Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thinking Cap Thursday!

Grab your thinking cap and start brainstorming, and then participate in this week's Thinking Cap Thursday! How can you and your students use this week's Website of the Week (W.o.W.)? Please share your ideas in the comments section at the end of this blog post. 

W.o.W. (Website of the Week)ClassTools.Net is one of my favorite websites to incorporate into trainings with teachers and lessons with students! There are so many opportunities for you to engage your students and for students to create products.

Digital Citizenship Idea: Create a fake social media account using Class Tool's Fakebook. Intentionally include all of the "personal" information about the fake individual. Then, during class with the Fakebook profile displayed, ask students what they know about the individual or how else could they learn/figure out additional information about the individual. Discuss what information is safe to publish on their own personal social media accounts. Finally, allow students to create a Fakebook profile about themselves that demonstrates their understanding of good digital citizenship.

Now, it's your turn! Take a look at all of the fun tools on ClassTools.Net. Which tool(s) on the site can you use with your students (or staff)? Share your ideas in the comments section below this blog post. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

One Little Word

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, and will continue to say it millions more:
Twitter is a powerful tool for educators! 
Over the Christmas holidays, I hosted an ongoing "12 Days of #Twittermas" Challenge for the staff in my district. There were twenty-four participants who accepted the challenge, several of which were brand-new to Twitter. Whether these participants completed one or all twelve Twittermas tasks, reading and sharing their tweets was really exciting! I learned something new about each of the participants and it will serve me well as I strive to foster deeper relationships with these staff members, something made possible due to Twitter!
Another of my favorite things about Twitter (and I have LOTS of favs!) is the Twitter Chats that take place weekly. I currently participate weekly in #TXed chat on Wednesday nights and #Gueri11aEd chat on Thursday nights. Through my active participation in these weekly chats, I have gained a plethora of knowledge, discovered tons of new educational resources, connected to like-minded educators to grow my Personal Learning Network, and shared my passions and thoughts about education to inspire others who are also participating in the chats. Can you achieve all of this in 30 minutes?! You can with the help of Twitter!
Now, here's my latest and greatest admiration for Twitter: #EduLS, or in non Twitter lingo: Educator Learning Series organized by the great +Todd Nesloney, also known as @TechNinjaTodd in the Twittersphere. To kick off the Educator Learning Series challenge, participants are encouraged to select one little word that will guide and represent them in 2015. To read more about the #onelittleword movement, visit the website of Ali Edwards. I encourage you to join the Educator Learning Series challenge to make 2015 a year of learning, growth, and accomplishments. Be sure to share your learning on Twitter and/or other social platforms where you can learn alongside other educators. What is your word for 2015?
When I came across the one little word challenge on Twitter (where else?!), I immediately reflected upon my first 2015 post and my five lifelong "I will" statements. Now, by participating in the #onelittleword movement and the #EduLS challenge, I can sum up my "I will" statements to just one little word: INSPIRE! This year, I hope to INSPIRE others regardless of whether they are in my professional or personal circle. In fact, I want to INSPIRE people beyond my regular circles! I aspire to inspire others through this blog and of course Twitter, the trainings that I lead, and most importantly by my daily actions and words. The time to INSPIRE is now!

Monday, January 5, 2015

This Year I Will...

Happy 2015! It's the start of a new year and for many it means setting New Year's resolutions. But, if we're being honest, these resolutions sound great and feel possible ... in January, but what about in March or how about November? I'm certainly guilty of setting a typical resolution only to lose sight of it or even give up on my goal altogether. Hence the PDA *not that P.D.A., that's so high school!😝* I'm talking about the Personsal Digital Assistant I just had to have back in 2002 to achieve my New Year's Resolution of getting "organized." (This was back in the day before smart phones!) At first, I was faithfully using that baby to keep up with my calendar, my contacts, my budget, etc. However, it was big and bulky and I didn't always carry it with me, which in turn led me to being less organized because some of my "stuff" was kept up in my PDA while other things were written on a paper calendar or worse, the loose leaf sticky notes that so easily get misplaced! But if we flash forward to 2015, I have my handy-dandy smart phone which is my 5th limb! This little gem holds everything that my PDA did and So. Much. More! It's my life line and if I think back to my 2002 New Year's resolution, I've fulfilled my goal of being more organized... for the most part! It may have taken me a few years to find an organization system that works for me, but now it's a lifelong habit! 
So, I encourage you to reflect on resolutions or goals that you've set in the past and honestly assess yourself. Are those goals long lost, or are they lifelong improvements? For 2015, I've decided not to write New Year's resolutions, instead I've written "I Will" statements. They aren't monthly or yearly goals. These are habits that I am committing to that will make positive, lifelong changes. I challenge you to write five "I Will" statements that you are willing to commit to for a lifetime. Then, share them with your Personal Learning Network (PLN) via your favorite social media tool. You'll be amazed how much encouragement you get from your peeps to keep you on track! 

So, without further ado, here are my 5 "I Will" statements!