Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#CEOlympics Week 3

I know we are still in the middle of week 2 - but the end is near! AND I got some *awesome prizes* to share with you... from being connected myself! 

First off, new Twitter bird challenges are up in the Teacher's Lounge. These are worth HUGE points, so check them out! 

Now, what you really want to know about is the prizes, which I have. But first you have to read about how I got them ;-)

Over the summer, I made a discovery that I wasn't expecting - there are tons and tons of teachers on Instagram! They are sharing everything, from pictures of their classroom, projects their students have done, and even their #ootd (Outfit of the Day). It's been fun to have a little window into other teachers' classrooms! The first teacher I started following was my new friend from It's Elementary, My Dear, Lindsey Petlak (@lindseypetlak). From following her posts, I saw that she is very well connected in the teacher-Instagram world, so I started following some other educators, like @lessonswithcoffee, @iteach1to1, and even @welcometothecomputerlab. I also checked out some of the hashtags, like #teachersofinstagram, #teacherlife, and #teachersfollowteachers. It was fun to lurk & follow along until one day, I saw this:

I couldn't believe it... a Midwest Teacher Blogger Meet Up.. right in my neighborhood! And let's be honest, I was very interested in the "Goodie Bags, Giveaways, and Snacks" part of the meet up :)

So, in the spirit of Connected Educator Month, on Saturday I went to Lakeshore Learning to do some face to face connecting. It was SO much fun! 

Not only did I get AMAZING giveaways from Lakeshore Learning, Creative Teaching Press, and the fabulous bloggers that I met, but I also made some valuable face to face connections.. and the bottom right? Well, thats Lindsey and I, meeting in person for the first time! AND we are planning a Chicago Teacher Blogger Meet Up for this winter... so be on the lookout for more info if you're interested! 

So, lucky for you, I don't "need" everything that I came home with in the tech lab. BUT I want to share it with you, as prizes in the #CEOlympics! 

Follow a teacher on Instagram, email me who it is, and I'll give you 100 bonus points this week! Happy Connecting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#CEOlympics Week 2

I hope you're going for the Gold this week in the #CEOlympics! I know a few people have excitedly told me the new resources they have found - even if you find just one new thing to use in your classroom over the next 3 weeks, you'll be more connected!

One easy way to get connected is just to "lurk".. AKA you just follow people and see what they put on social media. I know many of you are on Pinterest, so let's start with something you might already know :-)

Through a Connected Educator resource, I stumbled upon this Pinterest board that is has lots of resources to get started with getting connected:

So, even if you aren't a member on Pinterest, you can still view the resources that have been pinned to the Connected Educators board

If you are on Pinterest, Kasey Bell from Shake Up Learning put together a list of the top 35 Educators You Should Follow on Pinterest. Some of my favorites are Sue Gorman, Matt Gomez, Edutopia, Erin Klein, and Vicki Davis.

If you follow someone from that list (or find a different educator to follow!), let me know and you'll get 50 extra bonus points this week!

Happy connecting!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Last week, I blogged about Connected Educator Month, which is ongoing during the month of October. And tonight, I practiced what I preach :-)

A connected educator is one who continues to learn by developing networks, and knowledge from wherever they live. They collaborate online, use social media to interact with colleagues around the globe, engage in conversations in safe online spaces, and bring what they learn back to their classrooms, schools, and districts!

I'll be honest.. I don't go on Twitter that often (you can follow me @iTeacherLauren). That's part of the beauty of Twitter. It's there when you need it and you can ignore it at all other times, if you want.  But, since October is Connected Educator Month, I've been trying to make a better effort to go on Twitter and connect with other educators. Tonight, I did an #elemtechcoach chat with other Tech Teachers from across the country. And it was so much fun! I never regret when I participate on Twitter - it's just setting aside the time to do so! The #elemtechcoach chat is every Thursday at 8pm, so it's my goal to participate from now on, as much as I can.

So here's where you come in...!

Lucky for all of you, I collaborated with @venspired and @johx1 tonight, and found out they are hosting the Connected Educator Olympics!



You are invited to participate in the first annual Connected Educator Olympics, a global competition where everyone wins... because everyone gets connected!

Central is one of over 50 schools participating in this event for the next 3 weeks. Medals will be awarded to the Bronze, Silver and Gold level participants and to the the schools! There will be prizes to top participants at Central as well!

Your challenge and the rules:

1. Spot the birds and Olympic symbols in the teacher's lounge...There will be several every week. Check your mailbox for the Connected Educator Olympic Events Chart (NOTE: some of the challenges are low or NO tech needed!). You will track your own points and submit them to me (Ms. Kolod) every week! Every person at Central (adults only) is eligible to play!

2. Our total points as a school will be submitted, by me, to the Global Points Board every week to see where we stand.

3. Stress is NOT allowed! I am your team leader to assist you as needed and to make this a FUN, low stress event all about CONNECTING! 

4. Share and help as many people as possible! If you know something someone else doesn't, help them out! (another form of connecting as an educator and learner)! Those who help earn more points!

5. Points: each challenge/activity is worth points. 1) Your CE Olympics Event Chart has the point total on them for you to complete... 2)The twitter birds in the teacher's lounge are worth a larger number of points and 3) ONE Special GOLDEN TWITTER BIRD is for 100 points every week! Try to locate this bird first!

I want this to be fun and a way for us to support each other! We are, after all, a Central family!!

Have fun! Don't hesitate to ask for assistance! And most importantly: Let's get CONNECTED!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hello October

I think October is one of my favorite months of the year. I feel like I can get a good routine at school, the air is crisp, the leaves are changing, Bears football is underway, and it's almost time for Blackhawks hockey! 

But, did you know that October is also National Bullying Prevention Month AND Connected Educator Month?

National Bullying Prevention Month
Sometime last year, one of my yoga teachers started class with a quote that I repeat to myself all the time, and has become one of my favorite mantras during my yoga practice. It is a quote from Henry James, an American author. 

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind."

So, in the timely nature of National Bullying Prevention month, I stumbled upon an organization called The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. They have a great section for educators with Kindness Project ideas at K-2, 3-5 and beyond. One of my favorite ideas was to create a "Smile File" with cartoons that make students smile. Kids can go to the Smile File and choose a comic/cartoon when they want to cheer up a friend in need. 

Stomp Out Bullying also has weekly ideas during the month of October to "encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying."


Connected Educator Month
I'll post more about Connected Educator Month next week, but I LOVE this digital Starter Kit for becoming a Connected Educator. One day at a time, in a just a few minutes a day, you can become Connected too!

"To become a connected educator, you have to be a connected learner... Connected learners collaborate online, use social media to interact with colleagues around the globe, engage in conversations in safe online spaces, and bring what they learn online back to their classrooms, schools, and districts."

If you're ready to dive right in, here is a list of activities occurring during the month that you can join in online, from webinars to Twitter chats! There are so many to choose from - I wish I could virtually attend them all - but I think I'll definitely pop in on some of the Twitter chats and hopefully a webinar or two. (Psst, new teachers - there's a #ntchat (New Teacher chat) on Wednesday, October 8th at 7pm CST!)

If you want a little more of a personal touch to your Connected Educator Month.. how about trying a SLANT box

SLANT stands for "Sending Love Across the Nation to Teachers". An edublogger - Jameson at Lessons with Coffee - hosts & organizes the SLANT box and matches up teachers. So, you get a box of goodies in the mail, and you send one to another teacher as well! And who doesn't like getting goodies in the mail? :-) I've never tried it before, but I just signed up for the October SLANT box. Think you want to join in the fun? Check out her blog post here for her "Fall into Success in the Classroom" themed box! If you're interested, sign up soon - you only have until October 4th!