Tuesday, February 9, 2016

We all play a part....

When the email came out about what the topic was for the post, I had to take a minute to think. It wasn't hard to find someone at my school that I wanted to write about, but narrowing down to just one was difficult. It truly takes a village to raise a child and that applies at school as well. From the lunchroom workers to the custodians, to the classroom teachers and administration...investing in the lives of all our students is why we do what we do on a daily basis. I'm a special education teacher, I have the honor and privilege of working with several teachers throughout the day. I love sometimes just sitting in their classrooms and watching them come alive teaching a lesson whether it's about writing or division.

This year at our school we have been able to have an Instructional Partner for the first time. Some of you are reading that and thinking, but I thought every school had one of those. Well this is only our second year in existence. So it takes time to lay a foundation in which to build upon. Last year our Instructional Partner was a classroom teacher. She taught 4th grade Math and Science and her classroom was one that I loved getting to spend some time in. The students were engaged in whole group and in small groups throughout the day. Engaged students +Fun =Learning all day. Most of all these students left her classroom every day knowing they were loved. They knew that Mrs. Crippen cared about them as a person as well as pushing them to do their best academically. This year even though Mrs. Crippen has transitioned from being a classroom teacher to being a teacher's teacher. She analyzes data, looks for ways to help all of our students improve, shares resources with teachers and students, and works to help establish a new school's climate. In addition her helping spirit comes through because if she can, she will do it for you. I've watched her hold students accountable for behavior in the hallway and at the same time watched former students and others stop to check in with her throughout the day. She continues to make time for students that she may have previously had that just need an extra person to remind them they can do it during the day. She has also taken on a role of listener this year as teachers find her classroom a place where they can go and not vent or complain, but talk out the struggles that may be going on in the classroom.

I know the transition may not have been easy, it's hard sometimes to learn a new position, but Mrs. Crippen has done it with class. I still learn from her wisdom every day as I watch her with students and when I find myself in her room going, how can I help this student. Thank you Mrs. Crippen for impacting students and teachers on a daily basis at Moores Mill Intermediate.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

EdCamp Take-aways

It was hard getting up this morning early, but EdCamp is always a fun day of learning. If you have never attended an EdCamp, I encourage you to do so. It's an unconference that runs on the power of 2 Feet. In other words if you find yourselves in a session that isn't meet the needs of you the educator, go find another one. Some of the best learning is just sitting down and talking with other educators at what is going on at their schools, how are they are integrating technology etc. A day spent with some of my PLN will always remind me that I have a voice (even if I didn't present today ;-)) 

Here are some of my take-aways from today:


This is a website geared towards K-4 with reading passages and activities, but it also has several interventions on the site such as read aloud etc. I'm excited to try this out with a couple of students and share it with my teachers. 

This was the first resource I learned about today at EdCamp. I seriously could have gone home after learning about this one and been content. This is a site that has a library of videos that have assignments integrated throughout. It's a great find for teachers wanting to do more with a flipped classroom. 

I love Twitter chats and learning from other educators so this resource made me excited. I'm going to try it out this coming week with ALedchat. 

4. One other thought that I took away today was from a session on Digital Portfolios. I had never looked at using the concept of these portfolios to teach digital citizenship and branding. Can students tell you who they are in 3-5 words? Do they know about their digital footprint and the impact it is making (or not making)? Have they ever googled themselves ? 

Thank you to the EdCamp Madison AL staff who always put on a wonderful event that brings educators together. (and there is always cake at EdCamp)