Twitter Mosaic Meme

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http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/23/practika-a-free-icon-set/My e~friend Linda tagged me for this meme (first time I saw the term I had to look it up:). What a great idea it is too…often I go to my friends’ following lists in order to find more like-minded people in which to collaborate. Sifting through pages at Twitter.com can take a lot of time; I love that the mosaic images link to potential new connections.

The images below represent many people who have positively affected both me and my teaching. As mentioned in a previous post, my teaching has transformed…quickly. I currently have a difficult time reflecting on teaching practices prior to connecting with other educators on Twitter. What is sad, is only those utilizing the service know what I’m talking about. Mentioning it among face to face friends and colleagues, I’m met with faces of complete uncertainty (as far as I know~ only two of the people below are even from Montana). Perhaps that’s why, seeing the faces of my digital learning network stacked neatly in piles on the screen before me, I feel more networked then ever before. I have an amazing community of colleagues right in my hometown, but we are restricted by walls and time. My digital network is 24-7…my time, your time, our time. THAT is amazing.

Having been on Twitter for a few months now, I’ve gained both the confidence and the tools to start adding more and more people to my following list resulting in many more people following me (welcome, by the way!) My community is growing and changing every day…I’m in awe of that. That said, I’m thinking I will post a new mosaic occasionally in order to see the transformation and growth of my digital professional community (Wouldn’t it be nice if the location would show when you hover over the image?…I may have to suggest that to the developer) If you’re here reading this and see your image below, have I said thanks lately? Thanks! If you think this doesn’t apply to you because I haven’t had the opportunity to “talk” to you…please know, I AM both listening and learning from you too.

Now…I must tag some “tweeples” ūüėČ I realize we are all busy people…so don’t feel you NEED to do this; only if you have time. I tag @ktrefz (…so I just checked out your blog, um…love it!), @kellyhines, (In the short time I’ve followed you, I’ve gained so many resources), @e_shep (one of the most supportive twitterers I’ve met),¬†@eduguy101, @mrsbrowndog (both because you were two of the first connections I made on twitter…so glad you’ve stuck with me.

*See rules below mosaic

Twitter Love

Here are the rules:
1. Go to http://sxoop.com/twitter/ to create your mosaic (you can choose friends or followers).
2. Copy the code and paste it into a blog entry.
3. Reflect and comment on your mosaic.
4. Tag some ‚Äútweeples.‚ÄĚ
5. Link back to this post or the post where you were first tagged.

Sometimes Learning Just Happens…

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An amazing thing happens with fifth grade students after holiday break. I’m not sure if it’s due to the gradual emergence into preadolescence or if it’s the desire to be back in a structured environment among their young colleagues; whatever the reason…they change. Their voices come out; occasionally in unison, but often as individuals. Their ability to articulate their thoughts both in text and in discussion, continues to amaze me; constantly reminding me to never underestimate their capacity to grow.

This afternoon, while nearing the end of our current read aloud, The¬†Watson’s go to Birmingham: 1963, one perceptive student interrupted and asked me to backtrack and repeat the dedication at the beginning of the book. If you haven’t read¬†Watson’s, it is Christopher Paul Curtis’ fictitious account of an African American family’s trip to Birmingham at the same time as the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. That question led to an impromptu time-line activity led by the students. It was fun to watch students, without prompting, wander to the back computers to research important dates in African American history. Other students were checking for information in their text book and on my bookshelves. Their goal was to map on the whiteboard, some of the major events bringing our country from that tragic moment…until now, a week prior the inauguration of the first African American president. The spontaneous discussion, brainstorming, analyzing, and synthesizing could not have been witnessed in my classroom a few months ago (at least not at this level-and independently). Watching the process unfold, I observed a¬†community¬†of learners in action. Students were comfortable enough with one another to truly collaborate fearlessly. There was no¬†assignment¬†so there could be no failure. Scaffolding their progress was their focus toward a common and achievable goal.

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Keeping it real: Moments like this are what make starting a new year so difficult. Each year, we grow with the students we teach; we ultimately unite as a network to challenge and support each other. Establishing trust and comfort must happen early in the year, but it is certainly not immediate; it is built through constant questioning, listening, and sharing. We have worked very hard to achieve it and will have to work even harder to maintain it.

As usual, I learned much from my students today.

My emergence into the blogosphere…

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Reflection

I’m not quite certain why it has taken me so long to begin my own personal blog. I believe I had convinced myself that it would take too much time to put my thoughts into a comprehensible format. I also had convinced myself I could not keep up with the wonderful musings I have happened upon in the edublog¬†world. I have since come to realize the practice of reflection must be done in order to move forward with ideas constantly building in my mind. Experience has taught me that both inspirations and reflections must be written down for me to transfer thought into¬†practice.

Keeping this site current will be a priority of mine, and I hope it becomes a meaningful addition to the ever-growing network of voices representing our dynamic field of education.   

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Keeping it real: In my classroom I am constantly asking students to think deeper, question further, and use resources. This is one more attempt at practicing what I preach. My primary goal for this blog is to create a written timeline in which I can refer for my own personal growth as an educator. Discussion with colleagues can only strengthen and quicken that growth…so please comment, ask questions, and offer suggestions. Finally, thanks for stopping by!