Google Hangouts for Teachers

As many of you may know, I founded The Educator’s Book Club, an on-line group of teachers reading professional developments books together and discussing the reading selections on a weekly basis. The group has grown significantly to over 880 members in one year alone. In that year, I have met wonderful teachers from all around the world and have read some amazing books that will improve my skills as a teacher. Halfway through every book study, we nominate and vote on the books we will read during our next book study. As you can imagine, many subjects and books get nominated, but, because only two books are selected, we miss the opportunity to learn about the other selections.

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Everyone in the group nominates books for various reasons. Either they heard great things about it from coworkers or they’ve had the book for a year with the intention to read it. Maybe your school is rolling out a new curriculum or shifting the school culture. Maybe you are moving to another state or country and your new school follows a different educational approach than your past school. We all have different reasons for nominating topics and books, and I don’t want to keep anyone from learning more.

So, I created the Google Community called “Google Hangouts for Teachers”. Here is my vision for this group.

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As the group grows, the Hangouts will become more and more diverse. This is member driven, not admin driven. Meaning, I will be posting about Google Hangouts for The Educator’s Book Club, but anyone is welcome to post about Google Hangouts, in general. The purpose of this group is to provide a community of teachers excited about education and interested in connecting with other educators. For example, if you are reading Dave Burgess’ “Teach Like a Pirate” or revamping your brain break activities, post about your interest and invite for a Google Hangout session. My hope is that there will be other teachers interested in those same topics and willing to partake in a hangout session. Brew some coffee, put on some comfy clothes, and video chat with other teachers from the comfort of your own home!

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I have already created a couple of categories within the group: Professional Development, The Educator’s Book Club, and New Teacher/Mentor. I am excited about all three opportunities, but I am really excited about the New Teacher/Mentor category. How many of you are starting your first year teaching, but are unaware of any new teacher training at your school? Maybe your school doesn’t have a mentor program established yet, or never has. I started teaching mid-school year about 4 years ago, and didn’t have a mentor or new teacher program. I survived that year, and pulled many, many late nights. However, looking back, I wish I had been a part of a program. The following year, I transferred to a different school, and this school did have a program. I can’t tell you how valuable those meetings were, or how helpful my mentor was for me! I’d love for this community to be just as, or more, helpful for other teachers!

I still have a lot to learn in the field of education. I still turn to my mentors for help. But I also have learned a lot during these past four years and have a couple tips that I would love to share. I would prefer to not be the only “mentor” and would love to welcome more seasoned teachers to the group. My thoughts are to host New Teacher/Mentor Hangouts once a month, with focused topics for each discussion ranging from parent communication to time management.

If you are interested in connecting with other teachers about continuing professional development, please join us! This group is about our professional growth no matter how long we have been teaching. New teachers and seasoned teachers are all welcome.

Currently, I am co-hosting Google Hangouts with Margie Pearse as we discuss her book, Teaching Numeracy, with other EBC members. The discussions have been wonderful so far!

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Hopefully, the Google Hangouts for Teachers community will grow and be a wonderful place for teachers to “hangout” and discuss more about our profession!

If you are interested, just click here or click on the “Google Hangout for Teachers” image above. If you aren’t sure how to create a Google Plus account, then check out this video below.

30 Great Ignitions and Bridges

I am a creature of habit. My grocery list is pretty similar week to week. I have a favorite seat in the living room. Every fall, I begin to crochet. Every January, I pack up my needles and yarn. I am a creature of habit.

But, I fight it. Having a routine gives me peace of mind. Routines give students peace of mind. But a routine can be boring in lesson plans. Sure, my routine in the classroom with transitions and schedules should be consistent, but the content of my plans should be engaging and fun. And here lies the struggle.

Independently, I struggle with opening every lesson with a new, fresh take. I may start a unit out with a big bang, but, five days into a math lesson, I begin to run out of fun intro ideas. I hit a rut, and usually turn to Pinterest. I love Pinterest. But have any of you noticed that some of the ideas on Pinterest are just… cute? Adorable, interactive intros with not much academic meat to it’s bones. It’s simply cute and somewhat related to the subject you are teaching.

I have such a hard time incorporating these activities in the classroom. Where is the critical thinking? Where is the problem solving? What true value does this activity have? Which leaves me back at square one… Until now!

Margie Pearse, co-author of Teaching Numeracy, provided this wonderful list of ignitions and bridges for math lessons! This list will definitely stay next to my plan book as a reference guide for creating engaging and thought-provoking intros. Just click on the picture below to view the file!

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