I thought that all I could learn from kindergarten teachers I'd learned back in 1970 in Mrs. Ducote's class, but Kory Graham has proven me wrong.
Being in daily contact with Kory for the past year as part of our connected educator teaching PLC has taught me a number of things. Her insightful questions have improved my teaching, her modeling has expanded my tech horizons, and her friendship has enriched my personal life.
Mrs. Graham taught me that smart boards work best in the hands of students and mounted at student height (yes, even kindergarteners can use them -I've seen them used in her classroom, along with educational iPad activities she designed.)
She showed me I can use Google Hangout for long-distance reading enrichment and she offered to help me when I admitted I found it daunting.
Her calm nature makes her a great tech tutor. She is approachable and positive and meets those who do not have her same expertise right where we are. She knows how to reassure those with tech anxiety. Nothing seems too hard with Kory on your team. She is a master of making a way.
She's one of the most ethical, conscientious, and truly helpful people I know. I've seen her work hand-in-hand with parents both in her classroom and across the country to make learning better for students.
She enjoys discovering new tools and information and asks amazing questions that probe thinking and open up possibilities. She single-handedly instituted and organized a reading night for her students and community families that continues each year solely because of the force of her commitment to doing what is best for students. She moderates educational chats of teachers as deftly as she navigates an obstacle course on field day. If something needs to be done, hand it to Kory and you can be sure it will get done and done well.
Before I met Kory I had the mistaken notion that early elementary teachers could not benefit from tech that those of us who teach older grades can. She's opened my eyes to many new ways to use social media, tech tools, apps and websites across all grades. I've also learned from her to speak distinctly, ask clarifying questions, and remain relentlessly curious. Rather than being shy about something, wonder aloud and see what you can learn.
She's taught me these things, but she is the master. Listening to her get to the bottom of an issue and find a solution is like watching a master artist: she makes it look easy. Kory is not just a tech-infused teacher; Kory lives a tech-infused life. She blends the best of old-school and new-school; of skills-based and experiential inquiry and brings it as a gift to all of those who have the pleasure to work and think with her each day.
My last post was all about GAFE ---I introduced how to log into google classroom and announced the Google Slides app here http://piedmontpd.weebly.com/news-and-thoughts/google-classroom-omg _
This post is a bit more about Google Apps - I just did a great training. First with Jake Standish and today with Heather Nussbaum of CMS
I took lots of photos of what I found most useful for teachers or students using Google Docs for Research and Translation and Google Classroom for Sharing files and assignments:
This photo shows how easily students who use Google Drive (GAFE) can search for images and articles related to their papers. They can do it all within Google (docs or slides) and the citations are placed in MLA or other format automatically! I wish so badly that this existed when I was in school !!!!! Such a time saver!
Links worth checking out and/or Passing on:
Personalized Learning Myths-
Stop The False Generalizations About Personalized Learning http://onforb.es/1nREQiN
If you don't have time tomorrow to talk to your students about their digital footprints (in preparation for summer), you can post this to your summer reading site or just teach it next year. Links at the bottom go to other Digital Citizenship topics like cyberbulling
Every time we review for standardized testing we reinforce the one correct answer shallow thinking model. This is necessary for some tasks but not all and not worth the weight we give it in education. Not sure what that means as long as we judge students, teachers and schools based on standardized scores but I do know that once the child leaves academia, it will be of little use to him or her. pic.twitter.com/b8uYjwxLAj
Resources for inquiry lessons (PBL) -
Using Urban Resources for Education (Museums, Libraries, etc)
"In 10 years, I’m hoping our cities are our classrooms." - Amy Eshleman
http://t.co/PVAEFcHhfS - (I didn't listen to the podcast but reading the link alone is a good idea)
This experiential learning model and reminds me of Piedmont's walking field trips:
Introducing Badging for Teachers and Students
If you've visited the Celebrating Piedmont blog lately (or seen my Twitter feed) you know that I've been trying to showcase what greatness happens here at Piedmont every day. I think the best way to learn is from each other.
I want to know what you'd like me to cover and share- I want to film and photograph your work, and I also want to help you if you want to try something new or "deep".
Finally, I want to give you a "badge" for your Personalized learning via Credly so you can recognize and advertise your strongest skills and tech tool proficiencies. ( I can't give you a pay raise so I do what I can!)
A badge is a virtual sticker but I can also make you a hard copy for display in the "real" world. You can place it on your wiki, weebly or other, or just post it with pride) for the areas you excel in. Now is not a time to be modest. What tools of our craft are you good at? Tell me and I will badge you and we can all learn from and celbrate your hard work.
Students as well as you teachers can take part in this so if you have a student who's done something amazing, send them to me or to this page: Toot horn here
If you are interested in using badging within your own class for student skills (a big movement in standards based education and authentic mastery based learning) I can also set you up with your own classroom based system.
PS regarding showcasing your greatness- I want to say I know I am only capturing the tip of the iceberg and I wish I could keep up! No wonder I'm behind on posting the photos to Celbrating Piedmont- I can't walk into your rooms without seeing something worth showing off. I'm filling up my storage!
Still not sure about this badging thing? It's the latest trend! Here is one principal's take on it at his school.
Here is the latest from CMS tech gurus Aubrey Harrison and Donna Jessup:
Get ready for the return of your favorite tech tips and tricks videos with ITW [IT weekly] and App of the Week. Each video series is designed to help your teachers teach better and students to learn more. Integrating technology into the classroom has never been as easy or as much fun.
Stay tuned for everything from web tools and devices to instructional concepts and best practices. We’ll also have some great guests and giveaways!
Where can you find us? So glad you asked. Never miss a video by subscribing to the links below or checking out our website.
This week, we review the importance teaching Digital Citizenship to our teachers and students - http://youtu.be/u8G_2m4AVmI
Director of Instructional Technology, Bill Sheskey demonstrates creating presentation with Haiku Deck. App of the Week: http://youtu.be/5tclGiW-hQQ
And the most recent news from Donna Jessup our Piedmont specialist:
Take a look at this weeks ITW as Aubrey struggles to keep his composure without David. Also, we Circle CMS to see how teachers across the district are using their websites and we also the great apps and resources on the Partners In Learning website. http://youtu.be/-FG3h7W0PXI
In this weeks App of the Week, Donna talks about the KidsOn Media app. Discover how to use this app to find quality books, movies, apps and other media that is appropriate for your students. http://youtu.be/mOM8AvjokFs
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Lisa Gurthie is the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary holistic education, and unschooling school to reconnect academia to real life. One day she will modernize her "about" page. She curates this blog for the professional development convenience of the teachers at Piedmont, but the editorial comments are her own.