Thursday, June 28, 2018

Debuting #tidbitsofwonder

Considering you may be coming from my hashtag #tidbitsofwonder on Twitter or my Instagram page dedicated to this movement, you may not know much about me at all, so I have to cover those bases first. Plus, if you are coming from wherever because I am re-emerging in the edtech world (somehow... maybe... I guess?), I have to provide some updates.

You may know me from as many as 5-13 years ago when I owned (which does not exist anymore) or as Scholastic's National Grades 3-5 advisor from the 2009-2010 school year. (Nevertheless, both those times in my life are from quite some time ago.) Or you may know me because of the class name, "Jasztalville", in general. (LOL.) On Twitter, I am the one with the yellow-ish hand-sketched face I made using Adobe Photoshop who has woven in and out of various chats on Twitter. I have made some great resources for other teachers via Twitter.

I have needed LOTS of time to figure out who I am as an educator. I am in my fifteenth year of teaching (which blows my mind because I remember being barely 22 years old!) and in my sixth year of teaching gifted fifth grade students. Prior to that, I taught fourth grade.

When I was younger, I considered my niche to be "ELA all the way", giving very little consideration to science or math. I am not kidding... in the least. As I have gotten older, I have become MUCH more science and technology-oriented, although I love all subjects and conduct educational research in a variety of areas. I think I am ready to re-emerge in the online educator realm after becoming a Space Camp alum, realizing I didn't want to stand for certain things, and learning about certain extraordinary educators. Furthermore, I feel I have changed significantly in light of being a middle school Technology Club advisor (I teach at a K-8 school) and especially a gifted teacher (which was always my dream, because... I am... gifted, too.)

So, yeah, #tidbitsofwonder. I was just at the ISTE conference in Chicago, Illinois and attended Tara Martin's #booksnaps session. I felt very connected to her presentation because I always desire to connect with my students on different levels. She started this hashtag because of her high school son who, like many teenagers, was using Snapchat. #booksnaps came out of reflecting on short excerpts from books-- and numerous educators felt very inspired, creating all kinds of snaps (even #mathsnaps and #sciencesnaps).

Last night, I was on my plane ride home and was fairly bored after writing down many ideas in my inspiration journal (don't ask; my mind is ALWAYS, always racing... it's a crowded mess in there). I then started taking snaps of the sunset, screen in front of me updating me about where I was and how fast I was going, etc. It then struck me... I had to create #booksnaps' insanely curious cousin, #tidbitsofwonder!

My mind has always been primed to wonder about EVERYTHING. I stare at trusses and wonder about how architects decided on that specific truss design... mountains/canyons and wonder about their extensive history... items and basically wonder how they revolutionized from their initial engineering design, etc. I can be in an invigorating social setting, surrounded by people having tons of fun, and I am wondering about the architecture or history of the building I'm in. I make up math problems in my head, think about random algorithms out of nowhere, wonder about the chemistry behind things, and think... Which vocabulary words best describe this moment in time, the taste of this food, this sunset, or the appearance of this fabric?

People may be thinking I am out in space, staring randomly at things, but my neurons often are bursting in joy! I've been validated by my gifted students who have said, It's really okay, Ms. Jasztal, I get it, too. 

This is code for I am a VERY (!!!!) proud nerd whose mind never stops racing. As I add more snaps, you may be thinking, Gracious, she's lethally insane, or feel the desire to join in the party.

Although this is a very limited list, here are some ways #tidbitsofwonder can take off-- 
- You snap an image of a plate of food and wonder which vocabulary words describe the food.
- You photograph a skyscraper and wonder about the engineering behind it.
- You wonder about the chemical elements that make up some object and wonder why those specific elements were chosen.
- You take a picture of some kind of statistics and think about how they can be analyzed mathematically.
- You wonder about a historical marker or plaque you see and wonder about the place, person, or event indicated on there.
- You take a picture of a costume and wonder about why it was designed that certain way... how does it reveal character traits about the one who is wearing it?

Here is an example from last night: 

The possibilities are vast. 

Now for the Instagram page, I am including all my tidbits and encourage people to reflect on them. Like, if I say "Can you come up with mathematical or scientific connections?", people then include those, or if I am wondering about words that describe the image, people generate something vocabulary-wise.

I am curious to see where this goes, and I hope, overall, you really like (and participate in) it.

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