Saturday, August 22, 2009


This week most certainly has not gone as planned. In my mind all teachers would have their new laptops, the new network and wireless system would be up and running, and the printers would be actually be printing. This would free me up to start the real reason I took this job - working with teachers in collaborating with using technology in their teaching. Boy was I WRONG!!! Needless to say, not going into great detail, there was an emergency meeting followed by a whole week of troubleshooting and things are still not where they should be by now.

Kids come Tuesday!!!! We aren't ready!!

On one side I have learned a lot about imagining, networking, and binding computers. But, I believe more importantly, I have learned that teachers are flexible. I can't print in my classroom yet? Ok, I will email it to the secretary and get it done that way. I can't print in my building yet? Ok, I can put it on a flashdrive and print at home. You say my computer isn't ready yet? Ok, I can share with my colleague. It was amazing how teamwork came out of all of this.

With all of this my stress level kept rising throughout the week and I really appreciated the people that made me sit down, catch my breath, made sure I ate and listened to me have my "moments". As educators this time of year does bring out the stress in us and we need to remember to take time for ourselves. Remember to eat, hydrate and connect with others!

I know eventually things will be up and running smoothly and I am really looking forward to that day!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Possibilities with Pixie

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day learning about Pixie2 from a representative from Tech4Learning. WOW! All I can say is WOW!

Last year I had used some of the pre-made activities educators can find on their Trading Post. This allows you to search for a Pixie2 activity by grade level and content area. My first graders did a lot of sorting activities this way using the "click and drag" method. They sorted living and non-living things, shapes and animals according to their habitats to name a few.

After today I realized that last year.....I HAD NO CLUE!!! Pixie can do so, so much more for educators!

One cool thing I learned was that I can take digital pictures and utilize them in activities students would do or I would create and use to instruct with. One example shared was to go on a shape hunt in the school and students would take pictures of various things, upload the pictures, and then with the paint tool outline the shapes for them to stand out. Another example shared was to take digital pictures of students' faces, upload the pictures, and have them import their pictures into different locations like Mount Rushmore. They then could write about how they would make a difference in the world like those presidents.

Something else interesting I learned was that all the things created using Pixie2 are very easily exported into other applications like Keynote or Pages. They can also be turned into Podcasts, slideshows, or posted on websites. Very cool option to share student work with other students, parents and other educators!

Another enlightening thing that came to me during this experience was the first thing we had to do this morning was a very open ended "project". All she said to us was "make a pig". It then lead all of us educators to explore all the paint brush, shapes, paint bucket, etc. tools available and we learned about them through the experience. We were not directly instructed on how to use the tools but were encouraged to just "explore". This was a powerful lesson as sometimes I feel like I need to instruct students on how to use a piece of software before allowing them to use it. Perhaps, I need to put a little bravery on and just let the students click around and discover on their own at first. They will ask questions about what certain buttons or tools do and I can capture those "teachable moments".

If you have used Pixie2 what is something you have used it for?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Remain Calm, Be Flexible

Remain Calm, Be Flexible.....more true words have never been spoken to me.

Picture this: It was my first year of teaching second grade and I could feel the panic rising around me days before school started. Books were everywhere, papers were everywhere, bulletin boards were bare and there I was sitting on the floor staring around the space like a deer in headlights.

Lucky for me a friendly, new colleague walked by and took pity upon my poor little soul and came in for a chat....or shall I say pep talk! He spoke the words of a wise, seasoned teacher "Remain calm. Be Flexible. If you follow these two rules you will find success." He was totally right. With a sense of calmness you are able to made decisions that are best for you and your students. Also with that calmness you are ready to handle any situation that might arise. Being flexible allows you to respond to student learning on the spot and to adjust your teaching as you go. Calmness and flexibility lend to a warm and inviting atmosphere for learning.

He then talked to me about creating a space for myself where I could work. He didn't just mean placing the furniture around the room - he meant organizing, decorating, and creating a sense of my personality in the room. He said once I had my "space" I would feel more at home and ready to get down to the business of teaching. He was right again! Once I placed tables, sorted and labeled my books and had my mother help me hang up bulletin boards I started thinking about how to make it reflect my personality. This is when I started bring little pieces of me into the room. I placed a few pictures of my family about the desk. I brought in some fake purple flowers and put them in a vase to brighten the room. I hung two pieces of artwork that I was fortunate enough to receive from Tomie dePaola. The transformation had an effect on me and made me feel comfortable in my surroundings, which then in turn made my students feel comfortable as well.

As I enter this new role for me as a Technology Support Teacher I find myself calling to mind his pep talk. "Remain calm. Be Flexible." This might just become my mantra for the year as I grapple with new and challenging situations. Perhaps these words ring true for you as we enter this upcoming school year full of new possibilities!

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Journey

I am a teacher. I was a first grade teacher. This summer a new opportunity presented itself to me within my district and I took a leap of faith and threw my name in the hat. I interviewed, was offered and accepted a new position. I am now a Technology Support Teacher - What was I thinking??!!

It is with a sparkle of adventure in my eye that I embark on this new journey in my teaching career. In the very short amount of time I have been in this new position I have already gained an amazing amount of knowledge in just conversing with colleagues in what technology they have used, heard about, are interested in trying out and are wary of.

I figured what better way to share my experiences and learn from other techie teachers than through social I jumped on the bandwagon and am giving blogging a go!
In today's technology world there is a plethora of education software and internet based applications and programs.

With our 21st century learners using technology is essential and I want the best of the best for my teachers and students. I truly believe that learning can be obtained and shown through the use of technology in a variety of ways in order to meet all learners. From the student in Kindergarten that has never touched a mouse to the student in fifth grade that is creating his own digital portfolio it is my goal for all students to grow as learners through the use of technology.

My question to you is: What is one piece of software/website/technology tool that you can't see yourself teaching without this upcoming school year?

Please post your thoughts and I look forward to learning and growing this year!