Muddling through the blogosphere

March 10, 2007
by blogwalker

Teachers Teaching Teachers – PD Models that Work

In a recent phone conversation (via Skype) with Paul Allison, Paul mentioned he had been asked by the NWP to think about ways to continue supporting and providing teachers with professional development opportunities for integrating technology into their teaching practice. His concern is for the teacher who already has a start in that direction, and wants more (like me:-). I realized after finishing our call that he already has the model in place. His Wednesday evening Teachers Teaching Teachers Skyepcast is an hour’s worth of sharing ideas, questions, ramblings, and possibilities within an online community of like-minded educators.

In my search for the Teachers Teaching Teacher link, I stumbled upon a great post by educator, activist, writer, and teacher advocate Linda Christensen of Rethinking Schools. In reading through her Teacher Quality: Teachers Teaching Teachers article, I am reminded of the power of the TTT model. I’m pulling one paragraph, but, truly, the entire article a excellent read.

“During my seven years as a curriculum specialist designing professional development in Portland Public Schools, I wanted teachers to see themselves as curriculum producers, as creative intellectuals rather than technicians serving out daily portions of someone else’s packaged or downloaded materials. I attempted to create spaces where teachers could work together to develop their own curriculum and discuss education issues. “

Four years ago, I sat in a training at my county office of education and listened to a “curriculum expert” (a former PE teacher who had never actually taught ELA) hype the power of the newly adopted ELA text and program. I remember feeling physically ill when she told us to go back to our districts and site and tell teachers to “put away their favorite units.” At some point in her presentation, she used the term “teacher-proof” lessons. Four years later, it’s still a struggle and juggling act for many teachers to dodge the curriculum police, but they are doing it. While they appreciate the additional materials made available through a textbook adoption, they continue to craft their lessons to meet the needs of their students. They find support, validation, and inspiration through the TTT model.

And the good news is that Web 2.0 tools (great resource posted by NWP colleague Eric Hoefler) make a TTT model even more deliverable.
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January 14, 2007
by blogwalker

Classroom Blogging – Need a Rationale?

I’ve added a new site to my Bloglines reader: EdTech Live. SteveHargadon has created a bank of podcasts about the power of Web 2.0. I’m listening right now to his December interview with Will Richardson. I’ve shared many times Will’s video with teachers during my Weblogs in the Classroom workshop, but through Steve’s interview I am hearing how Will came on board with blogging – starting with the insights of Pat Delaney, my NWP colleague and mentor – who also brought me into the blogosphere. The word I keep hearing is transformative. Through Web 2.0 I believe the potential is there, but we are just at the tip of the iceberg. Quote from Will: “Once you read, then you have things to blog about.”

January 4, 2007
by blogwalker

Three Well-Deserved Recognitions

Three people who challenge my thinking and greatly expand my teacher’s toolkit received national recognition this week: Phil Levien, Paul Allison, and Troy Hicks.

1206coverphotob.jpgThanks to an email from Beth Yeager, I can look for Phil’s picture on the cover of this month’s CTA magazine. I’ve had the good fortune to meet and work with Phil through our mutual association with the Cente for Teaching for Social Justice at UC Santa Barbara. I think the Anneberg site’s recognition of and video of Phil is the best way to sum up his work with ELL students. Part of the introduction to the theme of the CTA article – and certainly reflective of Phil – says: “Inspirational teaching means showing students how to think, not just what to know; engaging the heart as well as the head; and igniting passion that will continue to fuel itself.” A great quote!

Thanks to an email from NWP’s Paul Oh, I am also thrilled with the recognition both Paul Allison and Troy Hicks have from the Online Database. I met both Paul and Troy three years ago at the NWP’s Tech Matters Summer Institute. Since then, I try to connect withoedb-top-100.png any professional development they are involved with. I jumped a ton of steps Novelmber in Nashville while attending Troy’s session on podcasting. And an important part of my professional life is joining Paul and his group for the Wednesday Skypecasts of Teachers Teaching Teachers.

Standup ovation for all three 🙂

April 16, 2006
by blogwalker

Moving from Manila to WP

I’ve followed a few of Will Richardson’s Weblogg-ed posts regarding his switch from Manila blogs to WP. I am making the same switch via edublogs. Many thanks to James Farmer for offering a free site for educators. My only suggestion would be to offer a theme or two geared to elementary classrooms. The WP interface is user-friendly enough to bring teachers on board with blogging within a two-hour workshop. Jumping in to edit a theme’s CSS, however, is definitely for the advanced user.

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