Sunday, September 26, 2010

Great Expectations

This past week I had my Kindergarten classes right after they had returned from a field trip to the aquarium. I should have known better! It had already been a long day for these little girls, and now they were coming to me for the last bit of their day. I was excited to hear about their trip, so as a "fun" activity, I asked the first group to draw, using KidPix, something that they saw that day at the aquarium.

At first they were very excited, but soon I started to hear the whines and frustration, "this is too hard" and "I can't do it". A couple of them were trying, but most were either staring at a blank screen or had given in to the urge to scribble and explore outside the assignment. I tried to encourage them by saying, "just try" and "it doesn't matter if it doesn't look like a real ____" (fill in the blank with your favorite water creature). After several minutes of encouraging them, it was nearly time to go.

One student had actually managed to write her name and scratch out a small image, although I wasn't sure what I was looking at. I congratulated her, and asked her if she wanted to print it. She did, so we did. As I handed the paper to her, I continued through the room asking girls to close out of KidPix and logout. I turned just in time to see the young student staring at her paper while bursting into tears. When I asked her what was the matter, she replied, "this doesn't look like an octopus!"

Well, lessons learned. First, don't ask 5 year olds to try anything new at the end of an extra long day. Second, 5 year olds, unless they are ahead of the curve or just immune to the results, are not able to draw using a mouse. After all, they are just getting used to paper and pencil. Lastly, just because a teacher says "good job", doesn't mean a student will value the effort.

The next Kindergarten group that day worked on drawing lines and circles. They were confident and successful!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Googling myself

I have tried Googling myself, and I am not impressed by the results. I tried both Chris and Christine for my first name, and I came up with random people who are not me. I even tried adding Reisterstown and Maryland to my name, and that didn't help. There are too many of us, and I am certainly not the most interesing or the one with the largest digital footprint. As a last attempt, I tried Googling my full name including my maiden name and that had better results. I got my Facebook page, as well as my High School reunion page. At least I am out there, although you would have to know me pretty well to find me. It will be interesting if I have more of a presence on the web after this year with PLP.

Time to post

Working on PLP this afternoon. I am trying to put in my 15 minutes a day, but most days, I only have the energy to lurk, not post or contribute. Today being Sunday, I have had more time to think, reflect, and contribute. As I was going through the Ning, I even picked up information on a new (to me, that is) tool, called Jing. I am really looking forward to giving it a try.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thinking ahead

I'm home from the Dallas PLP kickoff event. Learned lots and listened to many inspiring talks. Now it is time to get to work. I want to concentrate on using Twitter and my blog to begin with. It was suggested that we try to set aside 15 minutes a day to work on PLP, which I liked hearing because it gave me a concrete place to start.

My goal this year is to build my PLN. I want to read and listen to the really smart people in education. What are they saying and what do they think? I also want to connect with other teachers like me and learn from them. How can I use what I hear in my life and in my classroom. This is an exciting time to be in education, because it feels like we are on the forefront of something transformational.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ready for PLP?

Well, I just finished my pregame exercises for the PLP next week in Dallas. I can now say I have a blog, a Twitter account, a Wikispaces account, a You Tube account, a Delicious account, an RSS reader, a Facebook account, and miscellaneous accounts associated with Google. Who know it would be possible? I am still not sure how I am going to keep up with it all, but I guess that is what this year is all about. The Delicious account intrigues me the most. I can imagine that the possibilities for professional development are endless.

Finding the time

I just joined the PLP wiki and updated my info to include my blog and my Delicious account. I am working on getting these two worked into my regular routine in a useful way. I am struggling with when do I have time to blog or tweet or any of the other wonder tools that are out there. I love the idea, but finding the time is hard. When I do sit down to do it, I become so engrossed that I ignore other things and people around me. I know it's all about balance, but I haven't found it yet.