Two years ago I was challenged to journal each month about an educator that had an impact on me. Then at the end of the year I am to let them know. I have done this now for two years in a row. This is my third year of purposely watching and learning. There are so many people I could write about so it was hard to choose sometimes but here are the folks that I journaled about this year, in no particular order except the last one. These are the amazing educators I was blessed to learn from this year and each has helped me to become a better teacher myself. Thank you for all for the lessons I learn from you daily!
1, As a mentor I have been blessed to work with some amazing new talent in Amherst County. Kristy is one of my mentees from a while back. On the Amherst County webpage she credits me with being the reason that she survived her first year but in reality she is the one that has taught me a great deal about never giving up. We stick with it and persevere. Kristy is still with ACPS teaching 2nd grade and now has three beautiful daughters. I love you Kristy!
2. Christie is a fifth grade teacher in one of our buildings. WOW! I wish I had half of her patience. She always seems so calm and the relationships that she builds with her children are awe-inspiring. I know that if I had to work with 5th grade hormones all day long that I would be pulling my hair out by the end of the day. Christie thrives as a fifth grade teacher. Too, I have witnessed Christie as a teacher of kindergarteners and as a third grade teacher. She is multitalented!
3. Kennon is a LMS in one of my buildings. As an ITRT, I know lots about technology and (I'm sorry) often when teachers send me links I usually have already evaluated them. However, I have learned so much from Kennon. I like talking to him because every time I do I learn something new. Maybe he and I should change jobs.
4. Sandy is another LMS in one of my buildings. Sandy and I have worked together for many years. She is one of the most knowledgeable people I know. I have a lot of "book-sense" but sometimes I think I lack "common-sense". Sandy has both plus she is one of the most organized people. The thing I love the most about Sandy is her honesty. I know if I go to Sandy with an issue she will tell me the truth about how she sees things. There is no sugar coating.
PS: Between Sandy and Kennon I am seriously thinking of pursuing an endorsement in library media.
5. Kandy is an amazing third grade teacher in one of my buildings. I have never seen a teacher work as hard as Kandy does with her students (and I have seen a ton of hard working teachers). I have never seen a child misbehave in her room-she has a way of keeping them engaged so much they don't think about misbehaving. Even if they do misbehave I can't see where it would faze her. Nothing seems to faze Kandy.
6. Carmen is a second grade teacher in another of my buildings. This lady has SPUNK! I love her purple hair-oops I mean blue-no it's pink, wait. . .no yellow. UGH! Back to purple. Yes, Carmen is as hyper as her kids. Maybe that's why her kids love her so much. Carmen is also a strong advocate for her profession. She is a tiger when she needs to stand up for herself as a teacher, her colleagues, or her students.
7. Dr. M is a new building administrator with ACPS this year. OMG! I love working with this man! He has the most positive attitude of anyone I have ever met. Being a teacher is hard these days. However, Dr. M has made coming to work a pleasure. Yes, we still have to work hard but he makes it fun. He genuinely cares about his staff and his students. He knows how to encourage teacher autonomy in a climate of such intense accountability that you almost feel the need to document every time you sneeze.
8. Karen is a TA. She is rising through the ranks of education. I knew her first as a mom and then as a sub. While trying to complete her educational degree, Karen has taken a position as SPED TA. Disney may be the happiest place on Earth but I have my doubts. How can it be when they are missing the happiest person on the planet. Karen is never seen without a smile.
9. Another TA that really impresses me is Caroline. Daily she sends out emails to her colleagues that are so uplifting. I greedily look forward to reading anything that she sends out. It's soul refreshing!
10. Kathy is a SPED teacher in one of my buildings. She is another never-complaining soul. And so patient with the many severe needs she has to deal with. When I was attending Liberty Baptist College many many years ago I was forced to take part in a practicum at the Central Virginia Training School. I was not prepared for what I was thrown into and the experience left me jaded and scared of working with special needs. Watching and working with Kathy has changed that. I have learned a great deal from this lady!
11. Joe is my supervisor. His job is to oversee both the instructional and informational sides of technology. The problem is, Joe is not a teacher so he does not know anything about instruction. It's okay. He tries. He asks questions. He reflects. He considers the needs before he makes a decision. And when he does make a decision, he breaks down the reason into an explanation that everyone can understand. He may not be a teacher but he is a mighty fine educator.
12. The last person I want to mention has nothing to do with my school system; it's my daughter. Sara started off her college life with the intent of coming into education but that was not the calling God has for my daughter. Years ago Sara told me that she really didn't want to go to college. She wanted to be a stay at home mom like her Aunt Wanda. With the way the economy is, she doesn't get to stay at home but she is still an amazing mom! I watch her with my grandson and am touched by the love and care I see her putting into teaching him about the world. I use to wonder what type of mom my daughter would make. Her dad and I spoiled her rotten and she had the notion that she was some type of princess. I use to wonder how this spoiled rotten kid would react to having to put herself second. I shouldn't have worried. She knows what she is doing. Anyone who needs to know what a child's first teacher should look like needs to pay attention to my daughter. I am very proud of her and can't wait to see the results of all the time she puts into my grandson.
Now that Amherst has moved to Google elementary teachers are wanting to provide access to Google Docs for their students. Below is a video tutorial which provides a solution.
Here is another really cool tool that I have discovered. Dotvoting.org is a free polling tool that you can use to take the temperature of the class to determine understanding. You could create a TEI question or an exit card. The great thing is that once the poll is complete you can open the results in Wordle to quickly see a visual representation of the result. Check out my tutorial below.
There were so many new tools I learned about at VSTE. One of my favorite new tools that I plan on experimenting with isPopcorn Maker. Popcorn Maker helps you combine content from across the web like GIFs, music, photos and videos into cool mashups that you can annotate and share. Check out my Popcorn below for an example of what can be done. I added a title, a point of information and an image.
This past weekend, my colleagues and I were at VSTE. We had a BLAST! I always walk away with some really wonderful new ideas. The two links here are some that I got from VSTE. I think they would make perfect exit card tasks. My one word of caution is that these would be good for 4 and up. I would not use these with younger students.
The tweet above is a fake tweet created on a site called LemmeTweetThatForYou. How cool would it be to have the students compose a tweet to sum up what they have learned for the day. Remember, you only get 140 characters.
The conversation below is between Martha and George Washington. It was created on a site called Fake IPhone Text Generator.
While we are sharing about fake social media generators, I would like to remind you of my old standby, FAKEBOOK. Fakebook is part of ClassTools.net. Below is an example of a Fakebook on Rosa Parks
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend
by the name of Common Sense
who has been with us for many years.
No one knows for sure how old he was
since his birth records were long ago lost
in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated
such value lessons as knowing when to come
in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and
that life isn't always fair.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies
(don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting
strategies (adults, not kids, are in charge).
His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well
intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment
for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for
using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for
reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
It declined even further when schools were
expected to differentiate instruction so that every student was
was expected to receive a perfect score on a standardized test
but not funded to provide the resources to carry out the instruction.
Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as
the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches
became businesses; and criminals received
better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a
woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of
coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her lap, and was
awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his
parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion; his
daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.
He is survived by two stepbrothers; My Rights
and Ima Whiner.
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was
gone. If you still know him please tell others about his passing
if not join the majority and do nothing.
I have just discovered a new FREE portfolio tool called Bulb. You can upload pictures, videos, or type up text documents. Like Facebook you can follow others. In playing with it today I uploaded some pictures of the area. Then I uploaded some examples of a project I am thinking of trying with 4th or 5th graders. I want them to draw their own "elf, fairy" etc. They will then take a real picture and place their drawn character in the image. You can check out my Fat Fairy and Blue Bear on my bulb. Ok, I know it sounds a little quirky but the kids will love it!
Regardless of what you think of Fat Fairy, the free portfolio is really cool!
I just stumbled across the most amazing site for graphic design. It is called CanVA. Below is a great tutorial on CanVA where the person is explaining how to create an interactive Ebook. Imagine! You could use this site to make your very own textbooks for your students and then upload them to the students' mobile devices. This is very cool! I have just found it today and want to do more with this tool. One thing I should mention is that although the tool is free, there is no way to set up a class. Users must have email addresses. Too, some of the images in the program can only be used with a cost. Many images though are free and you can upload your own images as well.
_Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools,
located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to
work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work
with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus,
I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler