Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Snack & Share 2: The Snackquel

Our first Snack and Share went well enough, but it didn't meet one of my goals. I had been hoping to have a space for teachers to share good ideas as well as brainstorm solutions to our struggles. The stresses that you find at the start of any school year dominated the talk - and that was a good thing. When everyone is feeling stressed and tired, it's incredibly useful to get together and vent. It lets us know we're not alone.

But, but, but...

Part of me was a little sad that we didn't get much chance to share our coolness. Never mind that according to Maaslow's Hierarchy of Needs, we weren't ready to share a lot of coolness, life didn't work according to my plan. Lesson learned - let things work the way they will, when you need to, just release pressure.

This week worked out more like I'd hoped - I work with some fantastic teachers, and they brought some cool stuff. We shared some great online resources, from GoMath, Scholastic Storyworks, Storybird, Kahoot, and Bing for Schools(scroll down). We talked about different uses for these sites, and best of all, we had crackers, chocolates, lemonade, and tea.

I can't wait for October 14 to do it again!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Snack and Share

I've got so many things I want to write about, and it seems like so very little time. It's my plan to start student blogging this week, and I'm hoping to use the time when students are working on blog drafts to work on my own blog. Last week, I sent out an invitation to my coworkers. It read:

Are you doing something amazing this year? Is there something you want to do this year (but you just don’t know how)? Is there something you’re proud of? Is there something that you could use help with? Is there something cool you’ve found that you want to share? Is there something that’s really frustrating you?


Come on down to Mr. Farnum’s room next Tuesday (the 16th) at 3:15 for snacks and drinks, and we’ll share ideas. RSVP if you’re interested

And it's funny - I was legitimately scared to do this. The idea is exactly what I'd love to do, and I'd gotten mad love for it on Twitter. There was no reason to feel apprehensive, but what if everyone was too busy to show? I would feel so dumb! Four or five people said they'd come, several more said they would love to if only. I told them we'd do it again (if it worked out).

When Tuesday afternoon arrived, it took awhile, but a few teachers showed up, and we had a nice conversation. I had been ambitious to say bring cool things to share. At this point in the school year, every year, it seems like there's so much for everyone to do, and only a finite amount of time. And so this was a chance for a handful of us to sigh, and breathe, and to know we're not alone when we feel overwhelmed. It's the nature of a teacher to have to much on your plate, and so often we can fall into the trap of feeling like we're the only one so far behind.

I'm doing the Snack and Share based on a EdCamp model - that is, the topics are based on who's there. There's no agenda except whatever we want once we get together. It was so gratifying to listen. When we get together on our own terms, it's so clear how much skill and talent is in the room, I have so much respect for my coworkers. And to know that some of my favorite superheroes experience the same stresses that I do made my week.

I'm scheduling the next session for September 30th. The mail goes out tomorrow. Even when it's hard (and it really, really is sometimes), I love this job so much.