Hope. It comes in so many forms. Sometimes it a politician promising you change. Or it's rooting for your special team to complete a seemingly impossible upset. Perhaps it's seeing a movie with certain rebels battling against all odds against the empire. Every day, every minute, hope is always around us. We hope for good news. We hope for better days. We hope our friends will make better decisions. A principal I worked for used to say as educators we peddle hope for our students. I could not agree more. As educators we are constantly closing gaps, opening doors and creating possibilities. It is hope that feeds the soul of truly great teachers. I see it every day when teachers and support staff give everything they have to make sure that their students get what they need to be successful. They create hope.
As I wind up the Mixtape experience, I wanted to say thank you to all of you for checking in about the blog. It has been fun listening to all of these soundtracks. Music inspires me like nothing else in the world. It truly reflects our society and offers new perspectives. Regardless of genre, music can touch the soul of any human being and unite people. It takes a lot of great people to create a song and perform it. The Mixtape will always hold a special place in my heart because it is my (and any person that created a mixtape) attempt at making the sense of the world by placing together music in a meaningful way. I always knew that I had a good mixtape when I could just wear it out from continuous play. The mixtape was always meant to share. I hope you create some awesome educational mixtapes that are a tapestry of student achievement in all forms!
As I close, I want to share a story with you about a former student who I recently had coffee and Jamba juice with. Cindy Tung was a student in my English class and was phenomenal. She was extremely organized and creative. She brought great joy to the class. I was so proud to hear that she decided to answer the call for teaching. From hearing her talk about her kids, I could see she taught more than her subject area... she taught hope. I remember an acronym that I shared with students about analyzing literature and pretty much all things life. It's called UFISCH (thanks Stan Bidlack for this great tool) and it helps describe how an author or artist has an intended effect on an audience.
Unity -- What makes the story/art piece have a sense of togetherness? In other words, how do all of the pieces seem to connect to create a concept?
Form -- How is the piece organized in a physical or structural sense?
Imagination -- What type of strategies does the author/artist use to appeal to our senses?
Style -- What unique attributes can you associate with this author/artist/group?
Characterization -- How does the artist create a character that resonates with an audience? How does the character develop?
Humanity -- What themes of life and human existence does the author explore?
The students used to hate me for the continuous references I made to UFISCH. I used to torture them them about analyzing anything they say, heard or experienced. It was fun to watch them connect the UFISCH elements to anything including their own life. As I look at this acronym, I think it's appropriate to say that great schools and classrooms explore these themes in various manners. They are creating with intention a special place. Thank you again for being a part of this journey. I bid farewell to this blog and hope to find another muse. My last mixtape for you is simply songs of Hope. Be great.
Seasons of Love
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
In My Life
Here Comes the Sun
Don't Stop Believing
We are the Champions
What a Feeling