Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A 5 minute Snippet of Life at the Lake

The sunrise - changing colors from grey to orange to gold

The waters - in perfect harmony with the spectrum in the sky

The swans -  a new gray colored bird spotted with her white friend - perhaps it’s mother

The geese - forming their V and calling in their awakening voices

Sleeping swan - Lifting their heads briefly as the noisy birds fly over head

More geese - Running across the water, flapping their wings in attempts to capture their cousins

Morning has broken




Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for creating a space each Tuesday, for me and so many others to capture nature at its finest.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#itsstillsummer

I have been in denial.
Despite the fact that we have been in school for 14 days, I still want to live like it is summer.  Late night movies, cookouts, stargazing, and extra family time are still wanting to be on my daily agenda. My first summer on the lake held lots of promise, especially those noted in a Slice of Life post in June. My vows included:
  • Enjoy more ice cream cones
  • Float on the lake
  • Laugh with my children and new grandchildren
  • Read for pleasure daily
  • Stop, look and listen to the lake
  • Spend TIME with friends
  • Kayak in the early morning or sunset hours
  • Take more nature pictures
  • Write for fun
As I reflect on my list, I'd say I was fairly successful in fulfilling these promises this past summer, rating it a 7 on the scale of 1 to 10. And as the season draws to a close I still yearn for more.  I keep trying to squeeze in that promise that wasn’t quite filled: more friends over, kayaking and reading each day. But alas, fall calls, as noted by our neighbors taking their boats out of the water for their seasonal repairs and winterizing. The sun is setting earlier and the geese are practicing their Vs.  

My #itsstillsummer needs to be put away to be replaced with #fallonthelake, and I guess I don't mind. For fall brings a beauty of its own!

#itsstillsummer

I have been in denial.
Despite the fact that we have been in school for 14 days, I still want to live like it is summer.  Late night movies, cookouts, stargazing, and extra family time are still wanting to be on my daily agenda. My first summer on the lake held lots of promise, especially those noted in a Slice of Life post in June. My vows included:
  • Enjoy more ice cream cones
  • Float on the lake
  • Laugh with my children and new grandchildren
  • Read for pleasure daily
  • Stop, look and listen to the lake
  • Spend TIME with friends
  • Kayak in the early morning or sunset hours
  • Take more nature pictures
  • Write for fun
As I reflect on my list, I'd say I was fairly successful in fulfilling these promises this past summer, rating it a 7 on the scale of 1 to 10. And as the season draws to a close I still yearn for more.  I keep trying to squeeze in that promise that wasn’t quite filled: more friends over, kayaking and reading each day.  

But alas, fall calls, as noted by our neighbors taking their boats out of the water for their seasonal

repairs and winterizing. The sun is setting earlier and the geese are practicing their Vs.  My #itsstillsummer needs to be put away to be replaced with #fallonthelake, and I guess I don't mind. For fall brings a beauty of its own!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Facebook Insights


I spent many hours this summer reading Facebook posts.  No...not browsing status updates of my friends and family, but rather reading to learn from others in the many groups that I joined for book discussions and literacy learning.  I enjoyed discovering new reading and writing strategy ideas that were shared by fellow educators. I was fascinated with the copious posting of ideas, books lists and resources. And I was intrigued with the descriptions of new insights on old ideas. This social media site became a powerful tool that enhanced my summer learning, thanks to the many people in cyberspace that willingly shared their work and words with me and so many other educators.  My Facebook experiences reminded me once again about the powerful social nature of learning.  

Thinking about my experience with social learning this summer I can't help but reflect on learning with our students. Do I provide opportunities for students to learn from each other through conversation?  In my Facebook experiences, the facilitator rarely chimed in, shy of posting a prompt or a thought provoking quote.  The talk and the work came from the participants. We posted an idea or an answer and other participants commented on the post.  The exchanges were often times lively and filled with wonderful insight and new ways of looking at things and ideas that I might not have thought of on my own. How can I foster this type of learning in the classroom?  My first response is through interactive read alouds.  Interactive read alouds consists of the teacher sharing a piece of rich literature and then creating a space where students feel safe to share their thoughts openly and freely, much like I did in my Facebook groups. Turn and talk is another technique to foster the sharing of ideas and making learning social. My experience this summer on social media sites reminded me that these times for sharing are important, but it is even more important to hear different voices, so mixing up our turn and talk partners is important too!  The share portion of the mini-lesson is another opportunity for students to discover new insights from their peers. Again, hearing different voices only adds to the learning. Imagine if we took all our advice from one source!

My experience with Facebook this summer was indeed insightful and the learning was powerful due to the social nature of the platform.  And while I do not believe we should allow our primary students to troll social media sites for learning opportunities, I do believe that we should provide our students with numerous opportunities to share their learning with each other.  Learning is very much a social act and we need to find ways to incorporate more conversation into our day.

How do I make learning social in my classroom?  




Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for giving us the Slice of Life forum every Tuesday to help us all hone our craft!