Monday, October 13, 2014

I taught teachers!

Our AP (assistant principal) sent out a request for anyone willing to teach a staff development session. Choice was ours. I immediately thought of that awesome session I attended over the summer. You can read more about it here: Comprehension and Technology

It's a lot harder to plan for teaching teachers than I thought. I had to do a lot of research and testing things out to get ready for the big day. I made some mistakes and spent too much money on stuff before figuring out that there was a free way of doing the same thing. I had some thoughts on what to do, but I needed an overall theme for it to actually work.

That moment came on September 19 when Patricia Polacco announced on her Facebook page that her brother Ritchie had let go of the grass. I love her stories, and her older brother figures into many of them. I felt like I knew him and was saddened to hear of the loss.

But it got me thinking about how social media is enveloping our children on a daily basis. They need to be prepared for acceptable use. Some teachers are creating bulletin boards and using sticky notes to introduce their kids to the idea of posting and replying.

That got me thinking of how to approach such an idea and remembered using Kidblog in the past. It's a closed system that allows the teacher to control all of the postings. The teacher must release posts before they appear on the website so rude comments, or inappropriate responses can be filtered out. Through my research I found edmodo and that led me to Backchannel, a paid app to use through my account. This program will allow students to have a running commentary open for instant response to the teacher's lesson. I later learned that Todaysmeet.com does exactly the same thing, but for FREE!

So I put these things together in a prezi and was ready for the day. I was so technologically prepared, I was gonna knock their socks off!

My confidence wasn't solid though. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't have enough material to make it through the entire hour. But that fear proved baseless once we got into it. There was a bit of a struggle getting everyone onto Backchannel so they could see the last picture of Ritchie before he died. I didn't tell them anything about it and asked them simply to respond to what they see.

Then I put up a picture of one of Patricia's illustrations of her and her brother and most of them got that right away. Finally, I posted up Patricia's Facebook status to connect it all. All the while they were typing thoughts and connections and responding to each other's posts. It was great.




I read them My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother from Patricia so I could use it later in my piece on how to use KidBlog to increase literacy. Everything went very well and I had many smiling and nodding their heads. It is such a great feeling!

I wonder if they need any other staff development taught??
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