Social Media


Over the past few years there has been an explosion of social media in the lives of educators. We use it for our own personalized professional learning, we use it in our classrooms, and in some cases we even use it for fun.

Twitter and Instagram can have huge positive ramifications on our classrooms. One way we used it in elementary school was through classroom accounts; teachers were able to share student work in live time with parents. This gave students the opportunity to show what they were doing with their communities and the world. 

Teachers and students took pictures of their work and handed off the device to their students who could then type the specifics. This serves a few purposes. First, parents are able to share the classroom experience. What amazing power this is–living school with your student. Second, the real-life modeling and slow-release of using social media from kindergarten on is essential in our world. By starting this early on, we as educators are able to show our students how to use social media for good and allow them to begin to build a positive digital footprint.
Being in a new setting, a middle school this year, I look forward to continuing this work and finding even more uses for social media as I work with teachers use modeling and slow release to help our students learn to use it well and build their positive digital footprint.

Failing with Pride

As I watched a middle school drama class last week, I am again reminded how much we as adults can learn from our students. The teacher was telling her students that they needed to fail with pride and as they did, the class was to applaud each time for both the error and learning from that error. What would happen if each and every one of us taught our students this message? What would happen if each and every one of us lived this lesson in our own professional and personal lives?

I watched these sixth graders, in their first week of middle school, many nervous inside, happily failing with pride. And I watched their teachers model this for them.

What an amazing start to middle school. What I hope is that creating this amazing culture of risk-takers in our students is the beginning of something incredible.

Creating a Positive Culture for Innovation

For many of us the year either has started or is about to start. Those first few weeks are the most important in establishing positive culture in our classrooms. In my school we’re moving to 1:1 iPads, so creating a risk-taking culture where students know the boundaries but aren’t afraid to make mistakes is so important.

#satchatoc had a meaningful discussion about establishing a culture of innovation in schools. Building this culture of innovation and creativity is essential to bring schools and students into the present and get them ready to lead in the future.

This idea of creating a culture where students and educators alike utilize technology to problem-solve and create a better world is an ongoing theme in education.

How do we encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom? Creation tools like iMovie, Educreation, Explain Everything, Thinglink, blogging, and Book Creator can help.

So, how do we get people to this place of innovation?

As educators we are always working to better ourselves, trying to learn so that we can share our ideas with our students. By being connected, we open a whole world (literally) of information and people to learn from. This chat is a perfect example as it is called #satchatoc; is based in Oceania yet draws an international crowd.

Modeling multiple solutions to questions as well as big ideas is huge! If we as the model in schools can get this and show our students that often problems do not have just one answer, it makes it okay for them to take risks, grow, and seek multiple answers to questions.

Moral of the story: what we do week one with our teachers and our students to create a positive culture where taking risks becomes the norm will determine how our year goes.

How are you starting your year?


As each year begins, I make new goals. New resolutions for the school year. What will this year bring? I am in a new, exciting position this year, so it is certainly easy to make a laundry list of goals —so many that I could never achieve them all. When I consider what the major focus would be, I think they come down to the following:

  1. Working with teachers and administrators to create an engaging, student-centered environment where technology helps transform students’ learning in meaningful ways. This is a big one that is where I will spend most of my time. Through modeling, co-teaching, conferring, and learning together, I hope to move toward this goal.
  2. Keeping a healthy balance. Somehow this always is a goal of mine that is rarely achieved. Since I can never get enough of reading professional literature, watching podcasts and webcasts, Voxing, blogging, for me like many of you, balance does not come easily. I can read, write, communicate late into the night neglecting other things that I enjoy much less.
  3. Continue to model risk-taking and growth. Through the above I hope to model to those around me the mindset of being open-minded and ready to try new things even when they might make us nervous.

For now I will keep it simple at that.

What are you looking forward to in the new school year? What are your GOALS?

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