October 30, 2010

Digital Footprints

I did something silly and maybe a little egotistical the other day. I googled myself. I hadn't done it in a while, and I wondered what would come up. The last time I googled myself was probably about 5 years ago, and I was very disappointed to see that I had 0 hits. My accomplished husband had about 10 that listed all of his awards, prizes, research projects, etc. I have to say that I was a little jealous.

So, back to when I googled myself the other day. I had A LOT of hits. It was a little unnerving to see so much information about myself public on the internet. Many of my twitter posts showed up, which I thought was a little weird. Also, my accounts on different websites showed up. I didn't realize that my favorite quotes I saved on a website called "Quotes Daddy" would need to be public knowledge! Thankfully, nothing came up that I'm embarrassed about.

I frequently tell my students not to do anything on the internet that they wouldn't want their parents, their friends, the preacher at their church, or their teacher to see. Their eyes always get wide when I say this, and I always say a silent prayer that they are all making good decisions when posting things on the internet. Looking back, I shudder to think of all the crazy, inappropriate things I wrote to friends in notes when I was their age. In fifth grade, I remember writing a two page recount of an entire Melrose Place episode for a friend who had missed it and getting it taken up by the teacher. (Abby, do you remember this?) There is a good chance that my Melrose Place synopsis would not have gone over so well if it had been posted on facebook or sent as a text message. I remember it not going over very well with the teacher, but that was on a much smaller scale. I think it was the episode where Kimberly takes off her hair and you see this weird scar on her scalp. I think she also tried to blow up the apartment complex, but I can't really remember. Any Melrose Place buffs out there?

I can't imagine being a kid in a world where you can post information for all the world to see. I tell my students that everything they do or say on the internet can be retrieved and viewed by their parents or anyone else who wants to see it. Their "digital footprint" is quickly becoming synonymous with their "reputation." This is too much responsibility for kids this age. They simply can't think through situations and fully consider the consequences for their actions yet.

For now I have decided to make my twitter account private. I don't ever post anything that is inappropriate, but I do realize the negative connotation that twitter still has with many who don't understand it. I'm also going to continue to help make my students responsible digital citizens. Does anyone else have any techniques for doing this besides the scare tactics I mentioned above?

Taking Risks

Stuart Little is sick with an ear infection, so we have decided that today is going to be a lazy, lay on the couch and watch Real Housewives kind of day. Well actually I decided that, but he definitely seems to agree.

Fifth grade land has been a very happy place lately. I still have a sugar hangover from all of the Halloween treats I consumed yesterday. My awesome coworker Jennifer Crumpton did a Halloween science demonstration for our kiddos that was AMAZING. She made slime, "worms", and other various yucky, cool, halloween-y things. For the grand finale, she actually blew up a pumpkin. Of course I couldn't top this, so I spent the day being a crowd-control nazi. Fine by me!

I have a student observer coming to my class these next few weeks, and I want to show her the possibilities there are in teaching elementary students. I have many ideas I want to implement these next few weeks, so hopefully I can help someone else see how fun and rewarding working with these funny little people can be. I am finally going to try and start using my homemade interactive whiteboard this week, which I am excited about. My awesome husband set this up for me over the summer, and something has kept me from using it so far. I guess I'm scared it's not going to work right, and I won't appear like the totally together professional that I strive to appear to be at school. It's good to take risks, right? I ask my students to take risks on a daily basis, so I have to do the same.

I am so easily intimidated by other people and what they're doing, that I'm sometimes wary to go out on a limb and try something new. I have always been like that. Looking around to make sure that I'm not standing out or different in any way. And for what? The constant comparing has to stop. I owe it to my students (and myself) to be the person God intended me to be, flaws and all. After all, why would I want to be a second-rate version of someone else, when I could be a new and improved version of myself?

Sorry, but I'm just having a philosophical moment. I'll keep you posted on the interactive whiteboard project. Is anyone else thinking of trying something new in the classroom that they're not sure about?

October 16, 2010

Boys vs. Girls

My two loyal followers have requested a new post. I guess if I quit blogging I will have zero followers, which is surely sadder.

To be honest, the past month has been filled with a lot of anxiety. I have overextended myself a little bit, and those who know me will tell you that I do not always rise to the challenge. Rather, I can be found in bed with the covers pulled over my head.

Don't get me wrong. I still love my job. Seeing 19 smiling, eager faces every morning is a blessing to be sure. Twelve of these faces happen to be boys. This leads to a very lively and spirited atmosphere. Yes, those are euphemisms for loud and at times out of control. During group work I will notice boys in the back of the room yelling. I will shoot them "the look." While very effective with girls, "the look" does not always get the point across to boys. As females, we have to be so attuned to others thoughts and feelings. We are trained from an early age to carefully analyze all body language cues from others to be sure that we are acting appropriately in social situations. We are intensely self-conscious and we carefully scrutinize our every word and our every movement. We also have a highly developed ability to follow conversations where only pronouns are used.

Boys are different. When my carefully practiced, and to be honest quite scary teacher look fails, I walk over to the boys. Close physical proximity is a tried and true classroom management technique. Once I come close to the group of boys, do they magically become quiet? Do they even acknowledge my presence? Of course not! However, suddenly, I realize that they are not yelling, but actually rapping the words to a song they have come up with to present the information they learned in their group to the class.

What do I do then? Naturally, I applaud them for their creativity and I give them all little pats on the back to encourage them to keep going. I then always walk over to the girls to see how their projects are going. They can usually be found carefully sketching out their ideas with pencil and ruler before going over them with marker. This is my happy place. We look at each other, look at the boys, and roll our eyes a little.

Of course the boys act this way because I let them, and I think I'm okay with that.


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