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Implementing N-1

Photo by Her Wings http://www.flickr.com/photos/herwings/3809991796/ N-1 is a concept that I read about today on Seth’s Blog.  Seth says: N-1. There are tons of things on your to do list, in your portfolio, on your desk.  They clamor for attention and so perhaps you compromise things to get them all done.  What would happen if you did one fewer thing?  What if leaving that off the agenda allowed you to do a world-class job on the rest?  What if you repeated N-1 thinking until you found a breakthrough? I’ll be honest, this is a really difficult concept for me.  I am a perfectionist with a pinch of OCD thrown in for good measure.  When I do something I go at it full speed ahead 110%.  The problem is lately, I can’t give 110% to everything that I would like to because I am always adding one more thing (N+1).  These things are good things, they are worthy things, important things.  I feel that way about each one of them or I wouldn’t have taken them on in the first place.  But lately I am finding that I am giving each less than what they deserve and not feeling a sense of accomplishment in any of them as a result.  I think this is a common feeling among teachers.  We always tend to be functioning in the N+1 model.  We give everything the best we’ve got and often feel stretched too thin.  Today I took an honest look at everything I’m doing and came to the conclusion that I need to ease up a bit.  I’m not even sure that I have to really give anything up, I just need to change my perspective. I started the original Edublogger Alliance the first of the year 2010.  My goal was to create a fellowship of edubloggers who encouraged and supported one another in our blogging journeys.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think the alliance has been an enormous success.  I got to know incredible educators, librarians, and home school teachers from around the world.  I feel like I know each of them well as a result of reading and commenting on their blogs, having conversations on Twitter, meeting at ISTE, and even completing bigger projects together.  It truly exceeded every expectation I had for it.  In March, I started a second alliance and invited new edubloggers to join in the conversation.  Again, I was introduced to incredible educators from around the world and truly blessed by the connections made.  Because I started the alliances, I felt an obligation to comment on each and every blog post of each and every member.  I think in the 10 months it has been going, I have commented on nearly every post (even if it was weeks later) with a few exceptions.  It has been an awesome exercise in learning and reflection for me.  I got several more requests for additional alliance opportunities for educational bloggers and created the iLearn Technology Edublogger Alliance social network on Wackwall (now Wall FM).  Between the alliances there are almost 400 members! Something I couldn’t have anticipated or expected.  As a result I find myself facing around 380 posts to comment on every day.  Those are not the only blogs in my reader, I read many more that are not part of the alliance.  You can see why this is becoming a problem.  In my N+1 fervor, I have taken on more than I can physically do in the hours of a day. N-1 It is time for me to really prioritize.  This is a stressful decision and not one that I am excited to make but, in order to keep doing other amazing things, one I have to make. I will no longer be commenting on each and every edublogger alliance post.  Whew, hard just to type that…makes it real.  My OCD tendencies are fighting this hard   What does this mean for the edublogger alliance?  Nothing really, I hope that we will continue to encourage each other in our blogging and teaching adventures.  I hope that we will still comment and retweet each other’s posts like crazy.  I still plan on reading each and every one of your amazing posts (I wouldn’t even know where to begin cutting down my Reader).  I am just giving myself permission not to comment on EVERY post.  I hope that in the last 10 months, those of you involved in one of the alliances were encouraged in your blogging.  I hope that my comments caused you to want to comment on another educators blog and encourage them.  I would love for everyone who reads my blog to join the edublogger alliance and commit to commenting on a blog every week.  Comment when you have something to add to the conversation, comment because you want to let your favorite blogger know you appreciate them, comment when you notice no one else has.  Maybe I’ll make an “I comment” badge for those of you who commit to commenting for you to post on your website What will I do now that I have made that N-1 decision?  I will join conversations on Twitter again (I feel like I have been MIA lately).  I will work on and teach a virtual class on digital storytelling.  I will work toward starting a school and making #Twitacad (Twitter Academy) a reality. I will blog.  I will walk alongside schools as they work to integrate technology. I will publish lessons. I will offer professional development. I will read. I will cook. I will teach my puppies some new tricks.  I will figure out where my next N-1 should be so that I can find a breakthrough.

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E is for Explore: discovery, science, math, art, literacy, social studies and more!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Blogs, Create, Evaluate, Fun & Games, Inquiry, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 07-01-2013

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E is for Explore!

 

Happy New Year!!  I have to say, I wasn’t heart broken to see 2012 go and welcome a year of new beginnings.  2012 felt…hard. And uninspired.  I think that is what happens when you see a dream realized and then comes the part where you are in the middle of it, making it work and doing the HARD work.  2012 wasn’t a year I felt particularly creative. I miss that, it is part of my essence.  I’ve been so incredibly busy, just working to keep everything going, that I had nothing left over.  I’m hoping that 2013 is a different story. Step 1: the first post of 2013.  Here is to creativity and passion!

What it is: I discovered a new blog that I am absolutely loving!  It is hard to beat a place where exploration is not only welcome, but encouraged.  E is for Explore is that place.  Here you will find new learning activities and a fantastic collection of ideas from other sources.  There is a handy-dandy index that helps you find just what you need quickly and easily.  I’ve been working on collecting resources for this inquiry unit and E is for Explore has been an absolute treasure trove.  Topics include discovery/exploration, science/engineering, mathematics, art, literacy, social studies and seasons/holidays.

How to integrate E is for Explore into the classroom:  E is for Explore is a great tool for unit, center, and inquiry planning.  I am really enjoying the huge bank of hands-on activities and projects all designed to encourage exploration in learning. The wide range of activities will keep sparking curiosity in a variety of disciplines.

As I plan out inquiry units and gather resources, I am always on the lookout for activities that will encourage students to explore and spark new curiosities.  E for Explore made this process infinitely easier, bringing me an easy-to-search collection of activities, with great instructions, all in one place.  Many of the activities are manageable enough for a center activity within the classroom…great for differentiation and individualization!

I shared E is for Explore with some of our students, they had a great time looking through the science experiments and learning about how to make mini robots and floam.  This would be SO much better than a small tic-tac-toe board for students to choose an activity from.  Students can explore the entire site and choose an exploration that is of interest to them and complete it accordingly.

Tips: My hope is that iLearn Technology does for you what E if for Explore did for me.  Did you know that you can search by keyword (at the top of my website) or through a multi-category search (in the sidebar on the right)?  Choose as many variables as you want and see what you can find!  I categorize every post by keywords, Bloom’s Taxonomy level, Grade Level, Resource Type, and Subject Area.  After 7 years of free resources, I’ve amassed quite a collection of awesome, free classroom tools.  Go ahead, give it a try and see what new fun finds you come across!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  E is for Explore in your classroom.

Comments (3)

Looks like a great resource! I’ll definitely show it to other teachers!

Thank you so much for the write up about E is for Explore! iLearn Technology is one of my all time favorite sites! I have your site bookmarked for easy access. Plus, I told my Educational Technology professor about iLearn Technology over the summer. I am so happy that you find E is for Explore useful. It’s awesome that you have your students use it for differentiated lessons. I featured your writeup about QR codes on my blog back in August. Here is the link to the post: http://eisforexplore.blogspot.com/2012/08/kid-qr-codes.html. Once again, thank you for the writeup! – Erin Bittman

Thank you Erin! What you all are doing is SO fabulous!

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