Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Wednesday Wit - Thanksgiving Edition

 Happy Feast-ing for those who indulge in Thanksgiving!

Source: Unknown
If it's you, please let me know so I can give proper credit!

Sunday, November 21, 2021


Earlier this year, I found a new social media platform called Clubhouse.  When I found it, the platform was invite only, but now, anyone can join!

Clubhouse is considered "social audio" and the best way I can describe it is that it's like interactive podcasting.  Someone (the host) starts a club on a specific topic.  People join that club.  That club hosts different rooms throughout the week or month that both members and Clubhouse participants at large can join.

Once you join a room, there will be at least one moderator.  The moderator pretty much runs the room, posing questions, holding a dialogue, or sharing knowledge.

And this is where the interactivity comes in.  Some of the rooms (most of the rooms in which I participate) allow audience members to join them on "stage" and participate in the discussion.  

And since it's all audio, it's something that you can listen to pretty much any time you want!

What does this have to do with education?  Over the summer, I spent countless hours engaged in rooms on Clubhouse on more education topics than you could imagine!  There were usually 2-3 rooms, every day, that caught my eye.  I'd sometimes just listen in, sometimes I'd participate, and by the end of the summer, I had my own club and was hosting rooms myself.

I have met some incredible educators via the Clubhouse app that I continue to learn from and grow with.  Yes, I'm on Twitter, and Instagram, and Linkedin... but this one is different.  There's something about hearing people's voices, having that "live" conversation - it's really powerful!  I've learned of new tech tools, tried new things as an educator, and continue to love listening and participant in these rooms!

Things are a little slower for educators on Clubhouse right now (educator overwhelm, anyone?) but I am still in a few rooms each week, and am looking forward to watching the education side of Clubhouse continue to grow.  And, in the mean time, there are tons of rooms hosting book discussions, TV show dialogue, parenting, sports, celebrities... so many choices!

If you decide to hop on the app, find me (@GetTeachingTech) and join my club (Get Teaching with Tech) for a great monthly tech discussion!


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

What's Your Why?

I love teaching.

I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. In fact, when I was in fourth grade, I wrote a poem about becoming an art teacher (my 9-year-old self thought highly of her art skills!). More than a decade later, as I was in my pre-student teaching work, I went back and volunteered for my fourth grade teacher (who was now a first grade teacher) and she pulled out that poem. It was a very powerful, affirming moment!

Anyway. Like I said, I love teaching. I love watching kids grow, watching lightbulbs go on and fireworks explode. I love the opportunity to be creative in my teaching, and encourage creativity in students.  As a tech coordinator, I focus more on teaching adults, and though the learners may be older, the lightbulbs and fireworks still make my heart sing.  It brings a whole new level to teaching, and it feels more like empowering others to uncover their talents and abilities.

The pandemic has changed a lot, and even more for teachers and schools in general.  A few weeks ago, I was in an education discussion on social media and someone posed the question "what's your why?" 

My first thought was, why would anyone in this day and age choose to go into education?  I mean, when I joined the world of education, teachers had a lot more respect, had a lot more flexibility, and overall, had a lot more support.  Now, education (like most of the world) is short staffed, but unlike the rest of the world, more and more gets piled on the plates of schools and educators, and nothing is taken off.  Teachers and educators are leaving the field in droves, more than ever before.

My second thought was that I can't see myself doing anything else.  I love teaching.  I love working with people, especially children.  I love the dialogue that happens in discovering new things, trying new skills, and exploring new topics.  I love being a part of a school community- I look forward to seeing my colleagues, sharing celebrations with them, watching their families grow.  I love being challenged to try new things myself, to look at things from a different perspective, and to step out of my comfort zone.

In short, teaching makes me feel like I am making a difference in the world.  

And that sense pushes me to keep going, even though things are rough in the world of education, I know I'm impacting those in my school, and hopefully, the community (and world?) at large.  It makes my heart happy to watch other people learn and grow.  It even makes the grey hairs and sleepless nights almost tolerable.  Almost.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Learning Loss?

I don't know about you, but I am getting a little tired of hearing the term "learning loss" in reference to students and school and COVID.

Has the education world (along with the rest of the world) been rocked by the chaos of COVID?  Absolutely.  Have schools flipped to remote, some for more than a year?  Absolutely.  Have kids struggled?  Absolutely.

But learning loss?  

What defines loss?  

If you're thinking about the benchmarks and standards, which are not necessarily appropriate to begin with* then why does there need to be any loss?  I mean, the whole world was impacted, why couldn't there be some sort of standards adjustment to accommodate the different type of learning that has been taking place everywhere.  Every.  Where.

Kids might not have been "in school" in the traditional sense, but there was definitely schooling.  Math might not have been pencil-paper algorithms, but there was still math.  Symmetry, recipes, calculating costs... reading might not have required the regurgitation of a summary, but there was lots of reading, even if it came in the form of cheat codes for video games.  Science?  Gardening.  Chemistry?  Cooking.  Learning.  Is.  Everywhere.

There was SO much learning that happened during this different type of school day.  Some of it may have sucked, especially for kids who were in less than ideal settings, caring for younger siblings, struggling to take care of basic needs.  I'm guessing, though, that many kids in those settings still learned a lot - life lessons and not book lessons, maybe - but still learning.

And the family time?  I know my nieces had family meals every single day during lockdown.  They loved having mom and dad around - walks, games, reading, crafts - so much learning.

So maybe we as adults (especially non-educators) need to think about this situation differently.  Instead of trying to catch kids up from the lost learning, let's look at what they did learn, and build from there.  Let's leverage the 1 to 1 technology that most schools now have to differentiate for kids so they can build upon their individual needs, instead of a one-size blanket lesson.

Let's look on the positive side of this situation.  Change does not have to mean loss.  After all, without change, we'd all still be using typewriters.


*When what used to be considered a first grade skill, is now all of a sudden a kindergarten skill, these standards and benchmarks are messed up.  I mean, kindergarteners brains aren't all of a sudden ready for first grade skills just because someone said so... but that is a whole different post...