Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Passion: What is most beautiful and sacred to you?

"Passion: What is most beautiful and sacred to you? What would you feel incomplete without? When you have identified that which brings you complete joy, your own unquenchable desire to achieve that goal will become your passion — the inner drive that turns your dreams into a shining reality."
The Academy of Achievement website (http://www.achievement.org) welcomes visitors at the Introduction to the Keys to Success with this quote. The Academy of Achievement mission is to "bring students face-to-face with the extraordinary leaders, thinkers and pioneers who have shaped our world."

If you or your students are looking for career ideas, or want to be inspired by some of the world's great achievers, this website is a must visit! The Keys to Success include Passion, Vision, Preparation, Courage, Perseverance, Integrity and the American Dream. Through video and text, you will learn from individuals who have shaped history, in their own words. There is also a teacher link to "Achievement TV" — a library of videos that can bring achievers from The Arts, Business, Science and Exploration or Sports (just to highlight a few) to your classrooms!

Imagine if the technology was available to capture reflections like these from leaders of our past. Challenge your students to compare a contemporary leader from this website to a historical one. How would Abraham Lincoln have described his passion? Or, how did Alexander the Great's courage compare with that of General Norman Schwarzkopf, who walked among battlefields that contained hidden explosive mines?

Visit the Achievement Gallery and discover a role model, explore a career, be inspired!!

(photo credit: http://flickr.com/photos/rangerholton/1449884129/)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thinkfinity.org (formerly Marco Polo Education) warrants revisiting

From the Thinkfinity.org brochure: "Thinkfinity delivers top-quality, standards-based, K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools ... and gives teachers, instructors and parents the tools they need to increase student performance today and create the lifelong learners of tomorrow."

Some time ago, I attended a workshop on using "Marco Polo Education" website resources in the classroom. It was a terrific resource for locating quality lesson plans and information for teaching and learning. The MCI Foundation launched the Marco Polo Education Foundation (MPEd) in 2002, and when WorldCom went into bankruptcy, Marco Polo was in danger of disappearing. Long story short, it is now known as "Thinkfinity.org" and is funded by Verizon:
This free, comprehensive digital learning platform is built upon the merger of two highly-acclaimed programs well-known to educators Verizon MarcoPolo and the Thinkfinity Literacy Network. Thinkfinity is designed to improve learning in traditional settings and beyond the classroom by providing high-caliber content and professional development needed to improve student achievement anytime, anywhere, at no cost.

Thinkfinity partners with great content providers such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Council of Teachers of English, National Geographic Society, and soon the Smithsonian-National Museum of American History, just to name a few.

Especially of interest is the free professional development provided to help educators make the most of the resources. The success of the program relies on a "train the trainer" model in which educators attend face-to-face sessions, and then facilitate workshops in their schools or districts. I'm looking into workshop opportunities offered in Lake or Northern Cook County. In the meantime, check out the "self-guided" tour, which takes about 20 minutes.