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Hi! My name is Tiffany Fey and I am 21 years old. I am majoring in Elementary/ Early Childhood/ Special Education and am currently a sophomore/junior at the University of South Alabama. My passion lies in teaching. I love kids and I cannot wait until I am a teacher! I am counting down the days until I can have a classroom I can call my own. ;)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

C4T Summary #2

The teacher's blog that I was assigned to comment on was Mr. Justin Tarte's. He is a high school German teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. If you would like to see his blog click here.


Justin Tarte and his wife




Here is his first post and my comment on the post:

Monday, February 14, 2011
The #noteachday has arrived!
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8jdF3IDhwgI/TVmuszm7XTI/AAAAAAAAAPc/iZbgzcWryxM/s1600/German+2+Glogs.jpgAfter thinking how cool it was for @datruss and @dwight_carter to have their own #noofficedays, I began to start thinking about what I could do as a teacher. I thought about having a #noclassroomday, but there are lots of days when I am not in my classroom. I then shifted my focus to something I have been trying to do a lot more of this year with my German students...a #noteachday...
I have started a cultural shift in my German classroom that is putting more responsibility and accountability on the students. Now, don't misunderstand what I am saying...the students are not being held responsible and more accountable for additional work, but rather they are being held responsible and more accountable for their own learning. My role as the teacher has shifted from a holder and distributor of knowledge to more of a facilitator and guide of learning.

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My German 2 students were starting their very first Glogs, while my German 3 students had the choice of using Glogster, Prezi, Xtranormal or Storybird to do a presentation about a famous German. I didn't teach my students anything about any of these platforms...instead I gave them links to resources and any additional information that could help them, and I allowed them to explore, discover and teach themselves how to use these platforms.

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mfIAJSjLNdg/TVmvZ3AVfZI/AAAAAAAAAPg/M2ICgsQHhJI/s320/Cardinals+Glog.jpg

On a side note...one of my German 3 students taught me something that is great for educators who are unable to access Youtube at school. Additionally, one of my German 2 students started her Glog the day before the rest of the class because she checked my blog and wanted to get started. A student working on something not even assigned yet on a Sunday...definitely shows the power of social media and an engaged student...
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http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Y2S3B0sFh-k/TVmx1CkX7eI/AAAAAAAAAPk/9OYRrM2RuNs/s320/Master+Chief+Glog.jpg

I encourage all educators to let go a little and empower your students to take more control over their learning. As difficult as it is to imagine, the less we as educators do in the classrooms, and the more the students do, the better. I look forward to hearing your comments on my first #noteachday!

My comment:

Hello Mr. Tarte,
My name is Tiffany Fey and I am an Elementary Education major at the University of South Alabama. This semester I am taking Dr. Strange's EDM 310 (Education in Media) class and I will be commenting on two of your blog posts in the next couple of weeks and then I will put a summary of them, and of what I said in my comments, on my blog! This blog post was very interesting and it kind of reminds me of how Dr. Strange "doesn't teach" our class. We have a "Student Checklist" that we follow that lists weekly assignments that we must complete on our own. I really like how everything is set up in this class because, not only am I learning how to use technology in my future classroom, but I am discovering everything on my own, so I actually get time to explore and find things that I can use to fit my own style of teaching in the future. I think that teaching students how to use technology on their own is a very important thing, especially in the 21st century. Technology is everywhere now-a-days and teaching students how to use it will help them prepare for future jobs and professions. Thank you for this great post and allowing me to comment on it! If you would like to see my blog post about your blog in 2 weeks, you can get to my blog by clicking Here . Thanks again!
~Tiffany Fey

Here is his second post that I commented on:
Friday, March 4, 2011
10 Tips for Effective Professional Development...
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We just finished our 4th and final PD day of the year, and as one of the three PD Coordinators (thompson_shs & @JPPrezz) at my high school, I've been able to learn a tremendous amount about PD. Based on my experience and personal beliefs here are 10 tips for effective Professional Development.

1) - Involve teachers & administrators in preparing a PD focus...

To effectively implement any program it is essential to involve the stakeholders. In the case of PD, getting teachers from all content areas, as well as the administration involved is crucial when determining a building or district PD focus. The development of this focus will ultimately provide the direction that the school or district follows as it pertains to PD. Having a strong and concise focus developed by both teachers and administrators is the 1st step to effective PD.

2) - Have clear objectives and goals...

Once a focus is developed, individual PD goals and objectives must be made. The objectives and goals are directly tied to the focus, but unlike the focus, the goals and objectives are much more specific and precise. It can be easy to load up on a lot of goals and objectives, but I would caution against having too many goals and objectives. Isolate a small number of high priority objectives and goals and concentrate on achieving them. Too many goals will overwhelm educators...too few goals will prevent growth...find a happy medium.

3) - Be organized and be prepared for something to go wrong...

Make sure all of your sessions are set up in advance, and make sure all your presenters have everything they need for their presentations. Send out an Email to ask in advance what people will need for their presentations, and then make sure it is available and ready to go for them. There is nothing worst than scrambling at the last second to get a presentation set up. Avoid this unnecessary stress by being organized and planning things in advance. I have yet to experience a PD day without something going wrong, but I can assure you that if you are well organized and are planning in advance you will limit the number of things that go wrong.

4) - Don't assume you need a guest speaker...check within your building for hidden gems...

Far too often schools and districts start their search for PD presenters by looking outside of their buildings and districts. These outside presenters cost more, are more difficult to arrange, and more times than not aren't really able to connect with the needs of that building's teachers. I'm not saying there aren't great and worthwhile guest speakers, but I would suggest looking in house first because you never know what hidden knowledge or expertise you might have right down the hall. Moreover, using in house educators is a great way to grow and develop future building and district leaders.
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5) - You don't have to do everything in one day...

Please be aware of how much information you are throwing out on your PD days. If you are throwing out tons of new information and programs be prepared to have an overwhelmed and stressed out staff. Just like our students, it's imperative that PD is paced and regulated. If the building's PD focus is strong, then it's most likely something that will happen over several years, not a couple PD sessions. Control the pace of PD, and focus on creating learning and growth opportunities on a daily basis; not just on those few select PD days.

6) - Offer a variety of sessions that will meet the needs of all your colleagues...

One of the best things a PD committee can do is to offer a wide variety of PD sessions. All educators are different, and as such they all have individual needs and interests. To meet the needs of all your colleagues, try to provide a wide range of sessions that are applicable across several content areas, as well as different ability levels. Each PD session should be tied to the overlapping focus and the individual goals and objectives. Giving your colleagues a choice when it comes to selecting PD sessions is extremely important.

7) - Have high expectations, but make sure to meet your colleagues where they are...

PD is all about helping educators so they can do a better job of helping their students, and just like students, each educator has a different ability level. When preparing PD sessions, it is crucial to remember the ability level of the audience. It's perfectly okay to have high expectations, but it won't do any good if your audience doesn't have the basic skills needed to do the more complex stuff. Focus on where your audience is, and then determine how you can help them get to where you want them to be.

8) - Learning something new can be stressful...don't forget this!

We all know someone who has left a PD session stressed and annoyed. This is either because they thought the session was worthless, or because they didn't understand what they were doing or what they need to do. When educators are learning something new during a PD session, they will need time to digest the new concept, as well as time to work with the new concept. Learning does not happen quickly, and if PD is to be effective we need to remember the struggles that are associated with learning.

9) - Acknowledge all the parties that helped to make the PD day possible...

The last PD day you attended, hosted, organized or presented at, most likely had a lot of people behind the scenes that were never recognized. Please don't forget to thank your presenters...don't forget the staff members who got the rooms set up and prepared...don't forget the people who organized the entire PD event...and lastly don't forget to thank your colleagues for being a part of the day.

10) - Be patient and focus on growing and developing your colleagues...

The road down PD lane is not always easy. There will be set backs and there will be struggles. Growth is not always a pretty process, but it's a necessary process that we need to embrace. Some educators will grow and develop faster than others, but PD is about helping all educators to grow and develop. Keep your head up and stay positive and remember what PD is all about...it's about helping educators who in turn will help students.

Also, check out the great comments on "How can we improve PD and faculty meetings?"

My comment:

Hello again Mr. Tarte,
This will be my second and final post on your blog for my EDM 310 class, I will be posting my comments about your blog posts and my summary about your blog in my blog as well. I believe this blog post was very interesting and helpful for my future career. PD sessions definitely seem like an important thing for future educators to learn how to organize and conduct. I am the vice president of the Colleges Against Cancer chapter at the University of South Alabama and many of the things you mentioned above remind me of the steps that the president and I have taken when getting ready to organize and conduct meetings for the group. We are also getting ready to have our Relay For Life and our meetings remind me of how you have described a PD meeting. I hope that being apart of Colleges Against Cancer is giving me some experience to use in my future career as a teacher and your post about PDs have reassured me. Thank you for your informative posts and for allowing me to comment on them. If you would like to view my summary of your posts you can view my blog Here.
Thank you!
Tiffany Fey

Mr. Tarte's posts were very informative and useful for future teachers. He posts a lot of things relevant to a technologically literate teacher. I will be checking back on his profile every now an then to see his new blog posts.

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