Shocked to See: Slavery in 2017

By Sheila Pope, Ph.D

This morning I was shocked to see Matt Lauer had been fired from the “Today Show”. I was shocked to see so many of my African American political Facebook Friends still support State Representative Ron Reynolds after he was found guilty of stealing his client’s money from settlements. Yes, I question how we can uphold any government officials with serious integrity issues and act as if they need to be in photos with candidates that have yet to prove themselves. It taints their credibility before they get elected.

However, I was more shocked to see that in 2017, we have allowed our people to be sold into slavery in Libya! This image says it all! Black Friday has a whole new meaning in the world. The images of Africans men being hung upside down by their feet should make all Africans and African-Americans living in the USA get up and get active. What about Caucasians you ask? What about them? Our President tells you where he stands on race relations on a daily basis.

We have a responsibility to understand, what happens around the world is a threat to us in America. Dr. King said it best, “Moreover, I am cognizant of the INTERRELATEDNESS of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Letter From Birmingham Jail, 1963).

If we allow this to continue to happen in Libya soon, we will find more of our people missing and being shipped overseas into slavery. While some of us travel internationally, we should consider how easy it would be to become “lost” and “found” in shackles. Sounds like hyperbole, but it is real people. The climate is set for more stuff like this to happen in our backyards. Thanks, Steven Solari for the image.24291751_10215594255517246_4536367000504789490_o

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Pushing Your Sons Out of the Nest

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Today, I am happy to announce my oldest son was pushed out of the nest last week and on October 13th, he learned to fly independently! He is moving to Mississippi. He is driving with a few friends to Mississippi and living in his own apartment across from his dad, my ex-husband.

Image Credit: Dr. Sheila Pope

For the single mothers struggling to let go of their adult sons, listen to your inner voice and trust God to help you release them. I held on to Chris out of fear that he would not survive without my help. Yet this last year, I realized I prepared him to become an awesome young man. Last week, I realized I needed to let him go before I killed his spirit and before I killed his motivation to survive. 

When I released him, I had peace. I had no worries. When he returned with his plan, I knew I made the right choice as a mother. His sibilings were happy to see him and to know they could talk with him via the phone. Chris was not angry with me. He had his chest stuck out. He is finally getting his road trip. Now, his father in heaven and his dad can help him become a responsible man. 

When he came to say goodbye last night before leaving, I gave him several hugs, told him I loved him, and gave him his cell phone.  I will admit I was proud of him. I asked if he was sure of his plans and he said yes he was sure. 

I have three more children to raise as a single mom and I am excited to start this new journey. Chris has helped me so much with the children, but they are able to rock and roll with me now. My life changes too! However, I will not let fear and discomfort cause me to hinder Christopher’s ability to become the man of his own home. 

Single moms we have to know when to let go of our baby boys. When they are taller than us, can talk back to us, capable of manipulating us, they  are not paying any bills, they are taking more than they give, they are failing to see you as a blessing, they are a high school graduate, they are intelligent, they are physically able to work, and they are 18 years of age with a car, it is time to push them out of the nest.

Moms don’t let fear hold you hostage and cause you to create a irresponsible man. Let go and let God show you how to support him from a distance.

My SMART Board

Written by Dr. Sheila Pope

smart-board

Well, it finally happened; I have fallen in love again! For the last 10 years, I have taught my English classes at Texas Southern University (seven years) and Worthing High School with my personal Epson projector, my Logistics speakers, and my laptop computer. Finally, when Worthing’s students and teachers moved into their new building and classrooms, we were given new technology.

I love all things tech! I loved and cherished my Epson because I paid for it out of pocket. I understood the value of having a large screen,  great visuals and clear, loud audio in a classroom. Yet I could not interact with my content until now.

I walked into my new beautiful classroom and was instantly interested in playing with my SMART BOARD. No one provided training, but I did not really need it. At first, I just tried to move the screen up and down with my hands. I like making the text shrink or expand with my fingertips. I started downloading more of its software.

Gradually I began to develop strong feelings for my board. The more I played with it, the more I appreciated its capabilities. One day last month, my baby crashed. I was sick! I always incorporate tech into my lessons.

When it was working, I started playing my videos using surround sound. My computer was always locked into its docking station. Then, I was given a remote. The IT guy, Mr. Albert, reset my baby when it crashed. After the crash, I was more determined to learn more about its abilities.

Video: Falling in Love with My SMARTBOARD 

I learned it has so many superpowers! I became excited; I laughed as I learned what real interaction and engagement with content meant. I quickly learned I loved my SMART Board!

Today, I am a part of the SMART Board community. I am still learning what it can do, but I love the way it makes me feel when I annotate text on the screen. I love pasting stamps. I think the spotlight is my favorite tool.

This is the beginning of a beautiful love affair. I cannot teach in another classroom without a SMART Board. When I attended a training at another campus, I passed by a classroom with a chalkboard and laughed. I did not think teachers were still using a chalkboard. I am blessed to work in a district that promotes high-tech tools.

There are a few issues with my SMART Board, but the joy I feel when it works makes me continue to love it.

Tech in My Classroom

by Sheila Pope, PhD

This month, I was determined to introduce my students to various apps. They have worked so hard on STAAR and they needed a break. Well, I needed one too! Using technology is relaxing to me.

I decided I wanted my students to go outside and enjoy Worthing’s beautiful landscape. Believe it or not, my students had not taken the time to “smell the roses.” Many of them asked, “Do we really have roses on campus?” We used ThingLink application to make our photos interactive and engaging. The kids were everywhere and they really enjoyed using the app. I wanted them to share their experiences using ThingLink. Therefore,  I introduced them to WordPress.com to create a blog.

Next, we used Screencastomatic.  I used my webcam and my recorder to record my actions on the screen. My students wanted to know if they could record themselves playing videos. Being an old school Centipede game player, I recorded myself playing the game. Most of my students downloaded the software immediately. They will use the software next week to record a video for class.

We used Khan Academy’s grammar application for the first time this year. When I think of Khan Academy, I think of their math tutorials but they have added a new focus- writing My students needed to review basic grammar and this program was just the help I needed. My students loved the fact they could compete with each other too. I also gave my students with the highest scores treats too. Everyone earned participation point regardless of their scores. It was a win-win situation!

My students needed to improve their vocabulary skills, so I created classes on vocabulary.com. I had planned to use Vocabulary.com last year but did not do it. This year, my classes are on fire! The application feeds their need for competition and it helps them learn at a rapid pace. We have a common goal to become the top school on the Vocabulary Leader Board

Moreover, I played a very exciting game of Kahoot with my students. We read “Animal Farm” and we watched the movie. I felt a quiz was the perfect ending to the unit. All of my classes played and each of my classes loved it. The Assistant Principal came in during the game and she was so happy to see all of the students engaged. My students were loud but they were thinking too! Next, my students will are going use Kahoot to create reviews and quizzes for their peers.

The last app I introduced to my students was Educreation.com. It allows students to annotate, to record and to create videos in a short amount of time. Today, my students used the app to  demonstrate how to solve STAAR edit and revise questions. I was so happy to have some of my students share some of their work with Jennifer Gingerich, the Discovery Ed Consultant. My students worked as a team to create their projects.

https://www.educreations.com/lesson/embed/38488987/?s=3aCNPx&ref=embed

I started this process on April 4th and we have been moving rapidly. Next year, since our school is fully a PowerUp school, I will integrate the apps into my classes earlier with very specific activities. I think my students will stay engaged more and I will have more fun too.

A New Challenge by Sheila Pope, Ph.D

After years of struggle, I finally finished my doctorate degree. In the photo, I am standing in front of tiny pieces of paper that represent  huge chunks of my life. I am standing in front of teaching certificates, state licenses and four degrees that I have willingly sacrificed my love life, happy hours with the girls, and family time with my children. I do not regret one missed event. I have become a Capella PhDiva! I rock that shirt and all that it implies.

However, I find myself in a new tricky spot. I am at peace with my journey to become Dr. Pope, but I am not sure what to do next. You see, I set goals constantly and I never have too much free time. I have tons of things that I want to do, but I question the timing of each goal. I do not have a clear direction and that is scary for me. It is easier to stay in my bubble of education. I control the outcome in education. I going to disclose a secret: I have five degrees and multiple certificates. I excel in academics! Real life cannot be controlled by me. I do not control the outcomes of relationships.

I purchased Shonda Rhimes’ audio book,  Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person. I have been too tired to read anything and my eyes are always jumping which is my signal to let me know my eyes are strained. I loved listening to her book; it made me think about writing, being a single mom and my self imposed limits. It motivated me to say yes to my next challenge.

As I enter 2016, I am thinking about what I want to accomplish personally and professionally. I have things that I talk about with friends and I have dreams that I do not share with anyone. My next challenge will not include school. I am clear that I want to take a break from “going to school”.

Capella’s PhD program was an online program, but I spent hours every day for three months with tunnel vision focused on completing my dissertation. From July to September 2015, I breathed and ate my dissertation. I worked with my mentor from Capella consistently. I never saw his face, but I looked at his words daily. I feared his editorial comments. It is amazing how energy I put into becoming Dr. Pope. I was left depleted after I submitted my last edits. I am still unsure, if there were errors that I missed. I was left with one clear thought:  There is no desire burning within me to complete another degree!

My career and personal life are my next challenges. My family life needs a fresh perspective. My body need to be cared for in many ways. My business needed a new direction and my mind needs rest. My desire to write for fun has been tugging at my heart. Shonda Rhimes says, “If you are a writer, you should write.” I am going to write more and share more while not sharing too much. I am getting ready for my next challenge. I am ready to leave my comfort zone and stretch myself more.