Thursday, October 30, 2014

No Soup for You!


 I admit it.  I spend WAYYY too much time on social media.  And thanks to the fine folks at Te@chthought, in addition to being tethered to Facebook, I am now tied to Twitter.  I have an Instagram and a Pintrest, both of which I feel I need to apologize to my followers for my lack of interest or interaction on those platforms.  You see, it's all I can do to manage where I am, and still balance my life with human interactions.


The Te@chthought Thursday musing prompt:

Week 5: What is / are your favorite resource/s for connected educators that you would recommend? Why?

Favorite resources for connected educators in "doughnut" form:  (more on that later...) 
  • Facebook.  I have teacher friends on Facebook with whom I connect on a daily basis -- some of whom work in my building that I never see during an average school day, and friends across the country.  We connect and collaborate, sharing blogs, articles, and ideas.  My cohort from UCONN has a page dedicated to support and questions for the group where we celebrate all kinds of accomplishments.
  • Schoology -  The teacher-friendly version of facebook that allows for interactions with colleagues, with students, and with grad classes.  Oh, and it isn't blocked by the school IT filter.
  • Anything Googledocs - Teaching in multiple buildings has its challenges.  Having the ability to "go paperless" with students, share assignments WITH them or them WITH me, and the collaborative abilities (including the ability to view Revision History to see who did most of the work!) is priceless.  
  • Noodletools - Seriously - where was this when I was a kid?  A one stop location to store all those index card notes, bibliography entries, and multiple other resources for building the perfect research project.  No rubberbands, no highlighters, no color coding, and the ability to get real time feedback from collaborators, parents and teachers.
All of this brings me to the connected educator situation of the day.  (And a doughnut explanation.)  Education, as I am sure you are aware, has changed greatly in the last few years -- particularly with regard to safety and the protection of our students.  When I first started teaching, the in service trainer advised us that it was entirely inappropriate to use the words "bullet points" when describing a list of words preceded by a large black dot.  We were told that TALKING about anything weapon-related would heighten the talk and fascination in that realm, and that we should discourage that at all costs.

Quite frankly, students don't, in my opinion, really notice when adults use "bullet points" as a means to instruct the setup of a response paper, and are needlessly distracted by using words like "doughnuts" -- which would probably be banned now due to heightened concerns about student obesity.   

The most obvious thing about education today is that change is constant.  Remember the talk about the fabulous cafeteria at the high school?  This week I inquired when the "soup of the day" would return as an optional side to the "make your own sandwich" dish.  I was told that the government has decided that soup is not nutritious enough to serve for lunch.  (This from the same government that viewed ketchup as a vegetable not all that long ago...)

Whether it's bullet points, doughnuts, or, in this case, soup that is the hot topic  dish of the day, you can bet that like many of the resources listed above, these will likely be "yesterday" before I blink too many more times.  It's the connections with my students and colleagues that matter, and make life as a teacher worthwhile.

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