I wanted to cry. When the teacher across the hall told me, I wanted to cry. I couldn’t. I had 23 kids in my room, immersed in trying to build a container that would keep an ice-cube frozen. They were working. Full of life, joy, and curiosity. Something a crazed gunman had just taken from 20 children. Something he had taken from 7 adults.READ MORE…
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Ever get in your “teacher mode” even though you are “off duty’?
I stumbled on the 4th grade chat (#4thchat) by accident. I was minding my business, perusing tweets, when this great conversation appeared before me. I had no idea what #chats were, I had never been a part of it,and I was kind of wary of jumping into someone else’s conversation. But I did, and I was glad. They welcomed me with open arms and I learned, and shared, so much from the teachers who participated. Kudos to the person or persons who came up with this idea!
So what is a #chat? And how do you get to be a part of it? Well, you need Internet access, a device that will get you on the Internet, and a Twitter account. Now, I know some of you think Twitter is for tweens, teenagers, etc…, but guess what? It’s also for teachers!
The #chats are hosted on the same day, at the same time, once a week. . Prior to the chat, the moderators send out a Tweet asking participants to choose one of the given topics.(How democratic,right?) The topic with the most votes is what will be discussed. The great thing about #chats is that they are informal. You can lurk and get ideas, or you can jump in and share.You can interact with all, or none, of the participants. You can join the conversation late, or leave early. And, I’ve never attended a toxic #chat, they have always been attended by , well, just very nice people.
The conversation is always stimulating, and strategies, books, ideas, links, and more are shared by like minds. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, you will get something out of it. You definitely get a chance to meet new people who are interested in what you are interested in. I have to say I have met more people participating in #chats, than I had the entire time I was on Twitter.
Here’s another reason, I love #chat. Let’s say you would rather go out to dinner with your hubby, then attend a chat. But, you are bummed about missing that fantastic #chat they were having that night. Don’t worry! Each #chat is archived, so you won’t miss out on those wonderful ideas , and you can still enjoy your dinner.:)
And there are so many chats! There is#edchat, #4thchat, #5thchat, #6thchat, #teachchat, #ntchat, #educhat, #elemchat, the list is endless! Sometimes, I find myself looking at the intials of some of these chats, trying to figure out what they stand for. Don’t be like me, just ask, they’ll tell you. Cybraryman has put together a comprehensive list of Educational Chats on Twitter, so look through it, and see what interests you. His list includes, days, times, and time zones.
I remember seeing a question tweeted that said, and I’ll paraphrase, “Are all these chats breaking us apart?” I love the fact that all these chats are out there. I usually don’t get to many of them, but I try to make sure I attend #5thchat, because I am a 5th grade teacher. I enjoy talking to those who are experiencing my little part of the teaching world. Having said that, I also enjoy participating in other chats, because it gives me a chance to hear other viewpoints.
You choose your chat! I can almost bet that any #chat you attend, will most likely be a wonderful, learning, experience!
I think I might have mentioned this a couple of hundred times already, but, I’ll say it again. I have a new principal. I loved, (Is that too strong a word for a totally, platonic, relationship?), my old principal. I think it was because he left me alone to do my job. Not always. Sometimes he said or did things that upset or frustrated me. Many times, he played favorites, but most of the time he let me do my job. And, the icing on the cake was that he was a tech nut and enjoyed sharing in my techy accomplishments!:)
But, now I have a new principal. Let’s just say, she is different. First, she wanted to move the laptops out of my room. Yes, yes, I know they’re not mine, but in my defense, I did share. (Unlike that other teacher with the cart, I did not lambast others when they signed it out), but we worked that out. She has all these new rules, rules which quite frankly, have me in a tither. (Anyone still use that word?) But, and this is the kicker of this post, I still respect her, and I will do what is requested of me, if I must, just like I did with my former principal.
And that’s why after a very stressful staff meeting, where another ”new” thing was introduced, I was extremely disappointed in some of my colleagues (Who will remain nameless), who chose not to do the same. They spoke to my principal with such disrespect, I was embarrassed for her.
The day after the meeting she met with each team to try to remedy the situation. And again, she was disrespected. One of the teachers passed me in the hall after meeting with her, and said gleefully, “We got her. My team got her. They made me proud.” Wow! Really? Is this the type of relationship you want with your principal? My team met with her. She apologized for the stress these new “initiatives” were causing, and we proceeded to work as a team and found a way to compromise.
It’s ironic, because if the same initiative were introduced by my former principal, they would not have said a word. Actually, these same women would tilt their heads and giggle like schoolgirls. (“Oh, Mr.L, you want us to try this out, sure we will! Hee, hee”)
My husband says she needs to step up, and end this. I don’t know what advice to give her. What I do know is that we are better than that. I do know that sometimes principals just pass on what has been passed on to them, and we are at the bottom of the heap. I do know we should spend our days trying to do what’s best for our students, and not trying to “get” our principal. I think she deserves better than that.
I attended a DEN workshop(Discovery Education Network) weeks ago. I always love professional development where I can take away at least one thing I didn’t know. I took away more than one thing, but I am going to share this one, PhotoPeach as a quiz! When Cynthia Brown shared this little tidbit, I knew immediately what I was going to do with it!
At the beginning of each school year, I want my students to learn about me, just as I learn about them. So, I post a brief biography about myself on our class Edublogs page, and then I have my students fill out a question sheet answering the questions. Yawn! Well, actually, until I learned about PhotoPeach, it served it’s purpose. The kids had fun with it, but now…
I uploaded a lot of pictures on Photo Peach, (appropriate of course), of different people, places, and things in my life that I hope will generate discussion about…me. I then created a “quiz” based on those pictures. Hopefully, this video/quiz will get my students talking about…me. The quiz provides the correct answer before it moves on, so they know the “answer”, and they don’t get frustrated.
I want my students to feel comfortable and safe in my room, and knowing a bit about who I am as a human, not just a teacher, should do this. I embedded the video/quiz on Kidblog, and when they are done they could write their first blog post sharing their perceptions of me.
I also intend to encourage them to create their own “Getting to Know You” quizzes at home, so that we can share them with their peers. The great part is that it can be shared using FB, Twitter, email, embedded,and/or downloaded. A little of this, a little of that, and Voila!, I just spiced up that “same old lesson!”
I embedded it on our class blog. Check it out and please let me know what you think! “Getting to Know Mrs. M” video/quiz”
I love this speech! I wonder how many politicians heard or read it?
I flew overnight from Vancouver to be with you today. I landed in New York a few hours ago and caught a flight down here because I needed to tell you all in person that I think you’re awesome.
I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything.
I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity — all come from how I was parented and taught.
And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned — none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success — none of these qualities that make me who I am … can be tested.
I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep — this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.
Now don’t get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal’s office and said, ‘My kid ain’t taking that. It’s stupid, it won’t tell you anything and it’ll just make him nervous.’ That was in the ’70s when you could talk like that.
I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes.
I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.
I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.
This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.
So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “overpaid;” the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. … Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.
It’s been a year! It’s been a year since I sat down at my husband’s PC, (He eventually bought me a laptop), and decided to blog. I have never regretted it, ok, maybe once or twice, but that’s all! I don’t know why I decided to blog, but I think it had something to do with the fact that I love to write, love technology in the classroom, and I love, love , love teaching.
At first, I was going to name my blog, “Rants and Raves of a Public School Teacher.” After about a week, I changed the name because I felt that I wasn’t going to spend all my time ranting and /or raving.
I remember when I started, I would jump out of bed every morning, turn on the computer, and announce to my husband and son how many people had read my blog. “15 people read my blog today!” (They tired of that very quickly) I remember posting on FB that “35 people viewed my post!.” What an accomplishment! April Fool’s Day my statistics jokingly showed 499 views, I knew it was a joke! But imagine my delight when one of my posts, on my little blog, did hit 499 views! Whooo-hoo! I used to worry whether or not I would have enough to say, shouldn’t have.
I have learned so much, connected with so many people, participated in global projects and joined fantastic PLN’s! I have been a guest blogger, and have had my posts used on other sites. I attended my first ISTE, which was amazing and overwhelming! I have embraced knowledge. Shared what I have learned from my experiences, and what I have learned from others. My thirst for tech has not only been quenched, it is overflowing!
I no longer jump up and check my stats every morning, I’m past that now. Ok, I still take a peek now and again. Blogging is not a money-maker for me, by no means. But it has given me a chance to do what I love, write, and talk about technology and teaching! Happy Blogiversary to Me!