Prompt: Reflect on a teacher or the status of teachers
What thoughts come to mind when you think of World Teachers’ Day? Here are some ideas:
Share a story of a teacher who made an impact on you.
Tell us about your experience with higher education and the teaching staff you encountered.
Why did you become a teacher?
If you had total freedom and unlimited resources, how would you celebrate World Teachers’ Day at your workplace?
So much for blogging a few times a week to catch up! Life is funny like that. Regular blogging is important to me. The reflective practice of blogging is very therapeutic.
Today’s topic is so time sensitive it forced me to do my catch up posts out of order. It might even have caused me to do the remaining past posts in any order they appeal to me rather than their numerical order. What’s fun to remember is that I make the rules here on my blog, so catching up in numerical order or completely random order is up to me.
Today is World Teachers’ Day. I have to be honest and say that in my 17 years as an educator I don’t recall celebrating or acknowledging World Teachers’ Day. That’s not to say it doesn’t matter, it most certainly does, but now that I am out of the classroom I have a lot more time to reflect on my classroom days.
Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers
I felt very empowered when I was in the classroom. While I had the framework of my district to work within, I always felt I had some room to make decisions about how my students were taught and how I wanted to approach teaching them. I felt free to read and learn about new approaches and strategies. I felt free to collaborate with my colleagues to make my students’ academic experiences as powerful as possible. It had been my hope as a teacher on assignment that I would be able to work with teachers in accomplishing the same goal…enriching the learning experiences of their students.
On this year’s World Teachers’ Day I ask all those who have been teachers and are now in a position outside of the classroom, whatever that may be, do you feel free and empowered in your new role? Do you feel disconnected from the teacher you once were or do you feel you are even more empowered in your new role? Share with me in the comments below. 🙂
Prompt: Write a post reflecting on the last half year of blogging.
Here are some possible topics to help get you started:
Share your favorite posts that you’ve written and tell us what they mean to you.
Share your three favorite posts that others in the #edublogsclub have written and tell why you loved them.
What has been your biggest challenge during the last six months of blogging? Why?
What would you like to do differently over the next six months of blogging? Why?
What has been your proudest moment in blogging over the last six months? Why?
How do you feel that blogging about education has made you a better educator?
The prompt was originally posted in July of this year so I am still a bit behind, but I enjoy the opportunity to reflect.
Favorite posts? I enjoy writing all of them, so I can’t say I have a favorite really. Favorite posts from other EduBloggers? I am going to amend that one to be my favorite EduBloggers. I have followed the blogs of several of the other bloggers in the challenge. And while I enjoy reading all the posts, here are the EduBloggers that have not only stood out, but have continued to blog regularly:
Mandy Ellis, A Principal’s Decree
As an aspiring administrator, I really enjoy being able to read the blog of a blogging principal! While I know some principals do blog, they don’t with the frequency that teachers do. I enjoy reading Mandy’s perspective and seeing how she uses her blog as an administrator.
Kathleen Morris, Primary Tech
Kathleen may be the newest contributor to the EduBlogger account, but she is a wealth of information and a very nurturing support to EduBloggers. Her responses to my posts have really helped remind me how important engagement is. I tend to be a lurker when reading the posts of others (like on Mandy & Alicia’s blogs) and I really need to engage by leaving comments. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of that Kathleen! I even volunteered to be a mentor for the student EduBlogs challenge, I would love to have some student blogs to visit on the regular to leave comments on.
I am pretty sure I had signed up for the EduBlogsClub challenge before and not participated. I am so glad I did participate this year. I may have gotten VERY behind at some point, but I am enjoying the process of catching up. The prompts have me reflecting on my experiences and practices each time I write and that is so valuable.
While there aren’t many months left of this year’s challenge, I expect to finish it on time with the few other EduBloggers that have managed to go the distance. I plan on signing up for the EduBlogsClub challenge each time they offer it. I enjoy having the prompts and they way they get me to think about things. It has been very therapeutic!
Have you reflected on your own blogging? What did you realize? Share with me in the comments below. 🙂
This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and edtech enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt.
Thanks for stopping by. Today’s post is about my work space. The task was laid out as follows:
This week, we want to take a closer look at where we spend the majority of our work days. Our classrooms, our offices, cubes, home offices, coffee shops, or anywhere else where we “get work done”.
Write a post that discusses your classroom or place of work. Some topics you may wish to address include:
The physical space – how you approach layout of furniture, technology, etc.
The aesthetics – share a photo and/or discuss decorating your space
Staying organized – how you do (or don’t) keep organized
Tips, tricks, or advice related to the above
Anything else you wish to share!
We want just a little window into your daily work life.
I could probably fill this post with various photos of the work spaces I have had. I am not sure any exist of my first classroom. I was teaching 2nd grade at the time at a school that had been built in the 1950s. I was in a room that was primarily brick walls, except for its interior walls that were those accordion wall thingies from back when they did some kind of communal teaching. (Which I actually remember from my own 3rd grade experience at another school in the 80s.) In the center of the building were communal learning spaces that were accessible from the back of the classroom (there was no door and the accordon wall did not close all the way). These spaces were clearly no longer used for any useful purpose other than exposed and cluttered storage. It was a sad sight. In my classroom there were a few high narrow windows on the exterior wall and that was it. I did my best with that space, but it was a challenge. When I think back on that room I wonder if the teachers there now have made better use of those center spaces…they would be perfect to make over for more innovative learning spaces. I would love to go back and see. After that classroom I became a “roving” teacher. I had a 4/5 combo class, 4 rolling cabinets, and no classroom of my own. It was my district’s solution to a multi-track year round school calendar. I moved another teacher’s room every 6 or 8 weeks when they went “off track.” It was quite the experience.
My second classroom was a portable at another school in the same district. I was teaching 5th grade now. I got to experience the joy of a portable (no sarcasm intended!) and my own space. I really did enjoy it. Every wall in a portable is a bulletin board! My only complaint about portables is the floor and heavy footed students. 😉
Then I transferred to my last school where I had a few rooms based on grade level assignment. The school was only a year old when I arrived and I was thrilled. All my previous schools had been old…and I don’t mean just schools I taught at. ALL my schools had been old…from K to college. It seems they suddenly got fancy new makeovers once I had long been through. So it was a real treat to work at a new facility. I had several rooms with nice built in cabinets and shelves and SOLID floors! Oh the little things in life. In my last year at this school I ended up in a portable again, which I didn’t mind. I enjoyed the lack of the built ins because it allowed me freedom to place furniture where I liked. It was a brand new portable to the school (one pulled from another site where it wasn’t needed and brought over so it wasn’t a NEW portable, just new to the school.) I got all new furniture which was nice, but the district was slow in getting it to the school and it didn’t arrive until just a few days before the school year. It was a mad race to beat the clock in getting it ready. I worked a few VERY late nights, but in the end it was good enough to go the first day of school. I loved it.
I was encouraged to apply for my current position as an Instructional Coach by my principal and ultimately by the director of the department I work in. I really didn’t want to leave mid-year but that is the way it happened. I had to pack up right before winter break 2015. I came over to the district office only to find they had no place for me and the 2 others they had hired for the department. So I was roving again, but in a much smaller way. I had my own devices and hotspot so I could do work anywhere (I have long been that way). Myself and my two colleagues spent several weeks huddled around our new director’s table in his office before they finally got us a small room of our own off site at the adult school. I was there for a fair amount of time before real estate (cubicles) opened up at the district office and we were summoned back, where I claimed a spot for myself, and I have been there ever since. It has been an experience scaling down from an entire classroom to myself (and 30+ students) to sharing a cubicle with one other person. All my classroom stuff lives in a storage unit now. I can’t let it go just yet because…you never know! I do wish I had at least an office with a door than a part of a cubicle…oh and a window would be nice.
At home I have an office which I am always changing. Because I am prone to WAY TOO MUCH screen time, I removed any actual desk and put in my treadmill (which I turned into a treadmill desk with a wood shelf and some clamps) along with a bike desk. So if I am going to be on the computer for hours at a time doing coursework for my doctorate or gaming or otherwise entertaining myself, then I am going to be moving!
I also make pretty much anywhere a work space if I need it to be. I never go on a trip without my laptop or my Windows tablet. Even now, I made a work space at the dealership while waiting for my husband’s car to have it’s battery replaced!
So this post turned more into “The History and Eccentricity of Mrs. Ruiz’s Work Spaces” than addressing much about the prompt blogging points, but I suppose that is alright. I am sure some of you can identify with me.
Every year I want to blog a bit more as an educator. This year I am really going to try to make that happen as I have joined Edublogs weekly #edublogsclub. I am pretty sure I have joined other blogging challenges and failed to participate fully, but I am not going to allow that to happen again!
In order to satisfy the first blogging prompt this post can contain any of the following:
Your experience blogging – is this your first post? Are you an experienced veteran? Somewhere in between?
Do you read other blogs? What are some of your favorites? How do you keep up with them?
What are your goals for the #EdublogsClub?
If you are new to blogging, do you have any questions you want answered or fears you wish to share?
If you are more experienced at blogging, do you have any advice for newbies?
Anything else you wish to share!
This is not my first post, but I don’t really consider myself a veteran. I have had my own website/domain for a while, but I have not really been an avid blogger. I have had my own domain so long I had to go look up exactly when I acquired it – June 2008. I had been teaching only 8 years and at my third elementary school, Dorothy Grant Elementary. It was at this school where I finally found a group of tech-minded educators that I could confidently move forward with and develop my passion for educational technology. I remained at this school up until December 2015, when I went on to be a Teacher on Assignment in my district.
My blog really wasn’t a blog at first, it was a class website…a tool I used to communicate with tech savvy families and guide my students to the links I wanted them to use when they had lab time or had time in class to use one of our few computers. I used to publish it with Tech4Learning‘s Web Blender program. It wasn’t until 4 years ago that my class website became a blog when I transitioned it to WordPress, and even then I continued to use it as a tool to communicate with parents, publicize events going on at my school or in my classroom, and a place to house links for my students and families.
Now that I am out of the classroom and at the district office I have struggled with what to with my website. I always knew who my audience was, but who would it be now? I have no students and no families to communicate with. I have my work as a Teacher on Assignment and a teacher website among a sea of teacher websites. The transition from a classroom teacher to a teacher on assignment has not been an easy one, and the transition in the purpose and audience of my website has been almost as challenging. I find blogging to be a very useful outlet, but I wrestle with what I have to offer the broader teaching community with my blog given that there are so many excellent teacher blogs already in existence. Addressing this issue is actually my main goal in participating in the weekly prompts of the Edublogs Club. I am hoping through participating I will be able to clarify the new purpose and audience of my site.
As for other blogs, I read so many its hard to recommend just one. I have recently started using Bloglovin’ to keep track of blogs I am interested in, but for the most part many blogs are delivered right to my inbox via various subscriptions I have. Many of the blogs I read are quite “newsy” and I feel like it might be nice to connect to other blogging educators. I guess that would be another goal of mine in participating with these weekly blogging prompts.
In the end I want my blog to evolve, be robust and have a distinct purpose, while helping me to connect to other blogging educators and building a whole new sort of professional learning community (PLC).
My class has recently begun to investigate women for women’s history month. As a teacher, much of what I do is based on my own experiences as a student as well as my professional training and work experience. One topic of importance to me is choice. As a student the ability to choose was huge for me. A teacher being interested in my thoughts was important. I did my best in those sort of student centered classrooms. As a result I often ask my students for their opinions and their thoughts on what we study, and take those into consideration when planning. I have always preferred democracy in my room, but it certainly isn’t a pure democracy. I am the teacher and I have to decide on what is best for my students even if it goes against the popular opinion of the class. It would be foolish of me to do whatever they want to do, as clearly not ALL ideas from 9 year olds are the best ones.
So here we are on the subject of women’s history, and like I typically do, I allow my students to choose, after a class discussion on the topic and a couple of Brain Pop videos to give them ideas. I was immediately bombarded with requests for Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Zendaya, Becky G, Jessie J…and I was immediately concerned. My knee jerk reaction was to not allow those and I did reject only one (Nicki Minaj) because I felt she would pose content that may be inappropriate for children. On the whole I was conflicted about it considering contemporary entertainers. It is false to think that only women from the past who have made social change in some way are the only ones worth studying. Entertainers have done many great things and I did not want to rule them out. At the same time I wanted to be sure my students had a subject who would have published material about her life and her accomplishments. I ruled out a few others who, while I did not recognize their names (and I am pretty hip for an old lady) a brief search did not provide much detail on them.
The theme of Women’s History Month 2015 is “Weaving the Story of Women’s Lives.” Students need to recognize a woman’s contributions to the past or present. That is pretty broad. We are in the beginning research phases of this project and I have already had some students change their subject, mainly because they could not locate enough information on the person to complete the planner I had given them.
At the moment we still have a rather interesting combination of women, that include Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Helen Keller, Hillary Clinton, Danica Patrick, Judy Blume, and Eva Peron. I enjoy supporting the choice of my students and I am looking forward to their writing and projects.
I have been a bit late in getting this going, but I finally have had enough time to set it up so I present MULTIPLICATION MONSTERS!
Having basic multiplication (0-12) committed to memory is HUGE in third grade. It isn’t uncommon for teachers to make some sort of visual incentive to motivate their students. I am a heavy user of Class Dojo (which I may write about at another time) and on this behavior management system the avatars used to represent my students are “monsters” which I find amusingly and affectionately appropriate. So when I saw these Trend Enterprises Furry Friends Mini Accents in a pack of 36 (yes having 36 is a big deal…I am often quite irritated at packs of 20 or some nonsense when class size is always on the rise..I presently have 32 students and have been told I could have 33 at most…but this is a rant for another post) I knew they were perfect.
So I picked them up along with some lil stars and made a simple table in Word for each lil monster to hold. Each one of my students has their very own Multiplication Monster for them to track their progress on. (click photos to enlarge)
I have never been one for flashy bulletin boards. I rather prefer the clean and non-time consuming approach. So I was rather pleased with the way it turned out and I know my students will be thrilled to see their new monsters and will be excited about their multiplication quizzes. The “party” I use most is what I call a reward lunch where top point earners in Class Dojo are invited to lunch with me in the classroom where they can watch a movie (as much as a 40 minute lunch will allow). They LOVE this and it has been a huge hit. So I will be having a special lunch for those students who successfully reach their twelves.
Thanks for reading!
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”