This week’s #ETCoaches blog challenge: How do you plan to keep blogging? Do you have a frequency in mind? Another challenge to share? Did you find an editorial calendar for planning?
This challenge has been great in that it helped me focus once again on my blog. I liked the frequency; blogging once a week was do-able. I participated in another challenge a few years ago that was a daily challenge and that proved to be, well, challenging. I also liked connecting with some of the other ETCoaches who participated.
So you are all witnesses to my new commitment. I will blog once a week, at least. I have been using Google Keep more and will jot down my ideas for blog posts on a note there. Sometimes it’s obvious what I can blog about, but other times I need a push, reminder, or suggestion.
As I stated in my initial post for this challenge, I don’t want to blog just for the sake of blogging. I want to stay positive. With all of the many things that occur in the course of our work as educators, there’s always something we could gripe about, but that’s not the purpose of my blog. And timely as ever, Richard Byrne shared a post this weekend about the goals of blogs. From that post, I connect with the last two goals – Encouraging others to write, and Helping other teachers/educators.
I am not going to pursue another challenge right now. Focusing on what’s happening in the schools in which I work, and on work that I am doing seem more authentic and important for me at this juncture.
Thanks for reading. Please help me stick to it!
Image Credit: via Carmelo Fernando Creative Commons/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/3f12JL
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This week’s #ETCoaches blog challenge: “How do the reading of blogs influence you as an educator? Which blogs do you follow/love? Do you use a RSS reader?”
I receive most of the resources and blogs that have an influence on me via Twitter and the Google+ Communities of which I’m a member. It’s my PLN to the rescue, once again. I used to use an RSS feed, back when Google Reader was an option. Then I realized that most of the blogs/people I follow share via Twitter. It felt redundant to have an RSS feed and Twitter, so I cut out the RSS.
Some of the blogs are thought-provoking, some share resources, and others share ideas about pedagogy. They all benefit me in different ways.
Here are some of the blogs/people I follow.
- My Island View, Tom Whitby https://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/ Great perspective, always gets me thinking.
- FreeTech4Teachers, Richard Byrne http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ Amazing resource!
- The Principal of Change, George Couros http://georgecouros.ca/blog/ I’m not an administrator, but this blog has some excellent ideas and again, perspective on current topics in education.
- Alice Keeler, http://alicekeeler.com/ The best resource for Google Classroom and much more.
- Common Sense Education, https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog Most people go to CommonSenseMedia, but don’t realize there’s a blog for educators. Don’t miss it.
- Blogging through the Fourth Dimension, Pernille Ripp https://pernillesripp.com/ A great teacher with powerful things to say.
- Educator’s Technology, http://www.educatorstechnology.com/ Super resources.
- TeachThought, http://www.teachthought.com/ Again, all sorts of ideas, not necessarily EdTech.
- GAFE 4 Littles, Christine Pinto, http://christinepinto.com/gafe-4-littles-pln/ I just learned about this one, GAFE for primary level!
- Paul Solarz, http://paulsolarz.weebly.com/educators Paul is a classroom teacher. I have followed him for years (see his resources about passion projects). He wrote a book called Learn Like a Pirate that I have shared with classroom teachers. It almost makes me want to go back to the classroom.
Thanks for reading; I always appreciate feedback.
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Posted in blogging, reflect, tagged blog, blogging, reflection on September 14, 2016|
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As I’ve said in the past, sometimes I need structure to keep me on track. I have had so many ideas for blog posts during the summer and already at the beginning of this school year, but alas, the time has slipped away. I’m embarrassed that it’s been so long since I posted.
Then, on Twitter recently, I came across the #ETCoaches Blog Challenge. Just what I needed to get back in the swing of things. Thank you to whomever is behind that!
My first post for the challenge – share the purpose of my blog. That’s a fabulous prompt as it truly causes me to reflect on why I have this blog.
Reasons for my blog and why I blog:
- Obviously, to reflect on my practice, which always help me learn and grow
- To share great things happening in the schools in which I work
- To help make connections with others
- To stay positive (I don’t use my blog to rant and neither should you)
- To help tell my story and that of our schools
- To encourage others to blog, share, and get connected
I plan to continue with this Challenge, but will also get my readers caught up on what I’ve been up to since I last posted. Stay tuned and as always, feel free to comment and connect!
image credit: CreativeCommons flickr, kev-shine https://flic.kr/p/b3jjdD
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I’ve started to see, once again, members of my PLN on Twitter sharing their one word for 2016. They’re awesome and inspiring and got me thinking. I’m seeing words like #be and #empower. I imagine over the next few days as we near and enter 2016 that we’ll see more.
As educators, we’re often asked about that one teacher we remember. Or the one experience in a classroom we never forgot. Once I became a teacher, I wanted to be one of those teachers for my students. I imagined, as we followed the Iditarod live in the early days of utilizing the Internet for such things (around 1995), that my first and second grade students would always remember me as the teacher who guided them through that experience. Then we started creating websites and blogging, and I thought perhaps that was it.
But when I do run into students from the past, they often bring up what I shared as my ‘favorite word’ and how they never forgot that. Long ago, my students cut out 4 foot letters that spelled out the word TRY, decorated each of them, and helped me affix them to the wall.
Whenever a student was stuck or said, “I’m finished” after very little effort, I just pointed up to the word on the wall. As I thought about this post, I realized that my favorite word was a harbinger of times to come- before #grit and #mindset hit the scene.
That’s my word for 2016, as it has been for many, many years. I’m only sorry that I couldn’t find a photograph of the original.
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Posted in blogging, collaboration, connected, learning, pln, sharing, tagged blogging, Collaboration, connected, Educators, growth, PLN on October 14, 2015|
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As is the case for many of us, having structure helps. By that I mean having clear, regular expectations for yourself, whether it’s self-imposed or provided by an outside source. I know that if I don’t have a regular routine or someone waiting for me, I don’t exercise as often. Yes, I just confessed that. I need structure and I know it. That may not be the case for all who have different drivers motivating them to do many things.
Last year I participated in the #reflectiveteacher (check out that hashtag!) 30-Day Blogging Challenge, sponsored by TeachThought. I blogged every day for a month! My goal was to set the ball in motion and then I’d easily blog on a regular basis after the challenge ended. As you can see by the dates on my posts, that fell to the wayside.
A colleague from Vermont (@betavt) created a Twitter challenge to encourage people in his district to tweet and connect with one another at the beginning of this school year. I watched it from afar to see how it went. Then, with permission, I borrowed and adapted the idea. We are using it to tweet from our school, using the #wsdvt hashtag as a part of our work for Connected Educator’s month. There are a few educators in our schools who have joined in, but not as many as I would have predicted. I wonder why? There’s great structure!
Also as a part of Connected Educator’s month, Lani Ritter Hall (@lanihall) is posting a Daily Connect on the Connected Educator’s ning. It’s a quick activity which exposes us to a new tool, encourages us to try it out and share it, and then use it to connect with others. Today’s Daily Connect encouraged us to use AnswerGarden. I’m learning something new every day.
I’m responding well to the structure of these two activities and have tweeted each day as well as tried Lani’s Daily Challenge. I find that having structure helps direct my learning. Hmmm, it’s likely the same for many of our students as learners, as well as for our colleagues. I’m encouraged to suggest to teachers and students that they create challenges like these to engage and provide structure for learning, for others.
And look, without any structure, I’m blogging. Maybe I have grown!
image created with Quozio.com
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I’ve had quite a few conversations recently about writing and technology at the elementary level. Some teachers feel that it’s not developmentally appropriate. Many of us are using the Lucy Calkins’ Writing Workshop materials, and there’s either no mention or very little mention of integrating technology into that model. These concerns are definitely valid, especially for me as a past primary level teacher. I don’t think we need to scrap using pencil and paper to teach learners how to write. However, as much as I honor these perspectives, we need to push through and find ways to provide some opportunities for our students.
This past summer, I worked with primary-level educators in a course and we focused specifically on this topic. Lo and behold, a few months later, all of the teachers have found ways to weave in digital tools in support of the writing process. Some have delved into Kidblog, others are introducing the tools in Google Drive, and others are using various iPad apps. This is all happening with students at the K-2 level! Yes, they can!
Last week I attended the VermontFest conference in lovely Killington, Vermont. It was sponsored by Vita-Learn, our ISTE affiliate. I did a presentation on the topic of writing and technology at the elementary level. It was well-received. I’m sharing the site I put together for the presentation here. There are many resources, ideas, and examples there for you to peruse.
One component of the class and the presentation was to build a repository of ideas collectively. I borrowed Tom Barrett’s (@tombarrett) idea for the Interesting Ways series and have created our own Interesting Ways to Integrate Technology into Writing at the Elementary Level. Feel free to add to it.
I encourage educators to use these resources and let me know how things evolve. Writing permeates most of what we do; let’s make it engaging and powerful.
Comments and ideas are more than welcome!
Image created by me at canva.com
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Posted in audience, blogging, collaboration, connected, teaching, twitter, tagged audience, blogging, primary, students, Twitter on October 30, 2014|
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I’ve had a few experiences lately where I’ve been so impressed with what’s happening at the primary level. By that, I mean grades K-2, but this is certainly prevalent at other levels as well.
I taught some courses this summer and had the privilege of working with teachers at all levels. Recently, teachers from two different courses, who teach at the primary level, have had things to share with me.
One course was all about integrating Google tools. During our week together, a few teachers and I got to talking about Twitter. Yes, not a Google tool, but still a powerful one. They wanted to hear more about how to use Twitter to make classroom connections. I continued the conversation with one teacher beyond our summer work. Last week, she came to visit one of our kindergarten classes, Sharon Davison‘s (@kkidsinvt), and watched the class use Twitter to share with other kindergarten classes (class account: @vermontkkids123). Our guest, a first grade teacher, also has explored the #1stchat hashtag and has lurked in a Twitter chat as well. She is overcome by the sheer numbers of primary educators that are out there sharing and connecting. Her visit to our school helped her get underway.
Another summer course was about the integration of writing and digital tools. All of the participants in that one are primary teachers, plus one principal. Two of the teachers, who teach in our district but another school, have added blogging with their students to the vast array of things teachers are responsible for these days. They approached it systematically by paper-blogging and paper-commenting, leading up to using the technology for those tasks. The second grade teacher got things underway with her students and they blogged a few times and left one another comments. The teacher was thrilled and set up a future session with her colleague, who teaches first grade. Today, the second graders taught the first graders how to access and create their blog posts. I was invited to observe and help out. They didn’t need my help- these students were ALL engaged and on task. They all felt successful and the first posts by first graders were a huge hit.
I got back to my school and walked into a computer lab filled with a first/second grade class (multi-age). They also were blogging! The teacher was so excited at how well things were going, how easily the students were navigating Kidblog, and how many skills are embedded in the experience. She is eager to try to help more of her colleague see the light.
Finally, one of our third/fourth grade classes (multi-age) has been participating in the Global Read Aloud author study of Peter Reynolds’ books. They’ve been blogging about his books and including some amazing reflections. They have also learned a lot about commenting – from penny comments to dollar comments, as well as highway and dead-end comments. The teacher used the Global Read Aloud hashtag #grapeter to share a set of recent posts about Peter’s books . What came next was the biggest surprise of all; Peter Reynolds commented on her students’ posts! the students and the teacher were jumping up and down with excitement. What a fabulous way to understand the power of a larger audience.
It’s been great to have more and more positive examples of how our younger students can and do achieve a lot with digital tools.
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