Well it's been a while but as usual life has been pretty hectic! I recently did a Tour De' Ohio and WOW! I started out traveling from Columbus to New Concord for a Cricut class, went from New Concord to my parents for the night, worked in Malvern for the day, traveled to Canton, then west side of Cleveland, from the west side of Cleveland to the very far east side of Cleveland then back towards Ashland and finally back to Columbus! What a week! I logged over 500 miles! Thankfully Memorial Day weekend is coming and oh wait, I'm back on the road heading north to the lake on Saturday! What a crazy life! :)
Shout out to Miss Erin's Kindergarten class for their amazing state projects! I've added pictures below but wow these projects turned out great and from what I've heard the kids loved doing them. I am not sure if it will work but give the qr codes a try because each student recorded a fact about their state and Miss Erin turned those recordings into QR codes that parents and visitors to the school could scan. I stopped in today to see how they were doing and how the projects were coming and the students are very excited about the work they've done (the parents are loving the projects as well).
Last weekend while I was home visiting my family I ran into a former parent of a student I had when I was student teaching. At the time I knew she looked familiar however I couldn't quite place her until she asked me and I quote directly "Does it make you feel old when your students are now graduating?" "UMM... NO, not until right now! Thanks!" I didn't say that but I did kindly reply that I hadn't really thought of it until now. Unfortunately yes, it's been nine years since I did my student teaching in Mrs. Stafford's third grade classroom. I still remember that group of students like it was yesterday and I now remember it was Nathan's mother that asked me that (crazy, insane) question. If I could offer one piece of advice to those graduating seniors it would be to never stop learning. Whether you're going out into the workforce, going to a college or university, or taking some time off never stop learning, being a lifelong learner makes you a valuable asset to whomever you choose to work for and whatever you decide to do. I'm 31 almost 32 (apparently I'm old, I'll get to that later) and there isn't a day that goes by where I haven't tried to learn something new. There are so many things out there that you can learn about in the world but whatever you do, never stop learning....because life never stops teaching you.
Speaking of being a lifelong learner, I always try to learn something new - I read a variety of books that will help me grow professionally as well as those that will help me in my personal life. I love learning, it's something that will carry you very far in this world. Well that being said, while in Miss Erin's kindergarten class today I learned quite a bit! I've compiled a list of things I learned from the kindergarteners today:
I am sure there was more in the time I spent with these kids however wow, I learned enough today so last me for a few weeks! I can only hope that these kids never stop learning, never stop questioning, and never stop having that love for learning. As for me, I am off to research the fastest bird in the world!
As I told you all a while ago I decided to participate in a book club, this is part of my New Year's Resolution and I thought it'd be a great way to connect with other individuals as passionate about education and technology as I am. That being said the book is wonderful, I love the concepts, ideas, and research that I have read in this book and a recent chapter fits in so well with a conversation I had recently with a teacher and another conversation I had with a Technology Coach and friend.
I often get asked to come into classrooms and show teachers and students how to use the various Google Apps or integrate technology into the lessons in a seamless manner. Unfortunately it often becomes a conversation about understanding that the lessons can be "fun" and that they do fit into the content standards. I can't count the number of times I've heard "If we do something fun like this, the kids won't want to stop and go back to their work"
As I walk through the halls of so many of the schools I work with this is the problem that I see; the kids aren't learning and having fun at the same time. I see students getting worksheet after worksheet, I see every student in the classroom working on the same book, or if they are having fun they are watching a movie or playing a game. All the while they're not engaged in what they are learning because it's not interesting or fun to them. Who out there decided that learning meant the kids all had to be doing the same exact thing at the same exact time while sitting in at their desks all lined up in a row staring at the teacher in the front of the room! Who decided this is the best way for kids to learn? I am not saying that what these teachers are teaching isn't great content and that they're not doing great work (with all the changes and testing and everything they are going through kudos to you guys) however it could be so much better. Research has shown over and over again that students' do not learn at the same pace and that the more our students are interested in the topic the more engaged they are yet here we are in this situation. We have to get teachers to step outside their comfort zone, step outside the fact that learning can't be too much fun but how?
My goal in my past and present role is to share with educators the benefits of technology when used effectively. From a blended classroom to incorporating PBL into your classroom there are so many benefits. I just don't know how to reach some of these teachers? In my role as a coach, it was the trickle effect, one tried something and then someone else tried it and another person and so on however when I only get to see these teachers once a month? And how do we get them out of the idea that we can't have too much fun learning because we have to go back to our regular work? It's something I have been struggling with not just all weekend but for quite some time.
Those of you that know me know I won't give up on this fight, I'll get through to these teachers one way or another! These types of teachers are my greatest challenge but they're the ones that I want to get through to the most because if you can change their way of thinking, you can change anyone's! (Insert my smirk face). If you are reading this, please take a moment to ask yourself are my students really engaged? Are they problem solving? Thinking outside the box? Are they working together to collaborate on a topic or problem? Are they enjoying what they're doing and having fun? If not, lets sit down and talk!
I want to copy this page and share it with all the teachers who have said to me "That lesson is too fun." OR "It needs to fit in the standards."
As I was reading through my ISTE daily digest emails I stumbled across a post from a Cincinnati teacher who shared their districts Blended Learning Website. In looking through this website it seems to be a nice resource sharing which of their teachers are fully implementing a blended model as well as what they using for resources. I am currently working to schedule a visit to this school for my coworkers and I however since the end of the school year is almost here (CRAZY) it may not be until next year. This couldn't have come at a better time as I get ready to teach another Blended Learning course! Can't wait to share this with my class participants and thought I'd share it with all of you! :)
Have a great week everyone!
Jennifer L. Furey
My name is Jennifer and I work for one of Ohio's Ed Tech Organizations. We are a non-profit organization that services mostly Central Ohio however we do tend to travel around Ohio for our PD and conferences. Prior to this position I taught second and third grade reading for six years and then became a technology integration specialist for a little over a year.