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Webspiration Wednesday

Today I instituted Webspiration Wednesday at my school.  I have noticed over the years that second semester seems to be lacking motivation and morale January through March.  Maybe it is because winter is STILL dragging on, maybe it is because it feels like a long stretch before spring break, or maybe it is because the complaints of the year are really settling in.  I have noticed this phenomenon in all the schools I have been in.  During last weeks #edchat on Twitter, I learned that low morale is a common problem that most schools face.  As we talked about ways to boost morale, I thought about the ways that my amazing PLN boosts my morale every day.  They encourage me, give me new ideas, and reignite my passion with the great links they share.  I wanted to bring some of that to my school.  I wanted teachers to have a chance to laugh together, and enjoy each others company, and get away from the teachers lounge which can end up being a place to gripe about everything that has gone wrong that morning. Last night, in a moment of divine inspiration, I decided that it was high time for Webspiration Wednesday.  So, this morning I sent out invitations to the entire staff to join me for Webspiration Wednesday lunch in the library.   Teachers trickled into the library, lunches in toe, and we sat down and watched a TED Talk together.  I chose “Sir Ken Robinson Says That Schools Kill Creativity”.  It was a great Ted Talk to start Webspiration Wednesday with, not only is Sir Ken Robinson inspiring, he also has a great sense of humor.  He had us laughing together (which as it turns out is a great stress reliever) and thinking about school and our students in new ways.  After the video had ended a spontaneous and lively discussion ensued about those kids that we have in our classrooms that we are stifling.  We offered each other ideas for giving them room to be creative.  It was fantastic.  We all left are short 25 min. lunch feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.  I wonder if the students noticed a difference in teacher attitudes after lunch?  I plan to hold Webspiration Wednesday every week and have asked my PLN on Twitter to join in using the hash tag #webspirationwednesday if they come across inspiring articles, videos, lessons, stories, etc. Now a disclaimer, I did not ask permission to start Webspiration Wednesday.  I just did it.   Sometimes I think it is better to ask forgiveness (if need be) than to ask permission.  In our #edchat discussion, we talked about who should have the responsibility to boost morale in a school.  My answer was everyone has that responsibility.  I decided to take my own challenge and be the one who tried something new, something different.  Will you be that person at your school?  What boosts your morale? What have you seen work well in the school setting? Below is the TED Talk that we watched together, I believe you will find it inspiring. I have said it before, and I will say it again, my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter has been a great source of joy, encouragement, and friendship.  I have never met 98% of my PLN in person, and yet they are always there for me, cheering me on and offering suggestions when  I fail.  If you haven’t made the leap into the world of Twitter, I highly recommend it.  If you are looking for a top notch group of educators to follow, may I suggest the Edublogger Alliance group?  Once you are on Twitter, be sure to join in on #edchat.  There are two #edchat conversations that take place every Tuesday.  I can feel myself getting smarter as I learn from the BEST educators in the world every Tuesday.  Just follow the hash tag #edchat and be sure to add it to the end of your Twitter messages to participate.  I can promise that you won’t be disappointed. If I am speaking Greek to you, take a look at @shellterrell’s posts about #edchat and PLN’s.  She will have you joining in the conversation and fun in no time!

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Virtual Author Series

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 13-03-2008

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What it is: Simon and Schuster Publishing is offering a new unique experience to schools, a virtual author series. The electronic author visit brings bestselling and award-winning authors and makes them easily accessible to students and teachers. S&S creates a website specifically for each author visit that provides teachers with background information that will help prepare students for the author visit and provides interactive material that relates to the subject discussed in the author’s book. The program also includes a series of classroom activities and curriculum binders. The live web broadcast is the culmination of the virtual author experience. The 45 minute segment will include a presentation from the author, a reading from the book, and a question and answer session in which the author answers questions from the students.

How to integrate Virtual Author Series into the classroom: Bring popular author Andrew Clements (Frindle) into your classroom by signing up at the My Visit website http://www.bsu.edu/myvisit/ You need to sign up your class ASAP if you would like to participate in the first in the Virtual Author Series which takes place on March 18th. This is an outstanding opportunity for classrooms, libraries, and schools. Bring reading to life for your students with a virtual author visit. If you, like me, are on spring break during the first author in the Virtual Author Series be sure to check back for future Virtual Author events.

Tips: Check back for future Virtual Authors. The next Virtual Author will be D.J. MacHale (PENDRAGON) on April 29, 2008. This is an awesome way to bridge literacy and technology!

Please leave a comment and tell us how the Virtual Author Series went in your class. Specifically, I want to hear all about it since I won’t be able to participate!

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