Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank You

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation 
is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~ John F. Kennedy

Photo Credit: John H. Gray
Thank you to those who are serving and have served our country.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Feeling Like Myself Again

Photo Credit: jennaream 
So much for keeping up with NaBloPoMo and digiwrimo...My last post was on the 7th...

I guess it started later in the day on Friday and lasted ALL.DAY.LONG. It's really hard to explain a migraine to someone who has never had one. It is excruciating pain...above my left eye all the way back to the base of my head.

I can't really focus on anything and have to lay down with pillows over my head to block out the light and sound. Usually, I just take a Maxalt or two and then I am good to go. Problem was I didn't have any more pills and needed an updated prescription so there was nothing left to save me. I had to power through it...

Today is a new day and am feeling back to my normal self. It feels good to be able to get things done...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Technology a Catalyst for Change

I have never been comfortable with the term "mastered." Some people will say that I am a master of technology because the word "technology" is in my job title. Others will say I am an iPad master because I am fluent and knowledgeable with using iPads in education or I have mastered the art of organization because I am super organized.  I like to think of it more along the lines of being comfortable with problem solving, learning, and failing...

Jeff Utecht writes that in todays world we have to become comfortable with always being a beginner.

"This is the world we live in. Things change, and change without warning. Yesterday I felt I was a very productive user of Gmail. Today I was a beginner. Today I had to learn, I had to play with a program that I had mastered and start over at being a beginner.
And….I’m OK with that because I realize I’m really never going to master anything again. I’m constantly working towards mastery but as soon as I think I have reached it, things change, progression comes, and I’m back at the beginning. I live in a state of prepetual beta."
 I don't know if you have to be comfortable with always being a beginner...I think it is being comfortable with not being "an expert" and having the "I think I can" mindset...a problem solving, curious, patient, teacher who is not afraid of failure = one powerful message being sent to students.

Change is hard...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankful for the Right to Vote

A few quotes for the day...

"If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children."    ~ Coretta Scott King

“Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals, and to imagine that together we can do great things.
In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.”   
~ Caroline Kennedy 

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, November 5, 2012

10 Things Teachers [Should] Know

Another post lost in September, but will be brought back to life in November for NaBloPoMo and dgiwrimo!

I was reading Michelle's post 10 Things Entrepreneurs [Should] Know and obviously it made me think of teaching and learning. I think these 10 things can apply to any teacher no matter how long you have been in the field...(my comments are in blue). What else would you add to the list?

1.  You’re never finished. There’s always more to be done. Bigger plans, more emails, another phone call, scheduled meetings, surprise encounters…Researching new techniques, emails to read/reply to, phone calls to make, meetings to attend, parent meetings, conferences, grading, plans to create, etc. 

2.  You have to set boundaries. For yourself, your relationships, your time, your values, your abilities, your email checking. Prioritize, identify what is important to you, and rank your daily to-do list...Make to-do lists every week, prioritize, be part of positive conversations, don't like something...change it, don't complain about it.

3.  Everyone has an opinion. That doesn’t mean you have to take their advice. Listen, and take what works for you... Be an active listener. You can always learn something new.

4.  You’ll be scared and nervous and anxious as hell. Starting is scary. It doesn’t go away, but it gets better... After 17 years of teaching...I am still nervous/anxious about the start of school, but once it gets going I am loving every minute of it!

5.  You will fail. And you’ll fail hard. You’ll really f— something up, but you’ll learn from it and you’ll change it for next time...Yes, lessons will fail! The will learn from your mistakes and the lesson will be even better.

6.  Not every idea is a slam dunk. That’s OK... It is GREAT to have ideas, but remember to be open to new ones too.

7.  Celebrate the wins. Even the really small ones. If you don’t recognize where you’re going and how far you’ve come, you won’t want to keep moving forward...When one of your students has an "AhHa" moment, you have an "AhHa" moment, you tried something new, a smile made your day.

8.  It’s OK to ask for help. It’s impossible to know all there is to know about everything that is involved with running a business. Find people who can help and don’t be afraid to admit ignorance... It's OK to ask for help. It's OK to ask for help. (get it)

9.  It’s a process. You learn to ride the tide. Sometimes it’s in your favor, other times you’re swimming in the ocean for what seems like forever. There will be another wave, you’ll get to the shore, and then you can swim back out and do it all over again...Identify the crazy times of the year and mentally prepare for them. 

10.  It’s OK. It’s going to be OK. You’re OK. What you don’t know is OK. What people think of you is OK. Be OK with yourself...Take a deep will be all be OK.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spark Truck Made a Visit to FHS

Not sure why I never ended up posting this two months ago...

Anyway, thanks to Andrew and Shannan the Spark Truck made a stop at Flint Hill. It was a great day to see this fourth grade class exploring and creating. Wishing students had more than just a few hours to explore and create...Shouldn't school always be about exploring, creating and making?

It's About Learning..Not Technology

So it is day four of my NaBloPoMo or digwrimo and I am already a day behind! Two lessons learned here...when I know I am going to be really busy and possibly traveling, I need to plan ahead so that I don't get behind AND it looks like I will be posting twice today (does that still count!)?

Dean Shareski at EduCon 2.4 
As I was catching up on my Google feed, I noticed that there are also a lot of people talking about learning...thankfully I follow some smart people :) because they seem to articulate what I have been thinking...I have great blog posts in my head...I just don't seem to be able to get them down in writing...

Once again, Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano created another amazing presentation about learning...

Learning2learn from Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

She gives me inspiration that some day I too, can articulate the thoughts or "posts" that I have in my head down into an actual post or slide deck...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Born to Learn

Photo Credit cogdogblog
I have been thinking about learning a lot these days...What makes us learn? Does everyone love to learn? Do all teachers love to learn? How do we learn? Do we learn best in varied environments? Do we learn by doing? By listening? By listening and doing? As usual, I have more questions than answers and this is not something that I can "Google" to get the answer.

What I do know is that I am a passionate and curious explorer. Many colleagues and friends think that I am passionate about technology, because that is what my job title says. When in reality, I am passionate about learning. I have always loved learning...I think that is one of the many reasons that I love to travel so much...I get to learn about new countries, cultures, customs, food, smells, transportation, life, experiences, I could go on and on...

So it was kind of ironic  when I stumbled upon Maggies's post about allowing natural curiosity to flourish. Her blog referenced a set of videos from Born to Learn. Born to Learn is a series of thought provoking animations on how humans learn. Here are a few things that they say about learning...
"Most of today's schools are based on the assumption that children are born to be taught, rather than to learn."
"Children learn incredibly quickly by following the example of people they admire."
"If the wrong model of learning is country will ever get the results it seeks." 
So, have we been applying the wrong model of learning in our schools? I think so, what do you think?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Year, Another Challenge

Photo Credit BasketMakers
Here we go again! It's November 1 and that means it is #digiwrimo aka digital writing month. It's crazy to think that Andrew challenged me with this task about one year ago...where has that year gone!?

This past year has had 53 posts (more than doubled what I had posted in the previous 2 years!), a 1:1 iPad rollout, a 900+ MacBook Air rollout, an iPad summit, 9,000 page views, a trip to Panama, a trip to Guatemala, lots of thinking about learning, a LOT of learning, living life, and the daily ups and downs of a technology integrations specialist (can we change that title?)...I guess that is for another day and another post....

So here's to another year, more posts, new connections, and a LOT MORE learning...