Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Year, New Goals

 This summer I had the privilege of attending ST4T in Clearwater, Florida. If you haven't had the opportunity to attend, be sure to check it out next summer.

While there I attended a session with Jen Williams and Fran Siracusa. These two ladies ALWAYS inspire me, and they did once again. They were speaking on  professional learning, our goals and how to get there. As I participated in this session I reflected. As educators, we always seem to be learning new things, setting new goals, and  moving forward. If or when that cycle stops...that is where we become stagnant, bored...and so do our students. It doesn't mean everything has to become new and different, but we should always be working towards making it sharper, intentional and meaningful.

Which leads me to my thoughts for this year.  A few years ago I jumped onto the Twitter train. The journey I have taken on that train has been amazing. I am doing things in my classroom I didn't think were possible.  I have been inspired and challenged by amazing educator leaders. I have been changed as an educator.

I am now at that place where as a connected educator I want to make it sharper. I want to be a little more intentional in what I do. I want it to be meaningful...beyond my classroom or school. My hope in posting this blog post I will find the right connections, the right person/people who can lead me in these next steps.

My Purpose:

I see two purposes in what I want to achieve. First, I want to expose my students to diverse cultures. I want them to see likenesses among people of different cultures and help them to see, know and accept the differences. I want them to have ways to get to know students across the globe and then transform that into a collaboration with a purpose. I want my students to know how big our world is, and also how small it is. I want my students to know there is so much beyond what they can see.

My Vision

I am a mission minded person. I want to create or be involved in a sustainable project, a project that is meeting a need somewhere.  Those needs can be part of an environment, or even an environment that has had a sudden change or catastrophic event. I want to come alongside with my group and I want us to be helpers. I want to develop my students empathy, and I want them to see they can make a difference in the lives of others. I am hoping my connections lead me to that group with a need, or that I can partner with others who have the same mindset.

Using Literacy

I have a love for literacy. I would love to tie any project I do to literacy/books. Books start sparks can easily tie us together. They can be our common ground.


Skype and Google Hangouts are tools I love to use for making connections. But I want to add other tools. I think blogs can document the journey well and save it for us. I want what we do to be remembered and thought about long after they leave me. I want what we do to leave a lasting impression. I want it to impact them to be world changers. I want all these things to be shared, documented and leave their footprints, positive and helpful footprints.

I don't want to put a box around any of these thoughts. I want to be open to ideas that come my way. I welcome thoughts, suggestions and ideas. Please share your thoughts, ideas...inspire me, challenge me!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

FETC Reflection

When I walk away from a conference I feel full. Full of information. Full of ideas. Full of inspiration. I sit here a few days after FETC with that same feeling and feel the need to capture some of it here in a post.

My personal keynote occurred on Thursday morning. For me, a keynote should get you ready, excited and pumped for what you are about to do. I went to a 40 minute session with Jaime Casap and he did just that for me. His words have stayed with me, and I used them to measure every thing I heard throughout the rest of the conference. The title of his session: Impact of Technology. I wish I had it recorded and could just listen to it over and over.

His words were mostly a reality check. He said we keep talking about 21st century learning...we are 17 yrs in. What are we doing? Our expectations have changed, so what are we doing about it?

The generation we teach are: global, social, visual and technological. What skills do we need to to give them: problem solving, team work, and communication. He truly caused me to reflect on how am I promoting each of these skills and how often.

It starts with a change in some of our simple questions...instead of asking them, what do you want to be when you grow up, ask....what problem do you want to solve? When they begin to discover the problems they want to solve, they then have a purpose. Then we ask, what skills do they need for that purpose? Help them find their purpose, then empower them to make it happen.

I do try to fit in collaboration...but is it enough? In our current education world, aren't we checking to see what individuals know and can do? But it is with collaboration that problems will be solved.

He also pointed out that we need digital leaders. There is a need for a culture shift. Convert information (it is everywhere) into intelligence. How do we get them to think about things at the next level? Any child can quickly google who the first presidents were. Technology supports getting that information. How do we then take that information and get them thinking about it...use that information at a new level.

We need to take iteration and innovation together and transform. Transformation has NO endpoint. We are only getting started. The generation we will touch, will touch future generations. Our work in their lives has no end.

So with that in my mind, I approached the rest of my time thinking about each tool, each strategy and will it fit in? Will it promote the skills they need? I thought of my growing PLN and connections, and who were the models of this, what can I learn from them? How can I work with them to create that collaboration and problem solving models?

Very thankful for this experience and look forward to how my reflections help me to focus, beginning tomorrow for the needs of my students. I want to further explore and reflect...and make the transformation needed to be an educator of 21st century students experiencing 21st century skills!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Slow Chat for Elementary Students #k5tweetpals

This year we will be hosting a Twitter slow chat that allows us to learn about classrooms from around the globe. This chat has changed a bit each year as we invite more grade levels to be involved. This year we would like to open it to all elementary students in kindergarten through 5th grade. The idea of this slow chat is to see how much we are alike, and how we are different. The questions focus on our classrooms, schools, communities, geography, weather, culture...and any other ideas we come up with. As participants, you will be invited to share questions you would like to ask.

Sound interesting?

Here is how it works:

1. Every Sunday night beginning September 11, I will Tweet a question of the week. I will Tweet from my account @firstatbat please follow me. I will use the hashtag #k5tweetpals

2. Please retweet to share the question with your PLN.

3. Your class will share your answer during the following week Monday-Friday. Make sure your Tweets include the hashtag #k5tweetpals so that everyone in the #k5tweetpals community can view your class responses. This is a huge benefit of using Twitter, we want to see the voices of many.

4. Visit Tweets from other classes to discuss, compare and contrast how we are alike or different. These discussions can lead to great discoveries. 

5. Engage with other classes by leaving comments, retweeting or asking questions.

6. Follow classes that are participating to build your class PLN. My class will Tweet from @linkedlearners

7. Please sign up here. When signing up, you can also add the questions you would like to ask. 

8. If you have any questions, please DM me at @firstatbat

Please share and invite many. The more we have involved, the more successful the learning will be for our classrooms!