Tag Archives: technology

#SOL17: Service?

“I can understand complete sentences.  Please speak in complete sentences.”

Please connect me with a service representative.

“I can help you with that.

I need your first name and last name.

I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.

Would you please repeat your first name and last name?”

First name. Last name.

Slower and Louder the second time.

“What is your billing address?

Please include your full address:


Apartment number,




Please clearly state your full address now.”

Full Address

“Please tell me the first name and last name of the person on the account.”

First name. Last name.

“And who am I speaking to today?

Please tell me your first name and your last name.”

First name. Last name.  A.G.A.I.N.  Seriously?

“What is the phone number associated with your account?

Please state the entire 10 digit number.”

Phone number.

“What is your account number?

This is the 10 digit number associated with your account.

There are no letters.

They are all numbers.

Please tell me if you need time to get your account number.”

Account number.

“How can I help you today?”

I have no phone or internet service.  Please connect me with a service representative.

“I can help you with that.”

Today is DAY NINE.  One service tech visit later and two hours of working internet.

One brief interlude.

Now gone.

Anatomy of phone calls . . .

The shortest time from a call to a “real person” is five minutes and two seconds.

And guess what that conversation is once I am connected to a “live” person:

“Could I have your first and last name?

Could I have your 10 digit phone number?

Can I have your address?

. . .

What is acceptable in terms of service response time?  

A lack of internet is a HUGE problem for me.

(Teaching an online class, work tasks, twitter, messages & pix from all) 

To Windstream?

Apparently not!

On the upside, I have read more in the last week.

On the downside, my patience with any technology issues is now -10 and dropping rapidly!

Advice?  Suggestions?  Similar situations?

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

#DigiLitSunday: Purpose

digilit-buttonCheck out other #DigiLit Sunday posts at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche here. 


Purpose:  The End or the Beginning?

In the process of getting ready for #NCTE16, I was considering not blogging about this topic today.  And yet, here I am because of three different conversations this week.  I vacillated between:

What’s the “purpose” for assessment?

What’s the “purpose” for instruction?

What’s the “purpose” for digital tools?

  1. What does the research say?

Doug Fisher and John Hattie both shared this effect size for “Teacher Clarity” in Iowa in separate October, 2016 professional development sessions.  That’s well about the “.40” that is touted as a “cut score” and is almost the equivalent of TWO YEARS of learning for students. Therefore, Teacher Clarity is important in instruction, and equally important in assessment  aligned with instruction and perhaps has the greatest importance in the selection of digital tools for students.

Hattie Teacher Clarity .75.jpg

2.  What do teachers need to consider in the planning process?

Teachers spend hours poring over lesson plans and planning for instruction that will meet ALL students’ needs. Searching for the right resources, planning that delivery that will empower students and most of all trying to make learning purposeful and engaging.  That’s not easy as some content is hard for students to really “grapple with” for real understanding ans not just rote memorization.  However, if the goal is “LEARNING” and is focused on Teacher Clarity, won’t that require the teacher to BEGIN with “What will the students know and be able to Do after they complete this learning?  So the teacher process might include some or all of these steps depending on the curriculum that exists and the expectations of any given curriculum.


Retrieved from  ict/lesson plan

Each step in the process above has ideas for “possible tools” to use during the planning and / or learning process.

3. But what about the learning environment?

Which classroom promote accelerated learning for students?  How and where are students preparing for today, tomorrow and life “after school”?

What should classrooms look like?


4. What tools should the teacher and the students use? 

The learning purpose should determine the possible range of tools that both the teacher and the students will use.  Will the students ALWAYS have a voice in selecting the tools?  Probably not, YET. Should the students have a bigger voice in selecting the tools that will showcase their learning?  YES!  Students should be allowed encouraged to showcase their learning in a variety of ways.  Learning should not always look like “cookie cutter” factory models.

As I’ve thought about purpose and its role in learning, this is the way that I have viewed it . . . with “purpose” as a critical factor at each level.


But now I wonder if “PURPOSE” should be the circle that houses the other four circles.  Maybe purpose really is all encompassing and is the “driver” behind all decisions. So are the learning targets the center and purpose the frame for all learning?

Where do you believe “Purpose” lives in the daily decision-making processes involved in instruction?


#TCRWP: Techno-Life

And the instructions said:

“Ethernet cable needed.”

Yet no ethernet cable was needed in 2013, 2014, or 2015.

And the MacBookAir I am currently typing on, has no ethernet port.

No port, no ethernet cable needed. No research, just simple common sense.

My Friday afternoon arrival and check in at New Residence Hall went smoothly. My check in for the online class that I am teaching . . . NOT.SO.MUCH.

computer one

No wifi in my dorm room.


It’s 2016.

It worked in 2013.

It worked in 2014.

It worked in 2015.


Residential Housing said,

“Ethernet cable needed.

Get a USB adapter.

Check back on Monday when someone is in the office.”

Current residents said,

“Ethernet cable needed.”

In the interest of truth and fairness, wifi is available

In the lounge on first floor.

So Friday night, I

Pack the computer.

Pack the phone.

Pack pencil and paper.

Pack a snack.

Trudge to the lounge.

Use wifi.

But wifi in the lounge on the first floor is not the same as wifi in your own room.

In your home for the next two weeks.

So Saturday morning, I

Pack the computer.

Pack the phone.

Pack pencil and paper.

Trudge to the lounge.

Use wifi.

I check out the #TC website and locate CIS help available from 10 – 10 even on a Saturday.

I wait in the lounge.

I greet old friends.

I call CIS and have a pleasant chat and a

“Ethernet cable?  That’s not acceptable.”

But technical on-site assistance is not available.

I research the nearest Best Buy.

On the metro to Columbus Circle, I wonder how “good” the FREE wifi is on the Metro and how the Metro system understands that connectivity is important!

Decisions, decisions, decisions . . . Cat 5, Cat 6, how many feet of cable?

Face to face assistance is needed.

(And of course, I brought my computer along. No guessing needed!)

Some wondering around. A bit of sight seeing.

Back to New Residence Hall.

24 hours later, now armed with Ethernet cable and USB adapter,

and several tens of dollars fewer,

I plug it all in.

No internet.

I restart my computer.

No internet.

I call CIS and it so happens that the tech person is in and will come over.

By the time I get down to the security desk to tell them the CIS person is on their way, he’s actually entering the building.

A person who loves challenges,

He reboots

Checks internet connectivity


umm, hmm, yes, update needed!

Yet, no internet even WITH ethernet cable and USB connector.

A valiant effort, but no success.


I feel like this!

broken computer.jpeg

But recognize that it’s not a viable option!

So I

Pack the computer.

Pack the phone.

Pack pencil and paper.

Trudge to the lounge.

Use wifi.

I google my issues and problems.

I find the directions for the USB connector.

AND I download the driver.

When I return to my room I plug in the ethernet cable and the USB connector,






happy dance

When all else fails, read the instructions!

It’s Sunday morning, my internet is still working

And I’m ready for #TCRWP’s Writing Institute tomorrow.

What challenge(s) are you ready to overcome?

Where will your persistence lead you?

Learning Curve

Think about something new that you have learned lately.  Something that required more than five or ten minutes to learn. Something that you had to practice and work at a little bit . . . or maybe a lot.

Do you have a learning situation in mind?

Now consider these questions:

  • Did you choose the topic?
  • Were you curious about the topic?
  • Did you go joyfully into a study of the topic?
  • Was it something that you “just had to learn”?

Which of these describes your learning curve for the situation you have in mind?

I’m ready for a two week learning adventure that “kicks off” my summer learning.  But with a little reflection, I came to the realization that it definitely kicks off my “out of town/state learning” but not my summer learning.

On Monday of the last two weeks, I worked with Lisa, one of our Technology Specialists, on a “class” that we were offering for local teachers.  We had talked, planned, and talked over the course of several months.  After the first of May we got serious and talked about what our product would look like. The expression on my face had to be priceless . . . reading apps/tech tools, writing apps/tech tools, and Google drawing.  My knowledge level:  kinda, kinda, and not a clue.

The class:  Exploring and Reviewing Technology for K-5 Reading Instruction

Our goal:  Find meaningful quality resources to support quality core instruction in K-5 reading classrooms.  We originally thought of reading, writing about reading, and fluency as key areas where data would support that technology might be able to support growth in learning.

How would we do that? Well, we began talking about the criteria for “technology to support reading”.  Yes, student engagement is important. Yes, learning is important.  Yes, the 4 C’s are important (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity).

How do teachers currently make decisions about WHAT tools to use?  Is there a better way to make decisions about TOOLS?  We weren’t able to answer all of our questions, but we did learn a lot as we explored and reviewed technology.  We modeled a bit of “app-smashing”.  In a technological world that changes just about as fast as the temperature or the price of gas, one of our goals was just to increase OUR own knowledge of what tools teachers are using, how they learn about them, and how they know students are learning!

So here’s an example of some of my learning in May to get ready for this class.

Screenshot 2016-06-16 18.12.53


New Learning:  Google drawing, Canva and a format for sharing.  I lucked out on the format and was able to begin with “make a copy” of a similar task card already created by our talented media specialist Tricia.  (Here’s a link to view the document in real size.)  The goal of this task card is that students could have some choices and follow the directions to try out the challenge.

Screenshot 2016-06-16 18.14.00

Teachers would have this version of the card in order to make a decision about whether this would work, or even more importantly, even be appropriate for their students. In some classrooms there are many devices with all students having google accounts.  And the lower tech classroom may have fewer devices and no student google accounts. (Google link here.)

New Learning:  Continued work with Google Drawing, Canva and considering teacher tips.

Still considering:  What’s the best way to “show” an appropriate amount of information without overwhelming teachers or students?   How do these drawings work for you the reader/writer?

When I was working on these Google drawings, my learning curve felt like it was almost a straight vertical line – no curve at all, especially when my content for the cards was also new.  Because I was familiar with many digital sources of print, that content was the easiest.  However two boxes and different colored backgrounds caused more learning about Google Drawings.

It’s summertime and the school year (work year) has ended.  But this learning was in the last month and applied in the last days of the year.  Teaching, working, and learning up until the last minute . . . and even to infinity and beyond.

Am I always learning?  How do you know?

Are you always learning?  How do we know?

What’s your plan for continued learning?




#DigiLit Sunday: Perspective

It’s time to write about this week’s topic “Perspective”.

As I think of drafting, revising, editing, and publishing this post, I also think about the technology that enables me to write more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

Will technology be my friend?  

Will my computer cooperate?


How will I know?  As an early morning “writer”, I am quite OCD about early publication so I can move on to the “heart of the day”.

Will my screen look like this?


Will I throw up my hands in the air and quit?

Who will win?

The person?

Or the machine?

Will I work collaboratively for a “Win-Win” situation to accomplish the task without drama or frustration?

It’s ALL about perspective!

It’s your choice!

What’s your MINDSET?

Thanks for the topic, Margaret!  Check out more #DigiLit Sunday posts at Margaret Simon’s blog,  Reflections on the Teche.






#SOL16: March Challenge Day 22 – Tech and Writing


Session # 3:  Technology Tools, Tips and Apps to Make Your Writing Workshop Cutting Edge  with Cornelius Minor

As we settled in to our seats In Milbank Chapel, Cornelius (AKA @MisterMinor) had these three questions on the screen for us to talk about with a person near us.

  • What do you want to do in terms of workshop?
  • What do you hope for in terms of “digital literacy”?
  • What do you need to learn today to get you there?

We had not even begun and Cornelius had us thinking about our goals and purposes for the session as well as “TALKING” and “doing the work”!  I was quite happy as I knew I was in the “right place”today!

Cornelius described himself as “a bit of a tinkerer” as he promised us cool techniques to blow up our writers workshop.  That is an understatement as Cornelius has a great deal of knowledge about technology and always keeps his work practical!

As you read this post consider:

What are you already doing?

What could you add?

What could you do – more efficiently or effectively with technology?

Cornelius reminded us that the writing process is everything.  Tech in the past has ranged from a hammer and a chisel to reed and papyrus.  We have more options if we consider his definition of tech – “any device that helps me do my work better”.  (As I sit here with four devices open, I’m wondering about the “do my work better” part as tech has again failed me this morning, but more about that later!)  And to illustrate his point, Cornelius used the writing process as his organizing framework for his presentation!

Where do we begin?

  1. Prewriting or collection

Simple, begin with talk.  We were to find someone who was not our partner.  Ah, yes, the dreaded workshop facilitator move of, “Get up out of your seat and go talk to someone somewhere else in the room!”  Then we were talk to that person about where we were from and how we traveled to TCRWP.  We returned to our original seat mate partner and told the story that our “new friend” had shared.

a. Talk to someone outside your circle  – Tell that story

b. Find a picture on your device (30 seconds) – Tell the story of that picture

What if students don’t have a picture?   Send a device home so they students can take a picture and tell a story. Goal:  Use technology to foster experiences, the source of narratives, so that talk can lead to writing!

Content Area Idea Collections:  We watched “Climate Change with Bill Nye 101” and then used Today’s Meet to “collect ideas from all the participants in the room.  When you need ideas in response to something, consider “Today’s Meet” or even a common google document to collect those ideas.  Or for additional ideas, find an expert in your community and face time with them so you bring video into the classroom and expand the world of your students!

a. Today’s Meet – generate ideas in class

b. Face time – Bring in expert from outside

How can you increase production before drafting?

2. Rehearsal

Choice . . .

Establish a personal help desk . . .

Students doing the work . . .

Increasing student agency because students are doing the work . . .

Cornelius called this the “hustle plan” . . . setting up students with their own personal help desk.  Who are the three people who can help you when you are stuck?  This list cannot include your teacher or your parents?  Who would your three be?

A coach?

A friend?

A brother or sister of a friend?

  • Having a list of three people to go to for support and then setting up those lines!   (Using phone to call and ask if the person would be willing to help when stuck!)      Just think about who will be doing the work here . . . who is already building their              own PLN?

What about drafting?

3. Drafting

Use the camera on your device, any device, to tell your story.  That may have been your rehearsal, but now it can also be a part of your drafting process.  Before you begin drafting, think about the structure of your piece.  Use the structure to help you tell your story!

text structures

a. record your draft (audio or video)

b. consider the structure while drafting

This works for all ages.  Here is a video of a kindergarten student that Melanie Meehan blogged about in January of 2015.  ANYONE can do this.  No more “I don’t know what to say.”

How can technology support Revision?

4. Revision

Up until this stage, all of the participants had been using “tools” that came with their device:  camera, audio record or video record.  (Although some of us are less familiar with those features than our students!)

An app to help with revision is “Skitch”.  You can take a picture and then write, type or draw on top of that digital picture. Partners working on revision could actually annotate the text together!

Use the app skitch to share text for revision and then consider multiple ways to revise – word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph levels.  Where could a graphic be helpful?

And the most important part of the writing process?

5. Celebration

Celebration is the most important part of the writing process! (according to Cornelius)  We have data from year after year that tells us that if the teacher is the only audience, kids don’t always write well!  “Put the writing where the people are! Laundromat, coffee shop! Not just class blog. Nickelodeon. Teen magazines.”

Find real audiences for students outside your classroom!

Our final To Think About from Cornelius:

“Analogue writing is monologue; digital writing is dialogue.”

What’s your purpose for student writing?

How would we know?

And what are you going to change, add or delete from your current writing process work?

(I didn’t forget about those questions at the top of of the blog post.  How can you re-energize your writing workshop for the final months of the school year?)



I shared my notes (in word) with my pc so I could return to using it now that I am back in Iowa.  Surprise! Surprise!  No menu bar in WordPress so I could not add a new post.  So odd!  Therefore, I continue to work on my personal Mac.  I copied my notes from Saturday into the draft. I considered my own purpose as I felt the writing process framework was the heart of this post and the part that I needed to process in order to explain it to colleagues. (Any errors in the retelling are all mine!)  My goal was to make this as doable as possible and yet also add text features to make it EASIER to find the main points in a reread of the text!  I was anxiousing – so much to do – time was running out – so all errors would definitely be mine!


slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!



#SOL16: March Challenge Day 18 – Part 2

note four talk bubble

Seriously, did you read that whiney drivel from yesterday? ( Here ) Some folks really just should keep their mouths closed and their fingers off the keyboard because all they do is show, literally, how lacking in brains and imagination they are.  It was so mortifying to be a part of that conversation and I was just the tool!

So to recap quickly, I have a new owner.  I was quite happy tucked away, twice removed from the world inside my tightly packed box with the banded wrapper around it.  I was NOT going anywhere.  And then this unbelievably OLD lady came into the store “because her phone didn’t work”.  (Don’t be offended that I called her old – it’s all relative; but do remember that I have only been on the shelf here for one short week. One. Week.   I am the new kid on the block – one of them anyway!)

Over the last two days, I have been dropped, poked, prodded, and plugged into electrical outlets and some gismo in the car. And I have no idea of the number of miles I have traveled and the places I have seen.

But I digress . . . back to the beginning.

I was on the shelf at the Verizon store minding my own business when the clerk came back muttering . . . “she really isn’t going to like white.”

I was relieved.  Safe!  Or at least for the moment.  My happiness lasted for less than a minute because she was back, grabbing me as she put Louise back in her place on the shelf.  Drat . . .white is not the “in” color!

So then I was prodded wide awake – no more yawning, plugged in to charge up, coded so I could be connected to the World Wide Web (www – in case you had forgotten) and, in general, treated so informally that I wanted to ask, “What am I, chopped liver?” but I didn’t want to take any words from anyone else’s mouth!

Chatter, chatter, chatter but what I really heard was blah, blah, blah!

Maybe I was headed for an adventure. To ride in a Mercedes Benz or a convertible. Or to a new home by the lake. No sticky fingers from kids PLEASE.  I do have my dignity to hold on to! (But have you seen this old lady?  I don’t know, but she sounds kinda bossy like she is used to telling others what to do all day!)

So, this app transferred a bunch of apps and pictures so I’m now quite a cluttery mess and then she (my new owner) said, “I don’t think I have all my pictures.  And what about Twitter?  And where is my Voxer icon?  She’s got it rough. Pictures? Twitter? Voxer?   She thinks she has worries! 

Right before we went out the door, I heard her say that she would bring all her questions back when the new screen protector came in.  PUL-E-E-A-A-S-S-E-E!  Maybe I could convince her that I was just TOO much phone for her!  AHA!  What fun for me!

So I spent the last two days as a trickster.  Sometimes I worked on command.  And sometimes I didn’t work on command.  I quickly learned how to avoid being yelled at.  There were a couple of choice words that I really did NOT like to hear.  So today we’re back  in the store.

Listen in on this conversation:

Owner – “I’m just not quite sure that this is the phone for me.”

Me – YAY!

Clerk – “It’s just an upgrade of your old phone.  In another week, you will be such an expert that you won’t even remember this conversation.”

Me – No, she’ll forget because she’s old and forgetful.  She only has one or two passwords memorized.

Owner – “It doesn’t seem to work all the time . . .”

 Clerk – “Let me double check the settings.  Re-opening apps and checking to make sure they work is a bit tedious.”

Me – Tedious?  BORING!  Case closed – whiney drivel!

Which version was more realistic?

Which version was more fun?

Is it possible that there is a third or even a fourth version?


PS.  Check out how handsome I am!  I could have been one of these old dinosaurs!

Which ones have you used?

history of phones


Process:  As I finished writing yesterday’s post,  this author began to wonder if the story could be told from another point of view.  She had revisited the two versions of the deer story that was quite popular last March here and here and wondered what could lend itself to that same CCR. A. R. 6 Point of View standard.  What do you think?  The post was drafted in 15 minutes.  The picture from yesterday was recycled with another quick search for a talk bubble.  Preview, categories, tagged, and ready to publish but oh, wait, a quick check for pictures of old, old, old phones!

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!





#SOL16: March Challenge Day 17 -New Phone!

note four

I have a new phone . . .

because the battery kept wearing down.

Trips one, two, and three to the store

Until finally, “Do you just want to upgrade?”

I have a new phone . . .

and everything transfers with a quick “transfer app”.

But I can’t find Twitter or Voxer

And now nothing will download.

I have a new phone . . .

and it’s like begining anew.

Where do I find my grandson’s picture?

What about changing the screen saver?

I have a new phone . . .

and I spent an hour with the sales rep.

Watching, learning, and asking questions.

I have another hour scheduled for all my new worries.

I have a new phone . . .

Same model, just an upgrade.

Did my previous phone rule my life?

Or did I manage it competently?

I have a new phone . . .

I wish it worked the way I want it to . . .

I wish it worked the way I remember the old phone working . . .

I wish it wasn’t so complicated!

I kept my old phone . . .

If I plug it in – will it work?

Should I do a 1:1 match for apps to see if they are ALL present?

I have two phones – does even ONE work?

Is new technology always better?

How have you handled getting a new device?


Last night I was frustrated by the time I returned to my WORK computer (FIVE DEVICES later).  I was prepping files and devices for travel.  That meant updating email, twitter, voxer, etc. and I was totally frustrated when I didn’t get any REAL work done. My question to myself was “Why a new phone?” so I decided to answer that in this morning’s slice.  I decided that “I have a new phone . . .” would be the repeated line and I began drafting.  The lines literally wrote themselves straight through to these lines about process.  Ending with image, categories and tags.  Wowza! When I know the topic, the post writing is much quicker and flows from beginning to end!

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge so be ready to read DAILY posts!


SOL14: Starting a New Year

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsey for creating that place for us to work collaboratively.

In the Midwest, our school schedules vary.  Professional development schedules seem to vary even more.  August is always the beginning of a new year.  Sometimes it resembles March:  if it comes in like a lion, then it tiptoes out like a lamb.  Which was it this year?


Weather?  check

Relatively calm


Teachers?  check

Ready to learn


Students? check

Ready for learning


And then the late summer hit.

Hot, humid, blistering tormenting weather!

Were there any signs of the oncoming weather?

Many . . . but what good is fretting about uncontrollable weather?


Exactly one month ago yesterday my computer died. It was the fourth day of work. The fourth consecutive day of training. All links were open and live when the screen went dark and stayed dark. It would not turn back on. Not one single light was visible anywhere.  I was 50 miles away from one of our main offices with a class that had persevered in spite of the lack of air conditioning and internet access for the participants.  Black screen of death.

It wasn’t a complete surprise. I had been “limping along” waiting for “after July 1st” and the new fiscal year. But the suddenness was still a shock.  15 minutes to class time.

Fortunately, I had my personal laptop that I had been using since the June and July Writing and Reading Institutes at #TCRWP in New York City (longest battery time of all computer choices).  I was feeling a bit “schizoid” as some materials were on my computer and others were not.  It sounded like a simple solution.  “Don’t panic,” my internal voice said.  I wanted to go outside and scream, plead, bargain “PLEASE, just one more day!”

Obviously it was not meant to be.  I googled how to “present” a power point from my MacBook Air.  Settings – display – find that silly “dongle” in the backpack and the magical “tech bag” – remote . . . . . each minute went faster and faster.  My 15 minutes was gone. 3 minutes until show time.  Plans D, E, and F were vague possibilities in my brain.  “If this, then this as I pounded on the keyboard.”  Calm?  Not so much.  Was panic helping?  Not so much.

We were one minute late starting.  Some materials for the day were totally not accessible because they were locked inside the black dead shell of a computer.  Did we accomplish our goals?

Absolutely, yes!  Because at 15 minutes to start time with a dead computer my goals changed. It was survival mode. Technology was not my friend.

Life sometimes fails for the adult.  But what about our students?

Are there days when our students are in survival mode?  Are we “in tune” with their needs?  Do they need the comfort and security of the routines of our classroom?  How do we make sure they also have a way to voice their frustrations?  I’m not talking about a full day of whining and complaining.  But what if it truly is not a good learning day because of events beyond their control?

What learning will you and your students negotiate today?
When have you had to scrap everything due to technology failures?
How did you “trust” technology again? 


PS. So my good news is that I have my new computer. Last night I added:

  • skype
  • dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Twitter
  • wordpress.com
  • and this morning I am polishing off this draft of my blog post.  Earth is back on its regular rotation.  Life continues on!
What challenges have you already overcome this year?
How do we learn and grow from our own challenges?




ELA, Common Core, and Summer Plans

It is officially summer!  In Iowa that means that the temperature and humidity are creeping up!

What are you planning for this summer?

I am fortunate to have been accepted into the June Writing Institute and the July Reading Institute @TCRWP (Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) at Columbia University in New York City.  As Eva Gabor said in Green Acres, “New York is the place for me!” (You will recognize me as I will probably look and act more like Eddie Albert!)

So what will my focus be for those two weeks (and beyond)?

1) Read:   I will be continuing to read the new Units of Study by Lucy Calkins and all the authors at #TCRWP.  They are phenomenal.  I am already rereading parts because they are so well crafted. Other books are downloaded on my iPad including The One and Only Ivan and Teach Like a Pirate (#educoach twitter chat book study beginning July 10 at 9 pm CST).

2) Write:  I will, of course, tweet from #TCRWP. I believe that one day with Lucy Calkins in January was the source either four or five blogs. I cannot even imagine how much I will have to share after 10 days with Lucy and the #tcrwp tweeps on their home turf!   

And then there is this other little thing called #teacherswrite.  It begins on June 24th and the goal is to write and share every day. As @azajacks said last week, “I am putting my money where my mouth is!”  Time, or lack thereof, cannot be an excuse. In order to continue to grow as a teacher of writing, I need to write more.  (Intrigued?  Information about #teacherswrite can be found here http://www.katemessner.com/teachers-write/ ) Check it out yourself!

3) Continue to grow my technology skills!  I have a love/hate relationship with technology as I have used/owned my own personal technology for more than half my life.  When it goes well, it is a blissful honeymoon.  But when the computer exercises its control, my frustration level rises faster than the temperature!

I need to explore more tools to help teachers increase their efficiency and effectiveness.  I think I was one of the last people to know about Read and Write (Google extension that requires Google Chrome, Google Docs, etc.) and its quick conversion of spoken words to text. Eliminating the need for a scribe sounds both efficient and effective to me!!! Three or four tools that are VERY user friendly are exactly what I need to use well before I share with teachers!

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And in the interest of full disclosure, the three items on this list came from a blog I follow at http://chartchums.wordpress.com/ that was posted on June 17th.  Check it out!  Their explanations were much more eloquent than mine.  (And borrowing ideas matched my fortune cookie: “Imitation is a sincere form of flattery.”) Their blog and book are fabulous. Both have totally expanded my view of how “charts” can make learning “visible” for students.  Their charts are a perfect match for gradual release of responsibility that results in student independence!

What are you going to plan to do this summer to improve your knowledge of ELA?

 And the Common Core? 

Record your plans below!  Let’s encourage each other to meet our goals!

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