Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Teaching and Learning in the Classroom of the Future Presentation: University of Buffalo 2/17/2015

Teaching and Learning in the Classroom of the Future, part of UB’s 2014-2015 Digital Challenges Series, is the first half of a two-day program focusing on instructional innovation.

 What will the classroom experience be in just five, ten or fifteen years? What technological expectations will our students have?

 Our speakers will tackle these and other questions surrounding teaching and learning in the not-so-distant future. I had the privilege of participating in a discussion with expert educators from local elementary, middle, and high schools which showcased the latest technologies employed in today’s classrooms.

My presentation can be found here.

You can watch all the presentations here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Vine Basket

The Vine BasketThe Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a beautiful book. I really felt for 14 year old Mehrigul. Her dreams, her strength, her determination. A great middle school and up read.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Twitter ties up all the facets of me

As a scrapbooker, I always have dreams of chronicling every moment of my life.  As each new year starts I download new apps, read magazines, join new online communities, all in the hope of increasing my “Year in the Life” mega scrapbook.  Every year I fall short.  
Twitter is not new.  It could be just another form of social media that eats up the precious moments of my life, but it isn’t. Using Twitter has helped me grow as a professional, and tied the many facets of me up into a better teacher and learner.


As a teacher, each year I have moments that inspire and renew me.  I enjoy these moments, and then my  memory lets these moments fade.  Luckily these moments re-occur often, so I continue  to teach.

As a tech geek, every year I hear about some fantastic app/web page/tool that can help me teach/learn/craft.  Sometimes they are brand new, sometimes I revisit an old tool that I think I can re purpose for teaching or scrap booking.  I use them periodically shifting from one to another like a puppy with a wicker basket full of new toys.  

As a learner, every year I find that my non fixed mindset allows me to learn new things and apply my new found knowledge to my classroom.   The result is usually an awesome learning moment that I try to hang on to and share with my colleagues in school, but never share with a larger community.  

Twitter is nothing new.  For every commercial you watch, article you read, advertisement you see, there is an at symbol or hash tag telling you to share your experiences and learn more.  But there is so much more there.  Twitter ties up all the facets of me.  

As a learner, it provides me with teachers. Within twitter I have developed a Professional Learning Community (PLN).  Inside this community I have authors of my favorite professional books like Stephanie Harvey (@Stephharvey), Kelly Gallagher (@kellyGToGo), and Donalyn Miller (@Donalynbooks). They shoot me words of wisdom all day everyday. I read protions of their new books, attend their virtual conferences, and chat one on one with them on topics I need to learn more about. Twitter allows me to build a learning community designed specifically to to my needs. By following people who share the same beliefs as I have, I get support through the knowledge they share.

As a tech geek, it provides me with new ideas and opportunities.  Everyday on Twitter someone is sharing a new idea with me: how to flip a classroom, the best free education app, how to take pictures like a professional.  It gives me a chance to share that information with others.  It often feels like the conference room floor only here the  vendors are giving me sneak peeks into their sandbox instead of pencils.  

As a teacher, it broadens my new colleagues.   In my network I communicate with others teachers. Some of them teach the same grade as I(@kbport714, @shannonclark7), others the same curriculum (@shannonmmiller), while others are gurus of subjects I teach (@theresagray, @MrSchuReads,@ormsby25 , @mhelmer2).  Having a larger community of professionals in my field benefits all of us. I see what works in their classroom (and what doesn't), and they get the same from me. My learning community does not end with those individuals. Because one of the features of Twitter is the ability to retweet what others say to your followers, what I share about my classroom may reach thousands of other teachers. Likewise, when one of the people I follow find something worthwhile to share, they share it with me, and thousands of others. This means the group of professionals in my learning community is now limitless.   


As a scrap booker, it provides me a “Year in the Life”  of pictures of my classroom.  The latest benefit I have found of Twitter is the ability for me to have a diary of what happens in my classroom each day.  Part of what I use Twitter for is to share the positive things that happen in my classroom in regards to the Common Core and Next Gen Standards.  I want to educate and inspire others about the learning going on in my classroom.  The  hidden benefit of this is a  log of all the positive learning that has happened in my classroom.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Resolutions

Hello blog world.

I have returned.

 As last year neared its end, I began a new resolution. I know January is usually the time for resolutions but I did not want to wait. I was inspired by a walk through my classroom by Michele Helmer. As she and my principal visited my classroom they tweeted. At the end of the day they shared what they learned and how it had changed their thinking. You can read more about their journey here.

 I have been tweeting for a while, but loved what I saw. The idea of sending out short positive posts about what we are doing with the Common Core Standards excited me. So my resolution was born. I will tweet at least on positive thing each day, preferably with a picture.

Once you start with one resolution, your mind starts to go WILD. By the end of our January break, I had a new plan. I will devote a set time in each of my days to write. If I can create a witty tweet, I should be able to pound out insightful essays, right?? I have a few okay pieces written, so I am going to start posting them here.

 NEW RESOLUTION ALERT: I am going to post 1 a week, and at least 3 short book reviews from Good Reads.

 Here goes....
Thinking & Writing

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lucky Ducklings

Lucky DucklingsLucky Ducklings by Eva Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An adorable story about 5 little duckilings and their mother. When the ducklings get trapped many people come to their rescue. Beatiful illustrations help tell the story.

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Scary Tales: Home Sweet Horror

Home Sweet HorrorHome Sweet Horror by James Preller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ghostly Tales at their best. James Preller does an excellent job of keeping children on the edge of their seats, crying for more. The book is a nice legnth giving children a chance to get into a book without feeling overwhelmed. My students are fighting over this book.

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Exclamation Point

Exclamation MarkExclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



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