For teachers, summer is a time of relaxing, creating moments with your family and friends, and recharging for the upcoming school year. While I have done many of these things, I have spent a great deal of time on my couch. This may sound lazy and boring, but in reality, I have been busier than I was a lot of time during the school year. As mentioned in a previous blog, I read A LOT! Normally I prefer fiction books that allow me to wander into worlds outside my reality. However, this summer I have spent time reading books that support what I have already been doing or building my growing cache of new ideas to try. One of the ideas mentioned in several of these books is being more global. I have heard of it and encouraged people to think globally beyond themselves (such as cleaning up even if it wasn't yours), but didn't truly understand what it meant. In the past I have participated in a couple of pen pal programs with my students but it didn't typically last for long for one reason or another. Last year I stepped it up and tried #MysterySkypes and #MysteryHangouts for a more engaging way to learn geography. Was this really going global?
Another of my reasons I have been attached to my couch is Twitter. I have spent many hours following/participating in chats or clicking on resources provided by other teachers that might enhance my class. It was through Twitter that I think I am really beginning to go global, and get my students there. Over the course of today alone, I have chatted with a teacher (who I've never met in person) in a nearby district who blogs with her students to get ideas. I shared in depth with a middle school teacher in my district who also wants to start blogging, which lead to us talking about how full both of our plates are going to be with all the cool ideas we want to try.
Then I took my ideas/information and spoke with an out of state teacher who I did a #MysteryHangout with last year. Because of our conversation (through Google Hangout no less), we are both going to blog with our students (even have ideas how to get started). We are also having our students collaborate by commenting/posting to each other through those blogs. We got to discover how our schools are the same (grade level, some tech) and very different (I have 35 students, she has 14). Had I not met her through Twitter, neither of us would have gotten to expand the world of our classes.
I even signed up to be pen pals with a different teacher through Twitter. (Got all the upper grade classes at my school to do it in fact!) We'll see where either of these connections lead this year, but at least my students will know that their learning is not just what happens between our walls. It is something they will be able to share with others they haven't even met (yet?).
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching