Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's Been Too Long!

It's truly been too long since I last posted. So many things have happened- some good and others bad. Both keeping me from using my blog like I wanted. I'm not going to allow those things to get in the way.

I wish I could recap the last few months and all the amazing things that have been happening in my classroom. It would be incredibly difficult to put all of it into words. To begin, I have awesome students this year! Sometimes they drive me crazy but they are all gems. I love teaching them. I will miss them greatly when I go on maternity leave.

Some of the things that are currently on my mind as a teacher leader are how do we set standards across the grade levels for all teachers and students? My department met this morning in our weekly PLC and the topic today focused around standards and expectations of students in our middle school Language Arts classrooms. Is it okay to continue to accept work where they won't capitalize a sentence? Their name? Titles? Why do we allow this to go on? Why are there differences in the standards and expectations between an on grade level class and a PreAP class? Should there be a difference between 6th grade expectations and 8th grade expectations?

This morning has really made me reflect on what I do in my classroom during the day. Today I've really taken a look at what I'm doing in my classroom and what I'm expecting of my students. I have my set of Writing Non-Negotiables that I've posted on our class blogs. When it comes down to it though do I always hold them accountable? In truth, no because sometimes I think that they won't  take the time to edit their work for it to be better. Thinking about that makes me disappointed in myself since I have to hold them accountable at all times.

How do you continue to hold your students accountable even when it's not necessarily the easiest thing to do?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Plans

9 days! 9 days! 9 days! School is almost out. At the end of the 9 days I will actually be able to think about what to do for next year. This is the part I look forward to the most. Not the kids leaving {well let's be honest, that's nice right about now} but the fact that I get to plan for what's to come next year. The excitement of it starts all over again and that's the fun part.

After the extensive weekend long Springboard training, I don't HAVE to do summer PD. That weekend long training will count {thankfully!} for the summer PD we're usually required. Now I'm free to do other things like hangout with my 18 month old.

I will be doing some training because I can't just sit around all summer. I'm also leading some PD this summer. One of the things I'm working on is a restructure of our Reading SSI curriculum. We use this class for our students who are "bubble" kids on the state test. I'm working with 2 other teachers to restructure the curriculum and then we'll be leading the half day PD in July.

The next training is the district's annual Technopalooza! I blogged about this last year. This was my favorite part of last summer and I'm looking forward to the 2 days this summer. I'll be presenting a session called "Welcome to the Blogosphere." If you're around the DFW area and are looking for an awesome summer technology conference check it out! It's July 30-31.

Besides that, I'm pretty much free! We have a family vacation scheduled to San Diego in July. The best thing about summer is that my brain has time to recuperate and then the ideas start to form.

What are your plans for Summer?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wrapping Up the Year with Summer Reading

It always seems as though I dream about the ending of school more than beginning school. Many people have told me about their school dreams right before school starts. I don't usually have those. I have end of the year dreams that actually are nightmarish. Last night, I had one about the duties I have as department chair and making sure everyone accounts for their textbooks, books, etc. This really cut into my sleep and I'm not very happy with what my brain is doing.

With it being the end of the year, I've been reflecting on some things that I need to continue to do as well as some new ideas. My principal sent an email regarding our summer reading for our students. That got me thinking. It's becoming an expectation that blogs are utilized in our Language Arts classroom as well as using Twitter. I'm wondering how successful it would be to have our students get ahead of our 25 book campaign over the summer by being part of a special summertime blogging group devoted to summer reading. I was also thinking of incorporating Twitter with it too.

I haven't thoroughly thought it out yet but I am seriously thinking about this. I must get on top of it since the end of the year is quickly approaching.

What do you think? Do you have plans for the end of the year? Do you have summer reading expectations for your students?

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Catching Up- Whew!

I don't think I've blogged in two weeks! AAAAAGGGGHHH!!! I've had so much to say but my mind was so muddled with everything going on that I just refused to look at my computer or blog in avoidance. I guess now is the time.

Two Weeks Ago:
I had the privilege to attend Springboard's Train the Trainer institute. It's this event that made me stop blogging because I was so exhausted afterwards I could no longer think but I had so much to say!!! I absolutely value every bit of what I learned. I'm officially a Springboard trainer for my district {WOOHOO!!}. It was the most intense weekend full of Springboard stuff.

I'm really excited about the Close Reading Workshops that they are coming out with. If you're a Springboard teacher, you will love these! We had the opportunity to work on one. Mind you it was high school level, but man! They are just the right amount of intense. I had a great time with it. Springboard teachers, these should be coming to the Community soon. I don't know what soon is in Springboard time though. Keep checking!

 My unpacking style has changed. I was so excited to see what my kids did when we had to unpack our final unit of the year. They loved it and it was actually easy. I've been making it so hard on myself {and them} this whole time. We read the Assignment on the Embedded Assessment page, the students marked the text by circling the verbs {skills} and underlined the nouns {knowledge}. They then wrote each skill/knowledge pairing on a sticky note as a group. Finally, we created a bubble map depicting the unpacked Embedded Assessment. They told me how much better it was. I tend to agree :)
After getting back in the swing of things I feel refocused in my teaching with Springboard. We're about to do literature circles in the next couple of weeks, so my students have begun investigating the Holocaust. We made a graffiti wall of research regarding the Holocaust. Great conversations were happening and great questions were being asked about that time period.

I'm really seeing the maturity in my 8th graders since the beginning of the year. We have a little under six weeks left and they go on to high school. It's bittersweet.

I'm nowhere near finished with anything that I need to do and don't feel prepared for what's happening next week in my class. That will come. I know. I'm really happy with just getting all this out of my head. Now, time to do some planning!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

8th Grade Love and Shakespeare

Tomorrow will mark the third day I've been out this week. All the days are for perfectly valid reasons-jury duty, district meeting, and training. Right now though my students are preparing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream to perform. I'm missing out on such a fun time where they are planning what they'll be doing next week. 

I was at work today. I enjoyed watching them pour over their scripts, discuss with each other their character's motivation, and their plans for next week. I even had two hams in my 7th period class who decided to use curtains as their togas for the play. 

I like meeting with the groups and seeing what they're doing, guiding them to incorporate the comedic effects, and listening to the conversations they have about the play. I'm sad I'm missing it this week. I really can't wait to see what they come up with! I love my 8th graders!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Classroom Funding: Another Option

Today I am working on my "civic duty" of jury duty. Right now, I'm on a break- I guess you could call it. I have to report back to court at 1:30 to see if I get picked for the jury I've been assigned. I really don't want to because I have a very busy week including an all day meeting tomorrow and a conference beginning Friday through the weekend.  Oh well!

In my spare time today, I decided to do a little research on some funding opportunities. We all know about Donors Choose where donors are able to browse projects that need funding for teachers' classrooms. While looking at funding opportunities I came across one called Adopt a Classroom.org. It's very similar to Donors Choose in that you create a classroom and project that you would like funded. Share it with the world and Boom! Funding opportunity becomes a reality.

Here's the one that I created for my classroom. My school participates in a 25 book campaign where students are expected to read 25 books during the school year. I believe the best way to get them there is to give them a classroom that is full of reading material that is on their grade level and appealing to them. I'm looking for just that for my own classroom.

Try it out! Donors Choose is a great website too. I'm going to see how Adopt a Classroom.org works for now. Have a great week!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Liebster! Woot! Woot!

I have the honor of receiving a Liebster award from Heather at Smack Dab in the Middle. A Liebster is an award given to bloggers who have less than 200 hundred followers to welcome them to blogging. 

I definitely qualify. This isn't my first Liebster, but after taking a few months of hiatus I lost the majority of my followers :( Fear not! I'm back and this time am determined to make this blog happen!

Heather has some questions for me to answer. Here we go!

1. What grade do you teach? What grades have you taught? How long have you been teaching? 
I teach 8th grade Language Arts. I've taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade before. This is my 11th year teaching.  

2. What book do you read to your class each year without fail?  There are a few standard books that we read every year including The Giver by Lois Lowry.  The kids start off completely confused and not really into it but by the end they're committed and are so upset by some of the events in the book.

3. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be doing?  I think I would just be a mom. The best thing that ever happened was having my daughter, Avery. I love spending time with her and living her little Toddler Life.

4. What's one thing you're just dying to buy for your classroom?  An assistant for myself. If I could afford to pay someone (or not! HA!) to be my assistant I would jump on it. There are so many things to do and just not enough hours in the school day. 

5. What's your non-teaching guilty pleasure?  Unfortunately, for my husband, it's shopping. More specifically online shopping. It's bad. 

6. Favorite book that is not teaching related?  Phillipa Gregory novels. Oh! And Jodi Picoult!!! Certain authors just do it for me. I've already made a post about John Green but I guess he's under the teaching related category? Maybe Gillian Flynn too. Gone Girl is crazy good. Seriously this was not a good question for a Language Arts teacher. I love to read. I'm going to stop answering this question now.
7. What's one thing on your bucket list?  When I turned 30 (gulp!) I made a bucket list and did pretty much everything on it. I don't really have anything left. I do want to have another baby :)

8. Favorite restaurant?  I love eating and food. Living in Texas though Mexican restaurants are the way to go! 

9. Who would play you in a movie about your life?  Natalie Portman? I don't know. Maybe I'm still living in John Green-land

10. What's one thing you could eat everyday?  Chocolate and coffee. I know it's not healthy or anything but yeah. I'm in and good with it. Maybe some tasty pastries to boot.

11. What inspired you to begin blogging?  I started blogging a few years because I'm also a knitter. I have another blog Adventures in Knitting that I started because I wanted to share my knitting highs and lows with other knitters. I've always liked writing and it's a creative expression for me. After working on that blog for awhile I realized I needed an outlet for my life as a middle school teacher. So, here we are!

11 Random Facts about ME.

  • I'm a knitter
  • I'm a mom- but I didn't have her until I was 33
  • I have to start every day with coffee (this is how I know I'm addicted now)
  • I'm a huge procrastinator
  • I work best under pressure
  • People think I'm organized, but I'm not (really- I'm not!)
  • I can't stay up past 8:30 anymore. Toddler Life is hard y'all!
  • Online shopping- yeah I know I mentioned it already but it's true
  • I know the lyrics to Sophia the First, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Doc McStuffins
  • I'm kind of obsessed with shoes. What's sad is that I don't wear them all. I'm really in love with my Tieks! They cost a pretty penny (Mr. Bush was not happy) but I wear them almost. every. day. I used to wear heels constantly but now that I'm at a school with two floors, it's more important that I don't break my neck walking up and down them. So I usually wear my Tieks or have them in my bag for when I need to trek all over the building.
  • I also love office supplies. I could spend all day walking up and down the office supply aisles at Target or inside a Staples.

Well that's a little bit about me! I've nominated five more blogs for a Liebster. Have fun with this!

Here are the rules:
1. Link back to my blog as the one who nominated you.
2. Nominate five blogs with fewer than two hundred followers.
3. Answer the questions posted.
4. Share eleven random facts about yourself.
5. Contact your nominees to let them know they have been nominated.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Currently

Today is April 2nd and I'm linking up with Farley for the April Currently!

Listening: to the peaceful silence in my bedroom. I'm working on this blog post. Avery's in bed, husband's out of town, and animals are actually settled. I have peaceful silence- what!?!?

Loving: Loving all the signs of Spring. I have such a great view of the outside from my classroom window. I noticed today all the trees budding and the new green leaves beginning to pop out. Love it!! Avery and I have been going outside every day when we get home to just be outside in the mild Spring air. I'm really loving this. When Summer comes I know I'll miss the mild days and cool nights.

Thinking: I have jury duty next week. Boo! I would rather be in class with my students. After testing this week and spending the last week reviewing for the test I feel like we haven't spent much quality time together at all. I miss it. I've tried getting out of it and am still holding out for not getting on the jury or it being called off. I'm not going to hold my breath or anything though.

Wanting: With the school year winding down I'm starting to look forward to what's to come next year. I want to start planning for classes next year and what to change or continue.

Needing: I need a new Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener! Only to have another one. Fear not my friends- this is still an amazing pencil sharpener. They have one now for large pencils too!

Hours and Last Day: June 6 at 2PM (assuming no more days added on for the ice storms)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Blog Template and STAAR Week!

For those of you who teach in Texas, you know very well what this week is: STAAR. For those of you not familiar with STAAR it is our state's standardized test. Yay :-/ This week, my 8th graders begin  their two part STAAR journey beginning tomorrow with Reading and ending on Thursday with Math. The second half for them will be at the end of the month when they finish with Science and Social Studies.

These kids are under a lot of stress. They have to pass Math and Reading in order to go on to the 9th grade. I teach PreAP and GT this year. Last week we looked at some passages to get them reacquainted with the test. They have been doing pretty well and they're still concerned whether or not they're going to pass. This breaks my heart. These kids work so hard all year long and then it comes down to a couple of tests to determine whether or not they move on to the next grade. They already put so much pressure on themselves to excel. A grade of a B isn't good enough for a lot of them. Anything below an A is considered a failure.

With all that in mind, my co-teacher and I decided we would have a "STAAR Wars" themed review and create encouragement cards for our kids. I just needed something for them to calm them down, relax them, and make sure that they know they have all the skills that they need to be successful on this test. Basically, that they're amazing and they need to be confident in that- because I am! Thanks to Dorky Doodles at Teachers Pay Teachers for the Star Wars themed clip art! It was just perfect for what I was looking for to use with our cards. Here's a quick look:

Also, you may have noticed I have a new template! Thanks to Megan at A Bird in Hand Designs for the awesome new template. I love it! If you're looking for a new blog design, check out what she has. She's great to work and she makes it so easy. Thanks Megan!!

Have a great week everyone. Good luck if you're STAAR testing!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

John Green, I Think I Love You!

This week, I finished John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. Thanks to my students, I have now been introduced to an amazing author. Throughout the entire book I highlighted various phrases and metaphors. I don't think I've read an author whose use of language is absolutely inspiring. But at the same time isn't intimidating to read. And did I mention the metaphors?!?!!? I'm a huge fan of good writing and use of language. Holy Cow!

The Fault in Our Stars made me literally laugh out loud and cry at the same time. I am on a John Green kick. The next book in line is Looking for Alaska. John Green! Where have you been in my life?!?

Favorite Quotes Tagxedo

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Must Read Monday

In my 8th grade Language Arts class, according to our Weekly Blogging Schedule, Monday is billed as Must Read Monday. I thought I would join my students this week with a Must Read!

The first Must Read book I finished over Spring Break was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I started it early in the school year and really didn't get into it. I restarted again over Spring Break while we were on a road trip to East Texas. I finished it in a day! Wonder is such a sweet book about a boy, August, who has a facial deformity. He has been home schooled all his life and when he enters 5th grade his parents put him in a private middle school. Starting middle school after never going to school would terrify me as a parent! Auggie goes through so many challenges throughout the year to just be treated like all the other kids. What I really loved about this book is the different point of views the parts of the book were told from. Of course starting with August and then moving to different important people in his life that year. It's truly a beautiful story and easy to read.

I'm currently reading The Fault in Our Stars due to all the pressure from my students. I keep seeing blog posts from my students who have read it. They are ga-ga over this book. If they love it, I must see what all the fuss is about.

What's your Must Read Monday book?
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Exciting Opportunity and In Need of a New Template

On Friday, my district Curriculum Coordinator paid a visit. I always like when she comes because I enjoy our conversations. Friday she told me that she would like for one of the 7th grade LA teachers and me to put together a training class for new teachers and teachers needing a refresher to our SSI curriculum. I'm looking forward to doing this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I didn't have training when I first taught this curriculum. It was kind of a "Surprise! Guess what you're teaching this year?" approach.
  2. There are so many places to build on what we already use from Pearson. 
  3. I would like future SSI students to have a great curriculum and teachers excited about teaching this class!
As soon as the state testing is over (April) is when planning for this starts up. I'm so looking forward to it!

New Blogger Template: I'm desperately in need of a new template. Right now I have a free one from The Cutest Blog on the Block. I don't know if I should pay for a new one or continue with the free. That is my dilemma right now. I guess for a Sunday night before the week before state testing that's not too bad. If you have any suggestions of places to look for Blogger templates, please comment below!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pixton vs. Storyboard That

Today I'm linking up with Technology Tailgate for Techie Tuesday Link Up!

Early in the school year, my students read Lois Lowry's The Giver and created a graphic novel depicting The Hero's Journey. When I first started teaching this unit a few years ago, my students drew their own graphic novels. Oh the complaints! "This isn't an art class!" "I'm not a good drawer!" Even though I reassured them that the content of what they wrote was more important than the quality of their pictures.
Since my district's push is with technology, a teacher friend of mine introduced me to Pixton. She was using it with her kids and they were able to focus more on what the point of this unit was- depicting The Hero's Journey and visualizing. I used Pixton and had pretty good success with it. There were some frustrations, however. After the unit this year, I discovered Storyboard That. It's extremely similar to Pixton.
Let's compare the two!

The learning curve with Pixton comes when you actually go to create the comic. There are so many features including facial expressions and posing of your characters that students can get really bogged down in choosing just the right positioning. The good news is that Pixton has videos that are only about 30 seconds long that are How To videos. My students (8th graders) watched them and were able to quickly figure out how to pose their characters, choose colors, backgrounds, and resize what needed sizing.
Pixton creation

Storyboard That

Storyboard That has the same basic functions of Pixton. I haven't used it with my students this year since I found it after the unit I usually use Pixton with, but I have an idea for using it soon.
Teachers have a dashboard, students use an activation code to join the teacher's class, etc.
Storyboard That doesn't have the same learning curve that Pixton does. The characters and backgrounds can be colored, but there isn't the posing and moving challenges that Pixton has. The characters are pretty stationary in the poses. Storyboard That also provides help for the user. Instead of videos they're still screenshots. Storyboard That works on tablets too! This is huge for my district since next year, our students will be given Dell tablets and will no longer have netbooks.

Created in Storyboard That

Pixton allows the teacher to create a classroom, assign assignments for students to create, create rubrics to grade students, and share with one another privately. Another feature of Pixton is that students can work on their comics together (if working in partners) or alone. I discovered this feature this year when my students worked in pairs with their graphic novels. Students sign up with an activation code or the teacher can enter names. In a 1:1 it takes no time at all to get everyone going.

Pixton isn't free. Depending on the number of accounts you pay for will depend on how much it will cost you. Here in the screenshot you can see for 50 accounts and for 2 months it would cost $42.

Storyboard That isn't free either. The pricing is a little better though!

I'm definitely interested in giving Storyboard That a try. They provide lesson plans to use and webinars and events on technology in the classroom for teachers. I think Storyboard That might be the way to go for me!
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Currently- Really Late!

I know March is almost over, but I really need to get back to a regular blogging schedule. To get back in my routine I've decided to link up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her March Currently.

Without further adieu, here is my March Currently!

Listening: I'm listening to the sound of the rain and the thunder. I'm so happy that it's raining and it's not sleet or snow. We've had so many yucky days of snow and ice that I'm pretty happy about the rain. Plus it's a sign of Spring on its way {hopefully}!

Loving: I love the time I've had this week with my family. We spent the time in East Texas with my husband's family. We were able to see our daughter blossom with everyone. She's so close to talking it's hard to believe that she's almost a year and a half. Where does the time go?

Thinking: Even though I have a day left of my break I'm thinking about all that needs to be done when I get back. The papers I should have graded, the books I should have read, etc. My mind never really stops thinking. I'm thankful I'm able to blog to get my thoughts out. 

Wanting: Desperately wanting another Spring Break! Too bad I'm not going to be able to make the Jamaica trip with my husband at the end of April. That would have been perfect. Oh well! Summer is only a few months away.

Needing: A personal assistant. I'll take an intern too! I just need someone else in my life to help me manage everything that I have on my plate.

????????: Yeah...

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blog Topic Ideas For the Classroom

Spring Break is pretty much over and now that it's coming to an end I've had some time to reflect on some things in my classroom. A few weeks ago, I received a comment from a visitor asking what I have my students blog about. I thought that I would create a post about just that. Now that I've been in school for 3/4 of the year and my students have been blogging for that length of time, I feel that I can truly discuss blogging in the classroom.

One thing that I think is very important when your students are blogging is that they still have the freedom to choose what they write about. This is still writing but just in a digital way! I tell my students that this is their virtual Reader's/Writer's Notebook. With that, I do require certain things from them on the blog because I do know that:

  1. Some students are not yet ready to produce their own topics
  2. Writing assignments for my class are required from time to time
The writers in my class treasure their blog and have truly taken ownership of it by personalizing and freely sharing, posting, and commenting on one another's blogs hoping to develop the writing connection with one another. Other students need a little more help from me in what I want to see as far as writing goes. 

Exit Tickets- A great way to give your students an idea for a blog post is have them write a post in response to what happened during class. Just like a written exit ticket it can be about anything!

Quick Writes- This is a great way to start class when students first arrive. They complete a quick write over the topic that you want them to write on for a few minutes. This can be posted on their blog and then allow each other in the class to comment on these. Commentary is such a great tool for each student to see that their words are powerful!

Create a weekly blogging schedule- I have a weekly blogging schedule for my students to use if they wish. Every day of the week has a different theme like "Text Talk Tuesday." The way this works is if a student is blogging on a Tuesday and they need something as a topic they can use Text Talk Tuesday. Text Talk Tuesday (for my Language Arts class) just means that their blog post focuses on a piece of text where they thought it was meaningful/insightful/powerful, etc. and they quote it and then respond to it. This is a way for me to bring in reader's responses without calling it a reader's response. 

Book Reviews- If you teach a Language Arts class this is a great way to get the conversation about books going! Students love to talk about the books they've read (good or bad!). Just make sure you've gone over book reviews first. You may even keep a template for how to write a book review as a resource for them to follow on the blog.

Embed Web Tools- Sometimes I use web tools like Padlet to start discussions in my class and then my students are able to interact with it. I've also had my students use Smore recently and embed the Smore directly into their blog. Students learn how to embed basic HTML code this way. It really opens up what they're able to do and share. 

Keep in mind- if you can write it on paper, you can probably find a way to share it on your blog.

For more ideas check out my class blog here! Have a great week everyone!!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Northwest Reads

Do something different. That's the way to start your day. That's what I did this morning. I teach middle school- hardened 8th graders to be exact. They aren't always pleasant in the morning. Today I started with 3rd graders!

My district has a day for our community members to come together with the elementary schools and volunteer their time to read with K-5 kiddos. I didn't have a 1st period, so I signed up to participate. I'm glad I did because this made my morning!

I must say I was a little nervous this morning as I braved the bitter wind to walk across the parking lot between our schools. How were these 3rd graders going to respond to me? What were we going to talk about? Do I ask questions while I read with them? I mean, I would ask questions but is that what they expect me to do too? Absolute nonsense went through my head.

I walked into the library and there was quite a selection of children's books laid out for us to choose from. I chose Millie Fierce and Sheila Rae, The Brave (I'm a huge Kevin Henkes fan and make my 8th graders endure Kevin Henkes read alouds from time to time). Now more questions started: Would they like my choices? Are these too baby for them? What are they going to think? Clearly, I was over thinking and much more anxious than they were. My two little escorts finally showed up and guided me to their classroom where Mrs. Florence let me have the stage!

Well once I told them I was a teacher in the 8th grade (the really big kids) next door I had them. Their eyes went big and I knew the rest would be easy. We read Millie Fierce first. Amazing book!!! Such a great lesson. These kids were such great listeners and had great things to say about the questions I asked. I figured out what to ask while I read to them. I'm a Language Arts for goodness sake! At the very end when I was saying goodbye to these sweet faces I was asked, "Are you an author too?" That question probably was the highlight of my time. I told him, "No. I'm just a teacher." I thought to myself, "But maybe some day!"


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Have I Done? Or- What Kind of Blogging Challenge Have I Really Made For Myself?

In hopes and dreams of getting all of my 8th graders addicted to blogging I decided on a whim today (of course) that I would reopen EduBlogs to my students. Now, for those of you with me earlier in the school year remember, I started my students out on EduBlogs but abandoned it and switched over to KidBlog for the ease of the blogging platform. I desperately want to use EduBlogs with my kids because I have this dream that they will learn to love blogging as much as me!

So, today when a student who was "jazzing up" their KidBlog came to me and asked, "Ms. Bush, is there any way to customize these pages?" I knew immediately the time had come! It was time to go back to EduBlogs. Oh sure- not everyone is ready for this. Some of my students haven't even changed their avatar or taken any kind of ownership on their blog.

The plan is this: those students who are blogging savvy and ready for EduBlogs can begin using EduBlogs while the rest of the kiddos stay in their comfort zone on KidBlog. All the while I will be posting on both platforms and encouraging everyone to transition on over to EduBlogs.

Fingers crossed!! Wish me luck!
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Monday, January 6, 2014

Staff Development- But Wait! What a Great Day!!

I know what you're thinking already. Staff development? Are you serious? YES!! My district does such a great job organizing staff developments. I rarely feel as though my time is wasted and this is important to all of us as teachers. Well, today I had the opportunity to share information, my friend Lori, and myself have learned about blogging with our students.

We had 90 minutes to make addicts of hook the teachers on blogging in the classroom. Not to brag, but I really think we did a pretty good job! Lori uses EduBlogs with her kids and I use KidBlog, so between the two of us we had quite a bit of information to share about each platform. About half of the session time was spent allowing the teachers to play around with the blogging platforms. It was a great day!

The remainder of the day we were able to focus on technology at our home campus. I think I'm finally going to be able to correctly mirror my tablet/laptop after today. That's the part I struggle with the most. It seems so simple and yet I never can get it to work. Watch out 8th graders! Mrs. Bush is on a technology high! Yeah...those essays still aren't graded.

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