Friday, July 31, 2009

It has been too many days since my last confession

I have been feeling guilty about not updating my blog, but was able to put it off - that is, until I read f(t) yesterday and found myself totally agreeing with her.

As a kid, I never kept a diary (I tried many times though!). In fact, I still have the first (and only) diary that I got when I was 7... it's only about a 1/3 filled and that includes through age 20! I didn't really expect much out of a blog either, nor did I ever expect to have readers or commenters. However, what I've found in the blogosphere is that this is an amazing place for reflection, collaboration, and the occasional vent.

By looking at my blogroll at the right, you can see that I follow mainly math teachers, with an occasional elementary teacher (love Mrs. Mimi!) or other subject matter teacher thrown in for their quirky sense of humor, writing style, etc. I enjoy reading the ups and downs of other classroom teachers, LOVE the WCYDWT feature on dy/dan, getting to peek anonymously into other classrooms :)

This summer I have also discovered Twitter, another tool that has been amazing for online collaboration. I follow a lot of the same people that I follow in blogs, but the feedback is what truly makes Twitter a useful tool. By posting a comment or question in 140 characters or less, you can open the lines of communication with other teachers and get almost instant responses about their policies, procedures, lesson ideas, etc. I don't think I would use Twitter much for my personal life, it has great applications professionally.

For me, this blog fills a huge gap in my teaching career. By forcing myself to descibe a situation clearly so that the reader can understand, I end up with a clearer understanding myself. This reflective nature of the blog is one of its greatest attributes.

Happy blogging!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Online book study?

I've had a "d'oh" moment...

Let me preface this post with a bit of background...

I am an avid reader of fiction and comprehend fiction quite well, but struggle a lot with comprehension of difficult texts. I've known this for quite a while... in high school, I was in the single digit page numbers of Beowulf until the day we tested on it.. and in college, I was *so* eternally grateful for Monarch notes because they paraphrased the text into contempory language.

Last week, at our AVID summer institute, one of our assignments was to read an article about college readiness vs college preparedness. After struggling quite a while to read the edu-speak, the article became crystal clear during our group discussion of the material. This cycle repeated itself later on in the week when I had to read an editoral about 9/11 and we discussed it in a Socratic Seminar. These two examples really illustrated the power of discussion for deeper understanding.

Fast forward to this week... I was reading on AtoZTeacherForums and read a great post on "must-reads" for teachers. I started looking at my own professional library, and realized that I have many of the must-haves, but I haven't read them all and the few I have read were a while back. Coupled with my "a-ha" moment of last week, I decided to search out an online book study group, only to find that they really don't exist :(

So... the question at hand is...
1) Do you know of somewhere I should look? OR
2) Would any of you be interested in doing a book study?

Have a happy 4th!