Body Just Quit

I haven’t been playing much on Pinterest since before the SOL Challenge. In fact, I haven't posted on my blog much more than once per week since the challenge. I’ve been more focused on getting a job. I am glad to say that last Friday, I found out that I have a position, a new position within my district. I was doing some testing with a student when I heard a tap, tap, tapping at my door. One of my principals and another administrator, both of whom I have deep respect for, entered the room with news on their faces. I was told I had a coaching position but that I would be moving to another building. One of the administrators continued to talk but I really didn’t hear. I was stunned. Overwhelmed. Another move. Put on your game face. Don’t cry. I felt clammy. After they left, I sat in my chair and stared at the floor, the table, the wall, then back to the door. No tears yet. Then I moved to my desk and continued to tinker with a smart board lesson I had started working on earlier in the morning. I knew that the pair of administrators was in the process of telling one of my teaching partners across the hall that she also got one of the new coaching positions and she would also be moving.

By the end of the day, the clammy feeling had turned to chills. My sinuses were draining and the familiar sore throat was starting. I could tell my ears were filling with fluid. By Saturday, I figured I would have a full blown sinus infection. And I did. When the nurse at the Urgent Care took my temp it was 101 degrees. No wonder I felt shivery on Friday. The diagnosis was a double ear infection and sinus infection. I left with a Z-pac and headed to Walgreens for more Motrin and decongestant. I just wanted to sleep. My lids begged to close to shield my eyes from the sunshine. And that was that. My body refused to be pushed any further. I had to go to bed. The laundry and kitchen floor would have to wait. My teenage son would have to feed himself and my husband would have to go to Kroger’s and empty the litter boxes.

So what does all of this have to do with Pinterest? The thing about sinus infections is that they make me so tired but I can’t sleep because breathing is a challenge. Pinterest is fairly mindless. I can repin things that strike me and “like” the items that pique my interest but I want to look at more closely prior to pinning. Right now, mindless pinning is a useful distraction.

Blog Neglect

My blog is in major need of some spring cleaning. I tend to let it get so cluttered up, like my desk. But it is time. Time to revisit my purpose for this blog. What do I hope to accomplish, if anything? Many things to think about. I started thinking about overhauling my blog back in April when Stacey and Ruth unveiled the new fancy shmancy TWT layout, which I love. I experimented with a few templates but nothing felt right. What I should be doing is keeping a list of things I enjoy or appreciate about other blogs. Since the beginning, I wanted my blog to be an avenue for sharing and connecting with other educators and writers. I wanted to use the blog to sharpen and develop my writer's voice. Since those goals remain important, maybe I should just tweak rather than completely gutting it.

Planning for Intervention and Enrichment

I recently had the amazing experience of working with members of my school's SIP team to create some tools to assist classroom teachers to make instructional decisions for students who are struggling as well as students who are excelling beyond developmental or grade level expectations. Collaborating and sharing with professionals so passionate about student achievement was a blast to say the least. We based our work on Richard Allington's Six T's of exemplary teaching and the Optimal Learning Model (Regie Routman's version). Further, we brought with us a belief that all students can achieve at high levels and all learners need instruction that engages higher level thinking. We visualized groups of teachers coming together monthly to examine their classroom formative and summative data, sharing ideas with peers, and walking away with a tier 1/tier 2 plan of action all in one hour. Yes, it may seem lofty, but why not try? And add to that, we wanted teachers and administrators to be able to access these tools with their iPads. Our pie-in-the-sky plan incorporates Google Docs and LiveBinders. The mind map below is an overview of the planning process.


Blogging with My iPad

Blogging with my iPad . . . seems like a natural next step in my growing app addiction. This post was written and posted using an app called Blogsy. The app is fun to use and not difficult to figure out. Blogsy includes excellent tutorial videos. Embedding images from Picasa, Flicker, or your iPad camera roll is surprisingly easy. Maybe this will be the push I need to clean all my photos and images out of my hard drive and organize them in web albums in Picasa. Many fixes for Wordpress users were included in the most recent update. If you are interested in composing posts from your iPad, the $4.99 price is quite reasonable. So far, Blogsy is an app that actually does what it claims to do.


A Mess in the Cloud

I think I am on iPad app overload. There. Are. So. Many. Apps. And. So. Little. Time. The whole app thing is quite the racket. I started off telling myself I would only upload free apps. That lasted about a day. Even the cost of the less expensive apps adds up quickly. Paying for an app feels a little like gambling. Is the app worth 2.99? Will it actually work the way it says it will in the iTunes App Store? It sure is easy to hit “buy” and punch in your apple ID. And one would think that updating ones apps would be a good thing. Not necessarily. One of my favorite apps was recently updated and it no longer works in a way that serves my purposes. Fabulous. Even so, I’m learning from my mistakes and successes and am becoming savvier at reading reviews on apps and the companies that create them. And I do see a day when I might be able to work nearly paperless. How cool would that be? So instead of a mess all over on my desk, I’ll have a mess up in the cloud. 

Still Feeling Seasick

I finally had my interview last Friday. I interviewed for one of the new coaching positions that was created for the upcoming school year in my district. My previous position as a literacy coach was eliminated. I was very nervous, almost physically ill. Throughout the weekend that followed the interview, I hammered myself about what I should have said as well as all the dorky stuff that came out of my mouth.  I was one of a boat load, thirty-ish I think, of candidates that rotated through three interview stations. We had 15 minutes to impress each group before moving to the next. Even though I knew most of the interviewers, I still felt very exposed and vulnerable and nauseous. I probably won’t know if I got the position for another 2 or 3 weeks. 

More on Digital Conferring Notebooks

I've been playing for weeks with the idea of using an iPad as a digital notebook. Last week I posted about using an app called GoDocs together with a form I created in Google docs. I've been using the apps in tandem with some pleasing results. Editing Google docs with an iPad appears to be a common bugaboo among both iPad and Android users. I've spent lots of time researching and reading blog posts and help forums on the topic. And for some bizarre reason, I find that interesting. A lot of what I figured out came from trial and error. I like that I can quickly enter information on a customized form and view all my notes on a spreadsheet on my iPad. I can also sort my notes by name so I can view all my notes on one student at once. As I was making my form, I had to think about how I wanted the information displayed in the spreadsheet. Like I said, lots of trial and error. The following are screen shots of my current form as it appears on my iPad. The last screenshot is the spreadsheet that collects the information gathered by filling out the form as I confer with my students. After using my form, I'm already thinking about revisions. Playing around with Google docs forms and spreadsheets led me to even more questions. What if I wanted to create more of a portfolio for individual students? Well, Jennifer at I hablo espanglish and Linda at Teacherdance were totally right about Evernote. It is quickly becoming the basket for all my student information and has a portfolio feel. More about Evernote later in the week.

I added pull-down menus for name and reading level.

I could probably get rid of the box for date since all
the information is automatically time-stamped in
the spreadsheet.

I created "go to" pages so that  I can select an area
for improvement as part of a multiple choice question
 and go right to a page of teaching points for that
particular area.

The spreadsheet should be viewed in a list view which allows me to sort the
information by name, level, or areas of concern. This is helpful for
forming strategy groups. I can also go into the spreadsheet on my iPad
and edit any of the information in the cells.

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