Tag Archives: Be Brave

Speechless

For those that know me in person, my volume on twitter is certainly not inconsistent with my volume in life.  I love learning, sharing, discussing, and many would say talking (they would be correct).  So that is why it is exceedingly rare when an event, particularly one tied to a few of my passions (The Davis Academy & learning) leave me speechless. As even my speechlessness needs a few paragraphs, I must share what I saw, while I contemplate what I think.

What I saw?

Parents and students gathered early this morning to celebrate learning and history through engaging in a simulation of the 2nd Continental Congress.

Students proudly shared the content of the time period, perspective of their assigned delegations, and an understanding of the perspective (and often a counter argument) of the other delegations.

Side thought: This content is so and too often assessed through a “please be sure you answer all test questions in full sentences and give supporting details” format.

Students from an 8th grade class in Nebraska and a 5th Grade class in Illinois connected with our Continental Congress to take part in the discussion, ask questions, and vote.

Students reflecting on the process, discussing the challenges related to Congressional discussion, and attempting to align beliefs (or at least votes) from people with different perspectives.

What I am thinking?

Mostly a lot of WOW.  Wow at the poise and preparation of our students to take on such a task.  Wow at the excitement and engagement that this type of learning brought out in the students.  Wow to Mr. Barry for his passion for the subject and his ability to share and inspire that passion from his students. Wow at being able to engage with the students learning incorporating the social media tools that are so native to their world but in a manner that is imbedded and enhances their learning. Wow at the awesome teachers who connected with us to help enhance the experience of our students and share the experience with their own students.

Wow at the potential, possibilities, ideas in my head…etc.

Well I guess maybe not so speechless after all, but certainly not all I have or will have to say on once fully digested.

Below is the link to the tweets, vidoes, and photos from today as well as the letter from Mr. Barry.

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Storify From Reenactment of Continental Congress

 

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Faculty & Friends,

I cannot begin to express my thanks for this morning!  This was my 9th Continental Congress re-enactment, and it was by far the best.  There are no words that could explain my emotions right now.  We Skyped two schools – in Illinois and Nebraska – Tweeted like crazy, and stayed in character, and debated independence for hours!  The students were simply amazing!  Thank you to all faculty who were able to come down and see our Congress!

If you get the chance, take a look at #DavisMS tonight on your Twitter, or Check out the Tweets by @UGAFrank or @MrBarry628, for they are truly wonderful.  Thank you to all, and Huzzah!  We are a free and independent nation. 

God Save Our American States!

George Washington

General of the Continental Army

Social Media and Your Child

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

 (If slide show is not working: Presentation)

Thank you to all the parents who came to our workshop today and shared in our learning community.  Please do not stop asking questions as they are essential to our personal and communal reflection, learning and growth.

 

This presentation is both a sharing of my passion for the potential impact on student learning that social media presents and a mix of the incredible teachers whose insight I have already harvested to share this presentation with you.

Thank you to (great people to follow and learn from):

Ben Halpert – Author of Savvy Cyber Kids series’ – @SavvyCyberKids

Beth Holland – Instructor with EdTechTeacher and Writer for Edutopia and Edudemic – @brholland

Dean Shareski – Community Manager for Discovery Education Canada – @shareski

Gregory Kulowiec – EdTechTeacher  Presenter and Workshop Trainer – @gregkulowiec

Kevin Honeycutt- Artist, Global Speaker and Tech Integration Specialist – @kevinhoneycutt

Lev Grossman – Author and Book Critic – @leverus

Lisa Nielsen – Author, Speaker and Professional Development Specialist – @InnovativeEdu

Matt Gomez – Kindergarten teacher and #kinderchat moderator – @mattBgomez

Sandy Kendell – Educational Tech Specialist and Perpetual learner – @EdTechSandyK

Sir Ken Robinson – Leader in the Development of Creativity, Innovation and Human Resources in Education – @SirKenRobinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter: Moving from Communication to Connection

Teacher: So, I have been reading tweets and of course tweeting some stuff myself. I wanted to know if you are looking for quantity or quality in terms of our tweets. Meaning—is it beneficial for us to tweet something if it is not explained well or if the picture is unclear.

ME: This is a great question.  The goal is certainly not one of quantity, but rather quality. And, I would certainly not suggest unclear photo tweeting and/or meaningless tweets.  That being said, it is important to realize we are only in the first phase of our twitter initiative, and we are currently using twitter as a means of documenting and communicating cute or powerful lessons from the classroom.  This certainly does not mean that every tweet needs a picture, as there have been some great tweets without links, photos or attachments.  The next step, and I think the bigger payoff, is when our tweets start to encompass connections.  Connecting a tweet about our students working on a Georgia landform project with another 3rd grade class elsewhere in order to see photos or info about their studies of their own regions and/or connecting our student’s book reports and research papers with authors, organizations, community experts…etc. is the ultimate goal, as this will still serve the first purpose as well as unlock the true learning potential.  Unfortunately I think it requires familiarity with the first before being comfortable enough to move to the second type.  Therefore I do think quantity is relevant even if not most important.

An example of dipping our toe in to phase two, below is the tweet that I just send of a picture that Julie’s kids made using the Wordfoto app.  When I tweeted it, I included @wordfoto (this is the designers handle) and the #kinderchat (this is the kindergarten teacher hashtag).  Though there is certainly no guarantee of making a connection, but the possibility that the designer or another kindergarten teacher will see this and reach out to us to connect with Julie’s class now exists. I am well aware that this may look like a foreign language or feel overwhelming.  I promise that I will assist in making the transition from phase one to phase two.

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Earlier this week I received this email regarding our current twitter initiative.  In drafting my response I realized that there was great value in the interaction. First, I was pleased to even be engaging in such a discussion where we could be discussing evidence of implementation to reflect on future directions.  With our initiative being 3 weeks young, the more than 400 tweets display as much about the amazing culture of learning and innovation amongst our faculty team as the actual tweets and photos show about our wonderful culture of community and love.  That the producers of Davis content on twitter has gone from 5 or 6 to over 60 in 3 weeks is another reinforcement of this.

The process of growing and learning is inherently incremental.  Before we can walk, we crawl (most of us). Before we can program computers, we engage in computers.  Unlocking the learning potential that twitter provides for students and teachers will take a similar incremental approach.  Our daily tweets from all members of our community sharing the great success of our students and teachers is a solid start to this end.  Making the change to include more opportunities for global and “expert” connections for our students is the 2nd phase.  While we are fully engaged in phase 1, I can already see some nice beginnings of the transition to this second phase with references to authors, publishers, and community organizations coming across our hashtags in the past 3 days.

I look forward to building on the momentum of a great first three weeks with this initiative, transitioning more solidly in to a phase of connection, and looking ahead to helping students and teachers find, build, and share with a powerful and meaningful PLN in the 3rd phase.

Back To School Message – Be Brave

Be-Brave1

 

Be Brave Video

Welcome.  Though it seems like only a few days ago that we gathered together to celebrate our 20th anniversary together, it has been a busy a few months getting prepared to welcome you and your children for an amazing 2013-14.  This past summer I had the pleasure of attending a number of inspirational conferences including the Building Learning Communities conference in Boston.  Whenever I attend a conference, my goal is to come away with a new idea and maybe, if I am lucky, identify an educator that I can invite to Davis to share with our student, faculty, or parent community.  For this BLC conference I would have needed to charter a plain to bring back all the inspirational and innovative educators who are impacting their students, schools, and communities.

As I sat down to write this message to you for back to school night I instantly thought of one of these passionate teachers that I have recently connected with, Matt Gomez.  Matt is a kindergarten teacher and runs a one rule classroom. The one rule is “be brave.”

I wish I could put into words how powerful this rule has been in my class but really there is no way to for me to articulate it. Be brave is the perfect theme, motto or “rule” for any class. It helps with friendships, tying shoes, monkey bars, missing Mom, touching worms, tasting new food, etc. Be brave is exactly the type of attitude needed for young kids. Every day they are faced with challenges as they grow up into this big world. If the only thing I teach them is that they can “be brave,” I have succeeded.

Though Matt likely does not have Kehilla, Kavod, Ruach, Chochma or Tzedek displayed on his classroom walls or integrated into his lessons in his public school in Texas, I feel like his one rule and the environment it helps facilitate, embodies the core values that both describe who we are and who we are striving to be.  The message of “be brave” is one that also resonates for us adults.

  • Be brave on the first day of school as you drop your child off for the first day of mechina and kindergarten.
  • Be brave as your child makes mistakes that you hoped they would not make but realize that these mistakes are where meaningful and resonate learning occur.
  • Be brave as your child rapidly progresses to accede your own knowledge in Hebrew, math and/or Shakespeare.
  • Be brave and trust that your child’s teacher is a professional who has your child’s best interests at heart
  • And be brave an be an active participant and partner in the exciting journey that will be the 2013-14 school year.

Christopher Robin may have said it best when he told is honey loving friend: “you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”

I look forward to sharing many more pieces of my learning from this conference with you through your children’s classroom experience as well as some parent sessions that I will be leading later in the school year.

 

Lean into the Learning

THINK

 

While we can tell students again and again and again and again to protect their online identity, to make wise decisions, and to present oneself online as they would in person, often these are lessons that are only capable of being learned through experience.

Just this week a wonderful example of this presented itself, and while others would shy away due to the use of and fear of their children/students being exposed to certain language particularly in schools, I an adamant that we need to lean in to the learning, not shy away of the fear.  These opportunities may present far greater lifetime learning payoffs than the risks and should be harnessed for this greater good (I am in no ways saying that this can or should be done without supervision or adult discretion).

In our fourth grade 21st century learning class, @21ststacy presented a great lesson using todaysmeet.com to engage students in a discussion about whit is means to be brave during the first week of school (http://todaysmeet.com/firstweek).  The students were engaged in and enjoyed the lesson, and they were excited when Stacy shared it with our school families as well as her followers on twitter. A person who follows Stacy saw the lesson and decided to comment.

“What an amazing lesson.  I wish our school did cool shit like this”

We use the “Think Chart” above with students to help them reflect before we post anything on any social network site (but this could and should also translate to reflection before emailing, texting or speaking).

T is it true?

H is it helpful?

I is it inspiring?

N is it necessary?

K is it kind?

Certainly reflecting on the “Think Chart” in response to the comment, one could raise whether the use of profanity is necessary and whether profanity in a response to a school or anyone is kind. The real lessons here are in opportunity lost and opportunities presented.

From an opportunity lost prospective:  If the commenter had said the same comment without the profanity: “What an amazing lesson.  I wish our school did cool stuff like this,” it would have been an opening or a chance for us to connect with the commenter and maybe set up a classroom connection or a Skype chat.  Furthermore, had the presenters said “What an amazing lesson.  Our schools does similar lessons with (padlet, edmodo…etc),” it would have been an opportunity for us to build on our CLN (classroom learning network) by adding a new source four us to learn from.

From an opportunity gained perspective: The use of the single word of profanity in his comment has changed it from a post that creates connection and allows our students to meet other communities to a powerful learning tool.  We learn by doing and experiencing. Though we would love for our student and children to learn from things we say and the warnings and guidance we offer them, it is unfortunately in the mistakes that we make or experience that the most meaningful and long term learn occur.  As the students joy for the activity and the sharing of this activity have created investment for them, the comment can present disappointment at the “sullying” of their effort.  We can and must now share with them that this comment and harness the learning opportunity to discuss our, their, and this commenter’s digital footprint.  We must let them know that employers, colleges, and organizations search for an applicant’s digital footprint and look for the ways in which the model their online self vs. their in-person self.  This commenter has now created an entry in their digital portfolio in which they respond to elementary classes and teachers with profanity. We must ask them to reflect about whether it matters that the intentions of the commenter would good, as he was clearly giving credit to the work that the class had done, or whether the single error in judgment would be the impact of this contribution to his digital footprint.

No one wants their kids exposed to some of the profanity that they see regularly in the movies, news, and on the web.  As teachers, however, we have to lean into these learning opportunities. Yes, it is our primary job and want to keep our kids safe, but safety is not achieved not preparing them and making sure that they themselves are making decisions on social networks and across digital platforms that represent their best self.  They must have exposure, training, and the modeling to use these tools in a positive way to harness their benefit and to contribute always with the idea in mind, “is it true, is it helpful, is it inspiring, is it necessary is, and most importantly is it kind?”

 

 

A compilation of the Why, How to Get Started, and How to Get Connected with Twitter

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It seems as the number of resources available to twitter followers on why to use twitter, how to get started with twitter, and how to get connected may be as overwhelming as the twitter-sphere itself.

Why Tweet?

As I prepare to start a new year with my team, we are looking to harness all the myriad of benefits that twitter affords:

  1. Increased communication and documentation of student learning
  2. Connecting our students with original sources (authors, organizations, experts…etc)
  3. Connecting our students with other classrooms and students in the global community
  4. Building a more robust connected faculty web of individually meaningful PLNs
  5. Modeling and sharing the digital literacy skills that are important tools for our students future

(Why Tweet from my twitter feed in the past week)

“…social media pervades all aspects of modern society, and it has become an imperative for us as educators — and parents — to model appropriate digital citizenship to even our youngest learners. Do I really believe that toddlers should have Twitter handles? Not really. But we do need to introduce children to the virtual, social world around them in appropriate and meaningful ways? Definitely (from Beth Holland http://www.edutopia.org/user/49983http://www.edutopia.org/user/49983).”

“The big picture in being a connected educator is the idea that you as the educator are first connected to the general flow of information, and then secondly, focused on specific connections to drill down to the detailed needs specific to you, or your students’ needs. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all applications that may be used to connect educators. Like it or not however, Twitter is the backbone of a majority of Personal/Professional Learning Networks for educators. Educators have taken Twitter beyond its intended use, making it a professional tool for collaboration. Approving or disapproving of the application is like approving or disapproving of a hammer or screwdriver. You can hate them all you want, but try building a house without them. Being on Twitter and following 200 sharing educators is a general connection that will meet general needs, and promote great reflection on education. Your Twitter timeline will flow with education sources and information 24/7. Information and sources are simply there for the taking. Using that timeline to focus on educators in your area of expertise will render ideas and lessons beyond general education philosophy to meet specifics in your area of study. If you teach English focus on English teachers. If you teach second grade focus on second grade teachers. There are thousands of connected educators in your specific area of expertise willing to share with you. Your task is to find them and connect (from Tom Whitby http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/).”

How to get started?

Beginning on twitter may feel like jumping into a pool in which you cannot see the bottom though you are aware that the water is scuba-diving deep. The seemingly infinite number of tweets, the new vocabulary of handles and hashtags, and the concern about fitting another tool into and already full day and personal reality can leave many standing on the edge scared to dive in. With this as in any endeavor, it is best to start small with connections and content that would be most relevant and interesting to your personal situation.

(How to get started from my twitter feed in the past week)

Twitter 101 for Teachers: Steps for Getting Started on Twitter from Mrs. T’s Middle Grades Blog

Getting Started with Twitter in the Classroom from Carrie Kamm’s Blog

Twitter for Educators: A Beginner’s Guide By Amber Coggin via Jerry Blumengarten’s http://cybraryman.com/

How to get connected

Ok, so you are in the pool, now what.  It seems as if there is a world of swimming, sharks and minnows, and water polo seamlessly and simultaneously going on all around you.  How do you move from in the pool to “in” the pool?

Start with personally relevant people and hashtags.

“There are several hundred education Chats taking place on Twitter each and every day. Participation in these chats enables educators the ability to exchange, consider, reflect, modify and adopt ideas from educators around the world. These chats are a great place to find, and connect with other educators based on the acceptance of their ideas as opposed to their title. Follow the chat hashtags (from Tom Whitby http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/).”

Below are list of hashtags and educationally relevant chats.  These lists are by no means complete, rather they are an attempt to offer some starting points to immerse yourself in the twitter-sphere and allow you to start to build your own PLN with the most meaningful and relevant connections.

Educational Hashtags

Grade Level

Subject/Division Based

#kinderchat

#arted

#1stchat

#elemchat

#2ndchat

#grammar

#3rdchat

#jed21

#4thchat

#jedchat

#5thchat

#langchat

#6thchat

#mathchat

#mschat

Beginning Twitter

#scichat

#bastt

#sschat

#battt

Project Based Learning

Technology Integration

#pblchat

#4ITS

#pblworld

#digcit

#edapp

Global Learning

#edtech

#globalclassroom

#ipadchat

#qrcodes

Best of Blogs

#smartee

#blogmust

#tichat

 

Educationally relevant chats and schedule.

SUNDAY

#sunchat Sunday Ed Chat

9:00 AM

#1stchat First Grade Teachers Chat

9:00 AM

#titletalk Promote reading and literacy

9:00 AM

#21stedchat 21st Century Education Chat

9:00 AM

MONDAYS

#mathchat Math Teachers Chat

3:00 PM

#engchat English Teachers Chat

7:00 PM

#sschat Social Studies Teachers Chat

7:00 PM

#pechat Physical Education Chat

7:00 PM

#4thchat Fourth Grade Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#musedchat Music Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#edtechchat Educational Technology Chat

8:00 PM

#21stadmin 21st Century Administrator Chat

9:00 PM

#kinderchat Kindergarten and Early Childhood Chat

9:00 PM

#smartee SMART technology (board, software, etc.) Chat

9:30 PM

TUESDAYS

#edchat Education Chat

12:00 PM

#pblchat Project Based Learning Chat

8:00 PM

#edteach Ed Teach Chat

8:00 PM

#5thchat 5th grade Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#patue Pedagogy and Technology

8:00 PM

#6thchat 6th Grade Chat

9:00 PM

#smartee SMART (software, boards, etc.) Chat

9:00 PM

#scichat Science Teachers Chat

9:00 PM

WEDNESDAYS

#ipadchat Ipads in education Chat

1:00 PM

#web20tools Web 2.0 Tools in teaching

6:00 PM

#3rdchat 3rd Grade Chat

7:00 PM

#edmusic Music Education

7:00 PM

#2ndchat Second Grade Teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#libchat Librarian’s Chat

8:00 PM

#jedchat Jewish Ed Chat

9:00 PM

#psycchat School Psychologist Chat

9:00 PM

THURSDAYS

#characteredchat Character Ed Chat

4:00 PM

#mathchat Math Teachers Chat

7:00 PM

#artsed Arts in Education Chat

7:30 PM

#langchat Foreign Language Chats

8:00 PM

#6thchat 6th grade teachers Chat

8:00 PM

#gaed Georgia Ed Chat

8:00 PM

#mschat Middle School Chat

8:00 PM

#escchat Elementary Counselors Chat

8:00 PM

#isedchat Independent School Educators Chat

9:00 PM

Going Forward

Finally, to all new and experienced teachers and collaborators in the pool, I thank you.  Thank you for the sharing that you have offered me as I have newly explored the potential of this tool, and thank you for the sharing that you will offer to me and all of my team in the coming weeks, months, and years.