Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pinterest for your PLN

One of the best tricks I've learned from other teachers is how to 'borrow' ideas and make them my own for my students. I enjoy walking around other campuses to see how other educators teach the same skills we do at our school, especially within our district. However, I don't have time to wander the halls of my school, let alone others, due to the needs of my family and career. Therefore, I love to use Pinterest as a window into other teacher's minds, classrooms and schools. Then I can save time, plus I can view it all from my couch in my pj's. : )

If you haven't used Pinterest before, I recommend it. Now, it can be overwhelming for some people because there are millions of ideas for anything from cooking, clothes and children to classrooms, cars and crafts. You can search and peek at ideas, or you can set up your own account, connect with others and save ideas to your own 'boards'.

For example, this week we began teaching repeated addition in math to prepare for multiplication to our second graders. While we use our district's curriculum to guide us and give everything a purpose, we can gain a broad range of ideas for activities, games, songs, hook videos, reteaching ideas, and extensions. We are able to collaborate with our plans and gain ideas that will reach our learners and meet their needs accordingly. There were SO many ideas, we had to sort through and find what would work best and then we can go from there.

As you connect with educators, you can follow them on Pinterest. When you attend conferences and meetings, you can search for those people. It is a wonderful way to expand your horizons for your professional learning. Once you begin blogging or creating your own activities, you can 'pin' your own work and ideas to share with others.

Check out Pinterest and follow me. What is your favorite thing about Pinterest? Do you have other ways to borrow ideas for your students and classroom?

Collaborating with Lesson Plans

In our district, we have moved to using Google for just about everything. We now have gmail, our shared calendars through Google and use Google Drive. 

One of my favorite things about using Google Drive is the ability to collaborate with teammates while we create plans. In the past, only one person could type at a time on one computer at a time which limited us and did not promote collaboration.

Now, we can sit in the same room or at different locations while one or more people contribute to the plan page. It is wonderful since we can see what each person types as they type it LIVE! We have had times that we have been on from separate locations and it can be quite fun and entertaining (especially when I misspell a word and someone corrects me = TEAM WORK!)   ; )

You don't have to recreate the wheel. We had previously typed plans in Microsoft Word. All we have to do is go to Google, New, and File Upload. We have to open in Google Docs and we are all set! You can also create a new Google Doc or Google Sheet in a format that works best for you and your team. You can find several different types of plan formats if you search the web or ask others around you.

I enjoy planning with Google. It is a perfect opportunity to collaborate with other educators. 

Once you get comfortable collaborating with your team, you can also use it when you attend conferences. We have shared notes with Google Folders and we brainstorm ideas on how we can implement these ideas on Google Docs. 

To go even further, you can use Google to encourage collaboration in your class with your students.

How do you use Google for collaboration?