Leadership: Getting the 21st Century Academic Engine to Actually Work

My academic team was fumbling around Friday not getting much done, yet at the same time getting a lot of interesting things done.  We have finished a penny war in the community, raising money for a student in our community whose family had been displaced by a fire, and several of us were standing in front of the coin counting machine commenting on old technology that still has purpose (the coin counting machine) and new technology and what purpose some of it might have in the future (other than its currently designated purpose). That got me thinking. (and you know what happens when I start thinking, right?) Read the rest of this entry

Working on the EdTech Skill Set

I want to leave the classroom at the end of the school year.  There are various reasons why: some positive, some negative.  I love teaching, I love children, but, my philosophy of learning compels me to move on now.  It’s time to step up my game.  I want to be an educational technologist, so I have to start LOOKING like an educational technologist.

As I reflect on who I am as an educator and classroom teacher, I have looked at what I know, why I know it, and what I need to know, in order to move forward in my quest to be more than just who I am now.  Part of doing this, for me is to help teachers become comfortable with technology so they can teach using it and help students to grow from their use of it. One of the things I’m most interested in doing is becoming a Google Trainer. So, I’ve done the research, spoken to a few warm bodies about it, and will begin my online journey to reach this goal. Read the rest of this entry

Digging in.. .PBL Style

I’ve finished the first big unit of the school year: Chemistry.  Time for a really cool project break.  I am a big advocate for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and am always looking for new ways to embed engineering in particular into my lessons.  Its time to build something.

Last year while I was hiding out in the corner classroom away from all human contact that didn’t have to come way down the hall, around the corner and out the back way, other science teachers and math teachers were brewing up a really cool project.  The science teachers involved have moved on, and the one math teacher still interested in the project came to me with a proposal.  Let’s take 3 weeks from our schedule and build something. Read the rest of this entry

Blended Learning Infographic

I found this quite informative, hope you do also! (I should learn to make infographics… mmmm)

To see a copy that can be read by people with bad eyes (like me) click the image.

Thanks Knewton!

Blended Learning Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Doing it differently…

I’m a community team leader now, looking at the hows, whys, and whens of daily life in the classroom from a bigger window.  As a science teacher, my focus has always been to create a classroom environment where students want to come because its a comfortable, safe place, where if they apply themselves, they leave having learned SOMETHING new, every single day.  As an educational technologist, my focus is on creating an environment within the classroom where students discover the “toys” they have can be tools for learning, and that learning extends beyond the four walls of any classroom they’re sitting in.

As the community team leader, responsible for managing the affairs of 120 students and 5 teachers, my CHOSEN focus is on creating an atmosphere where we are all excited about spending time together.  I like the personalities of my team members; we’re just about as eclectic as it gets. We have a cheerleader (let’s go team!), a detail keeper (Chevin, don’t forget to…), a Grinch (I KNOW you want to to that, but, well, so what?), a fairy princess (Oh thank you, good job, here, have a piece of candy! ) and me, the reluctant Overlord (suddenly hears the Darth Vader theme in my head).  We work well together.  Our children seem to love us, and KNOW, there’s no manipulation possible because we are a united front with only their best interests in mind.  We’re seeing positive results from this. Read the rest of this entry

#Socktober Roundup

Just so you know, the challenge to collect 1000 pairs of socks by the students and staff of our school was accepted and not quite met. We did collect 984 pairs of socks though!  Shout out to my community team member, D. Silvas, whose class won the Middle School Challenge with 154 pairs of socks! Our community collected more than 340 pairs in all!

Remember, teaching students about social issues like homelessness, hunger, and poverty in their communities, is important.  Being aware of what is happening outside their front door, gives them focus and passion about how to change what is happening around them.  That’s learning you can’t get in a textbook.

On to the next challenge we go!

In the meanwhile… change the world… CHANGE IT!

Engagement, Passion, Learning

I got up and participated in #satchat this morning. 6:30am CST on a Saturday must mean I wanted to be there, huh?  Glad I was, the discussion on student engagement was empowering.

the first question focused us just right: What does it mean to engage students in learning?

What DOES it mean? My thoughts?

#satchat A1 engagement is personal, all a teacher can do is provide the opportunity to engage— C. S. Stone (@csstone1161) November 8, 2014

the thoughts of others?

 A1 Engaged students don’t want to go to them bathroom during your class #satchat— Kevin Cullen (@RedPenCoffee) November 8, 2014

And on and on it went. Read the rest of this entry

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