Monday, October 12, 2015

Let's get connected!

Principal ponderings...

Did you know that October is Connected Educator Month?!  What does that mean?  Well, check out this two minute clip about Tim, The Connected Educator.
Are you using 21st century skills to engage your students in the learning process?  If you answered yes, then you are a connected educator.  Of course, before you connect your students, you need to first make sure you are a connected learner.  We live in a world where we no longer have to wait to attend a conference or curriculum day to connect with other educators and learn from each other.  Now we can simply open up our laptop, unlock our phone with a thumbprint or swipe on our tablet.  Educators from around the world are literally at our fingertips.  I realize that sometimes that much opportunity, that many connections can be a bit overwhelming.  But if we have any hope of teaching students to be members of this global community, then we must make sure we are making connections.

To be a connected educator, you can start off by simply seeking out connections.  Start with social media.  Everyday educators are posting interesting articles and resources online.  For example, I belong to a group on Facebook called The Heart of Literacy.  While I don't get to read every post, I make a point to read the ones that interest me.  Or maybe you connect through Pinterest; if you do, then you have probably already found this page of ideas for using Eureka Math in elementary school.  Or maybe you connect through Twitter and listen in on conversations about education from around the world by following #edchat.  How about podcasts?  Next time you are stuck in traffic or need something in the background while you are working in your classroom, check out some of these top education podcasts.  And something really new that I am only just beginning to check out...Voxer!  Voxer is an app for your phone where you can send messages, photos and record yourself talking.  You can join groups and simply listen in to what people in the group are saying or you can join in on the conversation!  It's sort of like a nationwide walkie talkie.  I am just beginning to play around with this and will be writing a more detailed post about it in a few weeks.
I encourage you all to become connected educators or become even better connected educators.  Seek out resources, start up online chats, Skype with a teacher from across the country, blog about your experiences or read and respond to other educators' blogs.

Check out and learn about ways to get connected this month.  There is so much out there for us to learn about and we have so much to share with other educators.  So what are you waiting for?  Let's get connected!

Currently reading:
4th graders will soon be reading the MCBA books...Massachusetts Children's Book Award books.  I have read several on the list and am working my way through the rest of the list.  This weekend, I picked up a very quick read, Jack gets a Clue: The Case of the Loose-Toothed Shark.  This is a very easy read and your students who like mysteries and sharks might enjoy this one.
I also started reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.  It is an interesting story which is actually two stories intertwined, one story of a child in Sudan in 1985 and one story of a child in Sudan in 2008.  Here is a video clip where the author talks about why she wrote this book. 

I also read a great picture book that I recently bought at the book store.  It's called My Leaf Book and it is perfect fall reading!  It would be good to read this book and take a sensory walk...and you can use the book to help identify different types of leaves.

Events this week:
Monday - Columbus Day, no school
Tuesday - Curriculum Day, no school, classroom teachers begin math PD time at 8:30, all other staff meet at the PAC @ 8:30 for MTSS presentation
Wednesday - Grade 1 chorus practice in the gym @ 2:25, PTA Meeting @ 7:30 in the cafeteria - Sue Wynn, guest speaker
Thursday - Library Fund Committee Meeting @ 8:15, Elementary Math Night @ HS Black Box at 7:00
Friday - Para meeting @ 9:00

Great things I noticed last week:
  • I was lucky enough to pop into Mrs. Hoke's and Ms. Johnson's classroom just as reading partners were beginning to read to each other during reader's workshop.
  • I enjoyed watching Mrs. McEvoy lead students through step by step of taking from 10 within 100.  She had them organizing their steps in their journals. 
  • Before school started one morning this week, I had a visit from a budding kindergarten author/illustrator.  She made a whole book about animals and came to my office to read it to me.  This was a picture of her favorite page, but I loved some of her other pages that said things like: "Here is a cat with a twinkle in its eye." :)
  • Loved the growth mindset work I saw hanging in Mrs. Taylor's room!
  • Mrs. Guernsey borrowed an idea from a Swallow Union teacher...using students' names and interests in the application problem and her class was psyched to try to solve the problem, including the student who noticed it was about him!
  • The new Florence Roche Student Council had their first meeting this past week.  Looking forward to some exciting projects that will be generated by them this year!
  • And of course our week was topped off by a special visit from Cynthia Lord!  Thanks to the PTA, all grades were able to hear her speak about reading and writing.  Some grades even got a sneak peak at her newest Hot Rod Hamster book!  Love her simple message of 4 things that helped her become a writer.  This week I will be drawing some teachers' names and donating autographed books to classroom libraries!

Check it out:
Love this post about the best advice from fictional characters...and the number one character is one of Cynthia Lord's!
DESE has put out a Teachers' Top 3 which is a direct communication sent to you...three simple items that will be sent every other week.  Sign up here:

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