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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back to Teachin' and Bloggin'



115 degrees and lawnmower accidents

Yeah -- we're back in school --but getting back here was a near fiasco --
  • a heat wave with a heat index of 115 and my compressor went out in my computer lab,
  • my oldest son went off of a bridge on a heavy duty lawnmower due to a brake malfunction (but fortunately came out of it with only a cracked elbow!),
  • and another of my children started middle school -- Whew! it is Nutty.
But when someone said to me the other day:

"If you could be anywhere, doing anything in the world right now, what would it be?"

It hit me like a "ton of bricks" -- really, I am exactly where I want to be. I love teaching!

When that bell rings and the kids fill their seats and begin work (usually before the bell rings) and when we get to talking about the cool tools (such a great talk about Microsoft Surface the other day) and technologies -- boy, that is a rush any good sky diver could understand. There is nothing like it in the world!

My precious children are here at school with me! I am part of their day and see them grow, learn and struggle. I love it!

And what makes it even better is that I have great administrators with a common belief system. Our principal has one rule "Do right." He tells us and the kids, "If you have to ask, its not right and don't do it." I could go on and on but I know how fortunate we are to have such great administrators... it seems that the high pressure and temptation to disconnect from the classroom have bred many administrators who aren't reaching their full potential.

Why I'm going to keep blogging

After taking a bit of a hiatus from blogging (for obvious reasons), I am back at this blog with a confirmed calling that I am indeed part of this educational discussion.

When the honeymoon of blogging wears off

Beginning bloggers beware, at some point as you become more connected with incredible educators, you will also find that there are those out there who may be great but just don't like you.

Some of these people may e-mail you or comment anonymously or do other things that will wound you and make you feel like, "I don't have time for this" and some may even creep you out!

But, I have found that the only people who don't receive criticism are doing nothing! So, at some point, you have to decide if it is worth it.

For me, it is. The benefits of connecting and blogging both for me and my classroom far outweigh the personal chagrin I feel when personally attacked. (And it makes me that more adamant about teaching effective online interpersonal skills.)

Perhaps I'm just a bit more sensitive right now with the passing of my grandmother over the summer, and I'm sure that's true -- but there must be others out there who think about quitting too or like Kathy Sierra, do quit.

But what does quitting do?

But when we reflect upon Kathy Sierra quitting. Many of us read her blog and learned a lot. We enjoyed her writing style and perspective, and just enjoyed her. And now, two or three jerks have taken her away from inspiring thousands of us who she helped learn and work on a daily basis.

Is that fair?

So, my issues in the blogosphere seem so very small compared to Kathy, but I won't quit -- I am called to blog as surely as I am called to teach and be a mother. I enjoy blogging, it is important to me.

Things to talk about

So, enough about me, let's talk about the cool technology tools that we can get excited about!

Like the super cool Ning that I had for summer assignments (sorry it is private) and the fact that you can now do groups and preapprove video and pics on ning.

Or about the fact that my computer science textbook now has podcasts associated with each chapter (Oh yeah!), and super cool videos embedded on almost every page on the book on CD. (Such a great thing for the students who don't learn well with text. This is something every curriculum director shouldn't just ask for but demand!)

Or how exciting it is that schools can add to their AP curriculum (like we are) with the Virtual High Schools that are cropping up everywhere.

And especially about Edubloggerworld and the things that many of us are working on to help us do a better job of connecting with newcomers to the edublogosphere, whether they are readers or writers. My friend Dr. Shepherd, director of the PhD program for Walden University, has talked to me many times about how us bloggers often don't think that other people exist and must do a better job of reaching out to non bloggers who want to connect and learn. So, I dedicate my work with edublogger world to her and her daughter -- because connecting with others is important.

There are so many things I still have notes to share from NECC and a lot about the importance of common sense tagging. (My goodness, don't create a tagging standard with a two digit year -- let's show that we learned something from Y2K -- only use four digit years, please!)

And there are so many things all of you out there have taught me: at NECC, or as you direct messaged me and I received them on my cell phone as I was walking into Granny's funeral -- the connections with many of you became very personal this summer.

So, welcome school year. Come on to class, you're right on time.

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