As I have gone back and reread posts that I have made in the past, I could see that I had been exposed to too many new concepts to digest and be able to remember easily – if at all. Given that I am an abstract random type person, I did what might be expected and signed up for a district three day InfoLit class. This ended up being invaluable in that the district has changed the basic word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs that are available to us. I love the changes and have considered the class very valuable. Many new sites, program, applications and on and on were shared. It was fascinating. However, my brain has way too much new information to assimilate and school starts in two weeks. Now, I need to calm down and take things one day at a time.
Now, the class ended yesterday, and I still wanted to work on organization last night. I’m going to take this one step at a time. I think that this class was one of the most intense that I’ve ever taken. I loved every single minute of it. That’s why I went right home every night and worked on it. However, when that many new concepts are introduced that quickly they get muddled – at least in this old brain. I’m trying to put all my notes here, pull all my new tools, blog sites, applications together and put them right on this blog. Each time I add something or change some of the things I have to spend time thinking it through – even the things I thought I had down pat. I’m anxious to spend some time on the tutorials, but I do think it will help me to document this process so that I can see my own growth.
This morning, I was reading one of my new genealogy magazines and, son of a gun, they talked about RSS feeds, blogs and other processes that I had missed entirely when I had thumbed through the book while we were at Brimfield. Do I hear another possibility for a personal blog? I think I better focus here for awhile.
I have been looking at my links and am trying to decide – should I break them down into tools, applications, classroom sites, etc.? I’m just going to take it one step at a time knowing that I can always edit later.
Wait a minute – I “saved” and then previewed the post and made a decision. I think I’ll keep all of the sites on del.icio.us. I can worry about that part later.
Wasn’t this supposed to be easier by now? I think I’m getting it down and then someone comes up with a new idea or tool. At that point, I’m off again. Such is the life of a very random person. Now, yesterday I wrote that I was going to concentrate totally on this one page. I wanted to make sure that I had a chance to try most of the tools that have been introduced.
Today, I decided that I needed to, at least, start a new page for my students because I think the amount of content on this current blog will confuse them. So, I’m spending time at least setting up the sidebars and the heading.
As I continue with my initial page, I will add each of the tools that we’ve been exposed to during class and try to find a way to incorporate it onto my class blog. I think the only way to reach any kind of comfort level is to just do it. Parent interaction
In order to focus on what I consider to be the most important thing about this class, I’ve decided to devote my time for the final project on this blog. When the assignment was given, I planned to create the blog/wiki for both my classroom and a principal’s page.
However, I still find my head is swimming with all the new information, and I forget some of the most basic process things. I found that out last night when I was trying to reflect on articles. I forgot to make my tabs so that I could easily move back and forth between our sites. Things got very difficult for me, and I ended up typing my comments on an open Apple document and pasting it in the blog. Labor intensive, correct? Alice reminded me of the things that I “learned” on the first day and things are working well. I’m going to try each of the new things we’re learning and add a sample to this blog. I’m, also, going to add specific ideas that I’m planning to add to the other blog/wikis I am going to work later on this summer. I feel like I need to keep this “process” blog to practice new tools as I find them and make notes about things that work and don’t so that I don’t make so many of the same mistakes over and over.
Then, I decided that I needed to at least work on the basic setup for a “All About Second Grade” blog to replace the class website that I used last year and need to continue. Then I could use those tools that I practiced on my process blog to add information in more effective ways.
I struggled trying to decide between making it a blog or a wiki. After talking it through with Alice, I decided on a blog because I would like it to be more interactive with parents. If I decide, at a later time, that I want to change, I can just copy and past into a wiki.
My basic personality type hasn’t changed at all. and I know that I’ll be working on my principal’s page to see how I might be able to make it better. Cyrene is writing about the work that we will be doing as we continue with The Daily5/CAFE program that we started last year.
I want to recognize the power of the community working in the same classroom. I would hear someone ask a question, discuss an idea or I would visit another blog/wiki in progress. It’s amazing how many times, it gave me an idea that, with small changes, would work perfectly on my site.
I spent a great deal of time looking at each of the weblogs looking for information that would make this tool work for my second grade. Each time I found another, I could see how my son could use the idea in his Senior Seminar class, but still struggled with bringing it down to a meaningful experience for young students.
I started talking with Bob Sprangle in class and visited his Room 208 site and the clouds began to clear. I clicked on his poetry pages and started to feel more comfortable because I’ve done a few things similar to this before online. I noticed that he even included his portaportal link, another of my comfort areas. I have already made a large portaportal that has been available for my students on the class website. There were several other ideas that I knew I could use.
Then, Maria Knee’s The KinderKids’ Classroom was added to the list and I found more proof that I could make this work in my classroom. I loved the way that slide shows were a major part of the site. At first, I was concerned about the blog format itself, but found that she used the sidebars very efficiently and that her site had a great deal of information, including student work. It, also, appears that I will be able to just link the blog right to our existing school page. Of course, that is unless I decide that I would like to use the same setup on the principal’s page. Oh, like everything else in this class, it could get overwhelming. I’m just amazed at all we’ve accomplished this week.
Once, I decided that I could do this I revisited several of the other sites that gave more specific information. I visited Transitioning to Web 2.0 by J. Black and found it very helpful because, when I scrolled down, I found that he documented the phases he went through as he went through the process of becoming a blogger. Now, I’m feeling stressed because, while attending this class, I have been feeling the need to create a blog for my class, one for the principal, and a personal site for my own professional growth. Oh, I, also, want a personal blog that could help me organize my genealogy, interest in photography and . . . well, I’m sure that you understand. Mr. Black has made me remember that I need to calm down and take one thing at a time. I am truly loving this class and everything that we’re learning. I see it, eventually, as a place that can help with all my interests and loves. Thank you.
Several years ago, I created a Portaportal in which I found and organized more than 100 sites in eighteen categories dealing with second grade curriculum. Often these sites included links as well. Many were games, others were informational sites such as Enchanted Learning. The children loved the sites we used during our class or computer time, and many of the students accessed the site at home.
First of all, I’m planning to organize these sites and my own personal huge collections (on both my home and my school computers). I think this is the biggest challenge. Last year, our school computer lab was in shambles. I had a class of 23 children and could never find working computers. This year, I’ve been promised that things should be in working order and I can commit to using it faithfully. Usually, in second grade, we learn basic computer skills and usually take a few minutes of class time for a learning game. I’m hoping to use del.icio.us to help with my organization.
The thing that is most important to me this week is to be able to demonstrate that I am working towards fluency in technology skills. Obviously, I can never be proficient in a week, but I can continue on the journey. I am feeling very overwhelmed as there is so much new information, but excited at the prospect of changes in my curriculum and within the school. It is imperative for teachers to feel the same frustrations that our students feel on a daily basis. My anxiety helps me remember to slow down – that student learning doesn’t always follow the same schedule as my plan book. Children often think that teachers know everything, they need to know that I am a lifelong learner and have a world of things still to learn.
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