Friday, July 15, 2016

TIME ....


The cliché is time flies when you are having fun!  So where has the time gone today? I am having a blast!

With the exception of a few mini lessons interrupting the clicking of keys, today’s literacy technology class has been independent work and the whispered sharing, configuring and troubleshooting of websites by colleagues. I worked right through break time not even realizing it was that time.  I was engrossed in exploring another site I was interested in including into my project when lunch was announced.

I don’t want it to be lunch time!  I’m not ready.  I want to finish what I’ve been doing.  There isn’t enough time.  Talk about an engaged learning!

My classroom project building has been a fascinating process.  I have been totally absorbed in finding the perfect pictures and videos for my Google Slides. The learning curve for construction has been steep but incredibly enlightening.  I observe that over the course of this #UNHLit week I have become much more patient with navigating the interfaces of different websites.  Practice enables understanding.

BUT the TIME it takes to practice, to figure out, to preview videos and pictures, to lay-out, insert, delete, and construct is consuming.  Where will I find the time to do this once I am working fulltime?  My prep? Huh! What prep? It is always consumed by meetings, phone calls and emails to return.

I am assured that all this time is a valuable investment.  I have also been reminded that this is why Neebe and Roberts profess to do only one thing at a time.  BREATHE.

As my wise father always sighs, “So, if you had your druthers…”  If I had my druthers, I would want to have a scheduled paid work week before school begins to prepare documents and presentations.  Then I would have intermittent professional days during the school year to continue to work on materials.  Teachers’ time is invaluable and for Google Classroom newbies, especially those mandated by SAUs, having time to become familiar with Google Classroom tools and develop more presentations/assignments etc. for use would be invaluable. Of course, this day would be paid with bottomless cups of coffee and lunch provided!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Believe.....

I Believe….

I believe in the power of NOT acknowledging negative energy and moving past anger - focusing forward.

I believe in the power of God who provides for me and oversees my well-being.

I believe in the power of the story behind a 6 Word Memoir.

Today’s NH Literacy Institute class, “Best Practices in Literacy with Technology” joined Linda Reif’s class writing I believe statements and 6 Word Memoirs. We then tweeted these creations in a Tweet Chat.  What an engaging experience filled with laughs, smiles and tears!! I’ve already planned activities for the first week of school  around this venture.

A Mystery Skype with Jen Wentworth from SAU16 was also on the docket. What an incredible and exciting activity.  My mind has been reeling since, devising all the variations I can incorporate into my curriculum next year.

PearDeck. Padlet. Todaysmeet. Blogger. Twitter. Google+. The list goes on. The excitement for next Fall ensues.

I believe in the power of 1:1 technology for teaching reading!

1:1 Technology    I CAN do it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Been Thinking About......

Been Thinking About…..

I didn’t have to go to work after class today, so I figured I’d better mow my lawn before I had to pay the local farmers to bale it.  The formidable task with a push mower on a two acre lot allowed for a significant amount of thought time while I made the monotonous trek back and forth across the yard to the continuous whine of the mower.

I started thinking about how much professional development I participate in year round, despite seeing retirement on the near horizon.  So why do I feel the need to continually pursue educational classes in my career?  Do I want to be informed, stay abreast current issues or do I just want to be the best teacher I can be?

What other career field has continuous changes taking place in its scope?  I considered the medical field would be a close contender.  But then I thought of all the different ‘hats’ teachers must wear and the accountability they have to all those ‘hat’ areas:  abuse, poverty, addiction, bullying, harassment, assault, active shooters, social-emotional distress, depression, suicide, academic integrity, plagiarism, meeting competencies and common core standards - all in addition to their job description.  What other profession outside of education wears so many hats?  Social workers?  Certainly not engineers.

I have witnessed over the course of my career, many occupational hazards. There was a smashed out window at ground level in my classroom my first year teaching in a rural schoolhouse in Appalachia.  When the nights became cold, I had to bang on the radiators with a stick in the morning to check for any copperhead snakes who may have sought a warm place to spend the night.  Now, with the advent of 1:1 technology in the classroom, I need to be concerned about eye strain and too much screen time.  I wonder if districts will mandate maximum school day screen time?

Been thinking about ‘time boundaries’….. Why have I never been able to just work the contracted hours I am paid for as a teacher?  I chuckle inside my ‘thought bubble’ when I hear friends in other professions complain of 50+ hour work weeks.  Yet, they earn two and three times my salary, and never have “homework”.  So what possesses me to get to school an hour or more early and often stay until after the dinner hour?  When my children were young, I would bring them to all their after school activities, make dinner and then after they went to bed (they always had early bedtimes), return to school to “finish up” something because I couldn’t sleep unless I knew it was done!!! 
Is this all about caring too much?

Been thinking about what other profession does so much for the sake of kids?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Teacher 'Role' Call

Teacher ‘Role’ Call

“…when teachers serve as classroom coaches, they promote creativity and innovation while empowering students to own their learning.” Neebe and Roberts, p.33

Coach. Facilitate. Empower. Guide. Direct. Inspire. Encourage. Point Out. Engage. Motivate.

Diana Neebe and Jen Roberts, in their book, Power Up:  Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and Learning capture the essence of the real role I have always believed teachers need to assume in the classroom. As an instructor, I am not present to enable or keep my students dependent, but rather, to lead them to independence and skills to be life-long learners. Knowing HOW to find out information and understanding the process involved in acquiring information is vital to sustainability and self-sufficiency long after school has ceased being a part of students’ lives.

However, aligning with this philosophy, I possess a deep rooted fear surrounding the possible outcomes of 1:1 technology in the classroom. Young people today already maintain a tremendous amount of screen time. Additional school screen time could definitely compromise the quality of face to face social interactions and effective communication.

I believe in the importance of modeling and practicing “people skills”. Knowing the “rules” of conversation, (and reading body language), as well as how to participate in discussions appropriately, are critical skills that contribute to success as an adult.  Conscious of one’s tone and eye contact during a discussion/conversation while posing a comment, compliment or asking a question, and then waiting one’s turn to speak are all practices that need to be exercised. With the advent of 1:1 technology in education, the quality of interpersonal interactions could deteriorate if teachers forget to perform this role. There needs to be a balance of screen time and “face time”!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Today is the First Day for the Rest of My Life
Introduction to Best Practices with Technology in the Classroom

It IS the 21st century after all, but I felt like it was the Dark Ages - and I was lost in that Dark as I struggled through my first class for using 1:1 technology in the classroom. I never claimed to be savvy with technology but I do grab onto ideas others present, striving to implement them, often using technology.  I am a creative, hands-on teachers - always searching for new learning activities and methods of instruction to meet the needs of my student population with multiple learning differences. I believe 1:1 technology implementation will lead me there - IF I survive the “boot camp”!

Today, I totally related to the student who is “lost” in class or the learner who lacks preliminary skills to build new concepts upon, becoming unable to access the day’s instructional objectives.  The overwhelming emotions of frustration and panic were good reminders for me to be sensitive,  patient and scaffold my approach with new material and multi-step directions with my students.

I am the only teacher in my school who chose to attend the NH Literacy class this summer on Best Practices for Literacy with Technology.  I wish I had a colleague here to collaborate with on the information ascertained  before ChromeBooks are distributed to students in the fall. But I am beginning to realize the resource and support I have on Twitter and the collection of educators supporting me through this class are just as viable…..

Perhaps, I am on the cusp of my own Renaissance !