Monday, September 22, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 22

Pin It Day 22 - What does your PLN look like, and what does it to for your teaching?
I believe my PLN is pretty robust!  I utilize Twitter, Google+, Facebook, blogging and both in-person and digital communication to learn and grow from other educators.  I am a MUCH better educator having all of these people and resources at my fingertips.  I literally have thousands of experts right in my pocket via my smart phone whenever and wherever I have a problem.  Countless times I have tweeted a problem and gotten an immediate solution.  I am able to share resources and ideas on several Google+ communities I am involved in.  I can have impromptu Google Hangouts with any of my colleagues from around the globe to brainstorm and plan.  I certainly would not want to function without the power of my PLN!   
What's your favorite tool in your PLN?

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 21

Pin It Day 21 - Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.
When I was still in the classroom teaching 5th grade science, there was no hiding my love of EdTech.  In Richardson ISD, I was THRILLED to have a TV that acted as a dual monitor for my computer.  I was designing "high-tech" I have...Who has... activities using power point and projecting it to the class via my TV.  :)  Moving to Brenham ISD, I was lucky enough to get a projector (that I hung from my dropped ceiling in a mail basket!) and even received a grant for interactive response clickers.  Today, EdTech is still my biggest hobby/interest!  I am able to bring events like the Texas Google Summit to my district to benefit my local teaching community!!  And I guess if you count my consumption of chocolate as a hobby or interest, I can say there is ALWAYS a good supply of chocolate treats in my office for any of my visitors!  :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 20

Pin It Day 20 - How do you curate student work–or help them do it themselves?
Because we are a Google Apps for Education district, most of our curation is done in Google Drive.  Students create folders for their classes (and now Google Classroom does it for them!) and put all of their work into those folders to share with teachers and peers.  This also works as a great digital portfolio.  Some secondary teachers have even started using Google Sites as an online curation tool/digital portfolio.  The idea is that each year the students could add a new page to the site for their growing content library.

Friday, September 19, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 19

Pin It Day 19 - Name three powerful ways students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.
  1. conferencing
  2. blogging
  3. re-teaching
I think there is great power in letting students re-teach material they have just learned.  I see this all the time with teachers.  They learn a tool, they use the tool and then they teach their partner how to use the tool.  It feels good!  And there's no better way to identify gaps in learning than to try and teach someone else what you just learned!  I think creating video tutorials would be a great way for students to reflect on their learning.  Students could learn a concept and then use the webcam on their chromebook to re-teach that concept.  All videos could be housed in a YouTube channel or Google Drive folder for the rest of the class to access.  And it's perfectly ok to have multiple videos on the same content!  Different strokes for different folks!  :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 18

Pin It Day 18 - Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”
A teacher is a portal to possibilities and opportunities in the real world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 17

Pin It Day 17 - What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?
Balance.  I think trying to find a balance between curriculum and instruction and assessment is the biggest challenge in education today.  Where does technology fit in?  What about engagement and inquiry?  Teachers struggle daily with covering all of their curriculum in order to prepare students for assessments.  I think we are seeing more and more teachers branch out and do what they know in their hearts is best for kids.  However, it's a big leap of faith.  I am always impressed when I see teachers embracing the 4C's (critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication) to create a classroom culture that is positive, standards-based, effective and FUN!  If you know of someone who is doing this well, I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 16

Pin It Day 16 - If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?
I think my desired superpower would be the ability to ease the fears of educators who are reluctant to use technology.  I wish I could exude some sort of relaxation pheromone.  :)  Nine times out of ten, if an educator will just trust me and relax, they will see that the tool or the concept or the device really isn't so scary after all!