Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Adjusting to the Process

I recently worked with a teacher and her students introducing a new app.  The students were quick to learn and anxious to get started creating on their own.  The students had done preliminary work on the information to be shared using the presentation app.  They were still working on their final presentations when I left, but I could tell they weren't going to have a bit of trouble.

A few days later I spoke with the teacher.  She was delighted, and admittedly surprised, by their performance.  She stated that she was the one who had to adjust.  The creative process was a bit noisy.  It just didn't fit into the structure that was normally such an integral part of her classroom environment.  She had to adjust her thinking and her expectation for behavior.....and she did.  Kudos to her!

So many of us that have been educators for years find it hard to let go of the structure that we think constitutes a quality learning environment.   We came from (and created) classrooms that discouraged talking, placed students in straight rows and where the expectation was to receive responses from students that fit nicely into a right or wrong category.

If that's where you are, it's time to adjust your thinking.  Students have tremendous creative potential and their creative process gets a little noisy!  It seems a little disorganized.  But, trust them.  They will surprise you.  Yes, you need to set expectations for an outcome.  You can give general parameters under which their product must fall.  But give them an opportunity to show you how the learning works for them.  Let them dazzle you.  Enjoy them.....and let them enjoy learning!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Providing a Service

I have spent 32 years in education. Working with students and teachers has truly been a passion for me.   So much so, that I came out of retirement to work part-time with those students and teachers that I truly care about.  Maybe I don't consciously think everyday about what I can do to make education better for these people....and perhaps that's a good thing....that I don't HAVE to think about doing it.  It just IS what I do.  I want to serve and it gives me great joy to do so.

It is a great day for me if I can share one thing that makes the education process better for someone!

I hope that happened today.  I hope that I served my colleagues in a way that made life better for them.

Today I had the great pleasure of providing a professional development session for Cullman High School Social Studies teachers.  They were receptive and eager to try new things. I hope that they found something in today's PD that will make instruction rich and rewarding for them and their students!

Here are the resources that I shared....iPad Apps in the High School Classroom

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Who Choreographs Your Happy Dance?

So, when you break into your happy dance, who has choreographed your moves?  Was it you? Or....are you waiting on the actions and decisions of someone else to make you "bust a move"?  Observation yields the following: In the day-to-day of relationships, career/work, spirituality, etc. there are the people who are inventing the new moves, and those who are following the lead of someone else and....unfortunately, the wallflowers who haven't stepped onto the dance floor!

So, when it comes to life, which are you?  Are you making deliberate choices that put you in control of your own happiness? Are you surrounding yourself with others who are doing the same?  Do you find yourself in the middle of a daily line-dance of  happy, positive people? We are out there....those of us who don't wait for someone else to take the lead....heck, most times we don't even wait for the music to start...we are dancing...join us!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And So It Grows.....

I haven't posted about PLNs in a while, but recent events have me thinking about their power again. At this particular time Twitter is my PLN vehicle of choice.  Why? Because it is a 140 character or less synopsis of the who/what/when/where and how of my fellow educators at a moment in time. Their posts may be exactly what I am looking for or may lead me to something that I didn't even know I needed (or existed)!!!

Sometimes my connections are purposeful.  I go looking for people who fill a certain need for me or I respond to people who need something I have to give.  But the real gems are those connections that happen completely by accident.  That's my most recent experience.....

I mentioned in a previous post that I had taken the ThingLink Teachers Challenge.  The facilitator for that event is . She's my most recent "gem."  If you go poking around the who/what/when/where and how of Susan you will discover why I have given her that label.  The knowledge, information and skills she has to share are incredible.

I hope you have a PLN and I hope it is providing you with the support that you need.  Check out Susan and the Thinglink Challenge if you need a kick-start.... you will be glad you did!

Susan's Cool Tools Blog

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Accepting the Challenge

I recently accepted the Thinglink Teacher Challenge! This challenge is a professional development opportunity that has been joined by 300+ educators thus far.  I have used Thinglinks for several months and have made quite a few for students and teachers.  I wondered if accepting this challenge would actually provide me any new knowledge....well, it has already....just in week one!

This served to remind me that challenging myself, even in things I THINK I already know, results in personal or professional growth, the acquisition of new skills and a shift in mindset!

If we could just keep that attitude......accept the challenge....have a mindset that we WILL learn something new then we will....just like I did in week one!

I'm ready....let the learning continue!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Today's Favorite!

I'm always checking out tech tools I see mentioned in Tweets, blogs, chats, or even informal conversations, etc.  So, a week or so ago I heard about Thinglink.  I'm hooked!  I can see tremendous potential for the use of this tool in any classroom, any grade level, any subject or even any professional development session.  I have begun to build Thinglinks to share with my colleagues in hopes of encouraging them to use or create!  Check it out.  If you have a suggestion for a Thinglink or would like to learn how to do it yourself,  just let me know!

Monday, February 24, 2014

PLNs + Hashtags = Opportunities for Growth

If you use Twitter as a part of your PLN, you need to know that there's more to it than just following people.  All those @individuals or @groups are important and they help you build connections.  But there is a wealth of knowledge lurking behind those #s.  Hashtags (#) are invaluable for grouping topics and ideas.  One of the most powerful uses of #s is to identify educational "chats".......Groups of people "meeting" together online to discuss topics.  Even if you can't make the scheduled chat time, you can search for the # and catch up on the discussion when you have time.

Below is a link to an article by Jeff Dunn that discusses 20 chats that educators need to check out! So.....get busy....check it out!    #go  #whatareyouwaitingfor   #timesawasting   :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Butcher, a Baker, a Candlestick Maker

"A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker" - that's how +Bobbi Capwell, (educator, Technology Integration Specialist, SimpleK12 Ambassador, DEN Star, lifelong learner) describes the members of her PLN.  She might have a literal butcher, baker and candlestick maker in her PLN, but what she is really trying to describe is the diverse nature of her group.  There is someone in her group who can provide support no matter what her need or question.

That's what we need to create when we are building our PLN.  Focus on your needs as an educator.  But, don't forget to think about your skills and what you have that you can share with others.  Create a support system for yourself that increases your professional knowledge, encourages you and is (sometimes) just plain fun!

Here's a link to Bobbi's blog.

Follow her on Twitter

Friday, February 7, 2014

CoolCatTeacher, Vicki Davis, Compares Teacher's Life Before/After Twitter

I include +Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher on Twitter) in my PLN.  Her tweets and blog are insightful and entertaining.  In this blog post she talks about how Twitter has changed her as an educator.  If you've been around a while, you will relate!

Adding Podcasts to your PLN

Your personalized learning network should be designed for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. An extremely efficient way to access professional development is to make podcasts a part of your PLN.
This format is perfect for fitting in whenever you have access to your phone or tablet and perhaps a set of headphones. You can even tune in on your way to and from work each day.

Visit the iTunes store, select Podcasts, select the Education category and browse until your heart's content!  Or search for a specific podcast or topic using the search box.  For example, searching for flipped learning yields results that look like this....

Also, the links below suggest numerous podcasts for educators.

Alright, LET'S GO....listen to a podcast!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

PLNs Aren't Just for Teachers Anymore!

Read this article from Lisa Nielson's blog "The Innovative Educator" in which

Educator Ann S. Michaelsen explains the power of student PLNs.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Using Google+ as a Part of Your PLN

This video is created by Bob Deneau from Rockwood School District (MO).  It is a five minute introduction into Google+ and how you might use Google+ for developing a PLN.

Cullman City Schools allows for the use of Google+ by its employees.  We are fortunate to have this feature available.  So, take a few minutes to see how G+ can become a part of your professional development.

Google+ Basics for a PLN