Prospecting For Treasure

Always prospecting for the next treasure of an idea.

Taking Inventory: What’s Next for 2010?

Before we left for winter vacation, our principal asked us to revisit our Individual Career Plan for the year, to determine how we are doing at meeting our goals.  I must say that in most ways I have surpassed anything that I thought I might be doing.  This is because  I never realized that many of the forms of technology that I am currently using even existed.  I am just amazed that I have been able to create wikis, websites, videos, social networking sites, etc.  I never imagined communicating with teachers in other states, countries, and continents.  And it has all been so much fun!

There are still many things that I want to do.  I want to learn more about using Edmodo effectively.  I want to be sure that what I am doing is enhancing student learning, not just entertaining them.  I need to set up some after school activities that will serve as an intervention for my students who are struggling with literacy.  I have in mind using Storybird.com for that. 

There are still many things that I need to learn.  I hear others talking about Google docs and Google wave, and I have yet to explore these areas.  I have just recently begun reading blogs and writing my own.  I would like to expand this and read blogs on a more regular basis.  There are things I don’t quite get, like RSS feeds and abbreviations used by others on Twitter.  Is DH, DS, DD really Dear Husband Darling Son, Darling Daughter?  Is there a blog or website somewhere that provides a key to Twitter lingo?  I would like to understand technology terminology better, so that when I am trying to set up blogs, wikis, etc., I understand the questions they ask me.  Often I don’t understand what I’m getting myself into.

Another door that has been opened to me recently, was attending a seminar on December 8th to hear Dr. Tim Rasinski talk about fluency.  My district has been talking about dividing literacy instruction into four equal components.  We are to spend 25% of our time teaching word study, 25% on fluency, 25% on comprehension, and 25% of our time on writing. While I agree that all four areas are important, I do not agree that they are equal.  By fourth grade, more time needs to be spent on comprehension than on these other areas, because if students are not understanding what they are reading, they are not really reading.  Last year when we were planning professional development for our school, I requested that teacher’s receive more instruction in teaching fluency.  Other than reader’s theater, I did not have many tricks in my bag. Lucky for me, my principal sent some of us to hear Dr. Tim Rasinski.

Not only is Tim Rasinski very entertaining to listen to, but I also found him to be very practical, and he provided us with concrete ideas and materials to utilize.  Walking out of a PD with a place to start, and the enthusiasm to want to begin something new, is what I look for in professional development.  Dr. Rasinski talked about spending 25 to 30 minutes a day on word study (including spelling), 15 to 20 minutes a day on fluency, and 60 minutes a day on comprehension.  This makes sense to me.  The use of poetry, songs, readers theater, word ladders, and other word games are things that my kids will want to do.  I am also excited about teaching children about the meaningful parts of words.  So, along with the new things I am doing with technology, I am also excited to implement these new ideas and make changes in my literacy instruction.

Originally I titled this blog “Discovering Treasure”, to reflect the amazing things I had recently discovered within myself and about my students.   Because of my new introduction to using technology in the classroom this was an unexpected gift.  It had almost happened by accident.  Now it’s time to take these changes in my teaching and in my life to the next level.  It is time to take the initiative and go “Prospecting For Treasure.”

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December 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

10 Comments »

  1. Its great to hear about other teachers using modern technology to teach curriculum (ie: edmodo).

    We have started a microblogging service for educators. http://www.twiducate.com – social networking for schools.

    A website developed by teachers.

    Comment by Twiducate | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi Barbara,
    It’s great to read about your enthusiasm for using technology in the classroom. I’ve been teaching for only a year, so I have a lot to learn, but I really enjoy exploring the opportunities with technology.
    You can use RSS feeds to easily read you favourite blogs. I found the way that worked the best for me was to get a Google Reader account and then Add Subscriptions, where I just copy and paste a blog’s URL. Anytime I want to catch up on my blog reading, I open up Google reader and I have all the new blog postings waiting for me.
    The only difficulty is finding the time to read the many fantastic blogs out there.

    Comment by Tania Kennedy | December 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Dear Tania,

      Thank you for the information about RSS feeds. I will look into setting up a Google Reader Account. This is what I enjoy about Twitter and blogging. You put a question out there, and within minutes you receive information and support from your PLN. Thanks.

      Comment by iageode | December 29, 2009 | Reply

  3. Specialized lingo is a way of separating the insiders from the outsiders and every field of human endeavor has its vocabulary and acronyms that allow the insiders to hide the good stuff from the outsiders. Education is like that, and even within education there are specialized vocabularies for special education and other divisions.

    While these idiosyncratic vocabularies can be daunting and off-putting, anyone can learn them by using the same tools we used as children to learn English.

    You did not learn English by looking at a website or textbook that gave you the key to understanding it. You learned it by hearing it and using it. That is the same way you, I and everyone else will learn Twitter-speak and all the other tech lingo out there.

    Enjoy all the new technology you will find through your prospecting, but also enjoy the processes of discovery and learning. Modeling that enjoyment of process for your students will be a powerful tool in your repertoire.

    Comment by Deven Black | December 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Dear Deven,

      I agree that education is notorious for using vocabulary and acronyms to establish the “insiders” and “outsiders”. And it is constantly changing. Thank you for your insights. It’s a reminder of what my students deal with if I fail to provide them with good background information.

      Comment by iageode | December 30, 2009 | Reply

  4. 2nd post….congratulations!
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand technical jargon. It’s very frustrating when you have a question about something ‘tech- related’ but you don’t know the tech terminology to describe your problem. I often search for answers on the Net only to become more confused than when I started. It keeps us on our toes I suppose. Looking forward to your next post.

    Comment by Mrs Dem | December 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Dear Mrs. Dem,

      The more I learn, the more I realize I need to know. But it’s great to keep growing. Thanks for your comments.

      Comment by iageode | December 29, 2009 | Reply

  5. Barbara,

    Very glad to hear you want to learn how to use Edmodo effectively. Edmodo allows you to engage your students inside and outside of the classroom by sharing notes, links, files, assignments, etc. Students tend to like it over other platforms such as Moodle because it has a Facebook/Twitter-like feel to it and they instantly feel comfortable with it. I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have about Edmodo.

    -Jeff

    Comment by Jeff O'Hara | December 29, 2009 | Reply

    • Dear Jeff,

      At the suggestion of some other people on Twitter, I started using Edmodo right before winter vacation with one of my reading groups. They loved it! They picked it up right away, and even started posting questions for discussion. I’m looking forward to expanding and refining my use. Thanks for the support, and I will contact you if I have questions.

      Comment by iageode | December 30, 2009 | Reply

  6. /web20classroom.blogspot.com/2009/12/start-new-year-off-right-with-essential.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed:+BloggingAboutTheWeb20ConnectedClassroom+(Blogging+About+The+Web+2.0+Connected+Classroom) – Great blog, I just discovered this blog which explains RSS feeds and edumodo etc in really easy to use and understand language, so check it out,

    Comment by Henrietta Miller | December 29, 2009 | Reply


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