Friday, October 24, 2014

Do you know the names of the students in your school?

Pin It This year has been a real growth year for me having a child in actual SCHOOL.  I have been through highs and lows.  I have watched my son struggle to adapt and I have struggled to adapt, as well.  I have also witnessed the birth of an independent child who has come into his own and is thriving in his new environment.  I can tell you right now it's because of the PEOPLE.



Yesterday when I dropped my son off at school, the staff member who opened the door and let him out said, "Good morning, Jake!" and I then heard the administrator on duty say, "Hi, Jake!"  Not only did that leave me grinning from ear to ear as I drove off, I know it made my son feel like he was important...like he was part of the group...like he was meant to be there.

As an educator in this business for over 15 years, I have certainly heard speeches and seen presentations about the importance of calling students by name.  However, this year - I have experienced that from a very different perspective - as a parent.

I challenge you to learn the names of the students on your campus and call those kids by name.  I don't care if they're 5 or 15...every kid wants to be known...every kid want to be loved...every kid wants to be someone.  Try to learn the name of 5 new kids each week and address them by name when you see them in the hall.  I imagine that the small time investment on your part will be well worth the reward.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sometimes the clothes do not make the man...

Pin It I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning and George Michael's Freedom 90 came on.  One line really stuck out in my head...

"Sometimes the clothes do not make the man."

I started thinking about my upcoming day and all of the personalities and personal backgrounds I would come into contact with.  Some of my teachers are battling illness.  Others are working through family problems.  Some have financial struggles.  Still others are working themselves to the bone to make a better life for themselves and their children.  Every time I come into contact with a staff member, I try to take into account all of these things and, in general, cut people some slack.

I hope every teacher does this for his or her students, as well.  Did the student get breakfast this morning?  Did they sleep last night?  Did someone hug them today?  Do they feel worthy?  I remember my first day of school when I was in about 3rd or 4th grade.  I spilled milk all over my brand new first-day-of-school outfit.  It ruined my day.  It really did.  I still remember that.  I wonder if my teachers took that into account on that day if I was cranky or upset or sad?

I challenge you to look past the clothes, the attitude, the shoes, the arrogance, the insecurity, the backtalk and all of the other little things that can cloud our interactions with students and with each other.  I challenge you to take a breath, count to 10 and cut people (adults AND ESPECIALLY children!) some slack.  Wouldn't you want someone to do the same for you?



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cool Twitter stats from @_tweetails_ ... this is fun!

Pin It I was trying to pull some statistics from our Brenham ISD district Twitter account when I came across Tweetails.  I love numbers and statistics ... even if they're random, so this really appealed to me.  Check out the stats I pulled for @edtechchic...  :)

Tweetails for Edtechchic
  • Space efficiency: 79.77% (tweets have an average of 28 spare characters left over)
  • Average word length: 4.39 characters
  • Average syllables per word: 1.43
  • Vocabulary diversity score: 42.72
  • Real dictionary words: 94.49%
Our intelligence rating for Edtechchic is: -Scholar - Very clever indeed, and probably smug about it too.

In our special nonsensical Twitter roleplaying parlance, Edtechchic is a: -Level 4 Master Tweet Barbarian

{By the way, those last two made me chuckle!}

Activity
  • Edtechchic posts an average of 3.66 tweets per day.
  • We estimate they spend 5 hours per month using Twitter.
  • Around 3 hours of this monthly usage is during typical work/school hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).
Most Mentioned Users
Most Mentioned Hashtags
Favorite Words


Can I just say, I love that GOOGLE is my MOST blogged word!  Of course!  :)



Monday, October 6, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 30 (only a week late...)

Pin It Day 30 - What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren't afraid?
Ditch the timelines (because I obviously have trouble keeping time!). Ditch the rigid curriculum models. Embrace the idea of building learning experiences to really engage students and try to focus on each individual child.  Do what is best and right for kids - what I know in my heart - not what I am told is best and right for kids.  
I would love to hear what YOU would do, as a teacher, if you weren't afraid...



Monday, September 29, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 27, 28 and 29 (oops!)

Pin It Day 27 - What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?
I think I can speak for all dedicated, committed educators when I say that it doesn't matter if it's the weekend...Christmas...after hours...before hours...  We're ALWAYS WORKING!  I try really hard to turn it off when I leave school, but the truth is, I am always thinking of ways I can help my teachers or mulling around ideas I can use for training and PD.  I wake up in the middle of the night and grab my phone to send myself an email or snap a picture of a sign I see while we're traveling that gives me a brainstorm.  While I absolutely cherish my time off with my family, they are no strangers to me going on a rant when something pops into my head.  :)
Day 28 - Respond: Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?
Ooooh...good question.  I think there's no right answer here.  For us in BISD, we always begin planning with standards in mind.  So, in that regard, the curriculum is driving the technology integration because the standards drive our curriculum.  However, more and more we're seeing technology be worked into our standards, so we are starting to see the great importance of using technology to enhance teaching and grow Future Ready students.
Day 29 - How have you changed as an educator since you first started?
Oh my.  Where do I even begin with this one?!  I am more assertive.  I am more confident.  I am more comfortable in my own skin making decisions that I know are best for kids.  I'm no longer afraid to say what's on my mind, even if it's not in line with popular opinion.  I have more finesse.  I am ok if I work hard on something and let someone else take credit.  (We all play for the same team!)  And every passing day I have a clearer vision of where I want to go as an educator.  :)


Friday, September 26, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 26

Pin It Day 26 - What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?
  1. TWITTER!!
  2. Any of my Google+ Communities (GEG-CENTX, GEG Texas, GEG Houston, Google Apps Administrators, Texas Google Summit) 
  3. Pinterest (amazing how many cool resources are out there for FREE!)
 



Thursday, September 25, 2014

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 25

Pin It Day 25 - The ideal collaboration between students–what would it look like?
I believe the ideal collaboration between students is a blend of digital and in-person.  I love it when I walk into a classroom and groups of students are collaborating on a shared Google Doc, but there's lots of verbal communication taking place, as well.  I believe this can be done at at grade level and in any content area if the teacher is willing to let it happen!