Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reflections & New Year's Resolutions

The holidays can be a crazy time of year, so with the words of Ferris Buehler in mind - "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it" - this week I won't be showing you a new cool tool that you should use with your students. Rather, I think it is the perfect opportunity to step back, breathe, and reflect on the first half of the school year so far. My inspiration this week came from an article I read on Edutopia, "Embracing Continuous Improvement with EdTech"

I really hope that you will take a moment to read it and reflect up on it. The gist of the article is basically that when integrating technology into your classroom, it can be a bumpy road. When you see inspirational things that teachers are doing with their students, keep in mind that that kind of teaching does not happen overnight. The article focuses on five main points:

1) Be Transparent:  It's OK to say, "I'm trying something new - I'm not sure if it's going to work out the way I expect." Tell your students, "We're in this adventure together."

2) Learn from failure: We all know the old bicycle metaphor, and we use it with our students. Sometimes picking the bike back up and trying again is a powerful experience.

3) Revise: Analyze and rethink your failure -- tweak your lesson, talk to your students, talk to your peers, seek out advice.

4) Reteach: If it didn't work the first time, try a different approach.

5) Avoid Insanity: We all know Einstein's famous adage about insanity... "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

As you reflect, I also challenge you to make a New Year's Resolution.. not just to get healthy, quit biting your nails, etc., but something for your students. Is there something you want to improve upon in the second half of the year? Something new you want to try? And as always, if it is tech-related, never hesitate to ask for help along the way.. that's what I'm here for!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Even though it doesn't look like it outside, the holidays are just around the corner! Below are some tech ideas to bring the holiday cheer into your classroom.

Scholastic has some resources for holidays around the world. There are digital scrapbooks of different holidays, online games, printable activities, as well as a teacher guide with ideas for extension activities. has games for every season, including a section for Winter Games. There is an arcade and printable puzzles, like hidden pictures, mazes, and a word search.

Jan Brett is one of my favorite authors around the holidays too- she has a website with games, activities, and ideas that go along with her stories.

Laura Candler also has been collecting holiday ideas on her blog, as she says, "Are you looking for great seasonal activities for your classroom? Sometimes it's difficult for upper elementary teachers to find seasonal activities that are fun yet meaningful, so I've created two different collaborative projects to gather seasonal resources all in once place." You can find her collections below.

Finally, this is a link to a list of other links! Most are Christmas themed, but at the bottom there are Christmas Around the World resources as well as some for Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.