Sunday, March 20, 2011

Post-Grant crazy

A rainy Sunday is the perfect time to blog.  Especially when you're trying to be better at blogging regularly.

Really what I'm doing is putting off dealing with the large bag of grading that I haven't touched since I put out the Trimester 2 report cards with the thought that between report cards, and conferences, and other things, it wasn't necessary and could wait.  Weeeeeelllll it's waited - and it's still waiting, for now.

So I wrote this grant....

 I started the process on Friday evening last week with a tool called popplet.  It is a great little site that let's you create mind-maps in a seemingly infinite space that can incorporate text and other media (pictures, videos, etc.).  With that open in one window, twitter in another, Google Reader in a 3rd and Evernote in a 4th, I managed to put together a big map of ideas for possible activities, facts about others' experiences with Ipads, and my own opinions about why they're so great.  I worked on that Friday night and Saturday night (how lame am I??) and by Sunday morning I was ready to start writing.

The process was so much smoother than I thought.  I put it all together in a Google Doc and immediately shared it with all the people whose opinions are important.  I got amazing feedback and so many compliments on how thorough and exciting the proposal came out.  Later this week at a team meeting, the district tech guy told me that I got a lot of compliments from the committee upon the first read.  That doesn't mean at all that I'll get it, but it's great to hear that I'm at least being considered.

The more I think about it, the more I realize how much a class set of Ipads could completely revolutionize my classroom.  And of course I'll be reaching out to my teacher friends and PLN to brainstorm about that if it actually happens!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grant writing

Well, I did it!

I'm pretty impressed with myself, cranking out a big ol' grant proposal in just one day's work!  I'm very excited about what I've written, and even if I don't win the grant, I guess it was a good experience to consider how beneficial these tools can be in my classroom.

Here's hoping it works out.  Apparently decisions are announced in May.  Fingers Crossed!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mad Dash - Your Comments Needed!

So I've been thinking about writing a grant for next year to get 1:1 IPads for my classroom.  I figured I had plenty of time!  NOT SO!!  It's due Monday.  Sooooooo help!  If you have any ideas for how to use them, either in a classroom, or in your personal life, let me know!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thank You, John Stewart.

I am grateful for people in the world that appreciate the job that I do every day.  I know that there are a lot of things wrong with education in America today, and that we all have to work together to find a solution, but it's so hard to hear all the negative conversation centered around the supposed "fault" of teachers.  I appreciate this take on the whole argument, with the understanding that there are a million other factors to consider in the debate.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Screen time woes

During conferences yesterday I had a parent express concern about screen time.  My initial reaction (internally, of course!) was defensive.  The screentime in school is used as a tool, and if I assign something that requires additional screen time at home, it's only an extension of the learning day.  But then.....

Picture it: A team of teachers sitting around a table at Potbelly's who really enjoy each others' company, smartphones in one hand, sandwiches in the other.  No talking.  Words with friends, email, texting, what have you, but not conversation.

Having made the decision to dive head first into the world of educational technology, I find myself far too preoccupied with my tech tools.  Twitter updates fly in so much faster than I can read them.  I keep adding new blogs to my Google Reader that are full of fascinating and pertinent information that I want to find out about.  All these new online tools (tweetdeck, evernote, etc.) are opening my eyes to this exciting world of organized information, but they are also keeping me glued to a screen whenever I'm not being forced to interact with others!

This is bad news, my friends.  Now, how to strike a balance in a world that is overwhelmed with information?  A fellow teacher mentioned that she is sending her teenage son on an 8 day trek in the wilderness where absolutely no technology is allowed.  I love that idea.  I love camping, and I love nature, and I honestly love quiet.  It's hard to draw the line between overkill and efficient.  I'm hoping that once I've become accustomed to using all of these new tools that I will settle down a bit and use them when needed.  With any luck they will fit seamlessly into my life, creating order out of chaos, instead of the other way around!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Conference Week

I've mentioned already that my first year of teaching was really rough.  Miss Teacher and I struggled a lot, but somehow we made it through without quitting, or killing any children.

I bring this up because a former student stopped by to see me today, and it got me thinking about a lot of things.  His initial comment upon walking into the classroom was "Wow!  It's so different in here!"  That's for damn sure!!  For starters, I've changed the way the room is organized.  To be fair, I really just organized it.  Last year, I lived in piles.  This year, it's better.  There are tables, instead of desks.  There is order.  Kids know what to do and they do it (mostly) independently. 

But I think the most important change is the kids.  I've been having the most wonderful conferences.  I get to gush about these kids that I really care about and enjoy spending my day with.  Last year I had to work really hard to think of something good to say about my students.  I don't think that's so much a reflection on the kids themselves, but on the situation they were in (I came in mid-loop and my style was drastically different than the previous teacher's).  It wasn't their fault that I was inexperienced (still am!!) run-down, and at my breaking point about mid-way through the year. 

But this year is different.  I have fallen in love with these children, and I want to do my best for them.  It has really made all the difference.