Like so many other educators, recently I have been moved to tears and emotions with the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
In this blog, and also the two podcasts I am part of, I share about teaching ideas, resources, and other musings. But it was the conversation I saw today to the arming teachers with guns which inspired me to speak up and share about something different.
As I saw the president bring up the conversation about arming teachers, I truly became even more frightened. Seeking a solution of an arms race between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” is a recipe for disaster.
Gun control today is not a “political statement”
Gun control today is a NECESSITY
Have you had one of those moments where you saw something that rallied a spark inside of you? For me this was the #ArmMeWith movement. This is the reaction on social media by thousands of educators who are sharing what they REALLY want to be armed with.
This began with two teachers Olivia Bertels and Brittany Wheaton
Check out the #ArmMeWith search on Twitter and get a glimpse of what we are all saying we really need
So here is what I can offer.
I can offer my voice. My voice here on this platform saying “now is the time”
I can offer my support to the masses of other educators who feel the same
Lastly, I can offer my templates (yes, how I love templates) where you can make your own #ArmMeWith images
Click here to get a copy of this Google Slides template
Please join the community out there if you feel like now is the time to let the nation know what you need.
A short while ago I wrote about my dilemma regarding what do I want to see every time I open up Chrome. I was researching several different options and had friends in the community share some others as well and in the process I found tons of great ideas of what I should see when I open up Chrome.
Here’s a link to my original post.
Well, I’ve made a decision that I am happy with (for at least the last 3 weeks!)
And my choice is…
New Tab by Getty Images
“Getty Images brings unparalleled imagery from around the world straight to your browser. Each new tab opens with a beautiful, full-screen photo from Getty Images, creating a visually stunning experience every time”
Here are just a few screenshot examples:
After looking at all the other possible ideas for new tabs or a homepage I realized that most of them were just too busy for me and in the end, I didn’t need any “launch pad” of links. The reason for this really is that I have my Bookmarks Bar pretty well organized with links and folders that I am comfortable with. So, this Getty Images new tab simply just gives me a random new photo each time I load a new tab. The photos are stunning and give me a pause each time a new tab comes up. There are pros and cons to this pause though.
First… it can totally make me forget why in the world I wanted a new tab! This can drive me crazy at times.
But on the other hand… sometimes it feels nice to be taken out of my orbit and think about something else for a moment.
A stunning seaside
A gliding sea turtle
Or a X-Ray of a football player
... all stunning
what's your new tab?
Recently I attended the EdTech Team Roseville Summit. For the past five years they have been coming out to Placer County providing a two-day workshop that has had some of the best speakers and professional development at the regional level that I've seen. This last weekend was again another home run. Empowering keynotes.... informational sessions... great side conversations.... and list keeps going.
But in this blog post I'm going to talk more about the people who attended, and in particular those who didn’t attend.
While at the Summit, I was in between sessions and a group of us were talking about the event. One of the teachers said “it's always the same teachers I see… why can’t we get others here?” And I totally agree, the educators I see attending from my own district are the ones who tend to always to be the ones who go above and beyond. So I feel that frustration, and to be blunt, I had my hardest time in five years convincing educators my own district to attend. I would say “hey… it two miles away” and “hey… it will cost you nothing” and “hey… its catered by Panera”. Yet still the answer would be “No, thanks”.
Now after a bit of reflection, here is my assessment of why I think we, my district and all the others out there too, are in this situation:
First off, I think it's just there is too much on educator’s plates.
Admins and teachers alike are every year bombarded with more and more “must do’s”. From new adoptions to new testing to more accountability to more paperwork… it all just keeps piling up. To hear more about this, take a moment to listen to this episode of Jennifer Gonzalez’s “Cult of Pedagogy” podcast on the subject off “too much”
So, when we come around asking to take part in stretching yourself and becoming a more connected and innovator educator, many feel simply “I don't have time” or “I can’t add one more thing to my plate”.
But if I could push back just a little from the #toobusy, I’d say…. “Give it a chance!” The ideas and inspiration that one walks away from PD like this ranges from revolutionary (“this is changing the way I teach!” i.e. Peardeck for my slides and direct instruction) to simple (“hmmm.. I could use that idea for one of my lessons” i.e. Google Arts and Culture)
#2) Admin Support
I feel that in order to really light a fire under a teacher, you need a principal. If we can get more administrators to
A) come to events like this and other specific admin targeted PD, then we can get them to see the relevance and
B) have them push it in their staff meetings, newsletters and emails, then we can increase participation
#3) Stuck in Orbit
I feel that #toobusy is the easy answer to “why aren’t you going”. But this is one which I see so very often and not many even realize it. This is what I call “stuck in orbit”. What I mean by this is that we find ourselves in regular patterns of doing things that, overtime, become easier and more comfortable. These orbits define our professional role and we tend to like being there. There are many different orbits… they are specific to each of us. Here are a few examples:
* I’m a 5th grade teacher who is passionate about science
* I’m the athletic director and I teach world history
* I’m 7th grade ELA teacher and I run the after school drama club
The issue is when opportunities like the PD events I mentioned before come up, most say “no thanks” because it's just too hard / not worth it / waste of time. And I understand that it's hard… just like any planetary orbit, if there is something that changes that orbit, chaos can ensue. But hey… it can also create life right?
If you ask me… a little chaos is kind of needed.
So much of the power about Twitter in education is the connections we make with one another. It is these people whom we are connected which we call our Personal Learning Network. Cultivating these the people in this network is not always easy… where does one go to FIND other educators who inspire ? We are all in education, but each of us wears different hats. You may teach Fifth grade or French, be interested in AP Physics or Assisted Technology, but regardless of your role there is most likely a conversation happening on Twitter for you. The challenge is… finding where it is. Therefore I am sharing this list of Education Hashtags.
Although there has been other Twitter lists (and I borrowed from several of them) some are too big and some outdated. So, I decided to just make my of Goldilocks version… one which is “just right”.
Here is my Education Hashtag List you can check out
With that being said, I am always looking for more, so if you see something missing please shoot me a message.