Friday, July 24, 2015

Helping Other Teachers with Periscope

Do you love social media but don't always know what to post about? Do you ever wonder what other teachers might want to see? I hope this post will give you some good ideas of potential topics you could tackle on your own social media platforms. 

What to share that will help other teachers...

-classroom tour (Teachers love catching a little glimpse into someone else's teaching world!)

-classroom setup (setting up for meet the teacher night or open house, where you store teaching materials, your small group area, how you set up your STEM experiments, your classroom library)

-classroom organization (how you store your centers, where you keep extra student supplies, organizing a filing cabinet, your teacher binder)

-lessons (Videotape or take pictures of your best lessons.)

-presentations (You can videotape or take pictures of your open house presentation to parents or a staff development presentation you are giving.)

-review purchases made for the classroom (Teachers want to know if what they spending their own hard-earned money on is going to be valuable to them in their classrooms. If you find something that you think other teachers might find useful, give a quick product review on social media. For example, teachers are always looking for electric pencil sharpeners that won't break the first time a kiddo tries to sharpen a colored pencil. If you found one that you think does the trick, other people might want to purchase it too!)

- Teachers Pay Teachers products (This one might be a little controversial. For me, I love seeing other people's work in action. It helps me know if it would be good for my class. I would definitely say to try and balance out product promotion with other things. You don't want people to think every time they look at your stuff they are just going to get a sales pitch.)

Another tip I have about Periscope is to try and do a blog post about your Periscope content. Periscope videos disappear after 24 hours and you don't want to lose your content. Also, sometimes people won't catch your video or, if they catch it, they might want something else to come back to later. 

These tips don't apply only to Periscope. You could post about these topics on your blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc... I created this social media tracker to help keep track of my social media posts. If you'd like it click here.

Do you have any other topics you would love for someone to do a Periscope on, blog about or post pictures of? I'd love to hear some of your ideas in the comments! 

Thank you for reading friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Periscope in the Classroom

Have you heard about this new social media platform called Periscope? Well, if you haven't, Periscope is a social media platform where you can live stream videos from anywhere in the world using an app on your phone. Ever since teachers have taken over Periscope to network and collaborate with one another, I've been trying to rack my brain to come up with ideas for how to use Periscope with my students. I always feel like there is never enough time in the day! Periscope would be a great way to carry learning over to after school and build that home-school connection!

Periscope in the Classroom

The teacher could tape the students...

-giving a presentation
-during show and tell
-reading a story
-completing classroom activities
-sharing exciting news from school

Parents could tape themselves...

-reading a story as the "Mystery Reader"
-giving a presentation about their job or giving a tour of their office for Career Day
-sharing a special message with their child

(For parent taped videos, you can place a device in a center or play the video during small group instead of broadcasting it to the whole class. What's great about Periscope is that videos are available to replay for 24 hours so you don't have to watch them live.)

Teachers could tape themselves...

-giving examples of a math concept covered in class
-quizzing students from a study guide before a test
-teasing an upcoming lesson (MAJOR engagement factor!!!)
-previewing the upcoming week (instead of a weekly newsletter or blogpost)
-giving a special message to students on a holiday
-asking questions for extra credit, points, candy, etc...
-giving an answer to a question that you'll ask in class the next day (Only those that are watching will know the answer ahead of time.)
-showing a real world example of a topic you have covered in class (For example, if you're teaching your students about the life cycle of a butterfly and find a chrysalis during your evening walk you can video tape it for your students to see.)
-doing a science experiment from home
-live streaming from a trip you're on (This would be an amazing way for kids to see places they've never been!)
-sharing other scopes you think would be interesting to your kiddos (For example, many zoos around the world have their own Periscope channel. Discovery and National Geographic also have their own channels. You can make sure it's an official channel by looking for the check mark next to their picture/name.)

I hope that I've given you many ideas of how to use this exciting new social media platform in your classroom. As with any other technology, make sure you check with your administration and follow your school/district policies regarding privacy. I typed up a Periscope release form that you can find here.  I hope you can use it! :)

If you would like to use it in the classroom, you could do a mini workshop for parents or share about how to use it during open house before getting started. This might be helpful in getting parents on board. If you'd like more information about Periscope, Angie from Lucky Little Learners and Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in Second have great tips on their blogs!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Back to School Series: Setting Goals

It's that time again... Back to School... gah... well at least for those of us in the south anyway. Can you believe the summer is almost over? I only have 10 more days of sweet, sweet summertime left before I have to report back for pre-planning. Sadsville. Since it's that time again to dust off my teacher brain and get my teacher booty back in gear, I thought I would begin a little blog series to help everyone prepare for back to school. Today's topic focuses on setting goals for the upcoming school year. The tips I will give in this post are largely in part for short-term goals, but could also be applied to long-term and daily goals.

BTW: As a side-note, I joined Periscope this week. It kinda sorta freaks me out, but I'm trying to give it a whirl. :) I did a scope today on this blog post, so if you're joining me from Periscope welcome! If you haven't checked out Periscope yet, you should! My Periscope name is Teach Dream Inspire.

This topic has been on my heart for the past couple of weeks for a couple of reasons... 
One: I'm moving into a new position next school year. More on that at another time.
Two: I'm a new momma and the thought of leaving my baby to go back to work has been getting me all kinds of emotional lately. 

Here are some of the things I thought about while setting my goals...

This quote leads me to my first tip...

Now, I'm not saying don't dream big. Of course I have big dreams and I do work to accomplish bigger life goals for myself, but I think it's really important to know your limitations. Let's just say that I'd love to be on Broadway one day. Then I remember I can't really sing all that well. HA! Maybe Broadway isn't really an attainable goal for me after all.

Do you want to set a goal to improve on a weakness? Think about what strengths you may have that can help you overcome your weakness. For example, I've been really good about running and managing Guided Reading in my classroom, but I stink at keeping up with Guided Math. To solve that problem, I asked myself a few questions to help me determine what goes really well for me during that Guided Reading block. Is it my organization? Is it the time of day? Is it how I introduced Guided Reading time to my kids at the beginning of the year? I'll then take those strengths and use them to refocus my energy into getting Guided Math up and running in the future. 

One of my biggest downfalls is that I try to do too much. Anyone else?! I know most of us all feel that way! It's ok to focus on one thing or one area to improve on at a time! To touch back on Guided Reading and Guided Math... I wasn't comfortable last year trying to incorporate both into my daily schedule. I focused more on perfecting Guided Reading. Now that I have a system for Guided Reading, I can start to dive into Guided Math. 

Surround yourself with people who are there to support you and who will hold you accountable. We all stumble sometimes and it's so important to have people on your side to lift you up. Don't be afraid to ask for help! If you're struggling with how to teach a particular concept, ask a teammate what they're doing in their classroom. Feel overwhelmed between taking your kids to soccer practice, making dinner, and putting a load of laundry in the washer? Ask your husband to take one of those tasks off your hands. Moms and teachers are all heroes, but even superheroes need a sidekick. :) Going back to strengths and weaknesses... your weakness might be someone else's strength... your strength might be someone else's weakness. Get help and give help! 

This quote leads me to my next tip...

This is probably the biggest tip I have! A plan will keep you focused! Take the time to think about what actions you will take to meet your goal.

This is another biggie! When you come up with your goal also think about when you would like to have met your goal. Is is in a month? By Christmas? By the end of the school year? Once you've reached your deadline, reflect on your goal. Did you meet your goal? Do you need more time? Do you need to come up with a new goal? What went well? What didn't go so well? Just remember not to be hard on yourself. Everyone stumbles! Pick yourself back up. Look back at your plan. Make a change. Persevere. 

So here is my goal for this upcoming school year...

I've seen this quote floating around quite a bit lately. This quote really spoke to me mostly because I'm a new mom. Before I settled on my goal I asked myself...

Is this goal attainable? The answer to that is yes and no. I'm making it attainable for me by looking at how this quote fits into my own life. Being a mom, there is just no way for me to stop thinking about, worrying about, and missing my baby. It's just not going to happen. I could say that when I'm at work I'm going to focus on work, but I know that is not attainable for me (especially when our day care center will be sending me updates throughout the day). My goal is to be in the moment when I'm with my baby and husband at home. Work will remain at work. Period. Will that be hard? Yes! Will I sometimes feel like a bad teacher? Probably. Am I ok with that? Absolutely. My family will always come first! That's just the way it is.

What are my strengths and weaknesses? Organization is my strength. Guilt is my weakness. (More on this in my plan.)

Is this goal manageable? Yes. I'm setting one goal for now. I can always add more goals later. This goal just so happens to be the most important for me right now. Some people may choose to set different goals for personal and professional. Is it just me or does teaching seem to always blur those lines? I love teaching, so I don't look at teaching as just a job. It's my profession, but it's also my passion.

Who can I ask to help me with my goal? This one is pretty easy. I will continually turn to Jesus through prayer. I can also always count on my husband. He is my rock. 

What is my plan? Playing on my strength of organization I will make a list each morning when I get to school of what needs to be accomplished before I leave for the day. Again, my list will be manageable. For example, today I will plan reading for next week, make the copies I will need for reading, and call so-and-so back. In my Jesus Calling devotional, it talks about not worrying about the future. Take one day at a time. So, I'm going to get what I can get done that day and the rest will have to wait until the next day. Tomorrow is always a new day!

When will I reflect? When is my deadline? This goal will run throughout the school year. I will reflect  on how well things are going at the end of each month and make adjustments. 

So that's it; you've made it to the end! Yay! I hope I've inspired you to create your own goals! If you like the motivational quotes, you can find those for free in my TPT store! I'll be adding more quotes as I find them.

I'd love for you to tell me about your goals for this school year in the comments. You can also connect with me using any of the social media badges at the top of the page. Thanks for checking out this post and I hope you'll return for other posts in my Back to School series!