The Instant Relevance Podcast

The Instant Relevance Podcast

I’m excited to announce that Raymond Steinmetz (@blended_math) and I have begun the Instant Relevance Podcast. We will be sharing our thoughts on how to #MakeItReal for your students, your colleagues, your school culture, and more and are excited to welcome excellent guests to the platform to share their expertise and experience. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments here or on the podcast platform. 

The Instant Relevance Podcast is being published via Anchor, so you should be able to find it on Anchor, Stitcher, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, Spotify and more!

You can follow the podcast on twitter @InstantRel. Click the link below to visit the Anchor page and subscribe through your favorite platform!

So, for you podcast addicts or relevance seekers, here is the first episode of…

The Instant Relevance Podcast!

 

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

#MakeItReal Moment Number 16: The Funnies

The Funnies

When I was a kid I couldn’t wait for my Dad to come home from the convenience store with the Sunday Morning newspaper. He’d start pulling apart the sections, making a pile of news, sports, store flyers, and then, like a slow motion moment in a movie, he’d pull out…THE FUNNIES! I’m not sure where you’re from or what you called the newspaper comics, but in NJ we called them “the funnies” (insert future #MakeItReal Moment on regional dialect here). I can honestly say that I LOVED the funnies, although I can’t actually remember a time when I laughed out loud at one. Come to think of it, they’re not that funny. But they were a part of a grown up thing, the newspaper, that a child could covet as their very own. And they did approach situations from a different angle, often trying to make a twist ending by the third frame.  Those Sundays of my youth have stuck with me, so now I visit gocomics.com every morning before I read the news to check out two of my favorite comics, Foxtrot Classic and F Minus.

Here is today’s F Minus Comic.

 

See? Not “funny” per se, but this time it made me think about something totally different. I realized we could use comics (funnies) like this as catalyst pieces for teaching students about the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning structure. You see, this comic makes a claim. To many, a totally impossible and outlandish claim. But it’s not outlandish to me, or to my wife. A few years ago we were having a philosophical conversation about why multiplying 2×5 does not equal 12. Her thought was that it only equals 10 because we start with zero. How come the expression 2×5 doesn’t imply that we’ve started with a 2, then brought in 5 more 2s? After a while, we decided to call this method “Mathematatics” and will put it on Wikipedia soon to see if people believe in it (suckers). 

So look back at the F Minus comic. There’s a lot there, and plenty not there, too.

Claim: For a short time, 2 + 2 = 5.

Evidence: missing

Reasoning: missing

It’s time to put this in front of your students to see what they can do. Can they debunk the claim? Can they explain how this could be possible in the real world? Can they create a system like Mathematatics that could explain it instead, all the while citing their evidence (showing their work for math), then sharing their reasoning? I think they can. And I think it would be a lot of fun. 

Let me know if you use The Funnies in your class for Claim, Evidence, Reasoning lessons, or other ways!!! 

Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

Laurel vs Yanny: An Educational Metaphor We All Need To Hear

Laurel?

Yanny?

Are you caught up in the new “Is it This or Is it That?” debate of 2018 yet? If not, someone played a computer saying the word “Laurel” with regard to the wreath of leaves worn on the head and heard the sound “Yanny” when they did. So, the new version of :is the dress black and white or blue and brown?” came on the scene in the inter-world.

Here, you judge for yourself.

So, if you’re wondering what it really is, the answer is Laurel. That’s not me being a jerk about it and forcing my opinion out there, but it actually is Laurel. Here’s a quick video on why, including the science of sound. 

 

Now, here’s what’s really important…that educational metaphor I mentioned in the title of the post. 

As teachers, we have an obligation to our students that is much bigger than our requirement to “Teach Content” to them. We have an obligation to listen to our students. When we listen to them, we’re assessing them. We’re assessing what they know and don’t know, how they feel about what they know and don’t know, if they can explain what they know and don’t know, and if they need us to teach or listen more.

But…

What if they’re telling us “laurel” and we’re hearing “yanny” instead?

What if we’re convinced that what they’re trying to explain, question, or share is wrong when it actually right and we’re perceiving it incorrectly because of our priming, or our training, or our temporary distractions, or…more interestingly…their pitch and tone of voice and our ability to hear it? What does that mean for how we teach and assess our students?

Now, go back to the original sound clip and listen again, knowing that BOTH words are actually in there and try, really try to hear both, simultaneously, the same way we can hear harmony in music.  If you can hear both, awesome. If you can’t, keep trying. It’s our obligation to our students to hear BOTH what they are actually saying, and what we think they are saying and to meld them together into an opportunity that truly overlaps teaching and learning.

 

And, just for fun, here are a few lesson ideas people have thrown out there to me on twitter so you can #MakeItReal while the debate is still relevant!

Create a debate over which is correct and have students cite evidence for their standpoint.

Use the Virtual Oscilloscope online to record your voice saying Laurel and Yanny, then screenshot it and compare graphs!

Do a statistical observational study (survey) stratified by age, sex, known musical ability and primed introduction (say laurel or yanny first) and present the findings.

Use the New York Times sound slider to identify when the sounds change for you.

Study how sound has been used in the past as a means of confusion, argument, and deterrent (this one’s fun. Back in 2008 a high pitched sound was played outside stores to drive away loitering kids because adults couldn’t hear it!)

Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

 

Why Relevance Matters

Didn’t Think Ahead…Did You?

Check this out! It’s the Winter Olympics and the New York Times Graphics department is posting amazing pictures of the events, like these!

 

I’m loving seeing these images posted, because they reveal so many of the things math and science teachers try to demonstrate for our students about motion, gravity, quadratics, trigonometry and more. So I graphed them, which I like to do 🙂

 

This one is my total favorite!!!

 

If only there was a good way to model this…hmmm…WAIT!!!!!

See???

Last year we used this same model to engage students in their momentary passion…bottle flipping. Did you?

So here’s the biggest point I have to make…

Relevance matters because when students use real life to engage in learning (bottle flipping) they will answer to the question “When am I going to use this in real life?” all by themselves. I know this because it was as student who said to me “snowboarding looks like bottle flipping.  Cool.”

Instant Relevance is more than just Using Today’s Experiences to Teach Tomorrow’s Lessons…it’s using those lessons to inspire future connections. There’s still time! How will you #MakeItReal for your students every day?

Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

 

Winter Olympics 2018 Lessons and Resources

20+ Winter Olympics Lessons and Resources

The Winter Olympics are upon us! And unlike Fidget Spinners, not very many teachers are banning them from their classrooms! So if you’ve been looking for activities in Math, Science, Stem, ELA, Music and more, I’ve compiled many excellent ones for you here. Click the link below for the Hyperdoc of lessons, or scroll through the embedded doc!

NOTE: If you’ve got an excellent activity, share it with me on twitter @MathDenisNJ and I’ll add it to the lessons doc!

 

Hyperdoc Lessons and Resources Link

 

#SuperBowlSnaps II Challenge

Are You Ready For Some Football?!?!?!?!

It’s #SuperBowlSnaps II: Snapchat vs Football!

A Co-Blog Post Co-Written and Co-Posted by Co-Educators, Denis Sheeran and Tara Martin.

Denis: Last year, right around Super Bowl time I started to notice the prolific tweeting of something called #BookSnaps. My Twitter besty, Tara Martin, had started a movement in education where teachers and students would use Snapchat to share their thoughts, assessments, feedback, and comments on what they’d written, read and seen in books! This is an incredible hack of a social media tool for GOOD, not evil (like my kids use it for).

 

I suggested to Tara that we do live #SuperBowlSnaps during the game, taking and annotating pictures from the game, the commercials, the fans, our families and their reactions. It would be a fun way to incorporate the game into our lessons for the next day. At the time, Tara wasn’t a big football fan, but she was a Snapchat FREAK!

 

Tara: Yes, it is safe to say, I was a bit hesitant because I typically make a ton of snacks for the Super Bowl party and pay little attention to the game. However, by adding my passion for visual, digital creations to connect with content (that was not so appealing), I learned a new appreciation for the game of football. Ok, I was immersed entirely from start to finish.  As an educator, I couldn’t help but think… How might “relevance” to the delivery of instruction, or method of learning, encourage students to learn more about topics that were once of no personal interest?

 

Denis: What I found to be outstanding was that we both left with a new skill and a new perspective. I loved football but was skeptical about Snapchat. After the game, I was ready to snap and snap often!

 

Tara: And I loved Snapchat but was skeptical about football, despite my husband’s attempts to interest me in the game. Now the Super Bowl is rapidly approaching, and I haven’t even thought about the menu items I need to create. Instead, I’m messaging Denis via DM to chat about Super Bowl snapping! Are you guys ready for the 2nd Annual #SuperBowlSnaps Challenge?!

 

We have two calls to action for you.

 

1: Join us for the  #SuperBowlSnaps II Challenge on Sunday, starting…whenever you start thinking about the Super Bowl!!! Tweet pictures through snapchat using this hashtag and my #MakeItReal hashtag, too. Because really…what’s a better way to find Relevant Learning Opportunities than by becoming part of a national event that most of your students are probably watching?

 

2: Think about this. Consider the content you’re teaching that your students may not be all that interested in. How do you communicate it to them? Through your language, or through theirs? #MakeItReal for them!!

 

Click the Padlet: 2017 #SuperBowlSnaps  for examples from the Inaugural #SuperBowlSnaps.

 

 

Check out Instant Relevance for more ways to connect students to your content in meaningful, relevant ways.
Visit R.E.A.L, Tara Martin’s blog, and become inspired to grow as an educator as you read her experiences and share her growth. And if you’re interested in #BookSnaps, check out this post!

#MakeItReal Moment Number 15: To The Moon

To The Moon!

I love outer space stuff. I previously posted about how I want to be an astronaut, and I still do, despite the reservations my family has toward me going to the moon (Stop Watching Apollo 13!!). So when NASA shared a photo the other day of the earth and the moon in the same frame, taken from 3 million miles away, I had to read about it. Turns out, it created a fascinating math problem! 

 

Lots of questions came to mind. What do you notice? What do you wonder? Is this true? How far apart are they? Can I prove that?

So I created a Google slides doc that contains both an I See Math question (used as a simple intro warm-up) and a full 3-Act Math Task that can be used from scale factor to the Law of Cosines! It’s scrolling below for you to see, and here is the direct link to the file for you to use!

 

Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

Do or Do Not. There Is No Try

Fear not! This is NOT an anti growth mindset post. If you’ve read much of my writing at all or seen any of my math related tweets, you know that I’m all for building a culture based on growth, especially in the math classroom. This is more of a post about pulling up your bootstraps (or in this case, roofstraps) to do what no one expected you to do. Knowing my penchant for the relevant, an old friend from high school, now colleague in the world of education, Freya Mercer (@EduFreya) pointed me to this article yesterday:

 

For some, seeing a snowmobile strapped to the roof of a Ford Focus might be par for the course (my Minnesota friends?) but for those who left comments on the article…not so much. In fact, as of the writing of this blog post, the news outlet’s facebook post has 956 reactions, 902 shares, and over 1000 comments. But this isn’t a post about things going viral, although it could be. In the comments people ask great questions. What if one of the straps broke? What if it slid off the top? How did you get it up there? How will you get it down? Why didn’t you rent a truck? There are outcries toward his lack of safety concern and support for his ingenuity. In fact, he’s an active participant in the discussion!

It’s Wednesday, which means that tonight at 9:30 pm EST I’ll host the first #MakeItReal Chat of the new year. Please join in for 30 minutes if you have the time! Our chat is inspired by Freddy Muhlberger and his Snowmobile Gumption.

My #OneWord2018

As I filtered through the options for what I’d like my One Word to be for 2018 I kept coming back to a point where I was confused a bit by my own word choices. Did they define me? Could I redefine them? Did they even mean what I wanted them to mean?

 

My word for 2017 was Preflect, a word I made up. It means to picture yourself after an event, a conversation, or even the whole year, looking back on that time. What do you want to see when you reflect on it? Preflecting is the idea that if we put ourselves into that future self, looking back, that we can affect the present by making the future we want to happen a reality. I like that word, and from now on will probably keep it as an “always word” in my OneWord arsenal.

 

But 2017 has given me a lot to think about when I reflect on it. And as I reflect, now, my OneWord2018 has become clear. 

 

This word is a very cool word because it’s got a lot of different uses as parts of speech and different definitions. Here is how this will be my word for 2018.

 

Events in 2017 have given men across the country a lot to think about, particularly when it comes to the way in which they treat women in all aspects of life, from the workplace to the social world to the home. The first way that CONDUCT will be my #OneWord2018 is that I will make sure that in all areas of my life, I will never disrespect or mistreat the women in my life. My Code of Conduct will be unquestionably clear, and some extra special women in my life, my three daughters, will see their father act as an example for their future interactions with men.

The second way that CONDUCT will be my #OneWord2018 comes from science. I was making bacon and eggs this morning and thought about how the frying pan conducts heat. Metal conducts heat because it has delocalized electrons that are free to move around and transfer heat as they touch each other. 

In my work with teachers, both at my job and within my Twitter PLN, I sometimes feel as though I’m forcing an idea on someone, or pushing too much for a particular change or action. But if I let the conduction of heat be an example, then what I need to do is continue to be the heat source, providing the energy and constant presence necessary for the ideas or changes to naturally flow from one part of my school or PLN to others. 

 

Lastly, many of you know that music is an incredibly important part of my life. The third way that CONDUCT will be my #OneWord2018 will be how I approach leadership. In my family, my job, other roles I have in life, I will lead like the great conductors. At times, broad gestures with dramatic effect will be necessary. 

Other times, nuance and focus will be the only way to lead.

I hope to be able to conduct to the point that I no longer need to conduct. To build trust among those who work together so that a simple acknowledgement can be a leadership gesture. Take a moment and listen to the Haydn Symphony No. 88 as conducted by Leonard Bernstein. After a moment, you’ll see what I mean.

 

Outstanding, isn’t it?

So, for my #OneWord2018, I choose CONDUCT.

My conduct will be of the highest character.

I will conduct educational heat and energy.

I will conduct those I lead like the great orchestra conductors. 

I’m looking forward to 2018. I hope you are too.


Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

#MakeItReal Moment 14: Cast Away

MakeItReal Moment 14: Cast Away

 

In case you’re not paying attention to politics (who pays attention to politics? Everything is so calm in the government), something cool happened in Virginia yesterday. After a recount and a reconsideration and careful analysis of the ballot below, the two candidates for a Virginia House seat ended up with the exact same number of votes each: 11,608.  It seems that a filled in bubble with a line through it counts as a non-filled in bubble(we give standardized tests for JUST THIS SITUATION!). So this vote counted for Republican candidate Yancey instead of not being counted at all. Then there’s this:

So, here are your #MakeItReal Moment Questions and Suggestions:

  1. What are the chances of this actually happening?

  2. There were 52,753 eligible voters. What does this make you think?

  3. Can you design a better system for determining the winner of a tie in an election like this?

Also remember that from 12/20 through 1/3/18 you can join the #MakeItReal Slow Chat! Take pictures and share anytime!!! 

Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

#MakeItReal Moment Number 13: Through The Uprights

MakeItReal Moment 13

It snowed in Buffalo, NY this past weekend. This is not unusual for Buffalo, NY. The fun part is that it snowed on Sunday, during the Buffalo Bills football game versus the Indianapolis Colts. Snow football is awesome, and presents unexpected circumstances to the players and the viewers. One  of those unexpected circumstances I present to you now as a 3-Act Math question. Have fun!

ACT 1

That was an awesome kick! But it wasn’t the best story of the game. Check out this headline from the next morning.

 

What questions do you have?

What information do you think you need?

What else would you like to know?

 

Act 2

 

Here’s some more information for you.

 

Before the game, Adam had hit 22/23 field goals. He missed two during the game. 

Act 3

This scenario from one tweeter lines up how Adam can get exactly 90% of his kicks.

 

Sequel

Here is a link to the Indianapolis Colts remaining schedule.

What are some other reasonable ways he can get the contract incentive?

What if he misses one more?

 

Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

#MakeItReal Moment Number 12

Measuring Priceless

So…this just happened.

 

I love incredible events like this, so when I saw a former math professor of mine post about it on facebook and noticed the first comment, I had to take action.

 

Instant Relevance is the idea of using what’s happening now, and what matters to you and your students, to engage in excellent opportunities to learn. I couldn’t pass this one up. So I took the straightforward route and went to my calculator and treated this like a simple interest investment. The formula for simple interest is I = PxRxT, or the Interest (earned amount) is equal to the Principal (starting amount) multiplied by the interest rate and the time. We know three out of those four things. What we have is this:

$450,312,500 = $59 x R x 58 years.

To start solving for the interest rate, divide the interest by both the $59 and the 58 years and you end up with 131,593.37, which is a ridiculously large number for a percent, and isn’t even really all that helpful yet. You see, in most of these problems, our answer comes out to be something like 0.05, which means the rate is 5%. So the ACTUAL interest rate needed to return this kind of investment is 100 times greater than what we got. In other words, 13,159,337% interest.

Image result for but wait there's more

 

I didn’t ask my math professor where he got the $59 from, so I checked. The painting sold for 45 Pounds in 1958, which, it turns out, converts to $59 in today’s money, but with inflation, is $125 in 1958 money. So, time to start over!!!

$450,312,500 = $125 x R x 58 years

For a mere adjustment to the low, low interest rate of just 6,211,207%. 

Follow Up Questions:

Is Mark, the facebook commenter, right? How could it be so different and seemingly so much more reasonable than what I got?

How long would it take if we knew we had an absolute cap of 10% compounded annually?

How could you use this event in Art, Science, ELA, Social Studies and other classes?

 

So my question to you is this: How will you use this extraordinary circumstance and likely once in a lifetime opportunity to quantify “Priceless” in your classroom, before it’s no longer relevant? 

 

Share your ideas and lessons with me at the #MakeItReal Hashtag on twitter!!!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

 

#MakeItReal Moment Number 11

Halloween Haul

Sometimes, as a parent, you’ve just got to let your kids do what they want to do. Take Halloween for example. My kids wanted to run from house to house, so I let them run. They were happy, I got home faster, they slept well. What could be better? About, oh, 2 seconds before bedtime, my son Danny decided he wanted his halloween candy to no longer be in his injection molded plastic pumpkin candy holder and instead be in his self decorated Halloween themed paper bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I just mentioned, it was his bedtime, which I’d already mentally prepared for and wasn’t sure if I could regain the courage to approach if I didn’t go for it now.

But then he said this.

I think it will all fit in there!

I’m pretty sure he knows exactly where my mathematical curiosity buttons are.

So here’s another view of the situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well? What do you think?

There’s only one way to find out, and it means postponing bedtime…but who cares?!?! It’s Halloween!!

 

 

So my question to you is this: What questions did your kids or students have about their Halloween Candy? Answer them together…there’s still time!

 

Join the #MakeItReal Chat tonight on twitter!!! Guess what we’re talking about?

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

New Challenges > Old Successes

It doesn’t matter anymore. 
It just doesn’t.
In the words of James Ingram, “I did my best, but I guess my best wasn’t good enough.”

Earlier this summer, I decided to respond to regular, repeated, and seemingly desperate requests to improve Google Slides so that it would have the functionality that Powerpoint users were accustomed to. In particular, they wanted a Slide Sorter panel and the ability to Hide Slides in a presentation. I set out to find a way to #MakeItReal for them.

In the words of Robert Van Winkle, “if there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.”

So I did. I created the Slides Sorter extension, which now has hundreds of users, and the Hide Slides extension, which has over a hundred users after only a month.

But it doesn’t matter anymore. It just doesn’t.

Yesterday, Google announced new features for Slides, including proprietary add-ons now available and, are you ready, a Grid View for slide sorting and a Skip Slides feature from the right click menu.

See?

 

And the Skip Slides feature

I find it interesting that the icon Google used to display their skipped slides is pretty much the same as the icon I used for the hide slides extension…but who’s bitter, right? Definitely not me 🙂

 

 

So here’s my real point. I’m not upset at all that Google has finally added these features. It means that they’re listening to and acting on the needs of their users. What could be better than that? I’m excited that these features are now native to the Google Slides environment and am looking forward to what request they’ll respond to next.

Am I a little hurt that the fame and social media fortune that comes with being the Google Sides Extension Hero (it’s a thing) will no longer be mine? Actually, no. 

I put time and effort into creating something I thought would be helpful, and it was, for a time. But now that there’s something more effective, I’ve got to be ready to let go. It’s like that one project that you love having your students complete, but doesn’t belong in your curriculum anymore. It’s the one piece of literature that you love to read with your students, which has been replaced by a different piece. It’s “The way you’ve always done it,” but now it’s time to let go.

 

But fear not!! Let go of that project, that book, and quit doing things the way you’ve always done them. Your creativity, desire to help students learn, and reputation as an educator and a problem solver now precedes you!

In my opinion, new challenges are better than old successes.

Challenge Accepted!

Challenge yourself today. 

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at Denissheeran.com

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

Read Instant Relevance

 

Just Joy

Just Joy

 

 

 

 

That’s Danny. He’s six. We went fishing tonight for the first time this summer. We’d been meaning to go sooner, but his Disney Cars fishing pole was broken. Yesterday my wife picked up the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one, so nothing was holding us back. We left the house and walked the quarter mile from our front door to the lakefront. While we walked, Danny wondered what would would happen if it rained as we fished, or maybe if we got hit by lightning, and why there was so much gravel on the road. He even talked about how our hair is like an umbrella, and that his sisters have HUGE umbrellas!

When we got to the beach, Danny pointed out where we should set up. I reminded him how to cast the line and baited his hook for him with a little piece of hot dog (local fish favorite). After two failed attempts to cast the bait anywhere near the water, he got it out there on the third. It only took a couple seconds for his line to go under. We reeled and reeled (TMNT fishing poles have limited effectiveness) and hauled in the first catch of the day. He kept casting and kept catching, fish after fish. Every now and then he let me have a turn, too. During my turns, he ran back and forth on the grass behind us, jumping in the air making Super Mario “WooHoo!” sounds and forgetting to notice that I wasn’t catching anything.

Then, as I reeled in my first catch of the day, he said:

“Dad. I think I have just joy in my head. Not anger or sadness or fear or…what’s the green one from the movie…disgust. They’re not up there. Just joy.”

“Me too, Danny.” I said. “I have just joy, too.”

I can’t help but think about all the students coming to school soon. Do they have anger? Do they have sadness or fear or the green one? Can students who come into my classroom leave it thinking “I have just joy in my head.” Learning is joyful, happy, and exciting. Wherever I am this year, I’m going to try to spread goodness, happiness…just joy.

Wherever I am this year, I’m going to try to spread goodness, happiness…just joy.

Danny caught 10 fish tonight. He wanted to catch 11, but it did start to rain and we decided to head home. I shouldn’t have waited this long to go fishing with him, but I’m glad we went tonight. I go back to school in two days. Even so, we’re going to go fishing whenever we can, because he deserves to have Just Joy.