Potato Chips, a Lawn Chair, and the Nudging Neighbor
On a beautiful spring day, my husband and I were sitting outside, watching the neighbors walk their dogs, ride their bikes, and generally enjoying the springtime air while getting in a little exercise. As I sat comfortably in my chair, I started to feel a little guilty. Just then, my neighbor walked across the street to join us. He had been trying very hard to persuade me to take up running. My line was always, “I’d rather sit on my couch and eat potato chips.” But he was relentless, constantly nudging me to try running, just once, and if I didn’t like it, at least I tried. As we all sat outside and watched the neighbors burn calories, I came to the realization that maybe, just maybe, I should get out of my chair and get moving.
From Lamppost-to-Lamppost to a Half Marathon
And so it began. My neighbor and I set a day and time to meet out front and begin our running experience. Because I was a bit (very) out of shape, we started off slowly. We warmed up by walking around the sub once (.8 of a mile) and then we began to run. We decided to run from one lamppost to another, which is about 6 houses. Then we walked to the next lamppost. After that, we ran to the next one, and so on and so forth. It was hard, it hurt, and many days I didn’t want to do it. Weekdays were especially hard because I would meet my neighbor out front at 5 am to run before work. But I persevered. Before I knew it, I was running a whole loop without stopping! My body appreciated the exercise, my mind REALLY appreciated the exercise, and to be honest, the milestones were addicting. Slowly, I progressed from running lamppost to lamppost to running in 5k and 10k races, and then, my crowning running achievement: a half marathon!
Patience Really is a Virtue
I went from eating potato chips on the couch to running a half marathon. This did not happen overnight, nor did it happen in a year. It actually took 3 years of running before I was able to build up enough stamina to sustain running a half marathon. I had short breaks in the 3 years, where I would give up for one reason or another, but I set the goal of a half marathon and I persevered. And it was hard. And it hurt. And I hated it. And I loved it. And I EARNED that 13.1 sticker on my car window. And no one can ever take that away from me. My patience, my dedication, and my determination were rewarded. And I earned it.
Overcoming Your Fear of Falling
Since I have been working with teachers on ways to effectively infuse technology into their classrooms, I have learned that many are reluctant because they are afraid of what they don’t know. This is a completely normal and common reaction to something new. The first time I had to try a treadmill because it was too cold to run outside, I was terrified! What would happen if I couldn’t get it to stop? Or if it went too fast? Or it went too slow? WHAT IF I FELL OFF?! The good news about technology is that if you DO fall off, you have support to help you back up again. . .and you are in control of how fast you want to go.
Many teachers don’t know where to begin with technology. Hey, I’ve been in that boat myself. I recently had the privilege of talking with some elementary teachers who felt exactly this way. I shared with them some of the great things that are going on with technology around the district, things planned and executed by teachers just like them. I hoped that by showing them examples of what other teachers are doing around the district, they might feel empowered to begin something themselves. My goal is for them to feel ready and able to put the potato chips away and lace up their sneakers.
Creating Time in Your Classroom
One thing teachers always wish they had more of is time. By utilizing recordings in your classroom, you can be in more than one place at one time. Teachers have learned that teaching their students how to use the video recorder on their Chromebooks is well worth the time it takes. Students can then record their own reading fluency, counting fluency, and their goals for their MLP in Mahara. The uses of recordings in the classroom are limitless! Click on the photos below for some examples of student recordings.
Explaining Learning to Others
One way students cement their knowledge is through teaching others. Using screencasting, students can do just that. By utilizing a free Chrome extension called Screencastify, students can create tutorials and offer explanations of work completed on the computer. Then their videos can be shared with others, either via Google link or QR code, with the potential of sharing their knowledge with a vast audience. Click on the photos below for a few examples of screencasts created by students.
Imagine that you could go back in time and save some of your most prized work in your school career. How cool would that be? You could see your progress from year to year, and share it with everyone in your family that would listen! Well our students have that opportunity now! Students can start curating their work in online digital portfolios today! Through utilization of Mahara, staff and students can now create beautiful, professional portfolios of their most important work throughout the school year, and beyond. Click on the photos below to see some examples of how our students are using digital portfolios in classrooms across the district.
We are Here for YOU!
Whether you are still in the “eating chips” phase or you’re ready to start running “lamppost to lamppost,” the Tech Coaches are here for you. Please contact us today to get started on your technology fitness goals!