C4T Rotating #1:
I read a post made by Tony Baldasaro which was about a typical Monday administrative meeting where the administration team all put their heads together and discuss all sorts of aspects, but always try to incorporate their philosophy into the discussions to keep the mission as their focus. This particular Monday meeting was particularly relevant to him because as the discussion was plugging along (and the normal distractors made their way into the conversation. . . things like state testing scores, board approval, funding, etc.) the administrator said 9 simple words that brought the conversation back into focus. Those 9 words were, "But, If we're really going to change the world. . ." and Tony was so impressed that with 9 simple words the whole point of it all was brought back into main focus.
In my reply I introduced myself and included a link to EDM510's blog page as well as my blog page. I mentioned that I was hoping to discover that through blogging we could be changing the world through good communication not limited by location or distance. I mentioned that we would be commenting on young student's blogs beginning next week and that this shows to be motivational and affirming to the students, encouraging them to care and write even more and with better effort. This, I mentioned, is a bit of that change that we hope to see in the world.
I asked him to share what some of the suggestions or thoughts were that followed those 9 powerful words. I asked if there were any 1st grade thoughts that he could share with me, since I'm currently a 1st grade teacher. I'm excited to follow him for 3 weeks and see what sort of correspondence we develop.
Here is a link to his post: (click here)
C4T Rotating week 2:
This week I was able to view on a post from the Port England School which had a video made by Google to highlight how using Google and Google Docs in particular has made a big impact in their learning. The video is less than 2 minutes, but it is packed full of insight and exciting possibilities. I enjoyed seeing the community brought together to have learning taking place all the time, versus only when in the school building.
I commented as much in my post. I also stated that I liked the statement that was made which said that when children have access to the internet, the have the ability to manage their own learning. I thought, what a powerful statement! I wondered what the students there that now have the technology and access to the internet, so the tools and the know how, what have they pursued learning? I'm curious to see if they have data on that and if so, what it shows.
This should be a link to the video if you'd like to watch it yourself. Below is an image of the video. Here is a link to their webpage which has the video on it as well: (click here)
C4T Rotating week 3:
This week I visited John T. Spencer's blog and read his post about "close reading," a reading strategy that has been the talk of the year for many teachers in many schools. Many teachers hate it! He presents this strategy in a way to be used as a tool during other learning activities, not to be used as the sole reason for reading or the objective of the reading lesson. Using close reading for the sake of close reading is of course going to inspire loathing from teachers as well as students. Rather, if in use as a strategy when participating in something engaging and still interest based/student led, then it can be a powerful tool.
I asked if his thoughts were expressed to administrators, and if so, what were their reactions? It makes good sense to me. Still, I know that many teachers do feel the pressure of having to have this strategy in use as evidence for administrators to see on walk throughs, etc. and this likely leads to overuse and what he referred to in his post.
Here is a link to his blog post: (click here)
February 26, 2014
The blog I visited was discussing something very similar to what the last student whose blog I visited this week discussed. How we need to not be biased and unwilling to think from the other side's point of view in educational areas and in all areas. The student spoke using dirt bikes as an example, whereas the educator spoke on whole words versus phonics, math facts and procedures versus problem solving, project based learning versus traditional teach and assess methods, etc. and other school related debates. How interesting that as a professional adult, we are recognizing and discussing on adult levels the same concerns that a seventh grader expressed on a 7th grade level.
I asked him the same question. How did he suggest we move past only thinking one way, and diplomatically move into conversations of consequence, where we can recognize good points from both sides and use all aspects to enhance our teaching styles?
March 9, 2014
The post that I read this week was titled, "You have permission to be strict." It discussed how sometimes students confuse being strict with being mean, and the post discussed the differences between the two. Being strict is not mean (selfish, angry, cutting, etc.) rather, it is having high expectations and keeping the reigns tight to help the students focus as they learn, etc. I appreciated the post because it is something that all teachers I'm sure struggle with. Am I being too strict? Are my students happy? Etc. But, as I shared with my reply, I have found that in my own classroom, the more strict and consistent I am, the more at peace, well performing, and happier my class is. So, it's me affirming him, and him affirming me with the post this week. :)
Here is his post and my response.