A Good Meme Causes Reflection

The meme

I hate internet memes.  I have to be honest in saying that I never respond to them.  The place they feel especially strange is on my blog.  This is one of the few places where my learning is allowed to run about unfettered.  Perhaps the meme concept feels like high school did back in my day when I was given really specific things to perform for a particular assignment.  We all know that growth occurs from many of those situations where we have been forced to think within the guidelines of a particular set of “rules.”  However, I have always seen the inside of my Edublogs dashboard as a place where I run the show, dictate the pace, put forward the agenda, and set the course for my own growth.

With all that said, I felt since Tania Sheko tagged me in this one…  it was one I couldn’t refuse.  Tania writes Brave New World from her home in Australia.  Tania is a faithful contributor here at nashworld, and someone whose work and opinions I respect deeply.  So really, that makes it pretty easy to see why this was my first official play-along with a blogging meme.  I can’t quite think of a better reason to step to the plate for such a thing, for this is a meme of reflection.

Eye project Day 10 - Observe

This meme is the “4R’s” meme for bloggers.  I am to troll through all of my old posts and pick one that fits each of the following R’s:





I am to point to a post that fits each of the categories and tell why it was important, why it had lasting value or impact, and how I might update it for today.


Actually, I spent some time back in April around the time of my first “blogversary” pulling an excerpt from each post throughout my first year behind the wheel of this blog.  I stuck the outline on a separate page entitled: Year One Archive.  So actually…  I had a pretty slick little tool for surveying all of my posts for this reply.  Still, this little exercise did require some pretty deep reflection to pick just one for each of the R’s.  So for that-  thanks Tania.

Rants- this could fit any number of posts here.  However, I chose a post from last November for this one.  Increasing Our Level of “Vitamin A was a post about the need for administration at all levels to step up and improve their support and modeling of current educational technology within the profession.  I challenged administrators to book a trip to Washington D.C. for NECC 2009 and the unveiling of the refreshed NETS-A standards for leaders in this area.

This one was posted at 10:00pm on November 13th.  At noon on November 14th our district’s Chief Operations Officer, Rick Hartigan, was sitting at the table in my principal’s office to let us know that, “he has heard the call” and that the district “was supporting this ideal and behind us 100%.”  I had received timely feedback here before then, but I think you can see how impactful that little post was.  What was the follow through, you ask?  Mr. Hartigan booked a trip to NECC and attended like a pro.  In fact, I remember one particular afternoon when he accompanied me to the “blogger’s cafe” to chat with some of the member of my burgeoning PLN.

The blogger’s cafe at an event like this is the most locale on the premises.  I quickly introduced him to Wesley Fryer, Dean Shareski, and Terry Kaminski.  The five of us stood and chatted about some of the more crucial aspects of an educational technology “upgrade” in schools today.  Rick stepped up and asked as many questions as were sitting on the forefront of his brain, and those three graciously took the time to share their input.  That one set of events did potentially more than anything else I have done on nashworld to date.

Pencils and Moleskines 04

Resources- this one was tough.  In the end, I chose the one single post with the most comments to date, Trolling my PLN for Edtech Vision.  In all seriousness, this is a classic post to demonstrate the fact that sometimes the comments on a post are far more valuable than the initial content.  This was, of course, the goal of the post to begin with.  You should proceed through that comment field with a pen & paper (or your stickies app) and record as many titles and names as you can.  This is a true wealth of information and opinions from what I consider to be some really top-notch thinkers.

Reflections- This category could mean many things.  Nearly all of my posts fit this one in some way.  Yet, Inspire First, Instruct Later required perhaps some of the most personal reflection.  This post was written close on the heels of a family death and the birth of my youngest little girl.  As Clay Burrell noted in the comments, “Good luck on the newcomer, and sorry about the loss of the old-timer.  Quite a cycle you’re experiencing.” The meat of the post speaks to the affective needs of our students.  I argue here that these needs must be met before trodding down any sort of prescriptive curricular path.  The closest competition (and this one treads awfully close to “revelations”) is the poem-post I dropped after the birth of our youngest daughter, Neve.

Revelations- Since the first three speak to the educational technology and instructional coaching elements of my life as an educator, I thought it apropos to toss in one from the world of biology.  Where are the seeds in an orange? speaks to the disconnect our children have with the very food they nourish themselves with on a daily basis.  That day, a student of mine confessed during a lab that he had never seen an orange with seeds.  In the real scope of things, this scary fact is likely is as important, if not more, than any of the aforementioned.  Not only are young people detached from the food they eat as actual biological entities, we as educators may as well be increasingly detached from the world our students have grown up immersed in.

So in keeping with the spirit of virality (if I may coin that term) I am to tag a few others to continue the meme.  No, this will not keep you in God’s graces.  It will certainly not bring you great wealth from the shores of Nigeria.  It may not even make you happy upon first considering it.  However, I do respect these folks, and would certainly enjoy seeing their responses to this project.  It did make me reflect, Tania.  So thank you.  Oh….  and don’t forget to tag your post with:  #postsofthepast.

The Dance of Joy

My turn

I hereby tag Michael Doyle, “Science Teacher” who constantly inspires me; Punya Mishra, “Punya Mishra’s Web” who is about as creative a person in our field as can be; Shelly Blake-Plock, “Teach Paperless” who has recently been one of my favorite bloggers; and Steve Dembo of “Teach42” who put us “on assignment” with his 30 Days To Being a Better Blogger challenge last Autumn.


*”Eye Project Day 10 – Observe” by Lee Jin Young on Flickr
*”Pencils and Moleskines 04” by Paul Worthington on Flickr
*”The Dance of Joy” by G a r r y on Flickr

Sean Nash

Biology teacher in the great state of Kansas. Back at it in the classroom after a 30-year career in Missouri. Former District Curriculum Administrator, Instructional Technology Coordinator, and Instructional Coach. Biology instructor since 1993. Find more about my passions and my work at http://nashworld.me


  1. I am so happy that I was able to convince you to do the meme, Sean. Just skimming your posts at this stage – dinner awaits creation – and I’m hanging out for this evening to get my teeth into these valuable posts. I realise memes can be annoying and often trite, but your post has gathered a concentration of gems. Btw, the baby and family photos are just gorgeous. Your photos are always thoughtfully selected and spot on. Even the people you tag – obviously people you value – open more doors. Love your reflections, revelations, rants… thanks.

    • @Tania Sheko, Thanks for the kind words. Yes… I certainly do out a ton of sweat into the right images. I mean, aside from helping to deliver a message, a blabber like me needs page breaks from time to time to keep folks interested as opposed to nodding off to sleep!

      I really do enjoy creating something that others help with… yet don’t know about it until it is finished. If you check any of those citations you’ll see how I leave a calling card for each one thanking them for sharing via CC and alerting them that their work has spread.

      You’re right- the people I tagged are quite worthy of your read time as well. Particularly this crusty old Doyle guy below here. No one else does what he does with a blog.

      Thanks again Tania.

  2. Cú Chulainn (the Hound of Cullan), among the greatest of Irish heroes, was weakened before his last battle by breaking a vow not to eat dog meat.

    Why did he eat it? He was caught between geasa (vows)–he could not eat dog meat, but he also could not refuse any meal offered to him.

    Now I’m no Cú Chulainn, but I’m caught, too. I’d never refuse a reasonable request from you because of the extraordinary work you do, and because I have benefited from your willingness to share your work. I avoid memes like I avoid frothing dogs.

    So I’m going to tie myself to a pillar and attempt to fulfill this meme request. If I lose my head, I’m taking you off my Christmas card list.

    • @Michael Doyle, Ha! You never disappoint. I told Erin that this would be akin to poking a grouchy old dog and asking it to “fetch.” I love it.

      Since it took me over two weeks to respond myself, I figured it would be fun to try to poke someone who’d even have more trouble complying. In all actuality though, I really would like to see what you’d come up with considering such a large body of posts. Here I am… right now imagining you picking just one for the “rants” portion. Wow.

      Thanks also for the story. Your much deeper connection to the land from where my ancestors came is inspiring.

    • @Tania Sheko, niiiiice one. No, I think perhaps this is more like asking Michael Jackson to join in the “electric slide.” Heh.

  3. Having so many posts to reflect upon is a goal I would like to reach in the near future. Thanks for being a great model for our district, Sean.

    • @drdial, that goal will surely be met then. There is no doubt that the kind of communication than can happen in a blog will enhance your work as a district level director. There are hundreds of people who are going to be interested in what you have to say. You have a ready-made audience. No pressure. 😉

      Thanks Jaime.

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