Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bloglovin...My New Favorite Blog Site


I am constantly looking for ways to keep track of the blogs I follow. I love waking up on a Saturday morning, drink my coffee as I read through my favorite blogs to get ideas and share with others. This summer I bumped into Bloglovin and have loved getting updates on my favorite blogs! Its so user friendly and I love the platform. Since Google discontinued Reader, this has been a great way to replace my weekly reading! You can also bookmark the website on your iPad/iPhone for anytime reading. Check it out and see what you think. Happy Bloglovin!!



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Leading Learning Organization

As a teacher and technology liaison in my district, I constantly am asking myself, "how am I making a difference in students learning?" Am I designing innovative lessons that will drive student learning and collaboration?" "Do my students take risks in their learning in this fast paced digital age?" I am proud to say that the district I am a part of allows for this kind of learning to take place. Midlothian ISD and its leaders strongly believe that we are striving to be The Leading Learning Organization in the Nation in the field of technology. Our superintendent Dr. Jerome Stewart shared with me four key points that are critical to innovative learning:

  • The Project Launch Initiative- leap into 21st Century Learning that uses the practical experiences of teacher volunteers to "transform" classrooms into technology-rich learning environments and where teachers can "dream big and have fun"
  • Another Project Launch (still in the early stages) where BYOD is the focus for tools to create a 21st Century Learning environment. Again, teacher volunteers and their students teaching the district what works and what does not work
  • Staying true to our vision and striving to be The Leading Learning Organization where technology is not the destination but one tool on that learning journey
  • The district expectations for innovative learning in the classroom and what that might look like at all grade levels. With innovation comes successes and failures where students and teachers learn from those experiences
At the campus level, my principal Kyle Chambers has a few innovative ways that positively will affect our students and parents communication this next school year. One way he is leading our district into this digital age learning is by having his staff use +Remind101 as a tool to effectively push vital campus/teacher information out to our parents. He shared with me these words, "as a leader in education, you have to evolve with this digital age world and that requires continuous learning". Texting is the quickest and most efficient way to connect with others. This tool will allow our parents to receive classroom information one way and bridge the communication gap with our community. Teachers can reinforce staying connected in @remind101 to help reduce that gap in communication. I am very excited about the new and innovative ways our leaders in our district have shared with me for this next 2013-2014 school year. Midlothian ISD will continue on this journey to be The Leading Learning Organization in the Nation!

You can follow Dr. Jerome Stewart and Kyle Chambers on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/midlosupt
https://twitter.com/KyleChambers41

Monday, August 12, 2013

Learning Spaces Goes Mobile!

Its hard to imagine that summer is over and students will be returning to school soon. Some have already started their school year. My summer was filled with lots of professional development in technology. I attended my very first ISTE Conference in San Antonio, Texas and met many technology leaders that I am connected with via Twitter, Google + and Instagram. I also attended Edcamp Ft. Worth in Keller, Texas to continue my learning. I had several discussions with teachers and technology specialist on the topic of "learning spaces" and what that would look like at the primary level. I was inspired by the learning spaces I saw at this middle school. So this year, I am going out on a limb and for the first time in my educational career will not have desks or chairs in my classroom. My decision for implementing this type of learning came from the many discussions I had with teachers who have had success stories in their classrooms. My goals are to foster lots more collaboration between my students and have more student driven learning in this type of environment. In a 1:1 ipad classroom, students need to be able to "freely" engage in conversations that will foster a deeper level of thinking without the constraints of a desk or chair. I wanted to create a safe and secure environment that would foster this kind of learning and begin building a relationship of "trust" between teacher and student. This year I will be in 2nd grade and then loop up with my students to 3rd the following year. Here is a sneek peek of my classroom and my new "learning spaces". I am really excited and hope to share my success stories as well. Please feel free to share or comment your success stories.