Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Chapters. New Perspectives.

After pondering a great deal about whether I should return to the blogging realm, I decided to delve into post-writing and promoting innovation once more.

If we have not met before, my name is Victoria, and I have nearly completed one decade of teaching. Prior to this year, where I delved into interstellar space/the cosmos/whatever you would like to refer to it as (a.k.a. fifth grade gifted), I taught fourth grade. Four years were spent teaching advanced, one year was devoted to team teaching where I specialized in Language Arts, and then the other years were spent teaching all subjects, but ability-grouping and switching students with other teachers in the grade level.

My interests are fairly broad. I am passionate about writing and publishing content for educators, writing whimsical novels for the upper elementary/middle school audience, photography, traveling, and designing websites. I am fluent enough in code, and my students admire me for my "HTML prowess". (I tell them I was inspired by an amazing website in the day called "Lissa Explains It All", which still happens to be around!)

This July or August, depending on my rate of productivity, two new domains will debut to the world from the realm of my brain. One has a name that may sound very familiar to some (Teachingvision.net; I obviously lost Teachingvision.org) and the other will be dedicated to the fantastical realm of science. Believe it or not, I gathered a team of thirty-seven incredible and brilliant people to collaborate with me in making the "Disney World of Domains" a possibility. (We are planning some innovative and phenomenal content that will hopefully enlighten and inspire you.) 

Now you may be wondering before I am through... what will be showcased in this weblog? 

I. Philosophy:: Some days, I research educational philosophy as a relaxing after-school activity while I listen to pulsating tunes on my laptop. Individuals like Sir Ken Robinson invigorate my thought process. Even though I am a public school gifted teacher, I delve into a grand plethora of topics-- "unschooling", Montessori approaches, teaching abroad, STEAM, interactive journaling/Thoughtful Logs, multiple intelligences, and inquiry-driven explorations. I see the validity in much of what I research. Some individuals who have shaped me as an educator are (in no particular order)-- Franki Sibberson, Fountas and Pinnell, Tanny McGregor, Marilyn Burns, Stephanie Harvey, and numerous scientists (if I delved into that list, it would likely not stop).

II. Stuff I Force My Fifth Graders to Do Against Their Will (LOL):: I often do my best to "think outside the box" and incorporate interactive, creative approaches with my students. I hope to share numerous original ideas on here as well as promote some resources others have created. Here are some examples:
  • A figurative language lesson that showcases three Disney songs
  • The model bedrooms my students constructed that focused on concepts like surface area and volume
  • Our class' science demonstration fair
  • My class' devotion to completing 100 science experiments this year
  • Featuring science songs posted on YouTube by Mr. Parr 
  • Products my students create to present content learned in class-- especially science
III. Content I Add to The Domains:: With thirty-seven people on our team, I have a feeling I will never run out of ideas for this weblog or the domains. We plan on incorporating some content that is either not out there that much for educators-- or at all. The majority (at least 80%) of the content that will be uploaded to the domain will be free. 
  • Science units enhanced with labs, inquiry-driven discussions,  reading material, videos, music, hands-on enrichment, and vocabulary. 
  • Inquiry-based lessons with essential questions
  • Photographic journeys driven by inquiry
  • Excerpts from some of the novels I have written 
  • Lessons that incorporate visual and performing arts concepts in science, math, history, and reading classes
  • I often make lists about specific topics for "bibliotherapy". On Pinterest, for example, I have lists of books that pertain to gifted education as well as bullying. 
IV. Prevalent Educational and Personal Topics:: Pressure and perfectionism, self-confidence, bullying, the transition to middle school, dual-exceptional gifted students, classroom management, and shifting from "learning to read" to "reading to learn" are a few educational topics I may discuss in this domain. I will also address fitness, organization, scheduling, and many more personal topics. 

V. Professional Development:: I attended the Texas Gifted and Talented Conference this past December as well as Space Camp for Educators last month. This summer, I am attending the Whole Brain Teaching conference in Louisiana. In the past, I participated in two "Tweetups", one for the GRAIL mission at Kennedy Space Center and the other for Be a Pilot Day at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum-- Udvar-Hazy Center. I love being able to share experiences with you. I plan on starting something huge that will be wonderful for professional development as well. 

VI. Products I Sell:: I am not a huge Teachers Pay Teachers seller. I have dabbed into it before and pulled back for a while to really think about what I want to accomplish on the site. This summer, some products will be debuting. Once a week or once every few weeks, I will write a short description of products and include images. As I stated, only about 20% of what I will offer will be products I am selling. That will not a prevalent focus on this weblog or the domain, though the products I sell will be cherished and made from the heart. 

Please take the time to follow me on social media. This summer, a bit before the websites debut, I will create a Facebook group page. My Twitter account will remain @love4thgrade as it always has, and my Pinterest is featured on here as well. Thank you!

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