Phipps Files

Live. Laugh. Love. Learn

Getting to know you November 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — sjphipps @ 1:10 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The further we get into this class, the more I feel like I am getting to know everyone. However, I am finding this connection weaker than if we were in a class together physically. I wonder whether we wouldn’t know each other better if we physically sat at the same tables in a class once a week. I realize that part of getting to really know one another is based on how much we all individually share and that perhaps for sharing purposes in education, it isn’t necessary to know one another on such a personal level. However, I do know that we are human, we all have “things” going on in our lives. In our class, we have pregnancies, new babies being born, people with health issues and perhaps even people going through divorce or other heartache that we don’t even know about. For some reason, on a personal and social basis, this bothers me. It is disturbing to me that these great and not-so-great things are happening and we are not “there” for one another. I don’t know the answer to this question either. I have gained a lot from this group of people and I guess it is just troublesome that we aren’t a community; there for one another. It’s weird for me to think that we are all living our lives and we have affected one another, yet we really don’t know each other or what’s happening d the computer. Thoughts?


Who’s YOUR teacher? November 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — sjphipps @ 9:52 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,
Sharing by bengrey, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  bengrey 

Our session with Dean Shareski had me intrigue and interested before it even started. I had seen loads of tweets and comments about this Dean Shareski guy. In fact the day before the presentation, I asked Honni “who is this guy?” All I knew was that people respected his opinion and were quoting him and tweeting about him.

When I saw that our discussion would be about sharing, the first thing that came to mind was the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. I often find myself quoting this book to my students and in my parenting. I also used it last year in my administrative address to our grade eights at farewell. I was very happy to see Dean using this book in his presentation, with the emphasis obviously being on sharing.

One of the very first lessons we teach our children as parents is to share. Share your books, share your toys, share with friends and siblings. I knew this was a learning lesson but I never thought of sharing as learning that continues. This is a powerful statement and really struck me!

apple tree growth by _foam, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  _foam 
And, I can’t believe that I never really thought about the fact that when we teach we are SHARING our knowledge. It leads me to wonder then why it is so hard for teachers- maybe just some teachers- to share ideas, units and lessons. I think that in years past this profession has mainly been done in isolation. Teachers maybe felt like they were on their own little island just trying to survive. Now with the introduction of PLCs and PLNs as well as technology for sharing, we teachers need to wrap our minds around the fact that this professions should be about sharing our knowledge not only with our students but with all students, parents, teachers and community members. I am excited by the idea of setting up a youtube video where I am teaching a lesson in French that I can then share with those who see its usefulness. I am even more excited by those who are willing to share with me!
Earlier this week, I had a discussion with a friend and colleague, who teaches kindergarten about her sharing. You see, I consider her an AMAZING kindergarten teacher ( I am secretly wishing and praying every night that she gets assigned to my son’s school for September when she is off maternity leave) and I think a lot of other people appreciate her knowledge and wisdom as well. She was saying she found it strange to return to her daughter’s kindergarten class as a parent helper to see that the stations being done were her creation. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it. She was honoured that people valued her work enough to use it but yet for some reason because it was here creation there was this sense of privacy or ownership. I explained to her that I thought it was an honour to have so many teachers using her creations. I said she should think of it as her having a hand in educating all the kindergarten students using her materials. I think this helped her and I think it is helping me when I think about sharing. I am hoping to try to promote this sort of belief among our division’s schools. Just need to figure out how and when!
I also enjoyed the part of Shareski’s presentation when he started talking about filters. We have a need to connect to others. This connection is now often being made though the use of social media. One of the complaints I often hear from friend, family, and collegues is that there is too much to read and too much information being shared. This is a negative factor of social media for some and at times results in people not using these great tools. I love the idea of building and using our own filters. We should share all that we want and the readers then can filter all they want. I have learned on twitter and facebook, that it is not necessary for me to read every single post but rather learn what is important to me and read what I NEED. At our staff meeting this week, I began using the word filter to help colleagues realize that we can be choosy about what we read and what we subscribe to. This may even mean that we are filtering whom we follow. If we don’t care about the Kardashian sisters, then don’t follow them. I am trying to encourage and demonstrate how useful these sites can be if used for the desired use.
We also discussed the concept of feedback. When blogging, Shareski says that commenting on blogs is just as important as posting on your own blog. I never really thought about this until my class started their own blogs. The students were definitely more interested and intrigued when others posted on their blog. I think they took comments as some sort of validation. I guess I do too. You know you have written a good post when others feel compelled to comment back! It is so interesting to me to share this experience with my students, knowing that I, as an adult learner, am just as excited (and sometimes giddy) as they are with their learning. Tomorrow, when my students and I discuss their next posts, I want to let them know what Shareski shared with us-  a comment or post is just the beginning of a conversation. It needs to be enticing and intriguing! I also like the imagery that one comment can be like a pebble in a pond.
At the end of our discussion, Shareski listed why we share. Here are his ideas:
– to build community
– to reciprocate
– because I’m lazy
– because reinventing the wheel is dumb
– because you never know
– to make something better
– to learn
As I finish this blog, a day after I started it, I am left wondering where and how do you share?