Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Right Place at the Right Time

Bam! I can't believe that awesome idea! I'll save it/tweak it/ use it tomorrow.

It's amazing how often that happens when I am scrolling through my Twitter feed or participating in a Twitter chat. I'm constantly wowed by my "luck" as I strike gold when I find the perfect idea to teach whatever it is I'm teaching now or next. It often seems like I was in the right place at the right time. Many ideas appear to be targeted at me and my students. 

I find myself wondering what would have happened if I didn't check my feed today or didn't join in this chat. I ponder all the great ideas that were likely missed because I wasn't connected at that time.

However, those of us who are engaged in Twitter (ok...obsessed), believe that no matter when we log on, there are phenomenal educators on the other side of those tweets. Any time of the day, I am likely find an idea or activity that resonates with me. In addition, someone is usually tweeting just the perfect thought I need to hear at that time if I am open to listen.

Any time on Twitter is the right time, and Twitter is definitely the right place. I wonder what will speak to me and my students today?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Just Say Yes!

I tried something new this year...saying yes.

  • Yes to starting a class Twitter account.
  • Yes to hosting Twitter chats.
  • Yes to accessing authors and educator heroes for Skype visits.
  • Yes to purposefully reaching out to a fabulous and inspiring PLN of 3rd-5th grade educators.
  • Yes to starting a student-to-student Twitter chat with this PLN.
  • Yes to attending my first edcamp (and soon, my second).
  • Yes to joining an Alabama PLN educator's new student Twitter chat (on the first day of school), focused on digital citizenship.
  • Yes to collaborating with a 7th grade #sstlap educator from Missouri through a TodaysMeet back channel, discussing the Bill of Rights on Constitution Day.
  • Yes to jumping on Voxer, joining a few groups and contributing/learning in a new way.
  • Yes to starting my year off sharing talents through play doh, flying around the room like an airplane, and wearing an eye patch to inspire my student pirates.
  • Yes to a class mantra of "You Matter" and "We are geniuses."
  • Yes to participating in our first (of many) Mystery Skypes.
  • Yes to making my first iMovie and Animoto videos with my students.
  • Yes to using Biblionasium with my reading groups to create a motivating online book club.
  • Yes to trying online eportfolios, with the help of another Twitter PLN member.

This year, I am trying anything and everything that will make a difference for my students, related to risk-taking, global connections, and their self-worth.

By saying yes, I am repeatedly pushed out of my comfort zone. There is no safety net when venturing into uncharted territory as an educator.

-I benefit by discovering the expanses of my skills and  creativity as an educator.
-My students' families benefit from increased communication  and children who have more enthusiasm for learning and  more passion for school.
-My students benefit from teacher & peer appreciation for  their talents/geniuses and participation in a classroom  beyond our four walls.

Recently, I said yes to:

  • an Oreo project, culminating in a Skype stacking challenge with a class in Alabama.
  • a collaborative online descriptive art/writing project with another class outside my state.
  • more Mystery Skypes in the next few months.
  • creating an Amazing Race literature idea via Craig Kemp after reading his blog post mentioned in the #whatisschool chat.
Who knows...I just may say yes to something new tomorrow (and the next day).

Can I say that every one of these adventures has gone off without a hitch? Of course not. However, in the words of my teacher/author friend, I have dared greatly. 

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

For my students, I will continue saying yes. The true measure of my impact on them will be when they start saying yes, too.