Monday, May 25, 2009

Creativity & Problem Solving: what students crave.

Overheard in the library:

Student, looking at a worksheet with questions and answers to fill in from a specific website.
"It's all right here in front of us. What, does he (the teacher) just want us to copy it out? I want a problem I can figure out."

If kids are bored are they learning?
Are they engaged in learning skills that will help them become lifelong learners?

How can we as teachers avoid the problem of bored students?
Here are three suggestions for adding to your repertoire.

Engage in the conversations going on in the Classroom 2.0 Ning. Listen to one of their weekly Classroom 2.0 Live presentations. Ask questions. Join the forum discussions.

Sign up for diigo or delicious and mine the bookmarked sites for ideas. Diigo has groups organized around topics such as Web Tools for Educators, Project Based Learning and Critical Thinking. There are 251 groups (as of today) in the Education category.

Have a look at Andrew Churches Educational Origami wiki, especially the page on Bloom's Digital Taxonomy that shows Loren Anderson's revised taxonomy.

Once upon a time (my mother's generation) teachers were trained at Normal School. According to Wikipedia: The French concept of an "├ęcole normale" was to provide a model school with model classrooms to teach model teaching practices to its student teachers.

Has our model changed since then? Have out methods? Our students certainly have!

Photo Credits:
Old School - used under a Creative Commons License by shuichiro

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Summer Reading

It's the time of year when school librarians in the northern hemisphere are preparing summer reading lists. Here's a good selection to kick start your list:

Top Ten Summer Reading Lists for Kids and Teens 2009
IPL for Teens: Teenspace - Reading Lists and Clubs
YALSA's lists of award winners
Random House suggestions

I've also been sifting through websites looking for books to recommend for adult summer reading. Some great sites for inspiration have come to light:
Book Group Buzz - a Booklist Blog
iLibrarian - 10 Websites for Book Lovers

Image used under a Creative Commons License by: stepol

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Week as a Learner

B.C. educators, do you know about KnowSchools? This learning environment is "dedicated to school educators to learn and share together online." Weekly sessions are offered on a variety of topics and facilitated by knowledgeable educators using Moodle. This week's moderator was the wonderful Sharon Betts (on Twitter).

In addition to learning about new tools, trends and practices in online environments it gives you the chance to build your own personal learning network (PLN). You'll experiment and learn with like-minded people as you discover great resources.
This service is free to B.C. educators, just sign up and you're in. You must register for each session individually.

I like the self-serve, use at your own pace presentation. At the conclusion of each week the session is left open for a period of weeks (although the moderator is no longer monitoring) so you can continue to experiment and learn. Give it a try!

Finds This Week:

Vocab Grabber is another great tool from Visual Thesaurus. Enter some text and watch as it separates out the vocabulary and shows it in a tag cloud or list. Definitions appear in a separate column.

Looking for ideas or motivation? Read some of the 100 Incredibly Inspiring Blog Posts for Educators on this list.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Own Your Online Profile

I took the plunge today and created accounts for my school with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr. It's important to stake your claim in online environments before someone else does it for you. In this way you control your public image.

My vision is to:
* use these online tools to keep parents and students in the loop
* remind them of important upcoming events.
* create a showcase for families to see when they wondering where to enroll their students
* share our projects and successes
* create a conversation with the community, both locally and at large

How do you envision using social media to enhance learning in your environment?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Taking the RSS plunge

Yesterday we had a pro d. event in our district and taught 60+ educators how to set up an RSS feed. Today in my own reader I have come across two posts with 'best blogs for educators' articles. Serendipitous!

Cable in the Classroom has a pdf of suggestions. Click on Bookmark This! to download the list of suggested blogs.

Online University Reviews has a list of 100 Most Interesting and Innovative Blogs for Educators.

I've added them both to the wiki page of suggested blogs.

Happy reading!