Sunday, August 22, 2010

Let Me Count the Ways

It is Sunday night. The second full week of school starts tomorrow and I can't wait to see my 5th period math students' faces. Boy, do I have a surprise for them. Last week they worked on their first blog posts. We are using as our platform. It is easy to use and can be moderated by the teacher through the dashboard of the interface.

As I was making sure I had all my assessments (sigh) and lesson plans ready for the coming week, I checked our Kidblogs and realized that six students were ready to be published. I pushed the publish button and then tweeted about our blogs. Of course I got five replies that said they needed a password to comment. Oh dear, I had forgotten to change the settings to allow anyone with the link to post a comment. (I still have to approve the comment before it appears on the student's blog which I like. Safety first.) Well, I quickly remedied that situation and posted to Twitter that all was now working. Then I got a tweet that me reminded me to use the hashtag #comments4kids when I tweeted about my kids' blog to reach an even wider audience. This hashtag was started by William Chamberlain and you can read more about it here. So I sent out another tweet including the #comments4kids this time around.

I was commenting on the blogs of students of Greta Sandler from Argentina (@gret) when my Tweetdeck starting going crazy chirping Mentions. All of the mentions were RTs (retweets) of my #comments4kids tweet - Anyone up to commenting on the blogs of some 4th graders? I decided to check out what was going on at my kids' blogs. How do I love Twitter? Let me count the ways - 70 comments as I am writing this. 70 comments in less than an hour. I LOVE TWITTER.

Thank you to all of the great members of my Twitter PLN. You have done a great thing. I just hope I can sleep tonight because I am so excited for tomorrow to come.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Promise to...

As this school year gets ready to start here in southeastern Louisiana, I am thinking about what I can do to make it great. I have been reading thoughts from others in my PLN (personal learning network) on this topic and I have come up with 8 things I promise to do during this year.

1. Try New Things - I am beginning my 35th year of teaching. Wow, even to me the sounds like a long time. But even after all of these years I love being a teacher. I like being the innovative teacher who tries to integrate technology into every lesson. This one should be easy because I have spent the summer learning new ways to use new tools with my students.

2. Connect With My Students - This year I really want to get to know my students' passions. Our classroom theme will be "My Passion is..." I will have all of my students blogging and I plan to add lots of comments to their posts.

3. Get Parents Involved - I will be adding a new kind of teaching to my plate this year. Beside teaching my fourth graders math and social studies, I will be doing some teaching for parents. My plan is to have evening computer training sessions for parents. I want them to learn about digital safety , creating a digital footprint, and using social media for learning.

4. Get My Class Creating, Connecting, and Collaborating - Some of the ways I will get my students creating is by starting the year off with "About Me" Wordles. They will be using for creating their blogs. They will create a Glogster about their passion. We will use Skype to connect with other classes throughout the year. Also my students will be commenting on others' blogs. We will participate in many collaborative projects locally, nationally, and globally.

5. Talk Less and Listen More - I have been getting better at this over the last couple of years. When I got comfortable with the idea that I can't know it all I started learning more from my students. One of my favorite classroom activities is to get them working on their latest project and then "eavesdrop" as they work cooperatively. I learn a lot about my students while doing this informal assessment.

6. Find Balance in My Life - Okay, I'll admit it. The older I get, the geekier I get. I find that I can spend many hours at a time online tweeting, reading articles and blogs, or looking for great projects for my students to do. Too much of my socializing is done online. My house chores get put on hold. I don't eat properly or get enough sleep at times. While I love spending time on my computer, I will be conscious of taking time for other things in my life also. I need to read books, go to the movies, and get out of my house and go for walks.

7. Laugh More - I tend to be more serious than silly, but I love when I can have a good laugh. I am going to be on the lookout for more things that make me laugh this year. The first place I can look is at myself. Being able to laugh at myself in front of my students is the one thing I will have to work on the most this year.

8. Don't Tech Just Because - Since I have a whole room full of new tech tools this year, I am excited to start using them in every way possible. I will make sure that I am using technology to enhance the lesson and engage my students, not just because it is there. I am carefully planning my units and lessons to make sure that learning is at the forefront, not the technology.

So there are my promises to myself. What would you add?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Social Media on #edchat

#echat Social Media Worlde

This was created from 1/3 of the Social Media #edchat transcript from 8/3. I wanted to see if we could find any patterns within the language we were using. Is it me, or did Wordle create an image that looks a lot like the Twitter fail whale? —@rpetersmauri

I hit 2,000 followers today on Twitter.

Check out the Perk Up Your Projects Wiki

i saw a tweet tonight from @sroseman that said "Perk up your projects with Web2.0". So I followed the link and ended up on this wiki. I looked around a bit and then decided I wanted to play with different logos. Below are some examples.

This one was created at using "Craved"

Image from text generator

This one was created at using "NeonLights"

free glitter -

Check out the ways you can perk up your projects.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thank You for Reform Symposium 2010

Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Jason Bedell and Christopher Rogers were the organizers of the Reform Symposium 2010 that took place online July 30, 31 and August 1. I can only imagine how much work went on behind the scenes to get this symposium planned and then to make sure it went smoothly over the three days. Saying thank you seems so lame, but sometimes keeping it simple is the best so…Thank you!
The organizers used the whiteboard on Elluminate to discuss some of the numbers that were generated by RSCON10.

I liked that idea and decided to compile some numbers of my own.
3 days
18 sessions
14 hours
10 sessions where I took the mic
19 presenters and organizers in my PLN
unknown number of chat entries and tweets

Here is the list of the sessions that I was able to attend virtually this weekend:

Friday July 30, 2010
Opening Keynote – Steve Hargadon 4:00-5:00
Identity Day: Revealing the Passions of Our Students – George Couros 5:00-6:00
It's Not the Tool, It's How You Use It – Mary Beth Hertz 6:00-6:30

Saturday, July 31, 2010
StudentCon: Students Teaching Teachers - Jerry Swiatek 8:00-8:30
Creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN) – Tom Whitby 8:30-9:30
What the Heck is a 21st Century Skill Anyway? – Angela Maiers 12:30-1:30
Skype Around The World - Silvia Tolisano 2:00-2:30
Technology, what's in it for my students - Alexandra Francisco 3:00-3:30
Back-channeling in the Classroom – Richard Byrne 4:00-5:00
New Teacher Survival Kit – Lisa Dabb and Joan Young 5:30-6:00

Sunday, August 1, 2010
Tech in 10 – Kelly Hines 8:00-8:30
Students Refine School – Monika Hardy & students 9:00-10:00
Abolishing & Replacing Grading – Joe Bower 10:30-11:00
Everything I Learned About Tech Integration I Learned From Movies - Nicholas Provenza 11:30-12:00
Innovative Practices in Education–The Power of Students Producing for Authentic Audiences with Authentic Assessment – Paula White 12:30-1:30
This Ain't Your Mother's Classroom: Why You Need to Use Social Media in Your Classroom – Tim Gwynn 2:00-2:30
Education: Timeless and Priceless – Steve Anderson 3:00-4:00
Closing Ceremony – all the organizers 4:00-4:45

I heard Vicki Davis say at one of her ISTE10 sessions I attended this summer, “try to limit your take-aways from a large conference to the top three”. So my top three are:

1. Every student is like a box of Cracker Jacks. Find the “prize” inside of every student.
2. Let students discover their passion and set aside time everyday to let them pursue it.
3. My students and I should be “educational architects” in our classroom.

I have a lot of information to process from the Reform Symposium. I can't wait for the 2010-2011 school year to start so that I can implement some of the things I learned. I am tired and my brain is on fire.

What are your big 3 from RSCON10?