Thursday, 31 October 2013

Connected Educator's Month

October 31st is the final day of Connected Educators month.  Since hearing David Warlick speak about creating your own personal learning network (PLN) at last year's MANACE SAGE, I have been on a journey to become a more connected educator.  Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano's graphic explains it all. You can view it on her post about connected educators, leaders, and schools.

What I like about #1 is that it is attainable.  Spending 15 minutes out of your evening to learn a new teaching strategy or what a quick YouTube video on a school that is incorporating UDL in their classrooms is reasonable and doable.  It is the kind of professional development that may be more worthwhile because it is self-directed and self-determined, and only lasts as long as you have energy for at the end of a long day of teaching.  When you create a PLN using social media, you access the information that is relevant to your own personal learning needs. 
In my journey to become a more connected educator, I feel like I have stalled a little in stage four.  That is only because I feel like I have little to add to the conversation when I am following such strong educational leaders such as Dean Sharesky, George Couros, and Richard Byrne.  They have contributed a vast amount of knowledge that has allowed me to add a few new tools to my tool belt and has shaped my own personal pedagogy in significant ways.  Part of being an educator is never settling, always learning and growing, just as we would want our students to do. Creating a PLN is one way of making this happen every day.  Just today, while passing out treats to costumed kiddos, I browsed Twitter and found a great post on scaffolding student learning.  I'll share that treat here

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

At the end of a long day at work, I have precious minutes to spend on developing myself professionally.  It is one of those professional requirements that we, as educators, find most challenging to meet.  I have, over the past year, started swimming in the sea of educational information on Twitter and have found myself a few gems to follow.  Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano is one of them.  Her Langwitches blog is a treasure chest of information related to professional development, pedagogy, and technology infusion.  It has been a source of great insight for me and has provided me with some great resources to use in my own role in the school division.  If you have those few minutes at the end of the day, I would highly recommend perusing a post per evening.  It is definitely worth your time.  I recently read this post on her blog, which discusses the ways that we can use technology to turn students into master learners by giving them the tools to learn and teach others what they have learned.  We all know as teachers that one must have a strong understanding of the subject matter being taught before teaching it.  She coins the terms workflow and learnflow to describe how learning can be effortless using the tech tools we have at our disposal, rather than making the learning about how to use technology the purpose of our lessons.  Whether you teach Language Arts or not, please have a look at her Langwitches blog here.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Social Stories

If you are new to the concept of social stories, here is the 'go-to' resource for learning how social stories can be used to support students with Autism.  A social story is written in a, "patient and reassuring manner that is easily understood by its audience". Carol Gray, the creator of the social stories concept, outlines how social stories can be used to strengthen social learning, prepare students for transitions, and provide information about situations and events to the audience.  A comprehensive outline of the purpose and method for creating social stories can be found at The Gray Centre for Social Learning and Understanding.


I just updated my post on accessible books to add additional resources. If you are looking for electronic books to engage your emergent or struggling readers, you should definitely review the resources listed in that post.  I know that both classroom and resource teachers in our school division will want to check out the updated list of resources.  See September's archives on this blog to locate the post or search the blog using the search engine at the top left side of the home page.