Twitter Mosaic Meme

Standard

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.

Found! The Best Form of Professional Development (in my humble opinion)

Standard

pln-wordle1In the last five months my teaching has transformed. I am tuned in to the world of education for the first time in my career. At times I have been overwhelmed by it all; only because I truly did not even know many of the tools I now use on a daily basis even existed. What is really amazing about all of this is I had thought I WAS a progressive minded educator. I used technology daily (though my definition of the words USED and TECHNOLOGY have both since changed). I talked about having an ipod and texting with my students (now we are utilizing both in the classroom). I had shown students great websites and allowed them time to explore them during computer lab (not to be revisited until the following week). I made PowerPoints and guided students in making their own. I had even provided families with a static informational website to which they could refer for book review ideas and spelling lists. I thought I was doing as much as I could.

Then I found Twitter.

In September, During an instructional coaching professional development opportunity, Jim Knight briefly mentioned that if you are trying something new in the classroom, and did not have quick access to someone else who had tried it…Twitter can be a powerful resource. He said it…I forgot about it.

I was fortunate to have an interactive whiteboard installed in my classroom this summer (2 days prior to school start-up); unfortunately, I had no idea how to use it. I watched the on-line tutorials and practiced the simulations but that only led to me using it as a beautifully framed writable projection screen for slideshow¬†presentations and the occasional look at an interesting website. I was successful at finding some interactive games and activities for reviewing purposes, but struggled to get much further that that. Finally, in November…I remembered what Jim had said and I set up a Twitter account. My first step was to follow Jim. I listened to Jim’s side of the conversation, and began to add the people he was talking to. That led to them following me and conversation began. The amazing links people were sharing were really eye opening. I had compiled a list of 30+ interactive whiteboard resources in one weekend…all more effective tools than those previously used. Bridging information from Twitter to social bookmarking sites¬†Delicious¬†and Diggo, created a manageable flow of quick access information (what educator would not want that?) With professionals tied together by general interests and a desire to learn, Twitter provides a platform for endless conversation about ideas and resources. Self paced, interest based, ongoing professional development, wow. Now, how do we spread the knowledge to others?

________________________________________________________

Keeping it real: In addition to the links embedded in the prior post, this is a list of the sites and tools I have found most useful. Every link was completely unknown to me prior to happening upon my evergrowing PLN: 

Teacher Tools and Networking Sites for use with Students:

Many of these tools have an easy access online support community as well (ning or wiki) which can help provide both encouragement and tips for success. Please ask if you want further info (if I can’t help, someone in the education network can!) This list is just the beginning, but I found these resources to be the most beneficial while starting out, please comment other great starting points for assisting teachers expand their own PLN and collaborative resources if you have them.¬†

___________________________________________________________

Sidenote: Yesterday, while sitting with colleagues at a professional development meeting, I mentioned the value of Twitter. I reached out to my network for “their favorite educational website”. Thank you to all that responded (very promptly I might add!). I’ve bookmarked all of them as well as many were new to me. Here is the compiled list:

 

I was truly impressed by how quick the responses came. The diversity of the responses and the professionals who responded impressed me just as much: college instructor, administrator, literacy coach and educational consultant, middle school science literacy teacher and high school english teacher, all helping a fifth grade elementary teacher. I am touched.  Thanks again! 




Finally…7 Things You May Not Know About Me Meme

Standard

indiana_number_7

The last few months have changed me. My world has broadened. My resources have multiplied exponentially, I have established a digital footprint, and I have collaborated with colleagues around the globe. When I first began to experiment with social networking, I thought it a wonderful way to link with other professionals that share common experiences; I had no idea I would establish true friendships. It is an interesting thing, this forum for rapid communication. Simultaneously tweeting with someone, exploring their bookmarks, and reading their blogs…enables you to identify commonalities and differences prior to engaging in conversation. How wonderful if we could network with our students as easily!

Though I have gotten to know my PLN friends through our discussions, we have certainly talked more professional philosophy and classroom strategy then general small talk. As a result, I have really enjoyed reading their 7 Things memes. I enjoy chipping away the cyberwalls in order to see those at a distance more clearly. Three such friends (one¬†here, one¬†here, and the other¬†here) have tagged me as well for this¬†meme¬†(a word unknown to me two months ago) and ¬†I have procrastinated long enough…

Here are the rules: 

  • Link your original tagger and list these rules on your blog
  • Share 7 facts about yourself in the post-some random, some weird
  • Tag 7 people at the end of your post
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged

Seven Things You May Not Know About Me

  1. I spent my first 11 years of life in the tiny Northern Minnesota town of Embarrass…yep,¬†Embarrass…and I loved every minute of my winter wonderland.¬†
  2. I’ve played the trombone since the 2nd grade (there wasn’t much to do in Embarrass). Though I haven’t played in the last few years, it’s a hobby I would love to pick up again. My genre of choice is Jazz, and I find the blinding spotlight a wonderfully magical place…I miss it…
  3. I was a non-reader…I posted this comment in response to the question “What book changed your life?”:¬†Those that know me would be shocked to find out that I was a complete non-reader throughout my youth. To this day, the slowest readers I teach read far faster than me. As a young child, I had no problem decoding the words…and comprehension was higher than most (undocumented fact), but I was completely unable to keep up with my peers. As a result, in my entire k-12 life, John Steinbeck’s The Pearl was the only assigned book I’d read cover to cover. My coping skills honed as I went up through the grade levels. I became quite proficient at listening to my peers responses during discussion and tweaked them enough to give the illusion I’d completed the assignments; unfortunately such tricks only fooled my peers…my teachers knew the truth as evidenced by my grades. All of this leads me to the book that changed my life, Shakespeare’s Hamlet; it was my senior year. Hamlet made everyone else slow down to my pace. It was the first time I felt as capable as my peers…in fact I blew past them, because I understood. I got the theme, I got the language, I enjoyed putting together the puzzle, and I loved the power of controlling the classroom discussion. I truly believe it was the first time my classmates and my teachers met the real me.
  4. My husband and I eloped in an intimate¬†funeral chapel¬†in Amelia Island, Florida (the chapel is the small building on the left)…kind of a spur of the moment adventure…enjoy the chamber music if you visit the link…
  5. I feel guilty when I feel I put more time into teaching than I do into my family… I need to learn to balance.¬†
  6. I have run two marathons, and am currently training for a third. 
  7. I was born on Christmas Eve, hence the name. My mother had to fight my father when he wanted to name me Crista Eve (I love you mom, and thanks!) 

I believe most of the people I follow have already completed this meme; I will seek to find others to tag. If you are reading this and have not participated yet consider yourself tagged! Please link back to me if you join the fun ūüėȬ†