Sunday, July 14, 2013

#Kinderblog 13 Brag

Brag. Not something I like to do, but something I have been thinking about lately.

I recently started to reflect on my career. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE teaching Kindergarten, but I often wonder if I was not meant to do something more different. I get great satisfaction from taking my classroom "successes" and sharing them with others. I love collaborating, mentoring, and growing as a teacher, but also watching our profession, as a whole, do the same. I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts and hearing others' contributions so much that I got to thinking...

Should I take my show on the road?

In my quest to share and grow I submitted a proposal to present at a conference. I am going to give that a go and see where it takes me. I am really proud of the fact that I got my class of Kindergarten students up and blogging this past school year. I actually went to a conference at the beginning of March and attended a session about blogging in the classroom. I was so inspired that I went back to my room almost immediately and started blogging with the students. I was so excited about the learning that was taking place I started to spread the word around school. Since then a colleague and I created 2, count them, 2 iTunes U courses about blogging! I have had a great response from members of my PLN on Twitter and Facebook, and even some "followers" at my school.

In addition to my proposal to present, I created a personal website, just a place to showcase who I am as an educator and some of the things that I have accomplished. It is an online portfolio of sorts. I know what you are thinking, yes, I know it is summer time. In my defense, we have had lots of rainy days this summer! I actually enjoyed using Webs to create the page and Vizify to create my bio. They are two resources that are easy to use and produce great looking products.

So... without further ado, let the bragging begin!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

#kinderblog13 Confessions

"This is my confession... " -Usher

The good news, I did not get somebody else pregnant while dating another person. Talk about a confession!

The bad news, I did not get the poster insert AND there is little to confess. I am pretty much an open book.

I will confess that I wanted to post the video for the song, but it was a little risqué. I also confess that I listen to music that is not really Kindergarten appropriate. Sorry Dr. Jean, I do not bring you home with me. The sad part is, some of my students come in singing the songs I listen to.

So after some thought, here it is...

I DO NOT know everything about technology! 

I am confident in what I do know, but I do not know everything. I am flattered that people in my school automatically come to me with all things technology, but I do not know how to retrieve deleted emails, get a virus off of your computer, or hook up your wireless printer to the network.

I  DO consider myself versed in integrating technology in education (thank you master's degree, Twitter, Pinterest, and sleepless nights). I think the tricky thing about being an "expert" in this department is the definition of expert. The list of programs, apps, or devices you can use "competently" does not define an expert in technology in education. Being successful can be measured by your ability to be flexible and innovative in the use of tech tools, your commitment to staying connected with other educators, and your drive to continue to learn in and out of the classroom. Those things I CAN help you with.

Technology is constantly changing. It is not like math, 2+2 always equals 4 (unless your 5 years old and do not have a strong number sense yet). It is not humanly possible to know EVERYTHING about technology because as soon as you figure it out, something new has come along. That is why it is essential for effective teachers to be flexible in their use of tools and not use technology for the sake of using it, but because it enhances the learning experience.  At the end of the day, my job is to prepare students for our global society and to be "college and career ready" (do you have that memorized yet-hehehe)

If you give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day, TEACH a man to fish and he is fed for a lifetime.

TEACH your students to fish and maybe pass a pole to Mrs. Doe down the hall who needs her projector bulb changed. I need an infographic at the very least!

One last confession - I can't fish because I do not like worms... or spiders, or mosquitoes, or any other bug, not even ladybugs!

Monday, July 8, 2013

#Kinderblog13 Warm Up

I am an educator, committed to creating 21st century skilled lifelong learners who are prepared to successfully thrive in an increasingly competitive global society. I am a learner, dedicated to collaborating to effectively integrate technology into curriculum and instruction to enhance student learning and outcomes. 
I have been teaching at North Myrtle Beach Primary School since 2005, serving as a Kindergarten teacher all but one year of Reading Recovery ® . I am a National Board Certified teacher and I have been Reading Recovery ® trained through Clemson University. I earned my graduate degree in Educational Technology at Lesley University and attended Marshall University for my undergraduate degree. I have also completed Common Core Blackbelt Certification through the Common Core Institute. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA (Go Steelers!), but did much of my growing up in the hills of West Virginia. I moved to North Myrtle Beach in 2005, and my husband and I have a handsome little boy, Eden. 
I am looking forward to embarking on this journey of #kinderblog13.
Happy Blogging :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

What's your handle?

What's my what?!

I am all of sudden feeling like my grandma. Now do not get me wrong, Gram is totally cool. She has been known to whiz down a hill on a sled and dominate at laser tag, but she is not always up on the lingo.  "Holy toot!" (Her favorite expression when something shocking happens like a girl at the store has on short shorts or she accidentally dips in the hot salsa instead of mild) 

Some of her other favorites... "Jeezo Peezo" (interchangeable with holy toot), "turd ball" (that's a curse word - she uses it mostly during football games), and my personal favorite, "I would rather be hit in the head with a frozen boot," (still translating).



Even though Gram doesn't know the lingo, she still knows how to have fun and get the most out of life. I had to embrace Gram's spunk when deciding to join Twitter. I really did not want to. It was just another social network to keep up with. I could barely check Facebook all day long. WWGD? (What would Gram do?) I will tell you what she WOULD NOT do. She wouldn't sit in the chair and rock. She would go for it. So, with a little bit of peer pressure, I twittered, or tweeted, or ... Still working that out.
I think the biggest deterrent for me was the unknown. I pride myself on being tech savvy, and this was something I did not have a handle on (pun intended). I did not know the etiquette. I couldn't figure out how to get in a chat. I was weirded out that strangers were following me. It was completely uncharted territory. In fact, I was talking texting with Bess, my Kinder partner in crime, I told her I felt like we were the grannies of Twitter. No disrespect. Google Ivy Bean.

I started to wonder. Is this what the children in my class feel like when they "don't get it?" Even further, is this what some of my colleagues are feeling like when the maintenance men come and start installing interactive whiteboards in their classroom? Is this awkwardness I feel about Twitter the same feeling some colleagues feel when we sit in a staff development and we are told about a new 21st century tool?

Don't let the hashtag fool you. I am not completely fluent in Twitter, but I am "doing it like Gram would." I have started making connections and building a PLN (personal learning network). I now have access to teachers all around the world at my fingertips. I have even participated in a chat or two (I may be a few questions or comments behind, but I did it, and even had some RTs - which secretly makes me feel cool). Slowly but surely the uncomfortable feeling is starting to lift and I am using Twitter more often. I may have also overly used the word hashtag in conversation for a while, but I am getting better. It is exciting to wake up in the morning and see how many new followers I have, see a link to a great article, or even tweet a question/thought about what I thought about wide awake in bed the night before and get feedback instantly.

My new school year resolution is this...
*Remember the uncomfortable feeling you had when you started something new. When you see the noses scrunch across the room at a staff meeting, know that it may not be an unwillingness to integrate technology, or that the person is not interested. They may not have a "handle" on what the new technology is all about. Help your colleagues "un-scrunch" their nose. Let them know they are not the only ones that are or may have felt uncomfortable.  And remember, WWGD?