Thursday, May 16, 2013

Connected From the Start

I have been sitting in on interviews for teachers who want to teach at my school this week.  One of the questions we generally ask is how the teacher uses technology in the classroom.  The replies generally are a list of the technology that they have -  anything from Smartboards to ipads for each student.  Rarely does a teacher really explain how she uses the technology that she has or how that technology has made a difference in her connectedness or instruction, but yesterday one of the teachers said, "Well I've been reading this new book and it's made me rethink how I'm using my classroom blog.  It's by this teacher named Kathy Cassidy.  The title is something about being connected..."  Woo hoo!  She gets extra points!  In fact, I think there's a good chance we'll hire her!  Can't wait to sit down with her and discuss some ideas!

As I have been reading Kathy's book, I too have been rethinking how I use the technology I have in my classroom.  Sometimes I would just rather complain about what I don't have and what I do have that doesn't work.  It's a constant frustration but Kathy deals with that early on.  She didn't start with a million dollar grant and a technology genie that granted her every wish either.  She started in the same way that I am, with a little of this and a little of that, lots of curiosity, and probably a better disposition for working around problems.  Of course, she always seems to see the glass half full and turns "mistakes" into just another learning opportunity.  Her honesty and openness have made me to rethink how I am connecting my own class.

So... since I started reading Kathy's book...
  • I have purchased a mini ipad because I got tired of getting out of my comfy chair with my paper copy of Kathy's book to go to my computer to check the live links!  I have now read several books on my little mini ipad (something I never really thought I wanted or would use) and find it really is quite convenient!  Who knew?
  • I added my name to a Skype project and have connected with a first grade teacher in Brazil!
  • I use Blogger for my class blog and I have figured out how to add the blog to my iphone which has made blogging so much simpler.  I carry my iphone everywhere so that I can snap a quick picture and add a few words.  Parents really have almost instant access to what is going on in the classroom.  (I have worried that some of my colleagues might think I'm texting friends throughout the day instead of blogging, but I hope they call me on it so I can teach them how to do it too!)
  • While the children are not allowed to have their own blogs in our county, Kathy's book helped me move to letting the kids do some of the blogging on our class blog.  We are in a unit on persuasive writing, so I let the ones that wanted, blog their letters.  They have been so amazed at the comments they have gotten and it has really helped them understand that they are writing for an audience.  You can see what they have been blogging.  I also learned about the hashtag #comments4kids on Twitter and have been spending time at night commenting on other children's blogs which has been quite entertaining and informational.
  •  I reacquainted myself with Twitter and found the hashtag #1stchat - which has been such a great way to see what other first grade teachers are thinking and saying.  And that's just the beginning...
I dare you to read this book and not find a million ways to get connected!  That's not a challenge.  It's a guarantee!

1 comment:

Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

Well you have my interest level way up there...can't wait to read it!!MM