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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