Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning from Others - My First Connections

My favorite year of teaching was my second year. I taught third grade with an incredible team. As a team, we planned together, graded together, and team taught. At the time, we thought we were friends working together. Now, there is a name for what were: Learning Community.

It was my favorite year of teaching because we worked together to improve our own teaching which in turn improved student achievement. I felt that I grew as a professional and our data demonstrated the student grew as well.

Now, I work at the state department. Not a day goes by that I do not miss working directly with students. However, I have found a passion for working with educators. I like helping teachers share the great things they are doing with other teachers. I like working with teachers to improve their practice. I like working with a team that has a common goal to improve student achievement through educator effectiveness.

It is amazing how my world has changed since, I began as a teacher. Even though it has become wider, the same principals exist. Being connected makes me feel like I am effective. I am helping others while improving my own practice.

Cheers! To Connected Educator Week!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Effective Professional Learning - Commericals

I teach a graduate level course at Johns Hopkins, titled "Integrating Media into the Standards Based Classroom". This course focuses on how media can be integrated into each classroom through a variety of tools and techniques. I have taught the course at least three times and each I tweak and update the course.

One of the topics I focus on is "Effective Professional Learning", because I think if teachers are learning how to integrate media into the classroom, then they should also be sharing with other teachers. The assignment for this topic included readings and videos on what makes professional learning effective for teachers. The demonstration of learning included:

Reflect on professional development programs and initiatives that you have experienced in the last several years.
Think about those programs or initiatives that affected your:
  • Knowledge and Skills
  • Practice
  • Student Performance
Using the tool, Animoto, create a short video that conveys your thoughts about effective professional development opportunities.

This was the first time in the this course, I have had the students summarize using Animoto and I thought was incredible. I think that several of these videos could be used at the beginning of the year to set expectations and atmosphere for professional learning throughout the year.

Here are some of the videos they made: 

Friday, June 6, 2014

#edcampusa Experience

I discovered that I only really blog after I have been so inspired that my mind is still turning hours later after an experience. Today after a two year hiatus, it has happened again because.... I have attended my first Edcamp.

Since I have taken my position as the state department, I found myself in a different part of the playing field in education. Attending conferences was no longer about bringing something back to my classroom but bringing something back to the state. To be honest, there was not a conference I attended that really help me in my role.... until today.

The USDE Edcamp was different. The topics discussed included how to include all educators in social networking so we could all be connected. One idea that was shared by the edcampers is to start the movement of state involvement. This means having SDE know what is going in districts and schools, not just policy. The state has this stigma of being unreachable and I want to change that.

No matter what happens in the future, the SDE will always have to monitor policy and ensure compliance but there has to be a middle ground in which we are still connected to the classrooms and to each other.

My one take away from #Edcampusa is to connect to other state departments, share ideas, and start the State Edcamp Movement.