Core scripture: “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13: 4).
Message: The images of 9/11 are still dancing in my mind two days following the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack. It was such a powerful moment yesterday, showing those images to my students, allowing them to ask questions about that day, and teaching them about main ideas and supporting details through a string of intensive intentional moments. Their questions about that day prompted my own questions about the scene. I saw them. The victims. Running scared from the cloud of ashes. Some making it, some not. Then one of my students piped up.
“Hey, Mr. Daniels … Didn’t some people jump off the building to their death?”
Silence gripped the room. You can’t dodge that question, can you?
“Yes, some actually dove off the buildings before they crashed,” I admitted in a soft voice. “They actually have a memorial statue near Ground Zero that commemorates the 9/11 jumpers.”
You could see the awe in their faces. A few kids waved their hands to ask more questions, but the thought was too raw for me. Personal reasons. I had to change the topic, so I did. But that kid’s question made me wonder last night. When, God, will it be my time? Will I live a fruitful life well into old age, becoming a proud grandparent, passing the baton to the next generation? Will cancer cripple me in my 50’s? My family has a genetic history of it. Or will I be driving home from church next Sunday, singing a worship song, only to be broadsided by a semi running a red light, sending me to meet my maker all too early?
Scary thoughts! Have you ever contemplated these questions? I can assure you we will never know the answer to them, so there is no sense in worrying about it. Still, to think about it … it almost gives me a healthy fear that I will never know when God is going to call me home, and I had better be living my life to the fullest while there is still time left! Matthew 24: 36 states, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Now, though that may not be speaking about my own specific death—though it most certainly could!—it makes me want to use every day, every hour, every minute for the glory of God.
Heavy stuff. Let’s lighten this a bit and apply it to the Christian teacher. Procrastination can certainly plague us all. That new innovative teaching method you’ve wanted to try. The new iPad app that you haven’t had time to play with. Are you stuck in the rut of your old traditional teaching methods, content with the same boring results you’ve always had? Get out of your comfort zone! Try something new. What is holding you back from that one thing you’ve wanted to try but just haven’t done it? You’re too busy. You fear failure. You don’t have time. I have used all these excuses before, and do you know what? I AM TIRED OF IT!!!
It is time to revolutionize your classroom. Why not now? Why not at the beginning of the school year when you can play with the new idea and refine it throughout the year? Don’t put it off till summer. Every time you do that you never get to it anyway. If you aren’t an expert, find one! Do you know what I am going to do right after shooting this blog off? I am going to knock on my good friend Jordan’s door. Immediately. That guy is a technology wiz! He helped me set up my YouTube channel two years ago, and now, much thanks to his brilliance, I am slowly flipping my classroom with creative videos on YouTube. I am wondering what awesomeness will come out of throwing EdPuzzle into my arsenal of lessons.
Ever heard of it? You take videos online or your own videos, add questions to them periodically through the program, and the students are required to answer the questions as they watch the video. They can’t skip ahead. It forces them to see the entire thing, and you will get immediate feedback on how they have succeeded in mastering curriculum. It even shows how many times they watch a video to succeed in getting it right. I can’t wait! As a matter of fact, WHY AM I STILL TYPING HERE????? Sorry, gang. I am going to peace out and get this ball rolling. Do you remember when Jesus was calling His disciples? They dropped everything and followed. No hesitation. No looking back. So, what do you say? Will you follow me in trying something new? Your students are waiting.
Challenge: What have you been putting off? A new app you’d like to use on your iPad? Flipped learning? Learning a new curriculum component? Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick ONE idea, and work on it. For me it is most definitely EdPuzzle. Once you have that one thing, fail miserably at it! Learn some more, tweak it, polish it, and watch your students reap the benefit of your boldness to try something new!
Song to bring it home: In my life before I was saved, I used to love 80’s hair bands. Def Leppard. Guns N Roses. Bon Jovi. I know it sounds odd to recommend a song from my former life; however, one song simply screams out that it MUST be listened to: Van Halen’s “Right Now.” Ever heard it? Check it out on YouTube, feel free to bang your head a bit and flip your hair around—or in my case my complete lack of hair. Who knows? It might inspire you to try something new!
Prayer: God, don’t let me fear failure in trying something new. Allow me to be bold, fearless, and charge forward with a new idea I have wanted to try for some time. Let this new idea innovate my classroom, letting my students thrive and truly savor the experience.