide self-guided and self-paced experiences, show them that slowing down is healthy, that uni-tasking is acceptable, allow boredom.  Linksters embrace individual differences.  Teachers need to measure your own biases, seek out PD for diversity, learn and get support, be your authentic self, listen to understand and not to win.

The morning session was with Mark Siegel, Assistant Headmaster, Delphian School in Oregon.  His first slide was “Feel free to do something else during this presentation…” because he knows we all are going to task switch so why not embrace it.  He talked about how we have to change what and how we teach. We need our students to be problem solvers, collaborators, self-directed learners, knowledge creators, who communicate effectively with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds.  We don’t have students we have learners.  And the skills that learners need include: persistence, confidence, and resilience.

The afternoon session was with Dr. Christopher Thurber, Psychologist & Instructor, Phillips Exeter Academy. Some of his thoughts:  Michael Jordan – I succeeded because I failed.  Determination, tenacity, persistence, resolve, resilience, grit. —> these all mean perseverance.  Negative emotions is the primary obstacle in success – fear, shame, vulnerability, loss of control, anger, sadness, discouragement.  “Anything goes and no one tries” vs. “Learning from Failure” are these paradigms mutually exclusive.

Success Hack
Humility – take an honest look at what happened with no defenses
Analytical Ability – understand the factors that led to the failure.
Creativity – conceive a new approach
Kick – take a healthy risk

You create the supportive Environment.  Acknowledge that failure feels bad, but bad feelings don’t have to be suppressed. Concede that you don’t always need to be in control. Tune in to other forces at work. Recognize that win-win situations are achievable. Allow to be an example of failure and model your grit.  The five whys – developed by Toyota, expanded by Eric Reis, used by many companies.


Kathleen West, Teacher, The Blake School, Robin Ferguson, Teacher, The Blake School.  We want to develop skills, behaviors and dispositions necessary to succeed and actively engage in their diverse communities, locally and globally.  Uses the Matrix from World Savvy  – Global Competence Matrix – capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues on global significance. Shows Brene Brown’s Empathy Video – Demonstrate resilience in new situations – voice overs and modeling.  When the projector is not working, talk through the issues.

Research Process –

  • Identify prior knowledge – what do you know or think you know?
  • Generate questions – what do you want to know? What do you need to know?
  • Identify the stakeholders – what are the perspectives that I need to understand?
  • Find and evaluate sources – what is the source? What did you find about it?
  • Thought prompts – the most important thing about this is…  or Now that I know ____, I am wondering about ____.

Global Competencies

Design Thinking Framework

  • Empathize- Looks, feels, sounds, smells, like….  Look and Listen
  • Define – How can I capture the hearts and minds of the characters in my book?  Read – what were they saying or not saying.
  • Ideate – vomiting or brainstorming – no answers are wrong
  • Prototype
  • Launch/Test

What are the essential questions that are important to the students.

Using our Global Roots to Build Global Citizens by Fay School.  They diagnose the modern world. They take a city and try to redesign the transportation, housing and waste management while thinking about the environment, social justice and changing population.

Promoting Inquiry through Culminating Projects by Jon Bradley – Deep diving into understanding.  Berkshire School does Black Rock projects.

AP Capstone gives students the following pedagogical framework (“QUEST”) to develop, practice, and hone their critical and creative thinking skills as they make connections between various issues and their own lives:

  1. Question and Explore- Questioning begins with an initial exploration of complex topics or issues. Perspectives and questions emerge that spark one’s curiosity, leading to an investigation that challenges and expands the boundaries of one’s current knowledge.
  2. Understand and Analyze Arguments- Understanding various perspectives requires contextualizing arguments and evaluating the authors’ claims and lines of reasoning.
  3. Evaluate Multiple Perspectives – Evaluating an issue involves considering and evaluating multiple perspectives, both individually and in comparison to one another.
  4. Synthesize Ideas  – Synthesizing others’ ideas with one’s own may lead to new understandings and is the foundation of a well-reasoned argument that conveys one’s perspective.
  5. Team, Transform, and Transmit – Teaming allows one to combine personal strengths and talents with those of others to reach a common goal. Transformation and growth occur upon thoughtful reflection. Transmitting requires the adaptation of one’s message based on audience and context.

IB idea – PYP exhibition, MYP – community project, DP Personal project, then extended essay – creativity, action and service with more research.


April 30, 2018 Leave a comment

One of the Fountain Valley Students in Peru for an exchange via Lunahuaná

Amazing Bucket List!

April 20, 2018 Leave a comment

via The World’s Ultimate Bucket List© 2018

Tech Tools (weekly)

April 7, 2018 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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