Thursday, April 16, 2015


On April 8th, I participated in a "twitter chat". This wasn't a traditional twitter chat, but it was pretty interesting none the less.  Since it was Spring Break, they posted a playlist of videos of michEDchat-ters talking about experiences in their classroom.

There were a lot of really interesting topics covered over the videos.  One of the points that I always find interesting is integrating technology into the classroom.  Mike Kaechele talked about using social media to collect data.  Erin Mastin discussed how she is incorporating new technology like “Genius Hour, Student Choice, 20% Time”.  Heidi Gascon works in a 1 to 1 environment and said it takes a lot of patience to make progress.  Another important point was showing students how to use the internet responsibly and safely.  One of the ways I use technology in my classroom is similar to how they use it in Traci Jackson's classroom.  One of the challenges she has found is working with kids from high to low at the same time.  They have been able to utilize technology to let kids who are higher work ahead on different applications or websites, and also kids who are lower can use them for more in depth practice or understanding.  One of the teachers I had in high school was actually on a video, Doug Ragan, and his story was actually really touching.  He had a student in his classroom who was out on extended absences because she had Leukemia.  Having a flipped classroom where they integrating technology for so much of the learning allowed to stay on track with what was happening in the class and when she came back she was excelling.

Another big point in the videos was removing the rigorous structure of the classroom.  Mike Kachele said that he feels education is too structured, too scripted, has too many standards and is too much of adults telling kids what to do.  We need to remove some of the set expectations to be able to let students develop their own focus and goals and learn to self motivate and lead.  We need to set our students up for success, as Dave Goodrich noted, which is part of the investment of being a teacher.  In order to do this, we can't be constantly telling them what to do or how to do something.  Learning is about being investigative and thinking critically.  We need to give the kids opportunities to connect with each other more and have meaningful discourse.  Jeff Bush mentioned this and I've seen it in my own classroom, by simply believing that our students can do something already starts them on their way to achieving it.  If they know one person believes in them, that could be all the motivation they need.  Jeremie Coplin talked about understanding their atmosphere and to allow students to excel on their own time.  He was referencing students with ADHD or ADD struggling in the large group classroom but being able to do really well in the correct atmosphere.

Another thing that is extremely important in teaching is instilling values that will help build the future of America, which Keith Tramper said.  Tara Maynard expressed that one of her biggest challenges in the classroom is combining students with all different backgrounds and getting them to be collective learners and support each other in spite of their inequalities.  We should not only be teaching our children to "tolerate" differences or accept them but teach them to embrace them in the classroom.  This can be experienced in all things from the color of their hair, skin, eyes to their home life to the way they think at problems to their strengths and weaknesses.  The same way we need to be infiltrating real world scenarios and lessons and concepts into the classroom daily.  The greatest benefit for students will be learning how to apply their knowledge to the real world.  How often do we hear people say "I'll never need this!"  Is it because we haven't given them the ability to recognize it in the real world?

I will take all of these ideas into my classroom in the future.  I loved getting to participate this way and thought it was really interesting.  When I've participated before in the more regular setting, I thought it was really cool to hear many different perspectives of teaching.  I will definitely utilize twitter for more opportunities for professional development and assistance as a teacher.

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