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Monday, January 19, 2015

Becoming a Connected Educator



Teaching has been known to be one of the most isolated professions. Think about the one room schoolhouse: one teacher moved into a community to work. A family would provide room and board for her. The teacher knew no one. She wasn't allowed to be out after dark. She had no one to call on, no one to discuss problems or concerns with. She had limited resources and space, and a multitude of ages in one classroom. Imagine how challenging that would be! 

As time progresses, educators have a more collaborative community of professionals who rely on each other to make important decisions, learn new methods/strategies, and stay motivated. Sometimes there is so much information that we become overwhelmed at attempting to prioritize what needs to be implemented first. Connections with other educators are vital in order to make informed decisions about our kids. We simply cannot do this on our own, just as parents cannot raise their children on their own. It truly does take a village, as Hilary Clinton once stated. 

As important as it is to be closely connected to those who surround us each day; our grade level teams, special support staff, administrative staff, etc., it is equally as important to seek outside connections. My challenge to you over the next month is to...


 GET CONNECTED in a new way! 

There are many ways to connect with other educators and personalize your learning via social media. I want to share with you some of my favorites, and challenge you to choose at least one of them to investigate over the next few weeks. 

Google+
If you have a gmail account, you have a Google+ as well! It is identified with a + and appears in the top right corner of your gmail screen. (Mine shows +Bethany.) Google+ allows you to add people you want to follow, and place them in circles for organization. For example, I have a circle for family, Central staff, Central families, and for my PLN (professional learning network). Check it out and remember to add a picture for your profile!

Twitter
Twitter is THE best way to get connected and personalize your own learning. The first step is setting up a Twitter account! Once you have an account, it simply takes time to build people and organizations to follow. There is so much information out there, and you can gain more from an hour on Twitter than you can from a six hour PD session. You get to make Twitter work for YOU, because you choose who to follow. 


Facebook
Most people think of Facebook as a purely personal social media tool. I have found over the last year that there are numerous resources for educators via Facebook pages. Once you "like" the page, it will appear on your feed and you will be able to see information being pushed out. I have discovered many hidden treasures via Facebook, and even created my own page to support parents and educators. 

BlogsBlogs are a great way to connect to others and personalize your own learning! Many educators blog to reflect and share with other educators. They are non-threatening, informal, and SHORT! They do not take a lot of your time to read and digest. Twitter will connect you to many blogs of educators. You may also go through Scholastic, Class Dojo, and Education Week to find some excellent bloggers to follow. 


Being a connected educator in today's world is a non negotiable. We have technology at our fingertips each and every day, and can personalize our own learning right on our smartphones. Take some time over the next few weeks to familiarize yourself with some of the resources listed, and get yourself connected to outside learning. Differentiate your own learning by finding what YOU need. 

Happy learning! 
Bethany (aka Always Connected)

Social Media Info: 
Facebook: Bethany Hill (personal)
Facebook: Inspiration for Educators and Parents (professional)
Instagram: bethanyhill1
Twitter: @bethhill2829 (personal/professional)
Twitter: @CentralCabotpK4
Google+: Bethany Hill (bethany.hill@cps.k12.ar.us)
Blogs:
Communicate, Coach, Care: the Central Purpose

Learning through Leading


Resources Worth Reading and Watching

Five Real World Issues that Worry Kids

Amazing Ways Twitter Can Give you Wings to Development

Sensory Diet Explanation and Activities 

Inspiration for Educators and Parents 


Important Dates:
January: School Board Appreciation Month!
January 19: Happy Birthday Mrs. Biggs!
January 21: RTI Meeting @ 3:45, Designee Office
January 22: Embedded Session: Kid Talks Part 2: Behavior
January 23: 4th Grade Quiz Bowl, Tornado Drill @ 9:30
January 26: Staffulty Gathering, 3:45 in the Media Center
January 27: Fire Drill @????
February 5: Embedded Session
February 19: Daddy/Daughter Dance (tickets sales online)



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