Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Teacher’s Back to School Checklist

Did I spend time doing what I love this summer?
As educators, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves.

What are my professional goals?
Great teachers have been asking themselves this question long before it was part of any evaluation process.

What is my attitude like heading into the new school year?
Remind yourself of all the reasons why you chose this profession.

Do I know everything I need to know about my assignment?
Often times role and expectations can change. It is much easier to ask for clarification before the students arrive.

Have I received the most current information regarding initiatives, protocols, and procedures?
Things are constantly happening at the state and local levels, even in the summer, and it is important to stay up to date.

Do I have the materials and supplies needed to start the year?
Now is a great time to take inventory and look for those back to school sales.

Am I comfortable with the technology that is available to me and do I have all my passwords?
Have fun exploring what is out there and look for opportunities to learn from colleagues.

Do I have access to the information I need most?
Class and faculty lists, evacuation plans, case loads, email addresses…

Have I made the appropriate arrangements for the impending schedule changes?
With the start of the school year comes a new routine to adjust to.

Have I connected with colleagues lately?
Reach out to those you work closely with, they will be happy to hear from you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

10 Discoveries I Made During Two Years of Graduate School

  • I prefer writing essays to answering multiple choice questions
  • Deadlines inspire me to get things done
  • I value quality feedback on my work
  • Meeting colleagues from across the state is very cool
  • I am a risk taker
  • The importance of staying in touch with the national perspective on education
  • Philosophical debate helps to clarify one's own views
  • Developing routines can just happen
  • If an idea is important you will hear it over and over again
  • There are a lot of interesting books out there (and some boring ones too)

Monday, July 21, 2014

10 Direct Quotes From Kids About Technology

Some posts just write themselves.  Last week we hosted our 6th EdtechRI Unconference but with a new twist.  We invited experienced users, aka students from grades 1-9, to join us.  At the end of the session the students took questions from the audience.  Here are 10 direct quotes from our esteemed panel. 
  • You can build whatever you want in mine craft, I like to build floating houses
  • Slow internet drives me insane
  • I like Quizlet because when I'm on my way to school I can study on my phone
  • My Talking Tom is a cat you can say things and it can repeat it in weird voices and you need to feed it  and it can go to sleep
  • I like to play around and learn by myself because I think it makes it harder and more fun to discover different ways that someone teaching you didn't  even know
  • I enjoy random stuff with  technology I do not care what it is
  • I use Pinterest a lot because I am really obsessed with shoes
  • I learn how to use apps by reading the directions at the beginning but then I just figure it out my own 
  • My dad didn't want to hire a plumber to fix the garbage disposal so he took everything out from under the sink and put the ipad under there and watched a You Tube video on how to do it
  • Our teacher showed us a little about it,  just the main things, and then we just played around with it to try to figured out other things



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Things Weren't That Different Ten Years Ago, Were They?


Growing up in the 70s and 80's I can recollect with ease what I perceived to be monumental technological advances.  Back then when a new device, gadget, or electronic was introduced it was coupled with a sense of amazement. I can actually recall the details surrounding the circumstances.  Yes, I remember vividly getting a compact disc player (the first cd I purchased was Born To Run), a VCR (the first show I recorded was Days of our Lives, for my sister, I swear!) and a cordless telephone (the first person I called was my childhood crush who I dare not name because she is a teacher and may be reading this blog).

Perhaps it's because so much is coming at us so fast or maybe it is because I now experience the world as an adult, but the same cannot be said of the technological advances that I have experienced over the past decade.  Rather than announce their presence, the innovations I take for granted today have seeped into my life without fanfare and are not associated with any specific memory.

So, what does this have to do with learning in the 21st Century?

As educators we must recognize the profound difference between reaching the mind of a 10 year old who was in awe of a television remote control and a 10 year old who is carrying the world in the palm of his hand.

Although we are impressed, we are no longer surprised by the latest and greatest technological advances.  This has caused a fundamental shift in how learners view the world and more importantly how we view learning.


Ten Things I Did Today I Couldn't Have Imagined Doing 10 Years Ago


  • I used Google Hangout to talk to my son who is away for the week
  • I used Facebook to share information with relatives in Italy
  • I read Tweets from educators from around the world
  • I downloaded and began reading, VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave
  • I went on You Tube and watched the original MTV broadcast that was referenced in the book
  • I uploaded this post to my blog
  • I listened to music on my iPod
  • I used a GPS to get from Philadelphia to New York City
  • I uploaded dates on to my Google calendar
  • I paid bills and made a deposit online

Monday, June 23, 2014

10 Things I Learned on the Last Day of School

  • The relationships between students and teachers are special
  • It is a good day to reflect
  • It is also a good day to look ahead and set goals
  • No matter how old you are popsicles taste just a little sweeter
  • Most kids are sad the year is over and are counting the days until the first day of school (only 63)
  • The teacher’s room is filled with goodies
  • 180 school days really isn’t all that much
  • The more you give to your students the more you will get back
  • We sure use a lot of paper
  • We have the best job in the world

Friday, June 13, 2014

Everything is Awesome…When you are Part of a PLC

For those of you who know me or have followed my blog, you know that I recently spent two years out of the classroom as an Induction Coach for the Rhode Island Department of Education.  You may also know that I am finishing my first year back in my home district as a teacher in a K-3 school.  I wouldn't change a thing about my two years “on the road”, they were career defining and helped me to grow into the educator I am today.  However, as I reflect on an amazing year back in a school, I can’t help but appreciate the things that come with being part of a community.

10 Reasons Why Being Part of a Learning Community is Awesome

  • Relationships
  • Problem Solving
  • Support
  • Feedback
  • Shared Vision
  • Goal Setting
  • Collegiality
  • Professionalism
  • Multiple Viewpoints
  • Reflective Practices

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to be the World’s Greatest Colleague

  • Take the time to really get to know the people you work with
  • Keep an open door and open mind
  • Contribute to conversations at all levels
  • Share what's working for you and what's not
  • Recognize the strengths of others 
  • Smile...a lot!
  • Be there for others when they need you
  • Stay calm when things get tense 
  • Hold yourself accountable and others will do the same
  • Be on time, be present, and respect the norms of meetings