Happy Labor Day, end of summer and back to school everyone! Today in New England it is HOT and definitely does not feel like back to school weather, but alas, here we are. We started back to school last week. While we were sad to say goodbye to summer, everyone had a great week. Brendan started first grade (and he absolutely loved it!) and Braden started back to his school too. We all survived and got back into our routines pretty quickly.
We had the opportunity to share positive summer experiences at our opening meeting with teachers on Tuesday. We had some great experiences shared from traveling to Greece to deepen curriculum learning to traveling to South Africa to continue work with teachers and students. I shared a few ideas from my summer professional development experiences and wanted to share them with you as well.
- Let’s re-think our classroom spaces. Kids (and humans actually) were meant to move, not sit still. With tools like GoNoodle, lots of teachers are making time for movement breaks, but I think we need to think about our spaces in a completely different way than we have before. Some schools are re-thinking their spaces and designing classrooms to increase student engagement. At the BLC conference this July, Erin Klein of Kleinspiration.com and a second grade teacher and mom shared excellent resources to get teachers thinking about their classroom spaces and how we can think outside the box a little to design classroom spaces that support and engage students. I highly recommend checking out her website and following her on Twitter and Pinterest.
- Classroom Cribs – Erin Klein is a co-founder to this site
- Designing Brain-Friendly Classroom Spaces – video
- Article from Tom Murray on the cemetery effect
- Edutopia article on Classroom Arrangement
- NPR article on Active Play and Brain Engagement
- Being Well: I took a course entitled Being Well. We learned about the seven components of wellness, similar to what is taught to students in a Health Curriculum. We discussed the importance to wellness in our lives and the challenge of balancing all aspects of wellness each day. I proposed to the teachers at my school to be their “Wellness Warrior” this school year, along with the help of some of my like-minded colleagues, and guide them through monthly activities that remind us of an aspect of wellness that we can focus on for that month. I’m still brainstorming what this will look like when it is rolled out, but I hope it serves as a good reminder that we have to take care of ourselves in order to be our best… as parents, spouses, friends, and certainly teachers in the classroom.
- Persistent Kindness: I had the pleasure of attending Darren Kuropatwa’s presentations each day of the BLC conference. One was on Digital Ethics which tied in perfectly to the Digital Citizenship curriculum that I teach to my students. He gave the presentation as if we were his high school students and the stories and videos he shared were unforgettable. One quote that he shared, that he shares and challenges all students to embrace is this, and is going to be my motto this year:
I was so inspired by this quote, when Darren asked us to use an awesome app called Phonto and share an inspirational quote, any quote, I created mine with this quote from Darren.
My job as an Instructional Technology Teacher is multifaceted, to say the least. My primary role is to help teachers integrate and weave technology throughout the curriculum in grades K-8. I wear so many more hats though. Oftentimes, especially at the start of the new school year, I am troubleshooting Smartboards, installing toner cartridges, managing student usernames, helping teachers fix things, figuring out schedules, oh and teach students too, just to name a few. Throughout all of the little tasks I do each and every day, my goal is always to empower teachers to embrace technology, not fear it. I hope that my experiences at BLC, coupled with the notion of balanced wellness, help me remain positive throughout the stressful moments this school year and allow me to be present when my teachers and students need it.
A few ideas for this year:
- Just breathe… in the face of adversity, act with persistent kindness
- Inspire my teachers through a wellness initiative each month – we must take care of ourselves <3
Here’s to a fabulous year everyone!