So a wiki is a type of website. It is meant to be collaborative and CMSwikispaces is useful for that and for hosting very large files, but if you are ready to go to a nicer and easier website, you might want to try Weebly. A teacher asked about it so I made these instructions. There are also plenty of online tutorials and instructions on the weebly site if you want or I can sit with you and walk you through the setup. Super easy and much more polished look than our old website.
Also you can use it for a secondary website or just a homework blog or parent blog site.
The windows upgrade is a perfect excuse to move your documents over to Google Drive. Follow these instructions to upload and you will have access to all your files from any computer smartphone or tablet nomatter where you are. It will also allow you to share instantly with coworkers, students, or anyone you wish. See me if you don't remember your password.
The first vid shows how to do it from Firefox. The second shows from Chrome (to upload
In which I share with you my most crushing teacher moment:
A lot of the ed world is talking about how valuable failure is to students who have a growth mindset, and how we educators shouldn't protect students from this growth opportunity.
I want to talk to you about the value of your own failures, too, and how we can use them to make us better teachers. Let's start with one of my many cringeworthy teaching moments that changed me for the better. It happened 19 years ago and I remember it like yesterday.
It was the last day of school my first year at Piedmont. I was maybe in year 6 of my teaching, I loved my school and students, and I had hit my stride. I was no longer floundering, I was so effective, so clever, so sure that I was changing each one of my students' lives for the better.
"They are so lucky to have had me instead of a more dull teacher", I may have thought as my students filed out for the summer. One student, an honors student, a popular and attractive girl, hands me an envelope from her mom. "Oh how nice, a handwritten thank you" I may have thought. When I opened the business-style trifold letter from her mom, I read three pages of how a throwaway sarcastic joke I had made in October crushed this girl and made her secretly resent me for the rest of the year.
The mom described to me in detail how the child had come home and cried because of my callous choice of words. I remembered the incident. It happened when the student couldn't locate a word on a page (I had assigned a worksheet--even worse!) The word was right in front of her and I pointed to it and ....now I am too embarrassed to even write what i said but I called her a name one middle schooler might call another middle schooler when they make an obvious mistake. I chuckled. She laughed probably, we moved on.
Now I am staring at pages of complaint. This mom has waited until the last day of school to let me know how I hurt her daughter. I am crushed. I pen a reply and put it in the mail within hours. Pages of reply, heartfelt apology, sincere compliments. "I would never have said it if I truly thought that about your daughter, ma'am. It is because it seemed so obvious that she is brillant that I made the ridiculous insult. Please let her know...."
I never heard back. It is one of the most painful lessons of my teaching career. I hurt a child with my callousness. I need to be more careful. This job is no joke.
That was when I got rid of sarcasm and I am a better teacher for it. I've since heard from others that there is no place for it in a shared inquiry environment and I totally agree. Others use it and they feel it works. I am not sure. All I know is that I will never do it again. The incident made me a better teacher.
Maybe you have a story like this, a big embarrassing teacher fail. You're not alone. We all grow through pain.
The Celebrating Piedmont blog is all about affirming your great teaching moments. I want you to know that your "crawl under a rock moments" are useful and necessary for growth, too.
This is a link to another reflective teacher's cringworthy moment. We all have had them and we are all moving forward together!
Open Letter from A PD Facilitator 8 months into the job's creation
Figuring out the job of PD Facilitator in a school full of vastly differnent but equally skilled teachers, I realized that the idea of personalized PD was the way I wanted to go. Rather than showcase only one style, I wanted to share the best things about all the different styles of teaching that happen in our building so we can take what we want from each other.
Not only do we have to recognize that ways of teaching we ourselves would not choose are valid and productive, we must realize that for a school to work, to run smoothly and to serve all the various needs we are tasked with we MUST all be different, and continue to be so. PD should help us use and develop our strengths to compensate for our weaknesses. Therefore it MUST be personalized.
I am facilitating PD by showing you each other and then you choose what you want to take from that, where you want to go. I am always here for your requests for any specific thing you'd like support on, but while you are in your classes being amazing, I am showcasing what the other amazing around the school and putting that in the weekly newsletter so we can inspire each other.
This is kind of backwards to what I thought PD was going to be because the PD is coming from each other and I am just the conduit but it seems right when I am surrounded by so much intelligence, talent and craft. We are getting ideas from each other and are also you deserve to have someone recognize and brag on your skills and ideas!
Update: The article mentioned in the last link of this article is an example of being connected via an online PLN. https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-04-09-charting-the-pd-waters-with-badges came about via a PLN connection. I admired Laura Fleming's work, and because I followed her on Twitter, was able to connect her with Edsurge.
I was asked to share why I like being part of district PLNs so when I went away last weekend, I used my time at the airport to film myself talking about why I love having an online PLN - a global learning network of educators that I can learn from via social media like Twitter and Yammer, and how it is good to have district connections within that PLN.
Upshot: You willl get new views, great ideas, and a lot of inspiration and practical tips from connecting to others on social media.
I love the idea of a PLN as personalized professional development. Along with badging I hope it is the wave of the PD future. I can help you discover the ones that suit you or help you navigate the ones that are not intuitive.
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Search this site: Use a Google search, type the words you are looking for and append the phrase "piedmontpd.weebly" to the search.
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.