Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Who says teachers get summers off?!

I've been working on growing my personal learning network (PLN) since before my last day with students.  Believe it or not, I can connect with educators all over the world now, using Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.  I am checking, reading, and posting/pinning every day of my "summer".

In fact, I was visiting my hometown last week, spending time with my short-term disabled mother, trying to get her out of the house for some fresh air.  At the same time (not while driving, of course!) I was keeping up with #notatiste15 on Tweetdeck AND listening to SimpleK12 webinars on Google tools.  That was a crazy couple of days--all the tools I can use to support my students' learning in the fall!  Amazing!  And I never stop!

Summer is the time to re-engage yourself, re-energize your soul, and grow your PLN.  This is the time because once the year starts in August, time becomes a relative, social construct.  Everything I do revolves around children, whether my offspring or "my kids" as my 3 year old likes to say, "Mommy, are those your kids?"  "Why yes, E, they are!  Say hi Gaffkids!"  Yup, that's what I call my kids, Gaffkids.  They are proud to hold that title...and a little scared at first.  Every year, this is my first line: "Welcome to your ELA class.  You're MINE."  I love their reactions: wide-eyed fear, slack-jaw disbelief, barely-audible "what?!"  Then, by the end of the first week, they see me out in the community and I say, "Hi Gaffkids!" and they respond with "Hi, Mrs. Gaffney!  Hey, look there are more Gaffkids!"

So, THIS summer has been particularly busy, edtech-wise.  I just completed my first full year as an eLeader for my middle school (#Cohort3 #HPSeLead).  I'm charged with bringing all four cohorts together starting in the fall and I"m a little overwhelmed with all the possibilities for teaching my colleagues.  Not only am I looking for new strategies to use with students, but I'm looking for angles to present these strategies and tools to make teachers' lives easier, too.

I've been using my PLN to research blogging, and here I am.  Ready and willing to spill my guts about what works and what doesn't in my classroom.  One more thing, I'm going to add my students to my PLN using a classroom twitter account (Follow us @Gaffclassroom) and this blog.  I'm going to charge the students with tracking their journey.  Can 7th graders do it?  We'll find out!!

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