May 23, 2013
I'm not knocking it; my new principal bought some of these for her admin and tech teams and asked me to read it as well. It's good that they will be learning about how using blogs, wikis, feed readers, collaborative word processing, social bookmarking and micro-blogging can enhance learning and professional development. I've been saying these things since around 2005, so it's nice that they're finally catching up!
There's nothing here I haven't been reading since about 2005 either, but it's nice to have it all in one place and by some well-respected thinkers in the field. Will Richardson, Richard Byrne, Doug Johnson and Joyce Valenza just to name a few.
Some of the essays are definitely geared more toward middle and high school. Having all the students whip out their cell phone to interact with the teacher on a quiz is not something we'll be doing soon at the elementary level. But I am a big proponent of using collaborative technologies like wikis, online collaborative document editing, social bookmarking and blogging as great tools for educators and in the classroom. So anything that helps people get into these is good with me.
It's funny how quickly things change in this world. That's why you'll notice I didn't use the names of any certain online tools above. They change too fast. There's a whole chapter that keeps using "Google Reader." Oops. And reading links written out in a book just seems silly to me these days. You don't need to write out the link to www.twitter.com for crying out loud. We can do a quick online search for anything you're discussing, including The Alice Project. Of course, I don't know that using something as amazing as the Alice Project is a good way to introduce educators to blogging. It might scare them off. I'd show more generic examples first, then finish with the more impressive uses of the format to show where it can lead to.
But those are minor quibbles in a generally informative book that I can't fault for doing exactly what I've been trying to do for the last umpteen years. Get administrators and educators to embrace at least the most useful of these tools, the ones that would make anyone's life easier, improve productivity, excitement and perhaps even lead to less meetings and paper! I mean I really don't EVER need another binder!
May 21, 2013
Earlier, when she was feeling pokey, we watched TV. She said she wanted to watch some Star Trek. Now I've shown her a handful of the original series. She like the Gorn on and the Tribble one especially. I've even shown her the tribble revisit on that Deep Space Nine episode. But I've been holding off on showing her the Next Generation because I wasn't sure if she'd like it or not.
But I found the perfect episode to introduce it to her. "Pen Pals" is from the middle of the second season. It's the one in which Data responds to a young alien girl's plaintive question to the cosmos: "Is there anyone out there?" This is, of course, a violation of the Prime Directive and causes some debate among the senior staff. I'd forgotten it's also the one in which Wesley Crusher gets to lead his first team. She knows I like and quote Star Trek a lot and it's usually the Next Generation I'm referring to. She was happy to see Picard in his riding outfit. She knows her mama is fond of that (I wonder why). And he said, "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot," which cracked her up (from hearing me do it like the dork I am). It's a good episode where nothing too scary happens and there's no shipboard romance angle. The only bad thing, from her point of view, is they erase the little alien girl's memory so she won't recall the whole contact with an alien race thing.
So now to clean house a bit and prepare for the rest of the week. Tomorrow is the last day with students this year, then our two days of "post planning," which for me mostly mean telling teachers, yes, the computer says you still have some things checked out...
May 17, 2013
I have learned a valuable lesson this week. We usually do two book fairs a year, but I always feel bad that there are a few days in which we're not checking out books. So we are having one of Scholastic's Buy-One-Get-One Free book fairs.
Now I know of two other schools that do this but they just have them open for parents and teachers, not students. I thought that was weird and kept mine open for the kids as well.
Now I understand their reasoning. Kids, even 5th graders, just don't get this concept. They make the worst choices or try to get the more expensive book for free. Or some such nonsense. It's just too hard to get across to kids how to deal with this. Not all of them. A few of them are okay. But for most of them, it's too difficult and it would be killing the clerk and I if it were busier than it is.
Luckily we can close it up Monday. Whew!
I'm 99.99% moved out. I have like three things left to grab on my way out next week. Everything else is boxed up and sharing space with the lawnmower out in the shed.
I'm just hoping to be able to get into my new school on the 28th.
Our last book club meeting was this morning. I decided, instead of buying frozen yogurt, to just do our normal donut holes and CapriSuns thing, then I also bought them ice cream for their lunch. It's funny because I only bought enough ice cream tickets for the ones that actually showed up today. The other half dozen or so were bummed, but I did give them a free book. Somehow I always end up with a few books after every book fair. They're usually things someone ordered and never picked up. Or something. Anyway, I whipped out that box of books and let each kid have a free one. The stragglers who didn't get ice cream still got a free book if they came to see me today. So that was cool.
May 13, 2013
I'm almost finished packing my office. I still have my calendar on the wall, my water bottle, my speaker dock for my iPhone/iPod, my glue gun and glue sticks and a handful of pens and such. Less than a box to pack, for certain.
I'm simply concentrating on making what's left in here easily understood by whomever takes over the position. So I have copies of things they'll need right away on the desk and labeled binders on the bookshelf and sticky notes on a couple of random things.
Other than that, I just have the typical end-of-year stuff to do. Making room for all the classroom stuff that will come back like document cameras and things. Shelving the million books coming in. Taking payments on the lost ones. Repairing the beaten ones and deleting the ones that are too far gone. Shifting sections to accommodate the books coming back that don't usually ever take up shelf space, like the K section in fiction for Jeff Kinney.
I'm trying to hold off on thinking too much about my new position until I'm finished with this one, but it's difficult. I'm so ready to start! I'll probably be over there the day after Memorial Day if they'll let me in the building. There's so much to learn about the place and so much to do!
Friday will be our last 4th/5th grade book club meeting. It'll be mostly a party with free frozen yogurt and books. Woo Hoo!
What are your summer plans?
May 2, 2013
|I don't know who this is, but I was beginning to HATE her when I thought she stole my blog!|
Some frantic web searching and some helpful folks on a blogger discussion board revealed that the blog had not, in fact, been hacked. The custom domain had somehow expired. So no more "www.teacherninjas.com" for me.
I'm sticking with plain old "www.teacherninja.blogspot.com" for now.
I'm going to go enjoy my lowering blood pressure now...