I have been doing a lot of thinking about this class… I have learned a lot about being a connected teacher, a teacher in the 21st century, about personal and professional development and about Web 2.0 tools. I have learned a lot from the mentors in this class to whom I am very grateful. But honestly, I think that I have learned more from my fellow EC&I 831 classmates. I have obviously learned from all of you, but for me, it is the classmates with whom I have connected on Twitter that have made a huge impact on me.
I have learned a lot from Jud and Lisa who I would consider the pot stirrers of the class. Although I don’t yet know about or understand everything that they say, they have pushed me to think about things from different points of view. They have pushed me to Google things and learn more than I would have before.
I have learned a lot from Ola. The questions she asks has pushed me to go further in my own thoughts about the use and application of Web 2.0 tools in language instruction.
Sometimes in Education, we get so wrapped up in our little world that we forget that in collaboration with people outside the direct field, we truly can learn a lot. I thank Jen for reminding me of this.
I have learned a lot from Linda. I love reading about her community and her experiences. I have enjoyed reading about her learning journey in this class.
I am a little in awe of the work that Dani has done this semester. The risks that she has been willing to take with her students using Facebook are awesome! I applaud her for this and for the fact that she embraced the role of model so whole-heartedly with her students.
I have truly enjoyed working and collaborating with Angela. We are alike enough that I find in her a kindred spirit, (though we have never met), yet different enough that I learn from her daily. I have really enjoyed reading about her journey with blogging. I have used her ideas and research she has done in my own classroom.
Finally, the person who has probably had the biggest impact on my teaching in the classroom is Shelley. Her total transformation has been awe-inspiring. Her willingness to just jump in, two feet first, has been incredible. Her blog posts about turning over the control to her students have taught me a lot. They have inspired me to try and figure out ways to use those same philosophies with my little ones.
Inspired by Shelly, I tried something in my math class the other day. I taught a math lesson about place value. We talked about changing 100s to 10s, 10s to 1s and 100s to ones. At the end of the lesson, I asked the students if they felt they understood. Only half said that they did. Instead of teaching another lesson or assigning worksheets, I decided to turn over the learning to my students. I told them that I would be available for questions, but that it was up to them to figure it out. I sat back and saw magic happen. Some students went to eTools on my SMARTBoard and worked together to figure out that 3h+4t+9o = 349 but that 2h+14t+9o = 349 also. Some students sat together around base 10 blocks and counted the little blocks in a hundreds block, just to make sure that I wasn’t lying about there being 100 ones in a hundred block. Some students asked their friends to explain it to them. Some students challenged each other by seeing how many different ways they could make 349 with hundreds, tens and ones. Some students took out their textbook and read. Finally, some students came to me and asked me to explain it again, writing examples in their own notebooks so they could see them later. At the end of the period, I again asked the students if they understood. All but 3 (and they were the 3 that get extra support) said that they did. It was hard to let go, there were a few bumps of little arguments along the way, but it was overall, an amazing experience. Thank you Shelley to inspiring me to just let go!