Adios, USA

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Hello dear friends and family!

I can’t believe that this month will be one year since I first heard Jesus prompt my heart to leave behind everything I have and “GO!” Initially, I tried to justify that what I was hearing was only coming from my own head, and wrestled with this idea for months. However, that still small voice in my heart persisted. As November 2016 rolled it’s way around, I couldn’t shake this drive in my soul so I prayed ALOT,  did my research, talked to my mentors and finally applied for a Discipleship Training School through the global missions organization, Youth With a Mission (YWAM),  in Ensenada, Mexico. Reflecting back, I distinctly remember sitting in my favorite coffee shop, my application filled out and ready to be sent. As I sat there staring at the submit button on my computer screen, my heart raced in anxiousness and yet, there too lingered a peace and I knew that this was exactly what I was being called to do. Fast forward 8 months later, and I’m back here in that very same coffee shop writing to you that I am moving to Ensenada, MEXICO to build homes for and love on the locals in this community!

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Youth With A Mission- Salem, OR
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YWAM base, Ensenada, MX

In short, from September 2017 until February 2018, I will be attending this intensive 5 1/2 month school consisting of 3 months of classroom training in Ensenada where speakers from all over the world will come and give messages on topics ranging from Evangelism to Biblical Worldview! The remaining 2 1/2 months, my class and I will spent on outreach in either the Caribbean, Africa or Central America, blessing and loving on the locals of the cities we visit! I cannot even begin to explain how stoked I am to continue learning about Jesus and telling others about Him, overseas!

So, here’s where I need YOUR help!  In order to attend my DTS, I am still working towards raising my financial support goal of $3,500! This cost will cover my food, housing and transportation needs during this season.  Jesus has provided for me SO many times and I know He continue to be faithful. I trust Jesus 100% but also realize that I need some help reaching my financial goal!

If you would like to join my team whether that be financially or through prayer, it would be an honor to have you invest in me and my team as we GO!

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I am jazzed to share this journey with you as it unfolds! Would you partner with me in prayer for provision over my funds and safety for the trip? If you feel lead to give, I have a few different support raising opportunities!

Yard Sale: I will be hosting a garage sale in Monmouth, OR on the weekend of September 8th – 9th, 2017. If you have any items you would like to donate to the sale, I’d be glad to connect with you and take them off your hands! All proceeds will directly benefit my mission.

YouCaring-Online Giving: If you would like to support me directly and do so online, click the link here to go to my YouCaring campaign where you can give both directly and instantly!

Direct giving-YWAM: If you would still like to give but would like to do so directly to my school, click here to donate directly to my student account! YWAM Ensenada will also be accepting checks for my tuition on my behalf.

*YWAM San Diego Baja-School Payments

PO Box 5417

Chula Vista, CA 91912

Please make checks out to YWAM SDB and attach with a note stating: “Emily Boatwright- Music and Missions DTS 2017”

Donations given in any and every amount and prayer are extremely valued and appreciated! And again, thank you all SO much in advanced! Please feel free to shoot me an email, at e.boatwright96@gmail.com, give me a call at (503)-990-4844 or catch me at New Hope Foursquare on Sundays! Your support and prayers mean more to me than I could ever express. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In His love,

Em…xoxo

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 

 

Our Baggage vs. God’s Best

 

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I don’t know about you, but summer is my favorite season- the sun, the trips, the adventure.  But in all the fun, I tend to become complacent in certain areas, specifically the cleanliness of my room. I know this may sound silly but friends, it’s real. And while the heaps of clothes don’t end up on the floor over night, neither do the papers on my desk get shuffled and crumpled on their own. In my hurry and rush to get here or there, the mess builds, the floor disappears and when I come home, chaos is inescapable and reality sets back in. This was the case yesterday. I came home after a crazy couple of days and realized that my ambition to become a minimalist (lol) needed some definite attention. As I buckled down and started purging through my closet, I was reminded of something I recently read in Max Lucado’s book, Just Like Jesus. “Jesus loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way”. As I started pondering this thought, I was reminded that not only did I have a lot of material junk to go through and give away, but I also have a lot of personal baggage and insecurity that I’ve stored up in my heart and carried on my shoulders. Sure, I knew that Jesus loved me but I was also aware that there was junk I had been avoiding confrontation with just as I had with the mess in my bedroom. Now, disclaimer, this was’t the first time I’d reflected on what I needed to give to Jesus. Only a couple months ago, I decided I wanted to give everything, my whole life, over to him. This included my addictions and die hard daily habits, my hypocrisy, and self  doubt. Just I found myself exhausted  by all the clutter in my own head and heart. Personally, this clutter looks and sounds a lot like lies in my own head about perfectionism and what I thought was it’s inherant relationship to my self worth.

For me, I struggle with grounding my identity in Jesus and not in through the lens of the world. I’ve learned a lot about myself this year and one thing I’m coming to notice and accept is how exhausted I feel by trying to maintain a reputable image by the standards of modern day society. It’s no surprise that we live in an era where it’s virtually impossible to escape the unrealistic standards that our society sets. Constantly, we receive missed messages from the media on everything from what grades who should be earning, what clothes we should be wearing, how many nights a week we should be spending out. If I’m being real, I used to live to attain the demands of these messages and honestly, still struggle. Am I broken? Yes.  Is living life with baggage and the pressure to exist a certain way exhausting and utterly draining? Yes, absolutely. In fact, not only is this junk heavy but also, restrictive. When I let my insecurity and anxiety get ahold of me, a become self absorbed with the need for control that holds me back. I get stuck in my own head, worried about things that may not even be true! These lies are real, friends and yes, we are human. Jesus tells it to us straight forward, ” Here on Earth you will have trouble…”( John 16:33). Yet, I love how my good friend Trish once painted it. She likened her human heart to a mural under construction.  Scaffolding up, drip rags down, the painter working hard away at piecing together a masterpiece. “I’m kind of like that” she said. “Jesus is working on me. “I’m under construction and always will be.” When she said this, it resonated with me because I know that scaffolding was up around my heart too. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect and we all have baggage. Yet the point is that none of it could ever disqualify you or I from the love and the goodness of our Father. He is working on our hearts, just like the painter works on his monument.

When you feel weighed down by lies, deception, stress, pressure (the list goes on), whatever baggage may look or sound like to you, Jesus wants it. You see, Jesus’ heart for us isn’t condemnation, it’s freedom. Jesus isn’t a god of shame a guilt, he’s a father for forgiveness and peace. I believe he is working on my heart, going through my baggage with me, all with open arms, asking for me to lay down all down at his feet. He wants me to give up my need for unattainable  perfectionism, my agenda and need for control.

All in all, he wants the same for you too. When I feel stressed or anxious about the unknown( a common worry of mine), he reminds me that this junk isn’t mine to worry about in the first place. That weight isn’t mine to bare. His arms are open and his heart is big. Jesus wants to set you and I free so that we can LIVE! The first part of John 16:33 is indeed, ” Here on Earth you will have trouble” the second part however, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Friends, take heart. Rest in the peace of knowing that we serve a God much bigger than the circumstances of this life. Your true identity is through Christ alone and what he says about you defies anything the world could. So lay down your baggage, let him take your junk. Ask him to help rummage through your heart and identify what is weighing you down. Then, release it to him. Give it away cause he’s got more room than a mega sized UHAUL to take that junk.  He is humble and gentle at heart, and his plans for you are so much greater and glorified than any weight you carry alone.

As I wrap up the finishing touches of my room purge, I’m reminded of the junk in my human heart and the grace that penetrates and redeems it. I’m a ready to give away not only the external crap cluttering my life, but the internal an personal junk that holds me back and ties me down. Freedom is ours for the taking whenever we’re ready. You with me?

“Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29

 

 

Lesson Planning- What I’ve Learned So Far

From my limited experience with lesson planning this far, I can confidently say that this task is much easier said than done. Initially, I had multiple ideas for a prepared lesson that I was almost certain would meet the requirements of the ISTE and the Common Core State Standards. In hindsight however, I was definitely missing some fundamental components of both, in my lesson’s rough draft.

During my beginning of my journey to “perfect” my lesson, I began to become somewhat overwhelmed and even a bit frustrated when I began looking at all the criteria I needed to be meeting when presenting my lesson in the classroom. With so many standards, I felt a sense of uneasiness and questioned the lack of balance I foresaw in being able to hit all the targets I was aiming towards. After searching the web for a dose of empathy and encouragement, I came across I really great article that provided me with just that! In the article Every Teacher Can Meet the Common Core: Simple Tips, I found various practical ways to easily approach Common Core in my state, and how to make the process implementing these criteria, a little bit more do-able. This text gave several overarching ways that teachers of all grade levels can mix things up in their classroom. In addition, each sub-text included several hyperlinks that focused on other documents and videos, specific to the point being highlighted. This article really help me put my ideas into perspective and even helped me brainstorm several different ways to maximize the impact of my lessons, all the while meeting the standard criteria of ISTE and Common Core.

Another gold mine that I came across during my research was an article written by the University of Oregon, Ways to Access Student Learning During Class. I really got excited about reading this article due to it’s being written by a school in my home state, but also because it plainly listed thirteen different ideas on how to access student learning. With the demands of Common Core, assessment is a huge component to measuring the learning and growth in our students. As much as I get excited about learning, my opposition to content testing as a means of measurement, is extremely limited. This article clarified that traditional testing isn’t the only way for teacher’s and administrators to collect meaningful data to promote stronger and more effective ways of learning. Many go the concepts presented in the article were based around the students showing what they knew, paired with a wide margin of freedom for the student to preform while incorporating their creativity. The limits posed by traditional testing is another blog post for another day, but I really appreciated the practicality and diverse brainstorming of this article on how to access student growth in the classroom.

Both of these articles of truly left me feeling encouraged and even, better equipped to prepare lessons that are meaningful and relevant to my  class of students, while at the same time, merge with and meet the criteria of ISTE and Common Core standards.

Web 2.0 For the Elementary Classroom

 

Prezi

As a visual learner myself, I think one of the best way to keep a class of busy bodies engaged is to keep the lesson moving with lots of interaction and stimulation.

Prezi, is one of my personal favorite apps not only as a presenter but as a student as well. Very similar to PowerPoint, Prezi uses a series of blank slides for the creator to customize at their discretion, in order to create a virtual slideshow. In my class of second, third or fourth graders, I could really see this tool being used to supplement my lessons using visual stimuli in geography lessons, math examples and science experiments. Because Prezi is a great place to organize lesson content in one central place, this allows instructors to easily keep content categorized and classified, all at the tips of their fingers. Using this app to link videos and tutorials encourages students to really have a chance to visualize the material being discussed.Personally, I love that Prezi allows hyperlinks to be added into slides, as well as allowing easy access to Google Images when adding pictures. Because this app is online, teachers and students never have to worry about saving their projects or lessons to a hard drive or USB port because a simple login username and password from any software device, permits instant access to their files.

Some of the limitations that I have come across are, that with increasing user popularity, the general access to some of the best features of this site are reserved for paying members only. In order to edit images and limit privacy settings, subscribers must pay a monthly fee to unlock certain site settings. There is a free version of the app that allows anyone access to the most basic of functions and in my opinion, free is good and most definitely possible to make do with. In addition, though I think this app is great for adults and students with a wide range internet familiarity, I am hesitant to believe that young students entering the school system could use this site productively without needing substantial assistance. For my class, I would most likely utilize this site myself, primarily for visual aid in my lesson plans.

To access Prezi and learn more about it’s features of use, be sure to check out their website and see if it might be a constructive tool for your classroom!

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Abcya.com 

Abcya is a great site for elementary school teachers for an array of various reasons. The range and variety of games programmed to this site is quite vast and can be utilized to accompany virtually any lesson. From typing to math and language arts games, students are able to become more digitally literate through using their computer skills to master lesson content. Accessible from tablets, cell phones and PCs, this site is easily employable with no login or username information necessary for full site access. Because the educational games on this site are simply categorized by grade, students can easily find  games that suit their education interest or areas in need of improvement. Fun images, graphics and bright colors create an inviting web page and the simple design on the home page makes site navigation, a breeze. Before using this site, teachers should be familiar with where to locate games and content that will be relevant in their classroom. Teachers are able to create class login accounts if they so choose to do so, enabling them to easily guide their students to use specific activities  whether at school or at home. There isn’t much instruction on how to use the site, so being familiar and  prepared before introducing this tool to a class could be highly beneficial. Other than that, it is my opinion that my elementary teachers and the students in their classrooms will have a great experience using this tool as a reward system or even for homework practice in reference to relevant classroom course work.

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PBS LearningMedia

For years, I loved using PBS as a resource for research, as student. However, up until recently, I never knew that a site like PBS LearningMedia, even existed. This webpage is great for teacher of all age groups but I specifically like it for those teaching the littles because it has loads of arts and crafts ideas that tag along with science and math projects. This is a great way to stimulate our kinesthetic learners to put their knowledge into practice by getting their hands-on activities for the day. I also really like that they content on PBS LearningMedia is categorized almost like a search engine. Teachers can search lessons and actives to accommodate their plans for the day by, keyword, subject area and learning style. Videos, images and virtual field trips are just a few of the addition resources that can be located here. Topics are interesting and relevant and the easy to navigate site makes it simple for students, parents and teachers alike to accumulate information for research or homework. Students and teachers do need to have a username and password login account to access the full set of resources on the page, so having this completed before projects and assignments are due, is a must. PBS LearningMedia is a all age group inclusive site and even has a “student” section of the webpage , condensing and generating information more likely to suit the interests and needs of those in school. I can definitely see this webpage being used in my classroom for a variety of assignments!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a bird, It’s a plane…It’s Super Digital Citizen!

 

When I think about being a teacher, I can’t help but be filled with a spurt of joy when imagining spending quality time with my kids in their creativity, investing in their knowledge and building them up to be the young men and women of our future generations. In my opinion, teachers have some of the largest impacts on people’s lives as it is instructors who in many cases, spend the majority of their time with students as they develop through the many  crucial stages in life.

I’ll be the first to admit, coloring holiday cards and singing multiplication tables are sure to be some of the greatest moments that I have to look forward to as a second grade teacher, but as I gaze into the future, my  personal inspiration in a digital era like today,  is that teachers of tomorrow make an effort to keep their eyes towards the future, all the while making an effort to understand that the digital age is a part of the identity of our students. The very learners we have such an influence on, are the same students attempting to navigate  the pros and cons of world drenched in media.After watching the video of Mr. Penland’s classroom, I am left inspired to take my responsibility to the next level.

In his class, Penland uses blank superhero templates as a clean canvas for each of his students to create their own “digital superhero” comic strip. This assignment incorporates the use of PCs and iPads at the discretion of each child to simulate a situation where they themselves get to role play as a internet superhero in order to stop and prevent acts of disrespect and misconduct in cyberspace.

From the perspective of an aspiring teacher of the twenty-first century, I can’t think of a better time to talk to students about being safe and respectful on the internet, than when they are young. This internet will undoubtedly be a resource used for the rest of their lives so along with incorporating activities with depth and relevance, the use of technology to assist a topic so relevant, makes an assignment of this magnitude even more impactful. With kids are already using computers, cell phones and iPads everyday outside the classroom, bringing technology into the learning space like Mr. Fenland did, personalizes an endless and ever changing void, so unfamiliar yet all too recognizable.

Though we  as teachers may have had our share of internet encounters, I believe it is most important that we never rely on our past experiences to confine our conversations with students about digital citizenship, but instead use them as a constructive catalyst to meaningful discussions.  The harsh reality of digital citizenship and teaching it through the ages, is that the vast world of inter-webs is in constant evolution. Empathizing and attempting to understand exactly where  students are coming from might not always be obtainable or even realistic. That being said, at the end of the day, modeling and emphasizing the  importance of safe and respectful internet use, ceases all ages groups and all levels of digital experience, including the little ones. Utilizing engaging and interactive activities like Mr. Fenland does for his 2nd grade class, students are given the opportunity to express their opinions, ideas and solutions using the power of illustration and words, in an environment perfect for practice.  This method makes activities of a sensitive subjects much more personal and take the goal of being a digital superhero, to a reality that is personal and resonant.

In conclusion to this long and sporadic train of thought, I’ve come to the consensus that at the end of the day,  I  want to make my time in the classroom worth while. For me, this means that before I retire and loose my graying hair, I want to be able to say that the conversations I had with my students over the years made them think. And by this, I mean- made them think about their future and they people that they want to be . All context aside,  when I look back after all my years of grading papers and writing lesson plans, I would love nothing more than to hear that my students learned what it meant to them to be kind, respectful and thoughtful human beings, in every aspect of their lives, including the person they portray themselves to be in the digital world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 101

 

  1. What is copyright?

Copyright is a huge item of concern, especially for those of us in the field of stretching materials to make ends meet in the classroom. In a hurry to create your lesson plan and distribute materials needed for your students, what are you doing to protect yourself and your institution from the harms of copyright infringement?

Here’s what you need to know:

Copyright is the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish, and sell a book, musical recording, etc., for a certain period of time (Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary).  If an company or organization writes a textbook, compiles a brochure or a paints a picture, the team or individual who worked to create it, has implied copyright laws to protect their work from anyone who may try to replicate or steal their work.

2. Four Tests for Fair Use: These are explicit guidelines used to direct the proper use of using copyrighted print materials for the classroom. For more details and an article on copyright, be sure to check out this link to the ASCD website featuring, Copyright 101 .

-Are the materials you copy, going to be used for nonprofit or educational purposes?

-What is the publishing status of the material you are using? Does it contain facts or opinion? Published works have less copyright protection than unpublished works, and although facts have no way of being protected, the way they are expressed and delivered, is.

-How much of the work are you using? The more you use, the less likely you are to be following copyright laws.

-What are the effects of your copies on the owner of the work and the market? If everyone were to do exactly what you were, where are the sales being taken from and who could  suffer the consequences?

3. Why does the media type matter? 

The type of media used in the classroom is essential to better understanding the rules and guidelines for each kind. Whether it be a media source, written material, or a digital recording, there are distinct guidelines for each category of copyrighted items.

Again, copyright is a HUGE component in maximizing the resources available for the 21st century classroom. Getting educated on the rules and regulations will not only help connect you to resources that are beneficial and handy, but will also keep you safe from potentially overstepping your copyright bounds.

 

 

 

PowerPoint In The Classroom

Growing up in the pioneering generation of PowerPoint, I’ve created many slideshows in my time. From middle school math projects to A.P. biology presentations in high school, using digital slides in the classroom is something I believe many students my age and the thousands who have come after us, have become very accustomed to using. That being said, just because we have been heavily exposed to using tools such as PowerPoint, GoogleSlides and Prezi, this alone can not imply that we have come to prefect this ever changing art of technology in the classroom.

Using technology in school can be very thrilling not only because it is familiar, but because it’s also very unfamiliar and is the perfect outlet for a curious mind. In the last twelve years of my K-12 education, I have used computer programming for presentations nearly a hundred times, but to this day, know that there are many areas of skill in which I can improve. In his presentation Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, Garr Reynolds discusses the far too common mishaps used in slideshow presentations, everyday. While reading through his suggestions, I came to realize that many of his ideas were the very same thoughts I’ve had before when watching and even presenting my own information. One of my favorite strategies for a great presentations is what Reynolds calls the SNR or Signal vs. Noise Ratio. With this idea, slides used in a presentation should be used in a manner of being most effective in communicating vital information. Personally, I can recall many times when I have sat and watched someone deliver their spoken content excellently but have walked away more confused in the end, due to a blur of distractions within their presentation itself.  Reynolds addresses the unnecessary overuse of logos on each slide, confusing 3-D graphic images and overall, endorses the beauty of “less is more”.

In my own work, I used to believe that the more graphics and fancy fonts I could fit in my slide, the better it would be. But as I’ve become more PowerPoint proficient, I’ve learned that the most important feature to my presentation is clarity. When it comes to teaching students to use digital tools like those listed above, I believe that it is also important that we educators pass this critical knowledge onto them, as well.

If all our students ever know how to do is to program GIFs and  majestic fonts into their powerpoint slides they will never truly learn to objectively present with clarity and precision.   In the technological world it is essential to keep in mind that using our digital gadgets to present information, facts and findings should promote articulateness, evidence and explicitness. Less words on a given slide leaves more room for pictures that are worth a thousand words. Using images to support delivery of content is a simple yet constructive way for all presenters to organize thoughts, all the while compiling detail and creativity to a product that will leave a long lasting impression.  For our students, learning how to most effectively utilize the technological tools at hand, is an essential key to  becoming digitally literate and sophisticated in the 21st century classroom and work place. That being said, “with great power, comes great responsibility”.