I’m Back!

This blog was neglected 3 years ago when I changed teaching jobs.  I was spending my time learning a new school, new classes, and a new town.  I’m sorry blog.  I want you back.  I need to get back to blogging in order to help me reflect on my teaching.  Here goes!


 

I am currently sitting at the NETA session reflecting on all the GREAT information and ideas I’ve been exposed to over the last day and a half, and realized: What a perfect time to re-vamp my educational blogging.

The Keynote speakers at NETA this year were perfect.  They were exactly what I needed for my own morale, as a teacher, and just as a person – a friend, a wife, a mother. Thank you @AngelaMaiers for reminding me that my students, my children, my friends, my colleagues all are genius.  We all have something important to contribute, and the world needs us to contribute .  Then, @shareski, the Keynote speaker today gave me just what I needed – permission to let my students have joy in learning.  Joy is important.  I spend a lot of time fretting about the principal or the superintendent coming into my room, not seeing the students sitting quietly in perfect rows, and thinking that I am not doing a good job.  I like when the kids are laughing, talking, and moving while learning. But I worry that my administrator my not be on board with this….@shareski helped to release me from this fear.  It’s good for students to experience joy while learning. His final comment to us, also struck me: “adults need to have fun so that kids want to grow up.”

I must admit, I shed a few tears. Both days.  @AngelaMaiers reminded us that children are born knowing they are genius. They love to share their genius with the world.  They are enthusiastic about it.  She said by the time children reach 2nd grade they start to doubt their genius. By the time they are in fourth grade, they no longer think they are genius and no longer want to share what they know with the world.  Then, @shareski delivers similar statistics about joy in children.  He said the average 4 year old laughs 300 times per day while the average 40 year old laughs 4 times per day.  How sad. I want my kids to love school.  I want them to love learning. I want to see the joy in their life.  This was emotional for me because I see the joy and the genius in my 3 year old, Ethan, and in my 1 year old, Drake.  I can’t imagine them losing this joy and this love of life.  Scary. Sad. I know my role in this is to let them experience joy, and show their genius each day.  Let them know how fun, how smart, and how cool they are! The hard part is the days that I am tired. And grumpy.  My goal is to continue experiencing joy with Ethan and Drake through the hard days.

At school I will work to let each student know they are important to me and to our class.  We need them there each day.  They have something to give back to the class.  I’m not sure what my plan is for this but here are some thoughts:
telling them I’m glad they’re there.
Thanking them for being my students at the end of this year. For the work they have put into class. For letting me get to know them

I know I need more for this.. I will brainstorm over the summer.

Some thoughts for bringing joy to my students’ day:
Music
personal stories, both ways
sharing pictures
twitter – tweet about projects, other things in class

Well. I still have half a day of the NETA conference left – off to learn more!

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Building Readership

As the Teacher Challenge comes to a close, the final activity involves building blog readership.  Following is a brainstorm/journal considering what I need to do in order to build my own readership.

  • Be Brave.  For some reason I am quite self-conscious about announcing my blogs on Twitter/Facebook.  This is the most important step for me to gain some readers!
  • Be a More Active Reader.  I have a small handful of blogs that I follow seriously.  I should do more commenting on these blogs and use some of their posts as starting points for my own post ideas.
  • Read More Blogs. Upping the number of blogs I follow would probably make me a more rounded blogger, which in turn would help me to come up with ideas for my own posts.
  • Add More Pictures/Media.  Enough Said.
  • Network, Network, Network!

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Book Review: The Art of Deception – Ridley Pearson

I just finished The Art of Deception by Ridley Pearson. I thought the first half of the book was really good — It grabbed my attention quickly and I didnt want to put it down. Then, about at the halfway point, I felt like there was too much going on, too many stories in one book. All of a sudden I had lost interest, and had a hard time finishing the book. I think The Art of Deception is just one of several books that follow the characters Lou Boldt and Daphne Mathews. This would explain why I felt like there were several stories to follow in one. All in all, Im glad I read the book; I just wish the story would have been a little more focused. ** Image from audioeditions.com

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Teacher Challenge: Images in Blogs

This week’s Teacher Challenge has been great for me!  I have always been nervous when adding pictures that are not my own to blog posts; and so, I usually do not.

After reading the challenge post, I have realized that I can safely post images to my blogs using Creative Commons licensing.   I didn’t realize that by using FlickR, I could find the licensing information right there, and images without fear of breaking a copyright!

While working on this challenge, I realize it takes some time and effort to appropriately post images into a blog.  I know I will be using this often in the future, however, I plan to create my own images as much as possible to help alleviate the stress I tend to feel over copyright infringements!

**image by liewcf released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

I am going to go bookmark today’s challenge post right now, to keep the reference handy!

Thanks again for the help Teacher Challenge!

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Edublogs Teacher Challenge 2011!

I joined!  The first challenge is to set up a blog complete with theme, title, and url.  I have had step one completed for about 2 years now.  Step two of this challenge  is to read and comment on other blogs, starting with the Teacher Challenge blog.   The third part of this challenge is to write a post answering a few basic questions about why I joined the Challenge.

I decided to join the challenge in early December to help me get back on track blogging and using Twitter for professional resources.  From 2008-2010 I participated in a group through our educational service unit known as “TIG“, Technology Integration Group.  Close to once a month we met to gather ideas for integrating technology into our classrooms and then share them throughout our schools.  It was great. It gave me an opportunity to play around with new ideas and talk with some great techies out there.  I was regularly logged into twitter and gaining so many resources every day.  This year, however, my run with TIG is over and I am feeling less and less connected to the web and web tools.  I am hoping that blogging regularly will help me to stay encouraged to read other blogs and stay updated to new things out there for my classes.

I am also hoping to overcome some previous challenges I have encountered with my blog.  These include coming up with original ideas, writing in an entertaining fashion, posting regularly, developing followers (so far I have 0!), and many more I am not thinking of at the moment.

 

Happy New Year!

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Teaching Via Long Term Sub

I am officially done with going to school to teach this academic year.  I am due to have a baby in 8 days.  Five days ago my doctor recommended that I stay off of my feet and not go to work any more before the baby is born, due to high blood pressure.  Thus, Friday 4-16 was my last day!  Since Friday morning I feel like I have been scrambling around to prepare for classes that sub can teach.  My long term sub is a very nice lady, and very good with kids.  She has been a paraeducator in our elementary school for several years.  This December she received her elementary teaching degree. The only drawback: she knows nothing about science and I teach physics, chemistry, earth science, and astronomy to 9-12th graders!

Google Docs has been a life saver for me so far! I have been able to create lots of notes,assignments, and tests and have them immediately show up in a location where my sub can find them.  I loved Google docs before, but I don’t know what I would do without it now!

I will update later how things continue to go (today is only day 2), but I have planned a lot of things to be completed via Ning and Wikispaces.  I anticipate that each of these websites will help me to stay connected to my classes even while at home! So glad to have access to technology!

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Rationale For Teachers Using Twitter at School

I am determined to gather my thoughts on this after attending an esu6 TIG (Tech Integration Group) meeting, as well as reading Nine Reasons to Twitter in Schools and 5 Reasons Why Educators Should Network.

At the TIG meetings, discussion keeps going back to the schools’ filtering policies and how these sometimes diminish the things we could be doing in our classrooms with technology.  Without even talking about youtube and other video and images sites, I want to develop my own rational for why Twitter should be available at school.

Reasons I Want Need Twitter at School:

Links, links, and more links!! Last year I got so many links to great educational tools and sites while skimming twitter at school.  There are countless activities I tried and/or learned about just by using my Twitter PLN.  I constantly used ideas and websites from twitter.  Some days I would change my plans in the middle of the day after reading about something someone on Twitter used.  This year I have not had Twitter at school and have noticed that I have not tried many new things in my     classes.    I have tried a few new web tools in classes, but usually this happens right after a TIG meeting while the tools are fresh in my mind.

Motivation. Reading about other teacher’s successes and problems helps me to face my day every time!  One teacher I follow posts his class’s agendas every morning.  I love to see what he’s doing.  He is also a science teacher so I can compare my daily curriculum and feel that I am on track (this is always nice for a new teacher).   Teachers are constantly getting and giving advice through twitter.  Reading these helps me tremendously throughout my school year.

Encouragement. There are not  a  lot of teachers in my building that I seek out for encouragement and advice during the day.  Twitter definitely provides this to me.  I can get instant feedback if I need help with a topic, if I need links, or if I need advice on a situation.  I am not going about this alone!

Reflection. Using twitter during the school day led to my own self-reflection each and every day.  I could think about and get feedback on what I was doing in the classroom all day long!  Reflection has always made me a better learner, person, and teacher.  Without twitter at school, I find it hard to reflect on what I am doing each and every day.  I do not want to blog every day or even every week.  Just thinking in my head has not proven effective enough to make changes the next day.

Current Events.  What else can I say.   As soon as something happens, it can be found on the twitter stream.  I couldn’t believe it when there was an earthquake in Nebraska this year and I had to hear about it from my non-techy husband!  He emailed me the info and said I should use it in my classes.  There is no doubt in my mind that had I been on twitter that day, I would have known with enough time to discuss the event in my classes the day of! I

With all of this said, I feel justified in saying that I am a better teacher with Twitter.  I do have access to Twitter at home, but I have found that other teachers aren’t posting the useful links and discussions outside of the school hours.  With the use of Twitter at school, I think that I am a more excited and motivated teacher, and this trickles down to the students who see me excited about new ideas and technology and are also more excited to try new things at school.

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