My school went through a rough few days recently. While our thoughts and prayers were focused on the school in Florida, my own district was threatened. We had to take it seriously, as did law enforcement, As the community outpouring on social media wafted from supportive, frustrated, angry, supportive, and scared, education still had to continue. The show must go on. So we had school with law enforcement patrolling the hallways, parking lots, and town. It was a Monday, of course, and a holiday that we had to use as a snow makeup day. Attendance was down some due to the threat, and at times the tension was palpable.
As more and more educators discover the value of Twitter professionally, it can sometimes seem like an echo chamber, as my #4OCF Voxer group discussed during our book study of The Four O’Clock Faculty: A Rogue Guide to Revolutionizing Professional Development. And since we're being honest here, we can also admit that the glory of retweets and the race to collect followers can also draw us away from the original beauty of Twitter. That beauty, my friends, is what keeps me going.
Is there really a Cool Kids Club that follows us throughout life? Do we really have to live high school all over again as adults? Can we be in that elusive Cool Club some years, months, days and not others? Should we care? Generally speaking, that club does frequently appear in schools, businesses, churches, clubs, and it rears its ugly head on social media as well. What exactly is it? How do we guide kids through the social maze in order to survive? Should we spend any time helping students through this? And actually, students may have a better handle on this than we adults do. Social media and the internet have opened doors to fashion and culture, good and bad, for us that students may navigate better than many adults. In fact, if you ask your own children about the Cool Kids Club, as Denis Sheeran did, you may discover that they have never heard of it. That then begs the question, do we adults really understand it ourselves?
So which type of teacher learner are you? If we're honest, we have all been unintentional and engaged during our careers. In the very beginning, we soak up every scrap of professional development thrown at us. Inexperienced educators are hungry to know more in order to gain a sense of mastery in the classroom. As that begins to occur, the shift from educationally starving to sated develops, and that is perhaps the most dangerous moment in our educational careers.
During one of the first professional development (PD) days for my district at the beginning of the school year, I worked with several teachers and had several conversations. Some were just typical teacher banter expected at the first full PD day of the new school year, but one particular comment stood out the moment it was uttered. It continues to crop up in my mind at random moments. It stirs my oppositional defiant mojo each and every time. I don't recall the specific wording, but while discussing the "new" collaboration methods our principal used on us as a demonstration, this particular teacher, an experienced teacher near retirement, said something like: I'm there to teach. Students are there to learn.
With the new updates and revisions to the New Google Sites, many educators are wanting to use Sites for their student blogs. The problem is that there is no easy way for students to also receive comments on their sites from their audience. There are a few ways to work around this, such as embedding blogs from actual blog sites, but at this point, I want my new high school bloggers to have control over the audience and for me to be able to keep an eye on the comments without having to do a lot of tab hopping.
The Future's in the AirEvery time I roll out a new activity or program to increase the depth of knowledge for my students, they are never as excited as I am. None of them. While there are a range of reactions, to a student they are either thinking or voicing the fact they would rather … Continue reading Deeper Thinking: Using Mashed Potatoes to Fight Student Pushback
This post is co-authored by Ditch That Textbook’s Matt Miller and Laura Steinbrink. Laura is a high school English teacher and tech coach from Plato, Missouri. Check out Matt's blog, Ditch That Textbook, at ditchthattextbook.com for the full post and more. Excerpt of this post: If you are like me (Laura), you are constantly searching … Continue reading Caption This! A fun, deep-thinking Google Drawings activity
A favorite time of year for me is most definitely Christmas. I freaking love it. The decorating, the shopping for others, secret Santa fun, giving back to the community, the family and friend get-togethers are just a few of the reasons I love this time of year. As of last year, a new reason for absolutely loving December is the Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit put on by author and speaker, Matt Miller.
Ever had one of those days where multiple students, if not most of the class, struggled with the content? Maybe you were showing a movie that had important information, but the students weren't getting it because they were not engaged? If the truth be told, we've all probably had a class, a day, or a period where the students struggled with being engaged in the lesson or content while we struggled with the students. If this is sounding a bit familiar, then boy have I found a little nugget of "This doesn't suck" for you!