A number of weeks ago I came across an excellent post by Amy Burvall, “There’s No Copyright for Cookies: Why Educators Should Embrace Sharing” link. In the post she presents the compelling argument that instructional ideas, student work, and resources, much like homemade cookies, are indeed enhanced through sharing their “sweetness” with others. This concept of “Radical Sharing” is visible on a daily basis through the power of my growing PLN, and evident in the activities and environment of our teachers and students.
A few “shares” from the first week of school:
On August 9th, Michele White shared “A Closer Look at Math Synergy” link with math ideas that she has learned from friends and used in the class. I, in turn, shared these same ideas with our 3rd-8th grade math team. The middle school team loved the idea of the Sudoku of the month board, and thus…
On August 17th Deedee Wills shared, “First few days of school, Peek at my Week Linky” link. The post detailed a number of engaging activities and plans to help make the first week of school special and welcoming to our new classroom communities. The kindergarten teachers liked a number of the activities, and thus…
The PLN and Sharing of a 21st Century Learning Coordinator:
In addition to Twitter, I have found that sharing and comparing apps has become another means to enhance our PLN’s. When Tricia Fugelstad, posted on her award winning educational blog, her students’ experiences using the Wordfoto app to create art-inspired wishes for the world, I got the idea to use this same app in a 2nd grade lesson in the media center to support their unit on grammar and more specifically, adjectives. The result was this:
Pinterest has also been a fantastic source for a wealth of ideas. For example, when I was searching Pinterest for ideas to integrate Technology into the curriculum, I stumbled upon this job chart outlined in Sheila Mularski’s blog post:
The above inspired me to create my own iHelp job chart as it pertains to my fourth and fifth grade Technology classes. It looks like this:
Inspired by the original image of Shelia’s job chart, we now have class Tweeters managing class Twitter accounts at @4thtech and @5thtech. We also have a 4th grade class blog and a 5th grade class blog created and maintained by the students for the students and parents based on their weekly job assignments.
As part of my role as 21st Century Learning Coordinator I routinely meet with the teachers to brainstorm inventive ways for the students to reflect on and share their work. During one such discussion, Mrs. Friedman (@3dGradeTeacher) mentioned that she was looking for an engaging way for her students to practice their vocabulary words. Having made Richard Byrne’s Free Technology For Teacher’s blog into one of my favorite “go to” resources, I knew it should be one of my first stops for ideas and inspiration. Perusing Richard’s blog, led me to Thinglink. This turned out to be the perfect technology tool for reviewing vocabulary words and their meanings. As a result of finding this resource through my PLN, the third grade students created fabulous interactive vocabulary flash cards, such as this one.
“Sharing” the future:
With so many thoughtful educators sharing their engaging educational activities through social media, we have become curators of content. We sift through information and divvy it out based on who we think it will appeal to and when. Instead of planning within the confined walls of our classroom or amongst our school teams, we have become a team of global planners connected together with a common goal of enticing our students to learn and enriching their learning experiences. Just in the examples above, our ideas were inspired from across the United States: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington D.C., Missouri, and Illinois. We are energized to have begun knocking down our own and the classroom walls of our colleagues. We are grateful for the opportunities to connect with talented educators throughout the world, and look forward to reaping the continued collective benefits within our school, our community, and our PLN.
Amy Burvall’s piece speaks to moving to a post-proprietary model in which we embrace the concept of radical sharing in order to enhance all of our experiences. We are trying each day to actualize this goal, and look forward to contributing to this movement as creators, collaborators, and sharers.