Tag Archives: Twitter

The Digital Footprint

I had some conversations with a few of the students here in school about what they do online. Most students are on Facebook and Instagram. Some students have ventured into the Twitterverse, and making and posting their own YouTube videos. Very few students I talked to have blogged or even read a blog. None of this surprises me. I live in and work in an urban school where kids have limited resources when it comes to technology. Most of the students I teach or see in the building have a smart phone of some kind, and for some this is the only thing they have since they don’t have a computer and internet at home. They use them to post pictures, or other things on in their life on the sites I mentioned. Something that has occurred to me is this question: has anyone ever told you that what you post on the internet can be there forever?

I read an article today about 10 things students should know about their digital footprint. I believe this is something we need to have our students read. I know my students could learn a lot from this article. Some of the main points I believe are important to stress from this article are:

College admissions and employers do read your online profiles and they do make decisions based upon information they find out about you online.

Keep private information private. 

Build your own positive image and brand yourself in a great way.

According to Cybersmart you can manage your digital footprint by:

Keeping your personal details private. Use a nickname instead of your real name and always ask your parents before giving out your name, address or phone number online.

Not sharing your username or password with anyone.

Thinking before you post. Once posted, it can be difficult to remove.

Not posting things that you don’t want others to know about or that you wouldn’t say to their face.

Being respectful of other people’s content that you post or share. For example, a photo that your friend took is their property, not yours. You should post it online only if you have their permission.

I don’t think we teach our children these ideas as often as we should. We need to teach our children what it means to have a digital citizenship at a young age.  I do know that after the conversations I had I need to teach my students this, or at least remind them. I would hate to have them post something that could potentially ruin their future.

What do you do to teach your students about their digital footprint?

The Naked Truth teen infographic PDF-page-0

 

 

 

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Being a Blowhorn

My students tell me I talk to much. That’s fine. I love to teach. I love connecting with students, and getting to know them. I do this, because I want to know them. I have several of them on my Instagram and Twitter. Several of them follow our Classroom Facebook page. I believe that knowing students in and out of the classroom is important. I learn a lot about them from their Instagram, and what they talk about on twitter. The other aspect of that is they get to know me in and out of the classroom.

Many ask why I focus on making meaningful connections with my students. The answer to that is easy. Its easier to stand up and be a voice, a blow horn, or an advocate when you are invested in someone. If you are invested, then those you stand up for are more than numbers or blank faces they are close people. They are connected to you. You feel obligated to do your best for them. That’s how I feel about my students. They are my children.

Being an advocate is like being a blow horn. You are trying to get noticed, to give instruction, or give warnings. I call my self a blow horn. When you are a blow horn, you are rallying to troops around. In my case, I am trying to make sure that my students are getting what they need in their regular classes, and parents are getting information that will beefit their children. I am making sure parents and students  have someone they can talk to when they want to have some experiences like summer camps, internships, or starting a parent group. They can count on me to help them as much as I can.

Being an advocate isn’t always easy. You have to be tactful, calculating, and sometimes cunning. Sometimes I hear my students complaining about a situation in a class they are in, and they are bored, under-challenged, or not engaged. I will try to meet that teacher, and suggest things to do with my students. It has to be done it tactfully. No teacher wants to be told they aren’t meeting the needs of their students. So informing others that their gifted students need to be pushed and stretched has to be done in a way that helps the teacher and students.

What I love about being an advocate is the fact that I get to share my passion, knowledge, and experience about and for gifted children. I try to be an open door for my colleagues to come in and talk about what I can do to help them, or to collaborate with them. I can I share my point of view. I don’t always get to meet with other teachers because of my teaching schedule, but when I do they will hear my views.

Advocacy takes several shapes. They don’t always have to be direct connection between students and teacher. Sometimes it with the public. Advocating is like a form of persuasion. You have to influence someone to get what you need. Sometimes advocacy is writing letters to the editor of your paper, or testifying in a state committee hearing, or going on a local morning show to plead your case.

Advocacy is also helping. Forming parent groups though SENG, or at your local school is one way that parents and schools can work together for the betterment of gifted students. Letting parents know what the gifted program is like, and why it exists is important. It also a good way for parents to find out what their school is offering gifted students like early college classes in high school, to post secondary education options from the local high school. It’s always good to have parents, teachers, and administrators making the suggestions for rules about acceleration of students for whole grade or subject.

Finally, advocacy is being informed. Letting parents, teachers, and administrators about some of the resources on the internet, classes or seminars / webinars, or blogs,books and magazines is an important aspect of advocacy. Parents and GISs need to stay aware of what is going on in the area of Gifted Education so they can share it with others and with administrators.  Joining a gifted association like Ohio Association for Gifted Children, or your state Gifted Association is a great place to start. You could also join the National Association for Gifted Children as well to see what is going on nationally in Gifted Education. Joining a tweetchat on twitter or a gifted related Facebook page, or following several bloggers who write about gifted issues is a great place to start collecting resources to be an informed advocate.

How are you being an advocate for your gifted children? What have you done that has worked? What have you done that didn’t work? PLease share your experiences in the comment section below, or better yet, join the #gtbloghop and post your blog on Twitter using the #gtbloghop hashtag.

 

Creativity is not about Paintbrushes and Poems

I was going through our school library magazines this morning and came across a stack of them that the librarian was putting away. I saw a magazine, Scholastic Instructor the 2011 Holiday edition, and it in there is an article called Challenge your Top Students: 10 ways to meet the needs of your advanced learners-and help the rest of your class, too. by Joan Franklin Smutny. In this article are ten very good ideas to help challenge your gifted students in the regular classroom.

Her list is as follows:

  • Allow Choice

  • integrate Technology

  • Let Kids Work Together

  • Accommodate Pace

  • Determine Prior Knowledge

  • Encourage Goal Setting

  • Teach Creatively

  • Independent Learning Projects

  • Follow their Interests

  • Encourage Self Assessment

Joan does a great job going into details on what regular education teachers can do to help gifted students. I want to focus and expand a little bit on what she discusses on teaching creatively. Joan begins to say that to teach creatively you need to focus on 6 general principles:

Explore: Point out the hidden, less traveled paths and warn against set patterns.

Create: Assign work that requires creative and imaginative thinking.

Envision: Nurture boldness in vision and endeavor.

Support: Support students’ trust in their creative powers

Improve: Give them opportunities to correct errors, refine visions, improve and elaborate.

Exhibit: Find venues for students to show, demonstrate, perform or exhibit.

Creativity has two sides.

One side of the coin is students. Many students look at creativity as something artists, musicians, and writers have. I borrowed her subtitle of this section from her article for my title, because it really goes with what I tell my students. There is no limit to creativity. So you are not an artist. Its alright. You have creativity in the form of creating an app or program on the computer, or your Mindcraft city is so elaborate that you make it look like something off of Google Maps.

On the other side of that coin, is the teacher. We need to look at “outside of the box thinking” when it comes to advanced learners. Teachers, and I include myself, need to stop worrying about how much work it takes to create something that a small group of students would work on and focus on the fact that we are there for the students.

We need to take our own creativity and focus it to challenge students. We need to look at our curriculum differently. We should see the State Standards as the minimum requirements, and work up. The State Standards are the foundation of what we do, and our creativity are the bricks we use to build our fort of fun.

For regular education teachers the easiest thing to do is to create extension projects for advanced learners. The last thing these students need is just more busy work since they get done early. That will kill their creativity, and their love of learning. Give them a project based on your subject, but give them the choice of where to take that project. Don’t do more paper and pencil work. Have them use their imagination. Let them work in small groups to collaborate and create. At that point you move from teacher to facilitator as you support your students creativity.

You may say, as I do, I am not that creative. One aspect of creativity is an attitude. If you think your aren’t creative you are limiting yourself. The other aspect of creativity is to take what is out there, and adjusting it to meet your needs.  Use social media in your classroom. Create accounts on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and find ideas that you can incorporate into your classroom. Millions of minds together are always better than one alone. Search the internet to find resources and ideas from websites. There are millions of pages out there to help you no matter what grade or subject you teach.

Remember, when you limit your creativity you are limiting your students as well.

What are you doing to foster creativity in your professional life and in the life of your students?