Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WOW (Wired On Wednesdays)

As some of you may know, I decided to start a summer PD "gig" for staff members in our district.  As a teacher and technology facilitator, I felt the need for a variety of simple, short training sessions that would cover a variety of technology and integration topics.  My idea was WOW (Wired on Wednesday).  Each Wednesday morning  I am holding hour long sessions on various technology related topics.  

Today happened to be WOW session #1.  Thirteen teachers and two administrators attended today’s session.  This was not bad for a first attempt at PD like this.  Due to the recent distribution of iPads to teachers, I decided to focus on iPad tips and tricks today.  This was a great starting point.  The reassurance that proved this was a great topic was hearing the "Ohhhhhs" and the "Wows" as new things were learned.    

 I am anxious to see what the summer brings as these WOW sessions continue to strengthen teachers and bring more technology knowledge and integration to our students and staff!  Thank you to all of you who are a part of my PLN.  A lot of what I am gaining and able to share comes from great people like you.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hello Summer: Here's to more learning and sharing

Recently, I tweeted about my "switch" from PC to MAC. I feel this blog post is meant not to justify my switch, but to share the excitement I have for learning more about all technology tools and platforms.  Technology knowledge is a journey.  This journey is forever changing and consistently exciting. 

After "re-connecting" with Twitter and adding to my PLN during these last few months, I find myself acquiring new friends, new ideas, new tools and new challenges.  With these new challenges comes the challenge of becoming familiar with new technology.  I want to not only pass these ideas and tools on to others, but want to be comfortable with the tools myself. I plan to continue my PLN journey by becoming more familiar with the tools I am constantly reading, hearing and seeing in my PLN.

Here's to summer 2012: May it be one filled with fun, learning, sharing and excitement for what's to come!

Friday, May 4, 2012

"Out of classroom" lessons

After beginning my 'blogging" last week, I found myself skeptical of the whole idea a few days later. I wasn't sure if I had ideas worth sharing. I quickly overcame this doubt tonight and feel this post IS worth sharing.

Today I as privileged enough to be part of our school wide Field Day. For my students this is a HUGE day. They cannot wait to get out of the classroom and show off "other" talents. For me, it is just a great opportunity to have fun and teach various "real life" lessons while reflecting on the many things kids can, and do learn, outside of the classroom.

I was stationed at the long jump this year and spent the afternoon conversing with the students, measuring attempts and cheering them on. One conversation today is the motive for this blog post. A fifth grade girl came up to me and said, "Mrs. Callihan, I sure hope you are running the 400M with the sixth grade girls today!" I looked at her and said, "Wow, you remember that from last year." I was speechless. This young lady remembered this from her fourth grade year. The thought of this "race" was on my mind for sure, but this comment put the "icing on the cake" for me. I knew I had to be committed and go for it.

Two years ago when I first decided to participate in this event, my goal was to encourage all of my sixth grade girls to try the event. This was the only event they could opt out of. I wanted to get as many girls to enter as possible. In my mind, I wanted to use this opportunity to show them a different kind of lesson, a lesson out of the classroom. I wanted to show them that their "time" doesn't always matter. I wanted them to feel the excitement and know how important it was to try these new things and feel the sense of pride and accomplishment when finished. It took some convincing, but I assured this first group I would jog in the back with anyone interested. I assured them we could finish together. Today, and two years later, it was no different. I finished the race with two young ladies who would not have normally competed in this event.

Obviously, actions such as this make a difference to other students as well. The fifth grade student I mentioned earlier cannot wait to participate in 6th grade. She did not run today, but was very curious what my plan was for running. She even committed to trying it next year with me.

Many of us already know the impact our "out of classroom" actions have on our students, but sometimes we don't stop and reflect on the depth of this impact. Although I was out of the classroom today, I can go to bed knowing that I made a difference.  Isn’t that our goal in education?