School Spirit Banter

I am SO impressed by the creativity of two local area high schools and their students’ videos. As quoted in this Get Schooled post, these ARE examples of what the best “spirit cheers” look like today. You can check out the original video in this “battle” here and the response here.

For me, these videos show just how multiliterate our students are and all of the neat ways in which they are reading, writing, and engaging with the world around them. These videos use rhetorical strategies, rhymes, video angles, music — and this list only continues — all to help show their school spirit. And, I love the fact that they pull in lots of different members from their respective student bodies to be a part of the banter.

No matter which school wins the game, the main point is that these two videos have just under 400,000 hits (combined) in two weeks. Where these students’ voices heard? [I think so!]

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Positive Footprints

As you all know, I feel very strongly about helping kids understand how to create and why to create positive digital footprints. I’ve thought about this topic a lot, and yet it’s something that is still weighing heavily on my mind. [Maybe it’s because the means in which we work digitally is constantly changing???]

Anyway, I’m seeing more and more kids not understanding what their digital footprint is all about and how it can/will affect them now and down the road. I know that I stress it a lot when I work with my students and try to emphasize it’s not about culling their creativity, but a way to push them to think critically and post information that is appropriate (and in a way that still gets their point across). So, I’m curious…how are others helping their students develop positive digital footprints? How can we keep kids motivated to produce and stress to them they can still “own” that digital space (without them not being “googled well”)?

The Power of Positivity

I finally am back up and running after moving into my new place AND moving into my new school/classroom. To be honest, I’m exhausted, ha! However, I am so incredibly excited that I cannot even begin to explain exactly how I’m feeling. Nevertheless, I’ll give it a try 🙂

My new school is one of the most positive, energizing environments I have ever seen. The support I have already received is like none other, and everyone is truly on the same page. (Did I mention that there is TONS of cross-curricular writing taking place? I love that reading and writing skills are focused on so heavily in every discipline!)

Positivity is so incredibly important in all we do as educators. It’s contagious. So, as we all begin school next week (or in the next few weeks for many of you all up north, ha!), just remember the power of positivity!

ps I wanted to share the funny video clip below with you all…it’s one we viewed in our orientation on differentiated learning. Enjoy!

 

ISTE Young Educator Video

Here is the video I created for my entry to the ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award. I had so much fun creating it and it really got me thinking about how important it is to think critically about the technology we use in our classrooms. We have so many opportunities today to engage, challenge, and motivate our students through the use of technology — the possibilities are endless!

Remote School Days

Well, I’m sure most of you have followed along with the news reports to hear about the Atlanta area being on a stand still due to all of the ice and snow that hit our area this past week. It has been unbelievable! [And to think I moved south to get away from all of that “stuff!”] Many local streets are still covered in thick sheets of ice a week later, but we are all hoping for some relief this weekend as temperatures will hopefully raise enough to melt it all away.

Anyway, my school (along with most of the local schools) was closed the entire week. However, we implemented our remote school plan which allowed us to have school for the past three days. Three days that will count for school days and not require anything to be made up. Three days of instruction that could continue outside of the classroom. Three days of creative thinking to truly infuse the content through the technology integration to keep our kids learning.

Overall, I was really excited to see the kids jump right on board with everything. They were so enthusiastic about their work! And in fact, one of my students was quoted in one of the local news resources stating,

“At first I thought it was a crazy idea, trying to control students’ via computers and the Internet. But now, as I sit here and do my homework willingly, I realize that there is a characteristic that pushed me to do this. One that I, and plenty of other Lakeview students obtain, that is respect for our teachers and respect for our education.”

I think the last line really sums it up about the kids’ work ethic during this entire remote school experience. And, for us teachers, it allows us to not miss a beat and continue our instruction…just in different forms. So, what did my kids do? We blogged. We created visual analyses. We read articles. We wrote and recorded. We submitted assignments via Moodle. We took quizzes via Google Forms. We researched. We prepared for our units by watching videos (uploaded via Dropbox). The list continues…and needless to say this first experience of remote school has brought about many new ideas I am eager to try out in the future. (Or with integration into a blended classroom…which is something I am VERY interested in.)

So, here are a few things I’m interested to look into for down the road:

As you can see, just a few random ideas that have been bouncing around! Also, I would love to hear from anyone with experience with teaching in a blended classroom or with reverse instruction!

NCTE Day 3: Teachers are learners, too!

And isn’t this the truth!

The day started off with one of the NCTE author strands with some of the big names in our field (Sara Kajder, Deborah Appleman, and Bob Fecho to name a few). I really suggest checking out this series as I’ve already checked out Kajder and Appleman’s books and know the rest will be great, too, if these are any indication. Another point that hit me when I listened to these authors talk is that researching and teaching DO go hand in hand (read my previous struggle/thoughts here). And I absolutely believe that they SHOULD.

The next talk I attended was another great one that dealt with Google. (However, I’d have to say that many people were still talking about the “tools” and not the “whys” and “implementation.” See previous note here about my thoughts on moving this mindset.) The presenters all praised the Google Teacher Academy as they participated in the program (note: I only wish it weren’t half way across the globe this year or I would absolutely LOVE to submit an application! just have no idea how I would EVER find the funds for that trip).

One of the biggest things I liked with this presentation was the idea of using Google Docs to have kids collaborate, publish, and share as link to others (note: I’m thinking it would sort of look like this example shared by Jim Burke here — which will lead me to another blog post in a bit on the idea of multimedia essays). In addition, I liked the idea of sharing lesson plans within a department using docs (and ties into my thoughts here on collaboration).

Back at it!

That’s right, everyone! It’s time to head back to school! Last week was my school’s faculty planning days and this Tuesday marks the first day of classes. Needless to say I am excited for the upcoming year! 🙂

I have been thinking as I revamp lesson plans/syllabi and gather new ideas to integrate into my room this year that planning days are really essential. And each teacher has a separate planning “outline” for what he/she feels he/she needs to do before the start of the year. For me, it actually had to do with room arrangement. We have large desks at our school which sometimes make it difficult to setup my room in an “English-friendly” style. However, I finally maneuvered the desks around with one outter loop and then an inner loop. My thinking is that for group work/discussions, everyone is able to position one’s self around to see others talking and we can simply flip our chairs to work with the person at the desk behind us. We will see how it turns out. I always like to change things up anyway!

I’m curious as to what things other teachers out there HAVE to do during their planning days???

Anyway, hope everyone headed back to school has a great first day! Here’s to another great year!