Washing the Windows

I’ll be spending some time ‘spring cleaning’ the blog for visitation by all those aforementioned demographic groups. Rather like a window washer, it takes courage and trust to create the transparency needed to showcase beautiful things.

[Day 6 of the #30goals challenge with Shelley Terrell @shellterrell and Lisa Dabbs @teachingwthsoul.]

Acrophobes Need Not Apply
Creative Commons License photo credit: ret0dd

Since unplugging Edmodo, I’m returning to my classroom blog to share resources, links, and lessons with students.  Today’s #30goals challenge was a good reminder that I can build upon that platform to increase transparency across the board- students, teachers, parents, administrators…. anyone can easily reference what is happening in the Computer Lab.  Currently, it is a glorified bookmarking site, with weekly posts of new sites to review.  I’d like to change that by posting ideas, videos, and weekly lesson plans. This challenge was very timely! I’ll be spending some time ‘spring cleaning’ the blog for visitation by all those aforementioned demographic groups because I sincerely do want to invite them into a welcoming space that has something special in store just for them. Rather like a window washer, it takes courage and trust to create the transparency needed to showcase beautiful things.

Posting weekly plans offers a number of benefits:

  1. I can plan ahead.  Using WordPress’s schedule post feature, I can keep drafts of upcoming lesson plans and post them at a future date.
  2. I can use these posts to create a lesson plan book to turn it at the end of the year.  There is an amazing WordPress plug-in called “Anthologize” which allows you to take posts and pages and create a book from them.
  3. I will have substitue plans pre-written and posted.  There will be some procedural things I do not include, but those are already covered in my sub-binder.
  4. I can still interact with students via the comments feature on each post…. but I see them first and approve them.
  5. I will be more effectively on the same page with all classes.  Sometimes, due to assemblies or field trips or holidays, one class gets further ahead than another.  This will help us stay more ‘together’. I know my music teacher plans two lessons a week, and the classes that miss just move on with the rest.  It’s a little different with the computer classes.
  6. I can easily share with others what I’m doing. I plan to cross-post to this blog so I can share ideas and also keep a record for myself and future employers.

You’ll find my weekly post template draft below.  What would you add or remove? Anything you’d change? I primarily want it to be a resource for the students, so I’ve tried to place things in a logical order that also entices them to come check out new things later. I strategically placed the parent info at the bottom, so that they can skim through the lessons and ideas before reaching the bottom. I may create a table to put the website and video of the week side-by-side, leaving the lessons the ‘main thing’.  I know my kinder kids get confused quickly if there’s too much to sift through. Also, I’m in the market for a cross-posting plugin that will auto-post this one from my classroom blog to this one, so I can share what I’m doing without copy/pasting.  Beyond that, I’m looking for an ’email me’ button where students can email me quickly from the blog page, and also would let them send me files straight from the blog…. hmmmm….. something to ponder.

Any ideas for me as I’m ‘cleaning-up’ the classroom blog for transparent sharing?

Website of the Week

(linked image here)

Video of the Week

(fun video or tutorial here)

Lessons of the Week

Notes from Mrs. C

(video of me here)

(links here)

(student showcase piece- link to blog post or their work here)

Kindergarten

(audio or video here)

(linked image here)

1st

(audio here)

(image here)

(text here)

2nd

(audio here)

(image here)

(text here)

3rd

(audio here)

(image here)

(text here)

4th

(audio here)

(image here)

(text here)

5th

(audio here)

(image here)

(text here)

Parent Tip of the Week

(text here)

(link here)

(tip here)

Teacher Tip of the Week

(text here)

(link here)

(tip here)

Skills & Experience Non-Essay

I chose 20 terms to highlight and created a Tagxedo word cloud for the final portion of this essay.

[Part 3 of 3 in an attempt to create a meaningful response to the Friends’ School. “As a teacher candidate, what skills and experience would you bring to the classrooms?”]  Rather than merely convert my resume into essay form, I chose 20 terms to highlight and created a Tagxedo word cloud for the final portion of this essay. I know it’s not a full listing of my experience, but I’ve already detailed those clearly in my CV and Resume. I would rather have submitted a video for this portion, and probably should have.

Digital Landslides: How to Handle Your Feed Reader

I distributed the old blog feeds into those 5 folders, and now add new blogs to the day on which I ‘find’ them. This new system seems to be working really well for me, and I wanted to share because I’ve heard friends calling for help that are buried in posts.


Creative Commons License photo credit: nojhan

When I first started using a RSS feed reader, I just stuck things in the box. ((Prior to that I was using Mail as my feed reader…. not something I’d recommend, but it worked well as it forced me to check the feed with my email.)) Then, I stuck more things in the Google Reader box.  Eventually, I learned to flush the whole thing by using the “Mark as Read” button…. it’s like an instant clean house.  But eventually, my lack of organization caught up with me.

At that point, I discovered folders. In my smartness, I started one called “Ed Tech”, one called “Leadership” and one called “Just for Fun”.  Guess what? That Ed Tech folder soon was topping 1,000 posts.  And I never got through it.  Ever. It was a perpetual landslide of posts.  After that, my survival strategy was to create a folder called “Daily” and stick the important stuff in there, things that I didn’t want to miss… because I *had* been missing things.  Stuff I really needed to hear. ((And not a matter of A-list or ‘cool’ kid stuff, but things that were important in my development as an educator.)) Enter Kelly Tenkely @ktenkely and her second Bloggers Alliance– she shared the joys of Google Reader bundles. When our school started blogging, I created a folder (which I shared as a bundle) for all my kids posts…. and moved it to the top.  Then, I added two more bundles from classrooms I follow and comment on regularly.

More recently, I’ve disbanded the “Ed Tech” folder and started a folder for every day of the work week.  I distributed the old blog feeds into those 5 folders, and now add new blogs to the day on which I ‘find’ them.  This new system seems to be working really well for me, and I wanted to share because I’ve heard friends calling for help that are buried in posts.

Now, I quickly run through my student blogs, another two sets of classroom blogs, my daily folder, and the day of the week folder.  When I have time, I read my WordPress folder and Just for Fun.  I may need to make some changes in how the feeds are distributed, but in all, this makes things manageable.  (Although, Friday might just be a ‘flush’ the Reader day…. apologies in advance if your blog sits in that folder.  I’ll catch you next week!)

How do you manage your RSS feeds? Do you have any additional ideas?  What’s working for you?