I was born with a cleft palate and lip. Due to the scars and constant surgeries, school was very difficult. Children seemed to really enjoy hurting me. Whether it was verbal, physical or emotional didn't seem to matter as long as they each got a turn at picking on the "flat nose."
It's been a long time since I was in elementary school. But I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I wasn't the cutest, skinniest or best-dressed girl. I wasn't even a popular girl, but I had an advantage; I could sing like "nobody's business," and my teachers loved that about me. As a result, I think I was spared the bullying that could've come from classmates due to my lack of the aforementioned qualities.
Like most youngsters at 14 years old, I sometimes came home from school and said to myself, "I could kill that kid." Of course I never meant it and never once did I think it was even within the realm of possibility. Things have changed. After the Columbine Massacre, I tried to find out why.
There is nothing quite like the sound of children on a playground at recess. As a former elementary school teacher, such sounds remain a pleasant sense memory for me. Unfortunately, on school playgrounds across the country and for many of the children on them, there exist sounds that are not as pleasant as those I recall. As educators, we all know from our own experiences that the less structured spaces of a school such as the playground are often sites of name-calling, harassment and bias.
Editor's Note: Although Kevin Curwick graduated from Osseo Senior High, the Twitter project he started continues to be a source of inspiration from current students. In this post, written when Curwick was a senior, he highlights why he started sending positive tweets to fellow classmates. (Updated 10/2013)
As simple as any introduction, my name is Kevin Curwick, and I am currently a senior at Osseo Senior High in Osseo, Minnesota -- a suburb of the Twin Cities. I have always been involved in my school and, just like many students, I strive to make a difference. I have recently been able to achieve a significant change that has already produced encouraging results.
October is Bullying Prevention Month, and schools and families across the country are having frank discussions to raise awareness about bullying. It's a subject that's grown increasingly complex and troubling over the years: while in-person teasing and harassment has never flagged, new technologies have given rise to cyberbullying, which can be equally as damaging -- and even more public. And news of tragic consequences stemming from cases of both kinds spreads quickly through social media.
"Digital citizenship" is an umbrella term that covers a whole host of important issues. Broadly, it's the guidelines for responsible, appropriate behavior when one is using technology. But specifically, it can cover anything from "netiquette" to cyberbullying; technology access and the digital divide; online safety and privacy; copyright, plagiarism, and digital law, and more. In fact, some programs that teach digital citizenship have outlined no less than nine elements that intersect to inform a well-equipped digital citizen. It's an overwhelming array of skills to be taught and topics to explore.
Greetings from sunny San Diego. I'm here for the annual ISTE conference and its innovative kick-off gathering, SocialEdCon -- the one-day unconference formerly known as EduBloggerCon. (Organizer Steve Hargadon changed the name to reflect the change in emphasis from blogging to the larger social media universe that brings educators together.)
Topics this year ranged from how to expedite technology adoption to the impact of technology on social and emotional learning; blended learning; and tools and ideas for making media in the classroom. (See the entire SocialEdCon schedule) Over the next week or so, we'll hear from some of these participants as guest bloggers here on Edutopia.