Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington--Part Four

Here are some pictures from the trip to Washington, DC, that Mr. Smith and I took for the TGC conference.

Smithsonian "Castle"
TGC Participants: Nicole Means (India), David Burton (Indonesia),
Kathy Boziak (India), and Jennifer Dawson (Ukraine)
Wall of Korean War Memorial
Southmoore SaberCat at Lincoln Memorial
Wall of Vietnam War Memorial
Southmoore Principal, Roy Smith, and
SaberCat at Supreme Court Building
U.S. Capitol Building
Inside Rotunda of Capitol Building
Roy Smith with Sequoyah, one of Oklahoma's
donations to Statuary Hall in Capitol Building
Library of Congress's Jefferson Building
Wasington Monument
Atlantic Theater portion of World War II Memorial
David Burton and Roy Smith at the Oklahoma
Column of World War II Memorial
South Front of White House
North Front of White House
Blair House, official guest residence of White House
Eternal Flame at Grave of President Kennedy, Arlington Cemetary
Grave stones at Arlington Cemetary
Changing of the Guard Ceremony at
Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington Cemetary
Wreath Laying Ceremony by students from Covenant Academy
at Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington Cemetary
Memorial to the USS Challenger Space Shuttle, Arlington Cemetary
Mast of the USS Maine, Arlington Cemetary
Grave of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Arlington Cemetary
the trees are begining to blossom, Arlington Cemetary
view of the National Mall from Iwo Jima--Marine Corps Memorial
SaberCat at Iwo Jima--Marine Corps Memorial
Embassy of Indonesia, my travel destination in the TGC program

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington--Part Three

Friday was a long (but good) day spent in meetings. Our principals gathered with Global Education "experts" who communicated the needs for Global Education within our schools. TGC participants had various sessions in which we evaluated student work samples for evidence of Global Ed, began developing some essential questions pertaining to travel to our individual specific countries, and looking at ways to successfully interact with those from other cultures.

Following the long day several of use took a walk down the mall to see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Korean War and Vietnam War memorials. Then we taxied over to Fado to meet with Sarah Yabroff. Sarah works with the Goethe Institut in Washington and leads tours for teachers to Germany. Sarah was my guide this past summer and the guide for Nicole Means two summers ago. It was great to see her again!

Saturday involved a planning meeting in which we were able to work with our principals and others within our state's "delegation" to work on strategies to improve (or implement) the focus of Global Education into our schools. Then we as country teams were able to meet with a teacher from our country of travel to learn more about cultural specifics and educational systems within our countries.

Saturday afternoon, Mr. Smith and I, along with a couple of other teachers had a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building...not as long nor as thorough as of a tour as I remember from previous years...but the new visitors' center is impressive! Later we visited the World War II Memorial and the White House. Dinner was eaten (feasted on rather) at a great Tex-Mex restaurant near DuPont Circle. I highly recommend Lauriol Plaza and it's lamb fajitas.

Today Mr. Smith and I ventured over the Arlington Cemetery. I was able to see more at Arlington this time than I have in the past. We saw the traditional touristy spots of the graves of the Kennedy family (which now includes Teddy), the Tomb of the Unknowns with both Changing of the Guard and two wreath laying ceremonies, and the Custis-Lee House. Previously, I had not seen the Unknown Solider from 1812, the Spanish-American War Memorial (I'm not talking about the mast of the USS Maine), nor a grave which I only caught because I happened to turn my head in the right direction...former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. A walk over the the Iwo Jima/Marine Corps Memorial rounded out the morning/early afternoon.

Mr. Smith headed back to the hotel while I ran to a couple of stores. While shopping it dawned on me that it would be cool to go see the Indonesian Embassy while I was in DC. So rather than heading back to the hotel at that point I did take a detour back the DuPont Circle area. Following my return to the hotel and some time of resting we did venture out for dinner. If you are in DC and miss out on Old Ebbitt Grill then you have committed a crime...crab cakes and peanut butter pie at one of DC's oldest culinary highlights.

Tomorrow we return home to Oklahoma City and so will end Mr. Smith's venture to Washington. It's been a great trip, especially in getting to see some sites familiar to me through the newness of Mr. Smith's eyes. Sometimes our roaming of remote roads might simply be a revisiting of a familiar road but seeing things in a different light.

Pictures will come soon!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington--Part Two

So we arrived in DC around 1:00 EST and then made our way, by taxi, to our hotel--located just two blocks south of The Mall; our street runs right in to the Smithsonian Castle.  We got checked in and then set out to walk to The Mall and pop in to a couple of the museums: we saw the new "Star Spangled Banner" exhibit at the American History Museum, I bought a new stuffed SaberCat at the Natural History Museum, and Mr. Smith tried to buy the Hope Diamond necklace for his wife) and we also went to the National Archives (seeing the original Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, and Constitution really get me each time).

We then came back to the hotel to rest for a bit and make dinner plans.  We ran in to Nicole Means, a TGC participant from St. Francisville, LA, and her assistant principal, Abby.  We decided to join them for dinner as well as some local friends Nicole knows who live in DC.  We headed off to Chinatown to eat at "Ping Pong", a modern twist to dim sum.  It was wonderful!!!  I'd go back again tonight.  I'm definitely going to seek dim sum out when I get back to OKC.  I want to eat sum of dat, dim sum dat, dim sum more dat.

Keep roaming those remote roads!  Especially the culinary ones.  I'll have to back a posting sometime about foods I've enjoyed from around the world.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

So as part of the TGC program, our head principals (or their designate) were invited to attend a Global Education Symposium with our gaggle of teachers.  This is the first opportunity that my principal, Mr. Roy Smith, has had to visit Washington, DC.  We fly out @7:00 AM tomorrow morning.

While I've been to DC several times (I think this will be at least the 10th time), it is fun to see the center of our nation's political life come alive before the eyes of a first timer.  When we are not in meetings Mr. Smith and I will be visiting some of the sites; we already have reservations for a tour of The Capitol on Saturday afternoon.

So I have basically nick-named this trip "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and I'll probably use that title for any blog updates which I make during the next few days.  And I think the nick-name is rather apropos for this trip.  In the classic movie, Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) is picked as a mid-term replacement Senator and heads off to Washington with a goal of bringing about a positive change.  Likewise, the TGC program is bring all of us teacher and principals, "my" Mr. Smith included, hoping that our educational efforts will help provide a meaningful change within our schools...helping our students to truly be more aware of the world around them, to learn to interact with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and physical locations, and to have meaningful educational experiences with cutting edge technology.

So, if our theme is "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" then the following is our theme's campaign poster:

I'm excited to have Mr. Smith joining me on this venture and hope that even with my 10th time to DC, we will still be able to have the opportunity to roam remote roads.  Of course, re-roaming some of my formerly traveled roads is alright, especially knowing that I'm helping someone else to roam a new road.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Travel is in the Air

As part of the Teachers for Global Classrooms program I will be heading to Washington, DC on Thursday.  When I applied for this program I knew that there would be a DC trip before the international expedition as well as another DC trip next fall.  What was a surprise to the teachers in the program was that immediately following our 8-week online course this past Fall, TGC invited our principals to attend with us.

This trip will be the first time that my head principal, Roy Smith, has had the opportunity to travel to our nation's capital.  His wife and at least one of his sons have been.  So I guess on Thursday "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

In prep for this trip I had to make a mad dash to finish the initial rough draft of my "Capstone" project for the TGC program.  I've been compiling items over the course of most of this semester, but spent all day yesterday getting it formatted together and filling in some of the gaps.  I then e-mailed off "the mess" around 9:30 last night.

Now...the final preparations must be made for the trip:
  1. Laundry and packing...too long of a trip for a carry-on, but too short for a full check bag...WHAT TO DO?
  2. Lesson plans for Thursday plus a set of "just in case" plans for Tuesday of next week (Friday is a professional day for teachers in my district & Monday is slated as a "snow day" if we haven't used it yet for actual snow/ice)
  3. Identifying three samples of student work for exploring "Global Competence"
  4. Make sure I have hard copies of flight schedules, hotel reservations, Capital tour tickets, subway maps, etc. etc. etc.
  5. Make sure there is enough dog food for Tori (my Yorkie)
  6. Get Tori to my mom's house in time for mom to get me to the airport on time
As much as I do love to roam the roads of lands remote, the prep work can be so daunting!  But it's all worth it, right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1st World "Problems"

One major benefit of roaming the roads of lands remote (literally or figuratively) is that it helps to give you some perspective on life.  I find it highly interesting what my people in my life (primarily my students) consider to be "problems" or "emergencies".  The typical excuse given to me by a student who was caught texting in class: "But it was an emergency".  So when I explore this "emergency" I usually learn that the "emergency" in question is something along the lines of: "My mom's pedicure is running long and she will be 5 minutes late to pick up my younger sibling from I have to get my sibling".  Without commenting on the legitimacy of the "emergency" status of this issue, I'm sure no one would have considered this an "emergency" ten years ago.

The "problems" that have developed surrounding our rapidly changing technological advances are so different than the "problems" faced by other peoples on the planet.  Don't get me wrong...this posting is not about trying to guilt people of our culture into sacrificing their technology gadgets so as to give more money to the poor.  I'm just stating that perspective in life changes how we define "problems".

This video helps to perspective on the "problems" which we in the "1st World", or most developed countries, must endure.

As we continue to explore the roads of lands remote, I hope that we can all allow ourselves to be open minded enough to see things from the perspective of others.