Get Your Learning On

All genuine learning comes through experience. ~John Dewey

I hope you are having a lovely day! I have been collecting some things to share with you that I think you will find useful, informative, and thought-provoking. I’m keeping it short today . . .

I have shared in the past about great current events sites to use with your students. This week I learned that Newsela announced “Text Sets” which are articles grouped by subject. You can create your own text sets, or use or remix other teachers’ sets. Here is the article and here is the link to current text sets.

For more sites to use with your social studies and history classes, check this out– resources for teaching current events.

You may have heard the phrase, “the sage on the stage,” well writers of anything- including tweets, texts, Facebook posts, and of course emails and docs- this one is for you! Grammarly is your grammar guide on the side!

Here is a great opportunity from Coursera to learn about Web 2.0 Tools and put them into use in your classroom.

Who says young students can’t reach an authentic audience and do something with their writing?! This article about a fellow Twitterer’s 9-year-old daughter and her food blog will show you that your students can write with a purpose and for an authentic audience reaching far beyond the classroom with their writing!

Summer is coming which means you will have time to rethink your classroom space and do some garage sale shopping to make your space “more like a nice restaurant” (said a student in this teacher’s classroom) and open and inviting to more collaboration and group work.

With summer coming, you’ll have time to get your learning on. PBS teacher line has some excellent professional development opportunities that include both self-paced and instructor-facilitated grad credit courses. They range from 1.5 hours and $49 to $335 and there are numerous options that I think are worth the look.

Have you thought about how you might like to help your students become more creative? Wednesday afternoon there was a great webinar (1 hour long but even if you listen to the first 28 minutes, that would be enough-dayenu) from @edtechteacher and the topic was How to Unleash Your Student’s Creativity so they can tell the story of their learning. I watched the recording because I was unable to attend it live,  and I highly recommend viewing and trying some of the ideas. A big takeaway- if everyone’s products look the same, it’s a recipe, not creativity. We must create the space for student choice and voice.

I will leave you with this visual on the impact of technology use in the classroom. Food for thought.

Is Opting Out an Option?


Many people opt out of things all the time: credit card offers, email marketing, solicitations, even standardized testing. But is it ok to opt out of teaching? Is it ok to opt out of advancing your career through professional development and continued learning? When does it become ok for teachers to say, “I don’t/won’t do/try that”? Can we as educators succeed in today’s modern classroom if we don’t model learning for our students; if we don’t model trying, failing, trying again? If we don’t show our students that times are changing and we are able to adapt and change with them. Personally I don’t think we can, or rather, I don’t think we should. What do you think?
photo credit: ** RCB ** via photopin cc


Only a few more hours until educators everywhere will be able to be wowed by this year’s plenaries and presenters at this year’s Reform Symposium e-Conference! See below for more information via the conference site:

Teachers now have access to free quality professional development via current online technologies. Experience this live with thousands of educators from around the globe by attending the 4th annual Reform Symposium Online Conference, RSCON, which takes place October 11th to 13th in conjunction with Connected Educator Month. Attend this free online conference from anywhere that has Internet access.

View the schedule online here. Look forward to being inspired by the following:

  • Plenaries- Sugata Mitra, 2013 Ted prize winner and instigator of the Hole-in-the Wall experiment and Salome Thomas-EL, Principal EL of the Dr. Oz Show.

  • Steve Bingham, electric violinist, and Laura Oldham, the Book Supplier, will play live.

  • 3 Panel discussions featuring Dr. Alec Couros, Ozge Karaoglu, Nicholas Provenzano,                                                            Jackie Gerstein, Steven Anderson, Silvia Tolisano, Joe Dale, Tom Whitby, Pam Moran, Lisa Dabbs, Erin Klein, and Tom Murray.

  • 100+ sessions. Topics include genius hour, the flipped classroom, global projects, mobile learning, game based learning, web 2.0 tools, integrating iPads, e-portfolios, and more. The activities meet Common Core objectives and cover all subjects and age groups.

  • Nominate an educator to receive an EdInspire Award. Takes 5 minutes.

  • Keynotes include Angela Maiers (US), Mark Moran (US), Steve Wheeler (UK), Chuck Sandy (Japan), Rafael Parente (Brazil), John Spencer (US), Chris Lehmann (US), Sue Waters (Australia), Jose Vilson (US), Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto (Japan), Mark Barnes (US), Josh Stumpenhorst (US), Nicky Hockly (Sp), German Doin (Argentina), and 13 year-old humanitarian Mallory Fundora (founder of Project Yesu)

Connect with over 10,000 educators from 100+ countries and receive conference updates via the community,  Twitter (@RSCON4), Facebook, or Pinterest.”

Notable Quotables

I recently read and was inspired by the vignettes in PLP’s The Connected Learner: Powering Up and thought I would share some of the notable quotables. There are many as you will see, but the one I will reflect on is the very first, which, I believe is simple, yet poignant: “In the 21st Century, teachers must be learners first.”

As teachers, one of our oft-stated objectives is to create life-long learners and to instill a joy of learning. How can we encourage and want that for our students and not engage in that ourselves? There is so much to learn on an almost daily basis, and as teachers we need to  continue to push ourselves to find ways to connect with other teaching professionals and engage in learning opportunities. Some of the ways I do this are participating in Twitter conversations, following blogs, going to conferences both in person and virtually, and reading as much as I can find. I think you will find that the more you seek out the learning, the more you will find that there is a lot more learning to be done!

Notable Quotables:

  1. In the 21st century, teachers must be learners first.
  2. “We can’t continue to have classrooms look the way they did 50 years ago and tell ourselves that we are teaching our students effectively” ~Shelley Wright
  3. My students need the kind of education that requires them to think critically, problem solve, and learn skills of collaboration, rather than memorize for an exam and forget everything the next day, or believe that there’s only one answer to a problem.
  4. Here’s the dilemma: With the world changing so rapidly, being educated takes on new meaning. ~Patti Grayson
  5. the framework of education must change so that we are much more intentional about creating “lifelong learners” who leverage the technologies with passion and purpose. ~Patti Grayson
  6. If (professional sharing) works so well for (teachers), and makes us feel so good, imagine what it would mean for our students. Shouldn’t our students have opportunities to teach and learn from one another – to develop and share their expertise? ~Renee Hawkins
  7. We have to look at how students like to learn on their own, so we can make learning more enjoyable and engaging in the classroom ~Patti Grayson
  8. Learning is an active, participatory venture.
  9. Adherents of constructivism essentially believe that children learn by being actively engaged in and reflecting on their experiences: children learn through social interaction with others, they have different ways and  modes of learning, and they develop higher-order thinking through guidance at critical points in the learning process
  10. If educational reform is to be successful it must start with how students learn and how teachers teach, not with legislated outcomes.~Shelley Wright
  11. It’s a shame when it’s spent memorizing and regurgitating disconnected facts that are of no use to their “real lives,” when instead they could be engaged in developing skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, information literacy, and other 21st century assets. ~Shelley Wright
  12. If you truly want to take advantage of the web and connect with educators, you have to invest some time in participating online. Time is the first obstacle and strongest argument teachers in Norway have against participating ~Ann Michaelson
  13. The best learning is messy! ~ Brian Crosby
  14. Are we guiding students who feel driven to self-direct their own learning toward production tools like blogs that will allow them to demonstrate their knowledge base and potentially make meaningful connections with experts in their field of interest? ~Jenny Luca
  15. Making the effort to grow and cultivate a personal learning network is essential to today’s teacher. It should be part of our professional toolkit and viewed as important as face-to-face, bricks and mortar, or professional development opportunities — maybe even more so. ~Renee Hawkins
  16. see Scott Mcleod’s quote below

Screen shot 2012-12-21 at 10.02.24 AM







17. I wonder how and why notes and tests became the summation of our student’s acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and what it will take to put us back on the path to real learning. ~Shelley Wright

18. Teaching by getting out of the way: finding that balance. I don’t want anyone to become so frustrated that they want to quit. But I don’t want anyone to be so dependent that they can’t find their own creativity and abilities and learning path. ~Marsha Ratzel

19. How often do we take the time to ask children what learning means to them?

There are so many thought-provoking ideas in this collection of articles. Which one resonates most with you? How will you continue to be a life-long learner and inspire your students to take control of their own learning?











Get Inspired for Free! Who’s In?

This is what I’ll be reading next: The Connected Teacher: Powering Up from Powerful Learning Practice. Nothing gets better than good PD than good, FREE PD. I’ll be reading and sharing tidbits, quotes and thoughts as I go along BUT would love to find other people to read with and share.

So, who’s in? Who wants to read and have a virtual book club with me? Anyone??