Learning for the New Year

Well, before this month comes to an end it’s time to make time to get a blog post written. I should be sleeping or doing report cards but I will put those off for now… A couple of weeks ago JDBlack, over at teachingntechnology, asked; ” What do you really want to learn more about in 2008?” As I began to form my answer I realized I was mixing what I want to learn, what I want to teach my students and what I want to accomplish all into one answer. That’s not too surprising since they all do mesh. But I thought about it and decided I need to put them all down in writing so I can refer back them to keep my self on track and make additions as needed.

Personal Learning

Podcast-learn how to download one, listen to one, make my own and figure out how to incorporate it into my tech classes or share with teachers on how they can use it.

Voice Thread-It’s not blocked by our filter so it’s another item to figure out how to integrate it into my class or share with teachers.

Skype-What is it? How and why would I want to use it?

Blogging-find exemplary sites, and information on safety.

Multitask-unlike my children I’m not real good at listening to a broadcast on EdTechTalk, checking Twitter, reading  a blog and working on a document at basically the same time. I often feel like I’m developing ADD when I’m on the computer. I read one blog, click on a link to an interesting site and that continues until I’ve forgotten where I started. I have trouble staying focused and often times a night on the computer goes by and I’ve accomplished very little.

Goals for the Year 

Continue my quest to make assignments meaningful and authentic while integrating what students are doing in the classroom with the technology skills I need to teach.

Continue to learn about Web2.0 tools and find ways to use them with my students.

Read blogs everyday for 15 minutes.

Respond to more blogs.

Finish reading A Whole New Mind-I’ve had it a month and am only half way through it. It’s very interesting, I just have trouble finding the time to read.

Read more books recommended by other bloggers for professional growth.

Set up a blog/wiki/ning for elementary tech teachers. I would like it to be a place for us to share plans, encourage each other to try web2.o tools and share solutions to problems we’re experiencing, and to learn and to grow from each other. I’m hoping to work on this over February break. I’m not sure which tool will work best. Please share suggestions.

Experience my first ever national conference of any kind: NECC in San Antonio!

Please feel free to give suggestions to things I may missing.

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Hello world!

Welcome to my blog. I am going to try and serve two purposes with this blog, ok maybe three:

1.  A place for elementary tech teachers to share lessons, ideas, frustrations, wishes, dreams, whatever’s on our mind.

2.  A place to feature children like Laura and her blog 25 Days to Make a Difference.  She is an inspiration to me and I want to continue to share what she and others are doing with my students.

3.  A place to reflect on education.

New Year Reflection

As I begin a new year that I know will be filled with new learning I am trying to decide what direction I want my blog to move in. Do I want it to be a place where elementary tech teachers can share lessons, after participating in 25 days to Make a Difference do I want to promote blogs and causes to help others, do I make it a place where parents/students go, do I leave it as it mainly is now, a personal journal? Well, a personal journal pretty much defeats the purpose of a blog so I need to move past that. I think I’ll try combining the first two ways and continue to reflect on my new learning and keep my school web page for parents and students. Now, if I could just figure out how to squeeze a few more hours out of each day! Another things I want to do with my blog is list my favorite blogs so far with links. I want to put a couple of good teacher blogs on my school web page as well and try to get some classroom teachers to begin to take a look at them. I will begin working on improving my blog this weekend.

Time

Tonight’s plans were to stay home, crank the Christmas music and wrap presents and start working on Christmas cards. But instead once my husband and daughter left for a hockey game I collapsed on the coach with the lap top and spent the evening browsing more wikis/blogs. Tonight I was checking out Cool Cat Teacher and reading her post to Newbies. (Notice I have links and tags now.) I also followed a link to a teacher in China. From there I went to voki.com and played around making a character to stick on my blog for awhile. Before I knew it the family was home and I hadn’t moved. It leads me to wonder if the people that have these wonderful sites with so many great resources have spouses and children. If they do how do they manage it all? I saw the Cool Cat Teacher had Sink Refections as a recommended reading. I never read the book but I have read the Fly Lady’s web site and followed her system in the past. I still get the daily emails. Maybe I should try getting back on that track and maybe that would help.

On a totally different note I love the noise of busy students working together on various projects. That sure beats trying to get everyone to stay in their seats and finish assignments on their own quietly. I just wish I had them longer than 40 minutes every six days. By the time you take off the time it takes them to log on and off I have them less than 35 minutes. Some days we don’t get too far.

Goals

I just read, in my new Google reader, a post about writing down your goals and reading them at least once a day. By doing this people stay focused on the outcome and are more likely to achieve the goal. I think that’s something I need to work on for my new position as elementary tech teacher. I need to figure out where I want to go. I have skills that I have to teach and make sure they are mastered at certain grade levels but the rest is up to me. So, just what is it I want to do with these young minds? I want them engaged in meaningful tasks. What does this mean? What does it look like? Especially when I only have them 40 (closer to 30-35 depending on if they get to the room on time and how long it takes to get logged on to and off the computers)minutes once every 6 days. Well, I want them reading and writing for authentic reasons. I’m trying to go along with what they’re learning in the classroom but being in two buildings and having 6 classes of each grade level believe it or not we’re not all on the same page all the time so that’s not an easy task. Perhaps I should not worry about that and come up with my own plan and go from there. I did a newspaper type project with one fifth grade class-yes I did remember to start small-that went well. I do need to reflect on that soon and write down what went well and what I need to improve on for the next attempt. But anyway I started with a great group of kids that are well behaved and eager to work and learn-I know because I had many of them in second grade and they are just one of those special groups of kids. So that really helped the project. But I know the kids selecting their jobs and what they wanted to write about made it exciting for the kids and kept them very focused every day. I need to come up with more of those type of activities and maybe start the class with a mini lesson on a skill I need to make sure they’re working on and then let them work. Ok, so my first goal to write down-this is going on my Google Toolbar where I’ll see it every night-is:1. Make the work we do in class meaningful and authentic.