Teacher and life-long learner looking for innovative ways to inspire the students I teach. Middle school reading interventionist (grades 6-8) in Texas, yearbook adviser, & student advocate looking to grow my PLN with real people and real solutions.
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Everyone Starts Out Somewhere
Ever wonder how you fit in to the large world which is education? Feel like a little fish swimming in a big pond?
You may notice the two pictures above look very similar. They remind me of the picture puzzles where you have two pictures and find as many mistakes on one as you can (my favorite part of my daughter's Highlight magazine each month)... but that is not what this is. This is my visual representation of my place... and yours... in the world of education; and in particular- technology in education... because in our day and age that is where education is. Not to say that great teaching doesn't happen without technology- it does, in many classes all over the world. But the reality is, technology is where we are as a society, and it is most definitely where are students are as a generation. I can't count the number of times I have heard, "Meet your students where they are." Well... this is it.
With that said, it seems there is much to be learned these days about PLNs, Twitter, and connecting with others by flattening walls through global means. There are so many tools and resources out there to enhance your students learning it can make your head swim.
And be very intimidating.
One scroll through a "All-Stars of Twitter" list and it can be overwhelming. It becomes easy to think what you're doing with your students isn't good enough; the things you see some of these people doing is utterly amazing... and frightening. Suddenly you feel like you don't measure up, you don't have too much to offer, and you aren't even sure if "Drive" is some code word for the coolest car on the market now or some program. It's easy to feel like a small fish in a big enormous pond ocean.
If you remember nothing else, remember this: Everyone starts out somewhere. Take what you are comfortable with and set some goals to expand your knowledge. Jot down ideas and programs/apps when you hear about them to investigate later. Explore and play.It's totally ok not to have all of the answers or know all of the tools and resources out there- because someone somewhere does. If you're in education- we're in this together. Ask someone on your campus or in your district you know has a passion for technology. If they don't know how to help you, I can promise you someone in their PLN does.
Don't sell yourself short of the awesome potential for not only yourself as an educator in the 21st century, but also your students to grow as learners and expand their knowledge and experience with others beyond what you dreamed was possible. There will always be people out there that know more- that make you dizzy with their knowledge and that's ok. We learn from them. And as we learn, grow, and develop- we help others in their quest... because, after all, everyone starts out somewhere!
.... and there is was. I loved my classroom. I loved my kids. I loved those things and they were great... But I wanted something even more than that. I wanted to be able to focus on reading with small groups of students at a time in order to understand their individual needs; to try to get a glimpse into why they struggled year after year, to be a source of encouragement, and ultimately to help them be a little better at reading and comprehending than before they'd ever met me. So... to do this- to go after what I wanted but had never had, I had to do some things I had never done. I had to leave my intimately cozy school where I truly considered each person there a part of an extended family unit. I had to load up 8 years worth of materials and teacher junk and haul it to a new school; and not just any school... to a MIDDLE school! The horror! I had always sworn I would never... COULD never teach in a junior high/middle school setting, and here I was scrambling over boxes and giv…
QUESTION: If you were any animal, what would it be? While I would love to say a cheetah for its stealthy ability to run and its sleek body movement in the wild, the fact that I am a wood duck proved more accurately after a recent field trip to a Botanical Garden and boat ride on the bayou. While I've gone with classes in the past on this same field trip, ridden this same boat through the bayou, and heard about the wood duck nesting boxes erected along the side of the bayou- I guess I had never really given much thought to the special nature of the baby wood duck and the mother duck who calls her babies to literally fall out of the wooden boxes since they are unable to fly. I think the mother wood duck must feel like a teacher most days of her motherly life in her little nesting box. Why? Because as a teacher I worry and fret about what I'm doing in the classroom to help my students be successful. Sometimes as a teacher you feel like your kids have automatic hearing they can turn o…
Autonomy and collaboration are two buzz words you hear often right now in the realms of education chatter. And for those days when collaboration means within our own classroom, it seems like this is the day autonomy needs to be focused on the most. I can take the same two students and match them up to work as partners, who would have normally joined up anyway- but there is something about the teacher doing the matching that often times sets things on a bad foot right away. I noticed this when school first started. I would watch the groups and partners gather in clusters when I simply said for them to partner up- versus watching their reactions when I actually called them out, putting them in very similar groupings. There is something to be said for students feeling like they have a say in who they work with. I guess we are no different as adults.
I saw a strategy at a workshop last year called "Making Appointments" that I envisioned as a complete train wreck, but one day last…