Conference Season and the Connected Learner

Time to switch gears.

Being a connected educator is great, but I am also a learner, right?  I registered for the ISTE conference in Atlanta in June.  I’m excited!  I’ve been to business and industry related conferences before; they’re always informative and great networking opportunities.

This one feels different though.  Perhaps because I’m focusing my professional energy on being the best possible educator who wants more for my colleagues, I’m really looking forward to the networking more than the learning. Read the rest of this entry

Reflection on a Fork in the Road

I’ve reached the fork in the road. Now what?

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Reminded Why I Do This…

So, my school has this program “Natural Helpers”, where juniors and seniors go on retreats and discover how amazing they are and how they are change agents.  Good stuff.

At the end of the day Thursday, the Natural Helpers were in the cafeteria  preparing for their retreat when one of them, a former student, Kaitlin, walks up to me in the hall:

“Mrs. Stone! Guess what?”

“What?”

“I graduated last week!”

(we’re on the trimester system, so seniors can finish up in November, March or June of their senior year.)

I grabbed her and hugged her tightly.  I love it when one of my babies reaches the finish line.  I am so happy for her.

As I returned to my classroom, I noticed a couple of notes on brightly colored paper taped to my door.  One was from Kaitlin. It said the following: kaitlin

I started to cry.  Kaitlin came into my 8th grade classroom 5 years ago and announced she hated science.  By the end of the school year, she was telling me about the things she watched on Myth busters and the Science Channel.  I ran back to find her in the cafeteria to ask her if she was going to school.  Yes, to major in biology and perhaps go on to med school or a masters in the sciences.  I’m happy for her.

It has been hell going to work the last couple of weeks.  Pressures from the district office about test scores, frustrations in the classroom, stress and tension between coworkers; I am just about fried.  Then along comes Kaitlin to remind me why I do this.  Thank you Kaitlin and good luck on your journey!

Here’s some video of Kaitlin. She’s the one standing nervously behind me at the lab bench (her comment about farting eyeballs always makes me laugh)… I think this was the moment she fell in love with science.

Who was the student that renewed your spirit? What is he or she doing now?

YouTube: Classroom Friend or Foe?

From Chevin…

As you know, I am working on my masters in Educational Technology.  As part of my cohort’s Capstone requirement, we have to contribute to the education community in a way that uses technology.  I’ve offered my blog space to anyone interested in doing a tech review or sharing any topic they’d like. My classmate Gillian Keller took me up on my offer!  Please find her review of YouTube below… please, give her some love!

~~~

By Gillian Keller, candidate, M.Ed, Educational Technology, American College of Education

  I get to school an hour before the school day is expected to start. I am glancing over my plans to review what we are doing for the day. I look at my reading block and see the book we are supposed to focus on for our reading lesson. I check my classroom shelf and even the library but can’t find the book. So what do I do now? I go to YouTube. I type in the title of the book I am looking for and 8 out of 10 times I can find a digital version of the book I need. Sometimes it is someone reading the book and other times it is a screenshot of each page while someone narrates the pages. I make sure to skip the ads, check for any advertisements, make sure the book is appropriate (no surprises will pop up during the story) and then I am set for my morning read aloud. Read the rest of this entry

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