When I began teaching in 2004, websites mainly had a lot of MIDI music, flashy elements, and links to free .pdf files. The technologies that were most prevalent were the Palm Pilot and the older Apple computers that epitomized the early 2000s. Webquests were huge for students, and I got involved in the JASON project in my 2nd and 3rd years in the classroom. Teachers primarily bounced ideas off of one another via message boards, and they were awesome.
By my fifth year of teaching (2008-2009, which was a wonderful year), iPods were quite popular. I received five that year. I remember uploading my first podcasts from Dragonfly TV and watching my students' exhilarated facial expressions. We also received a class laptop cart and created some PowerPoints as well as attempted shooting green screen videos for a history project. (We didn't succeed, but my technological plights may come up in another post sometime.)
My sixth, seventh, and eighth years of teaching, I was a blogger. I first blogged for Scholastic and then continued on Blogspot for two years. Things changed quite a bit at that time because teachers began interacting a whole lot more. TpT stores became extremely popular in that time, as did social media in general. I enjoyed holding contests. I have had some friends do extremely well in that area, but I realized I wanted to take a break and ponder on what kind of blogger I truly wanted to become. And that's okay.
By my tenth year of teaching (2013-2014, which was also a wonderful year), I learned about the Maker Movement... and Twitter... and astounding technologies that would have blown my students' minds a decade ago. I just kind of sat back two years ago and this past year and thought, When I blog again, who am I going to be? What am I going to stand for?
So here goes. This is my mantra--
1. Practicality: I hope to provide ideas that will be easy to implement in the classroom. Some ideas will be simple and can even be implemented in your classroom the next day. Others may take about a week because they will be lessons or even mini-units.
I am also working hard on organization and structure, so you'll probably see a few posts about my classroom set up this year. I will show you how I plan on organizing papers. Next year, I hope to become "at least a little more paperless" as well.
2. STEAM Innovation: I want to write about what blows my students' minds. Maybe sometime if I am able, I will hold a few contests, maybe even one for a MaKey MaKey or something science-related. I hope to educate others about the Maker Movement because it became new to me when I attended Space Camp one and a half years ago. My friend Laura knew quite a lot about littleBits, Cubelets, and 3D printing as I... listened in awe.
Looking back on my years in the classroom, I haven't always been a "science person" because it wasn't really presented in an intriguing way growing up. It wasn't my teachers' faults at all-- I had some of the best teachers who imparted a great wealth of knowledge. I always earned As and high Bs in science. I will always adore my eighth grade science teacher; I enjoyed her class a lot. My Biology Honors and Anatomy and Physiology Honors teacher in my freshman/sophomore years of high school was PHENOMENAL. I'd say my Marine Biology class was the best science class I had. I received a 97 in Geology in my sophomore year of college, but I didn't really like science much until maybe my fourth year of teaching. That was when... I realized how hands-on it could be. I realized how intriguing science was when I made connections to my everyday life.
So one of my goals for this blog is to make STEAM concepts awesome for you! I want to show you how my students have delved into science concepts through experimentation and engineering challenges. I hope to connect travels to science and show you how my students as well as my Technology Club members have delved into the Maker Movement. I want to share how making and engineering is a huge part of science class.
3. Relevance: I will share resources that have helped my students to do well in succeeding with Common Core standards. This next year, I am teaching all subjects again, so it will be fun to write about Language Arts and Social Studies. Writing instruction has also changed quite a lot since my students prepared for Florida Writes narrative and expository prompts in my fourth grade classroom, so I hope to provide resources that make writing for the Common Core intriguing as well.
4. Hands-On Approaches: Especially in Social Studies, I hope I share some ideas that make learning about history adventurous and exciting. I hope to have a wax museum, incorporate mini-plays, and have my students write journal entries from the perspectives of individuals in history. Social Studies/History was always my favorite subject in school, though I have realized as a teacher, I need to make it something my students can relate to. Of course, STEAM-related posts will focus on a plethora of hands-on concepts as well.
My biggest goal is... sharing. I want you to feel "at home" coming here. I know my audience will be different from my former audiences, and that's okay. I post on Twitter now and am working on building a strong PLN. I love participating in chats like #edtechchat and #tlap (which is "Teach Like a Pirate"). I look at the archives for #gtchat and hope to participate in that one more next year as well.
You may see challenges and contests next year, and since my websites are debuting in the next few months, you will be able to visit other blogs I have started that are more resource pages.
So, I hope you liked the preview! The biggest thing is that I hope to stay on top of the blogging as well as possible and really make my twelfth year of teaching as awesome as possible.