Saturday, April 22, 2017

Someone Was Going to, but No One Did: The Life of a Parent Group

I wasn't planning on going. Honestly, I didn't remember there was a meeting until I saw a familiar parental face setting up in the cafeteria as I finally left school at 5. I checked my email and sure enough there was a Lincoln Parent Council (LPC) meeting.

There is a parent group meeting tonight, I told Sierra. I tend to think aloud and really didn't expect a response. We should go, she said. We have to go home and let the dogs out, I said.

And so home we went. Sierra brought it up a couple more times in the car, but I was sure she would forget about it after we got home.

I have many good intentions that do not come to fruition. So many times  "I'd love to do that" becomes "I don't want to get back up off the couch." Teaching is tiring in a way non-teachers cannot even comprehend. I giggle each day as I see my student teacher say things like, "I can't even talk anymore" or "Why was I over here again?" I giggle and tell her she is indeed a real teacher now, not just a student teacher, and that her funny notations let me know I am normal, which is not always apparent to me.

Yet, as I sat, lethargically on the couch, at 5:25, Sierra showed up saying, Please Mommy, can we go? I promise to do my job while you are learning. You know learning is important. Who is this kid? And where did mine go? Okay, but you'll be with the child care group, I lamented.

As we approached the school I "ugh"d, as in UGH I forgot my phone! Not missing a step Sierra replied, That's okay, you won't get distracted while learning. Again, my chin fell to the floor in shock. Pod people? Alien invasion? Sierra maturing? Pod people seemed most likely.

Upon entering I was perplexed: there were 4 board members present and others. The others included me and our vice principal. So really, there were people present. 3 (even with free childcare).  Did you hear me say 3 parents to represent the 500+ students in our school????

Now, I'm not shaming anyone, as previously noted I have a hard time getting off the couch, however, there should be some folks, out of 500-1000 parents (depending on the 1-2 parent household ratio) that ARE available to attend at least once in a while. Ones that are younger, in better shape, and can get off the couch easier than I.

I'm seriously still in shock...and that takes a lot.

It reminds me of

“The Responsibility Poem”

There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task?
Anybody could have told you that Everybody knew
That this was something Somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; Anybody had the ability.
But Nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that Anybody could have done,
If Anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since Everybody recognized that Anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that Somebody would.
But Nobody told Anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And Nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what Everybody thought that Somebody would do.
When what Everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that Somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And Everybody looked around for Somebody to blame.
Somebody should have done the job
And Everybody should have,
But in the end Nobody did
What Anybody could have.
Charles Osgood

Who is responsible for our children, our school, and therefore, our parent council? The village: we all have a part. Whether you are able to show up, or just volunteer for an at home job (like coordinating an event) step up. Our village desperately needs you...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seesaw:Online Digital Portfolios ROCK!

I do not work for Seesaw, nor am I paid for singing their praises. In actuality, I do it because I    love it.

I learned about Seesaw from a training at #NCCE2016 provided by Heather Marrs. I actually attended her session
Needed to volunteer & got the hardest job for an introvert...
by chance.

I didn't pick it. I didn't even know what seesaw was, other than a toy from my school days.
NCCE had a preliminary meet and greet and I attended. I immediately regretted it (sorry NCCE). 
I felt like I had just went through a time portal back to junior high, to a dance in the gym, and I was the wallflower...still. None of the major players were there (were they at the cooler party?) was dull. As I admired the bamboo snack trays I started chatting with Heather, which, quite honestly, was out of this introverts comfort range so I am not sure why I did it. However, that said, I believe in things that happen by chance, yet were destined to be:   


I found what I didn't know I was looking for: Seesaw.

Heather invited us to attend her session and we learned via hands-on engagement. We were hooked. 

Fast forward 2 years and I just finished my 5th peer presentation on #Seesaw...hoping to instill the love I found, in others. 

There is definitely a digital divide in education. It's clearly diagrammed here by
 Joanna Tovar Barnes on her #WATeachLead blog

Seesaw can easily make your experience a 4. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Makerspace in K: What Does it Look Like? What Does it Do for kids?

Back in the day I added, "Creation Station" to my kindergarten "free choice" options. It was a center stuffed with scrap paper of various shapes, sizes, and colors. It also held confetti, die cuts, stamps, envelopes, you get the idea. My goal was to allow creativity through a writing/craft type of center. Let the kids put writing to real life by making a card for a parent or friend, making a "bracelet" or crafting a picture. The results were OK. Most kids, not surprisingly, would not incorporate writing as they struggled with writing. Most were glad to make things, but they didn't usually go the extra mile. The items were simplistic in design.

     The items were simplistic in design.

This year I decided to switch things up and add a cart...a rolling IKEA cart to the classroom and call it a Makerspace Cart. To be honest, I didn't have much knowledge on Makerspace. I really wasn't sure what it meant, but it sounded cool. And to the cart I added a plethora of items to choose from: Popsicle sticks, googly eyes, glue, ribbon, tape, boxes of various sizes (down to the box the tape came in!), tissue paper, construction paper, string, and anything odd that I would have just thrown away. Consider it my new recycle center. 

Kids shop the cart daily...even looking at it during other work time for possible "good finds" such as a plastic bottle, a gold buckle, a discarded hanger. 

There are no rules at the MakerSpace cart other than to clean up your own mess and put things back where you find them.

What have I noticed? Incredibly diverse creations. Creations to help their parents solve problems (dumbwaiter made from paper and string). Items to fill their heart (stuffed animal). Items for others (toilet paper roll basket). The list goes on and on and rather than repeating, new things are constantly appearing. Each kid now comes up with complex, amazing items akin to designers and engineers. We have gone from mediocre to marvelous. 

We have gone from mediocre to marvelous. 

Listen as this kiddo details what she made.

Are you ready to see amazing things? Here's what you need.

1. A table, center, or cart to house materials.
2. An abundance of various supplies like sticks, buttons, tissue, construction paper, straws, etc.
3. TAPE and CARDBOARD (must haves!!)
4. Anything set to be thrown away (lids, bottles, small cups, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, etc.).

Next time you go to throw something in the trash, 
think to yourself...could this be usable in the MakerSpace?

Inventors and Inventions of the Day!

Great inventions are only limited by the time and supplies to create them. The ideas are there. The students just need our castoffs to solve problems. Make your own Makerspace today!