Tuesday, November 16, 2010

EDUBlog Nominations

My Nominations for The 2010 Edublog Awards are:

Best individual blog- Spencer's Scratch Pad http://www.johntspencer.com/
I have just located this blog and it makes me think really deeply about things related to education.

Best individual tweeter- Diane Cordell @dmcordell
I call her "The Great One" because she is nice to everyone, she is willing to help ANYONE out, and is now retired and uses her knowledge to help coach and guide younger teachers.

Best class blog-Lee Kolbert's Class Blog http://weblogs.pbspaces.com/mrskolbert/

Lee's class have excellent blog posts on a wide variety of subjects. There have been many times where I have thought that the kids have a unique perspective on a subject. 

Best resource sharing blog -Free Technology for Teachers http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

Not only the sharing of resources & links, but FTT gives ideas on how the websites might be useful.

Most influential blog post- Rather Painful Reflection http://attheteachersdesk.blogspot.com/2010/11/edcampkc-rather-painful-reflection.html

Wow, this one is relatively new, but I think it resonates the feelings of many teachers. It is one that stuck with me for days!

Best teacher blog- Paul Bogush  Blogush http://blogush.edublogs.org/

Paul is a rebel of sorts because he posts great ideas and things that make me think. He also shows sort of a 'warts and all' sort of perspective in which he opens up about things that are troubling to him and that he is not perfect.

Best School Administrator blog Educational Discourse http://kwhobbes.wordpress.com/

Kelly is another person who is willing to put his thoughts out there and let them fall where they do. It's honest and open and very engaging.

Best educational wiki: Vicki Davis' Westwood http://westwood.wikispaces.com/Web+2.0

Vicki is, in my opinion, the queen of the Wiki. She not only has an amazing set of resources, she also teaches people about how to effectively manage them.

Lifetime achievement- Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

Vicki is a very dear person who shares a lot about her "Flat Classroom" project and every day teaching. Although she hasn't been 'famous' in edtech circles for years, she is so very knowledgeable and is a practicing teacher. 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Big Lesson....

A few weeks ago I had trouble with a kid in elementary music class. My new plan for the year is to email parents when there is a problem (which has had mixed results). I explain to the parent what problem had occurred and invite them to work with me in getting the child back on track.

I have had a range of responses from a willingness to partner and a lack of response. One parent responded that they would work with me, but had noticed the student and I had a 'personality conflict.' I have to admit I was completely baffled by that comment. I thought perhaps the mother had misunderstood something because I don't have any personality conflicts, I just try to have an orderly classroom.

So, because I am who I am (the overwhelming need to get to the bottom of things), I asked the kid the next time he was in class. I said, "do we have a problem?" The fifth grade looked me in the eye, then stared at the floor, "Yes.....because, you know, we don't like each other." You could have knocked me over with a feather (though cliche, true). My messages about not blurting out and allowing others to talk were transformed in that kid into dislike.

I immediately cleared that up. Although I don't like his behavior, I have nothing but good feelings toward him. I explained that I need to keep the blurting down so that everyone has a chance to learn. He went back on his way to class, and I was left with these questions......How did this happen and how can I make sure this never happens again?

Anyone who has ever talked to me for very long knows that I love teaching and I love the kids....So, I need to find a way to have an orderly classroom and let them know that I care about them (even if I have to correct their behavior). I think I do a pretty good job of that, but there is obviously room for improvement with some kids.

The amazing thing is that now that the student knows I don't hate him, his behavior is vastly improved. This whole emailing parent plan has had at least one good outcome. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Passion Driven

I was honored to be asked by Angela Maiers to contribute to a series she is doing called Passion Driven Conversations. This is my post:

" I think of passion as the human equivalent of gasoline. It is a highly combustible force that can propel you through any situation. Like gas, it’s easy to start a fire with passion when you have the right conditions. 
Passion will keep you going in the face of people who try to drain your tank. Passion-stealers can attempt to syphon some off with energy draining comments and negative energy, but if you keep moving and focused, you can avoid that. Even if you feel like you are sometimes running on fumes, you can still make it to the next station.

Being around people who fill up your tank easily refuels your passion supply. Fortunately, unlike gasoline, the supply is endless. Sometimes the passion stations have the same brand of gas you do and are passionate about the same thing. Other times, they are so passionate about their own thing, that you get refueled just being near them. It’s very important to find those people and surround yourself with them. 

Being in education, passion is a necessity. Sometimes you work with people who are disimpassioned, or worse, want to dampen your fire. Add to that, lawmakers, filmmakers, the media, and even former computer company executives who don’t understand education and what good teaching looks like, so they want to diminish you. Passion for learning and the kids that you teach plus the desire to make the world a better place will allow you to speed by those people. The future of education relies on the passion of educators who commit to creating change."