As I reviewed all of the overwhelming bits of articles and data that came my way this week, I wanted to add a few personal notes to some of the topics before I throw another opinion back in the mix. I am still in the baby blogging stages with this blog so I haven't made my full fledged effort to promote it and get into the rings of educational bloggers who might have real interest in the topics discussed. So for now I publicize it on facebook and a few of my super bored friends may read it. Many are teachers, so I hope I at least give food for thought.
My 6th grade teacher Mrs. Perry had a big impact on me. She would read aloud to us. I remember thinking "aren't we too old for this ?" but once I was mesmerized by her voice reading the" Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe " it didn't matter how old I was. I even recall having some of my later high school teachers read powerful pieces of Literature and helping it make more sense... Mr. Hurf and "Dante's Inferno"... Ms. Moceri and " Merchant of Venice".
I tweeted about the Global Read Aloud, an interactive internet project promoting read aloud in the classroom. I do some read aloud in my SS class.. they particularly LOVE the gross and whacky moments in history book. I would encourage all ELA teachers to check out the global read aloud!
I also passed along technology sites. It is very common to get small lists of sites sent in email, tweets, blogs with little blurbs under each. Because I see many of the Apps and tools referred to so often I get familiar with many new trends. It is nice to have these "tools" in your "toolbox" when designing lessons and instruction to achieve all of your goals. One interesting piece came up and it is a common problem with technology... On one of the lists was a sign generator.. you can alter premade signs to say what you want. For example it will be a photo of a McDonalds sign and where it usually says "billions served" you can type in other text to have it say what you want. There were lists of several dozen.. but one person wrote in and said they couldn't use this resource because they saw an example posted that wouldn't be appropriate for class. It is a very common problem when using the internet for technology that there will be parts of it not appropriate for class.
I have a pet peeve with people that seek out these examples and want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is so easy in class to move along and avoid bad examples. Kids have to do it all the time on the internet. There are frequently less than ideal advertisements. No different than driving down a road with a less than savory place on it.. you just keep driving.
So my advice for today.. read aloud to students whenever you can.. and don't throw the baby out with bathwater when using technology.. Good teachers react to teachable moments all the time. I trust good teachers in my school, my kids' school and hopefully a school I will be an administrator in to redirect professionally and promptly into technology that is useful and promotes the standards we want to teach.