Monday, June 22, 2015

Start at the Beginning

So the first blog post should have some amazing revelations and incredible insight, right? That's a lot of pressure! I'm not sure I'm even suited for this blogging thing. So where do I start? I guess at the beginning makes the most sense.

I am pretty sure I was born knowing I was going to be a teacher. It is the only thing I ever thought I wanted to do for a career. I am one of those few that went into college knowing what my major would be and coming out the other side with a degree in that major. I have been a classroom teacher ever since.

So how did I get here? Technology came into the world and then found me hiding out in a classroom. Being educated in classrooms where the high tech equipment was an overhead projector and a 16 mm film projector, the tools and toys available to educators today blows my mind. Although computers were present when I was in high school, they were only used by those kids in "computing" classes where they were learning languages like Cobol and Basic. I could only speak Spanish. In college, when we were forced to do journal entries on a Mac in the lab and then turn them in on a disk, I thought the prof had decided on some cruel and unusual punishment. How dare she force us to use these things. I had a perfectly good electric typewriter in my dorm room. It even had auto-correct (meaning it came with the correction tape built in. You could erase an entire word with one keystroke!) Computers were big, expensive machines that didn't let you format the way you wanted to and often lost your whole paper or project if you didn't talk to it nicely.

Fast forward to my first teaching job. We had 2 Macintosh computers that were on rolling carts and shared between about 12 special education classrooms. Once I found that educational (mostly) games could be borrowed from the local AEA and used in the classroom as part of my reward system, you might say I was hooked. Once my colleagues figured out my secret, the fight was on. From there we have progressed through iMacs, to school computer labs, to laptop carts, to iPads to Chromebooks. And this is just the hardware! Hard to believe how far we have come!

So since I find myself wanting to stay in the same class, content, grade, and school, how do I keep myself from falling into the "teacher rut"? My answer: technology. I have found that bringing technology and all it has to offer into my classroom is my way of keeping myself young and fresh for the smiling faces and eager learners that come into my classroom each year. So that is where I find myself today. On a constant quest for ideas, tools and methods to bring learning opportunities to my students. Whether that be using QR codes for a digital scavenger hunt, having students create an online textbook, or making class "commercials" for Lab Safety rules, my goal is to be the "cool" teacher who does all the "neat stuff", and trick them into learning something along the way.

This is a video that students created as a "commercial" for one of our 10 lab safety rules at the end of the unit. Please pardon the poor audio! The ladies tried to re-record the audio and create a voice over so there wasn't so much background noise, but the outcome just wasn't the same. Just another example of the "still learning, but willing to dive in head-first!"