Month: January 2017

It was snowing…

The week before winter break.

It began to snow.

6th grade science.

No need to say more.

EdublogsClub – short #4 focusing on images.

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in

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Administration leadership, it is what is on everyone’s mind.

EdublogsClub – short #3

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in

Peaceful Transition

This week the news and media have been reminding us that will we witness another “peaceful transition of power” within our democracy. I find it interesting that the words “peaceful transition” were said so many times or that it even had to be said at all.

I find it a telling sign when a speaker, leader, or even parent begins a message with “I know I don’t have to say this but…” and then they proceed to say that very thing they said they didn’t need to say anyway. It appears to me when a leader or speaker feels the need to overtly tell their audience what they should “know” or “feel” then they have not been doing their job to ensure this in the first place.

Qualities of Leadership

I believe the qualities of a true leader are to set the conditions within their environment, whether it is work, school, or even public office, to allow knowledge or impressions to grow organically. There should be checkpoints along the way to ensure what the leader has worked to create is, indeed, working. There can be discussions and even debates about how well it is working or if it should be working at all. I have been fortunate to have worked with a variety of administrators, the ones I have admire most are the ones who create an environment that truly fosters growth. They hold their “audience” to high standards, they provide the necessary means or support to get the work done, and then they get out of the way to allow the work to get done.

I also believe there are natural leaders, those that seem to just be born with the skills and attributes that make them shine above the rest. They inspire us. They challenge us. They support us. This is not to say that leadership is Darwinian and either you have the traits or don’t.  Rather it is acknowledging that educators, leaders, or administrators who are blessed with a bit of charisma or intuitiveness understand they do not need to tell you what you “know” or what you “feel” at any given moment. As a professional and as an educator, I don’t want to be told to “feel” my work or school environment is “great” or “horrible” because we already know this. Instead, our leaders need tell the audience “how” to improve the environment from what we already know exists. As a leader, inspire or challenge us with ideas, concepts, or strategies to improve our work or environment. In other words, lead us by example and support us to do better. I am often reminded of a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” I want my leaders to have great minds.

 

Classroom Space for Science

EdublogsClub – short #2

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt.

Classroom Space, it is what you make of it.

For some teachers classroom design, available space, and set up is all important. For other teachers it is just a functional space. The question really is for whom the design matters; do we want the classroom to reflect us or our students, or both?

Classroom Personality Design

For me, my classroom is reflection of me, it displays my humor and my desire to allow play with science gadgets and toys. I think it is important to have science content posters on the walls for easy reference. I feel having a bright, colorful, and an appealing classroom is important. I want my classroom to be engaging for my middle school students but also for me, particularly since I spend a large portion of my day in this space. Alternatively, I love going to a high school science classroom that is messy, a bit disorganized with partial labs set up and chemicals on the back counter because it feels like a working lab classroom.

Design Space Logistics

The reality is that is there is no “right” or “wrong” way to set up or design a classroom space other than logistics. The logistics to the flow of students within the room is important as it can be integral to manage the pace of the classroom. There are design challenges and consequences to efficiency if a teacher doesn’t maximize the space. If the classroom has narrow rows that hinder students or requires students to bottleneck in an area, then there can be issues in routines and lab work. If students can move around easily, get supplies and have space to work, then the classroom routines can run smoothly. Sometimes function is more important than form, especially in a science lab class.

If function is good and the class has the ability to flow, then form can be whatever the teacher wants it to be (or not). Students are flexible and quickly learn the classroom either is an extension of the teacher’s personality or it is not. The design form is a bit like frosting, it can cool to have but it is not necessary.

My Science of Blogging or rather my blogging of science

#EdublogsClub – short #1

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt.

Why Blog?

I believe teaching is a skill, a craft, and an art. Teaching is also social, we need to share and learn from others. Blogging is one way to do just that, share what we do and learn from others and that’s why I blog.

A while ago I gave myself a personal challenge of writing about what I do in a blog, specifically what I do in the classroom. I am curious about many things and ideas and I believe it is vital, as educators, that we challenge ourselves to grow intellectually, professionally, and skillfully in the art of teaching.

I teach middle school science and occasionally high school biology. I get a kick of my students’ energy, enthusiasm, and questions, particularly the questions! I know many of my students may not pursue a career in science, but if I can help them grow their brains to think scientifically and critically, then I will have fulfilled a fundamental goal as a science teacher.

Goals to Blog By

Although I have challenged myself to write a science blog, it is often difficult to find time to write. There are always a myriad of other things that need to be done first, such as lesson plans, labs to set up, son’s soccer games, sleep, groceries… and the list goes on. When I came across the Edublog Club Challenge, it seemed like a good opportunity for some motivational reframing and getting back on track to write. My goal is to utilize the weekly blog prompts to build my routine to blog. I’m interested in learning from others. I want to share my stories about science teaching and reflecting on technology and learning. As educators we know all too well, if you can break it down and explain it simply then you have mastered the content of what you are teaching. Or more simply put, sharing is caring.