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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Putting Yourself Out There

I am big on teaching my students how to be risk-takers. I am trying to do a better job of that myself in the classroom! Usually, I am completely willing to try new ideas or learn about new strategies. But often times it's harder for me to put myself out there and share ideas with colleagues. First of all I can't hide the anxiety when it comes to public speaking-even in front of people I know. (I heard the other day that public speaking is the #1 fear of Americans, #2 is death.) Secondly, I always worry too much about what other people will think of what I am sharing. I am the first one to admit that I don't know what I'm doing half the time and I'm sure there are people I work with who have already figured that out for themselves! :)

So this summer I met with my principal with some ideas of how we can better use technology to collaborate and to challenge the kiddos. One of my new pet peeves is the fact that we have an expensive laptop cart, an ipad cart and all it is ever used for is our reading and math programs. So she picked a few of my suggestions and put me on the schedule to present during our pre-service training weeks. The kids are now expected to read independently every day (kind of a combination of regular workstations and Daily 5) and keep reading logs. So I showed them how the students could use blogs or a restricted group on Goodreads to discuss and evaluate what they are reading. I talked about doing listening stations with mp3 players. I showed them how to do digital portfolios and they had an opportunity to play with that a little bit on those laptops. We also discussed doing a book club reading the Book Whisperer and then moving on to fiction and maybe discussing a new book every 6 weeks or so-being the passionate readers we want our kiddos to be! I've wanted to do that for a long time now and I thought with 15 new teachers being added to our staff this year, maybe there would be some interest.

I was actually very proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit. You always wish you had some kind of feedback. No takers for a book club either. But that's ok. I took the risk. And I know my students would be proud of me too! :)



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8 comments :

  1. That's awesome. We have 1:1 iPads and use them daily in conjunction with reading, writing, and math. They are wonderful tools. My teaching partner and I have done a few presentations on how we use them and it was so fun!

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    1. You guys are very lucky! :) I'm sure we'll get there someday.

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  2. Congrats on taking the risk! It is so, so difficult to get in front of your peers and present. It is even more difficult to present and not get any feedback. I know exactly how it feels. I have been one of your blog-lurkers for quite some time now and I've decided I need to be more active (with twitter too). I appreciate all of the thoughts, lessons, ideas, books, etc you share, I have learned a tremendous amount from you!
    ~Kelsey M.

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    1. Awww, that comment made my day (probably my week! :). Thank you so much Kelsey!

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  3. No interest for the tech ideas or the book club? THAT STINKS. It feels like that is what I see most often on tech as well ... drill practice. And that is NOT what they will be expected to do with technology in real life. When teachers say "I don't have time to read" I think "Well how do you expect the kids to? They THINK they are just as busy as you." Granted, a working mom might not have a lot of time. But 5-10 minutes can be carved out pretty often if you are prepared and try. Which is what the Book Whisperer is all about.

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    1. Yeah. We did a book club probably 7 or 8 years ago and it was a lot of fun. Those teachers that participated ended up leaving me. :( I didn't think I had time to read either but like you said if it's important to you it's important to make the time. Thanks Ms. O! :)

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  4. I think your suggestions sound great! I hope you see the fruit of some of them. By the way, my listening station broke down last year. I've wondered about mp3 players. How do you manage headphones? Do normal computer-like headphones fit into mp3 players? I can't imagine each child having to use their own earbuds. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

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    1. I'm sure they make adapters to plug it in if it doesn't fit. I do use the ear buds-we now include them on our supply list-specifying that they should get them at the Dollar Store and not spring for fancy ones. I store them in a little shoe rack, they clip them with one of those binder clips.

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