When Looking From Outside In

Lately I haven’t been on twitter much. Life has had other plans and I have had to follow along. Mostly I have missed the relationship factor & conversations. When I sign on it is either to “post and run” or to glance through a timeline. I’m used to having around 30 “@” a day. Now I get less than 10. I now see what people are talking about when they say they twitter is fast or they cannot keep up. I sort of feel like a stranger when I jump on. I’m pretty sure this is what new tweeps feel like when they join. I’m not sure that this is a good thing.

When I joined twitter 3 years ago we were all new to the medium so it was easy to jump on. Conversations were helpful, sharing links, and new friendships were slowly evolving. Developing a PLN was pretty easy. But last few days in my drop in I’m not seeing that. But I saw some things I am terribly guilty of and I can guarantee I’m going to work hard not to fall into this again.

We know at times we can be an echo chamber. I don’t think that is entirely bad but can be exclusive. Over last week as we all get ready for back to school I saw so many negative tweets about teachers. These were not from teacher haters like Michelle Rhee but from people in my PLN. Stuff like
they should be fired or how tired of these teachers some are not how to reach them. I am so guilty of this so if I point fingers I haven’t forgotten 3 more are pointing back at me. We tweet a complaint, others have the same and it snowballs. But imagine you are one of “those” resistant to technology or not sure how to change ways. First of all I’m pretty sure they are not resistant to make you crazy or to disrupt your life but because they are afraid or do not know where to start (I have been writing about this a lot lately I know, sorry to be repetitive). But say they go to a workshop about twitter & see a list of tweeps to follow. They sign up and see that? Once in 4th grade I heard my teacher telling another teacher I was dumb and she was sick of me. From then on I hated her class. Never tried in class and never wanted anything to do her again. It didn’t make me want to change!! So teacher new to tech logs on to follow tech leaders and this is what he/she sees. How discouraging.

I’m really not judging everyone just reminding. I’m not naive to not know people have had conversations or even written posts about what I tweet. Yes I goof off a lot here. I also am open about my struggles, which some have said some mean things about, that’s my personality. I know it is not most of our personalities to talk bad about people when we can help. We are educators, that is what we do, help and teach.

I hate to be the soapboxer but I am really worried about the perception we have to others. We need to be helpful & welcoming. Not discouraging or “can’t do this here.” What are we doing to help and encourage?

Sorry for my tangent but this has really been bothering lately. And I really to miss so many. Hope everyone’s year is going well.

Back To School

So I go back to school tomorrow. Kids will be back on Monday. Trying to wrap my head around all of this. Trying to get my mindset going. This admittedly has been a really hard summer with a lot of unexpected events taking place.  That makes changing gears a little more difficult. But my biggest question to myself is “What is my goal this year?”

My mom told me a story  few weeks ago about Louis Pasteur. Of all of the things that Pasteur did in his life time, when asked what he wanted on his tombstone he responded “JOSEPH MEISTER LIVED.” You see Joseph Meister was bitten by a dog a with rabies. Pasteur at the time was researching a rabies vaccine. He had never tested the vaccine when Meister’s mom begged him to try it on her son. After 10 days of injections the 9 year old lived.

Pasteur’s tombstone does not have the sentiment on it (actually he does not have a tombstone, but a beautiful tomb), but to him it was important. As teachers we forget that every day in our classroom is important. Every lesson is important. Also, every student is important. Often teachers focus on the “big tech project” or this unit that is time consuming or extravagant, but we forget that the lessons everyday are not to be forgotten. Don’t do one big PBL activity a month, do small ones every day. Lets students know these are just as important because learning is happening.

It is the little everyday events, conversations, lessons, that matter. It is the 9 year old that who needs just 10 days of attention to survive. So as we go back to school, don’t focus on the big stuff, focus on the everyday. That is this year’s goal.

Better Than Handouts!

I’m back, blogging has been on the back-burner while back to school and family has occupied so much of my time. Most of you know that PD is one of my passions. I think learning new strategies is so important. Things we do in our classroom work and sometimes they don’t work. With RTI making its way into our schools, using strategies that reach students is something we are focusing on more than ever. So when we find methods that work do we share them? Do others share them with us? What is the best way to share?

When I think about learning about teaching strategies every memory I have is through a PowerPoint (most used), printouts (mostly printouts of PPT), or a book. Only once do I have a memory of seeing strategies being used in the classroom. Once, in 9 years of teaching (plus 4 years of education school) was I able to see teaching strategies being used in a classroom, and that was a terrible choreographed example of reading groups.

How often I go on and on about how using PowerPoint and printouts are a terrible way to learn something, unless basic memorization is the goal.  I am a big advocate of taking PD into your own hands but if you are a teacher searching for new methods where do you look? How do you know about methods out there?

I have found a great place to start that search! http://www.teachingchannel.org/ Teaching Channel has great examples, using video, of teaching methods and great lesson plans. Not only that but great downloadable documents and even gives your questions to ask yourself while watching the video.

Also, you can fill out a profile and extend your PLN by connecting with other educators in your field. This is always beneficial!!

Think about it, in today’s times you want to learn how to do something, you probably search YouTube. This is a similar concept, videos for learning. As teachers we need to always learn new things! And you have to admit this is much better than PowerPoints and handouts!