Take the challenge to get connected

Connected Educator

WOISD Connected Educators,

As you look forward to this weekend, I’ve just one request– that you take on this challenge to do just ONE thing on social media:

  • Create a Twitter account and start looking for great educators to follow.
  • Add a blog post
  • Respond to a Tweet or Facebook post
  • Join a Book Club and respond to a discussion there. Some of you have joined the WOISD Book Club, which kicks off on Monday, Oct. 26th.
  • Join the Powerful Learning Practice (PLP) community at plpnetwork.com
  • Introduce yourself on Twitter if you haven’t already.
  • Share on social media one activity or lesson your students are learning about.
  • Visit the connectededucators.org page for ideas.

Just imagine all we can learn if each of you (approximately 106 WOISD teachers and all administrators) take steps to connect.

Enjoy your weekend! The WOISD Book Club kicks off their study of ‘Classroom Habitudes’ on Monday!

Connected Educator Week Activities

Time sensitive reminders about two activities that we have going on this week:

(both of these activities qualify for the new professional development BADGE system–see details below)

1. Tonight is the #TXL chat on Twitter at 8:00 CST. Our own Michelle Cooper, MS Media Specialist is one of the moderators for tonight’s chat, and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach is the featured guest. Remember to use the hashtag #TXL Chat to join the conversation.

2. This is the final call for staff to sign up for the book study on, ‘Classroom Habitudes,’ by Angela Maiers. Please click on the link below by tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14th to sign up and participate in this study. We will order books Friday, October 16th, and begin the study the last week of October.

Book study announcements and updates will be made through Edmodo. And we will participate in 3 to 5 Twitter chats during this study, with Angela Maiers joining us along the way.
The district is in the process of rolling out a new professional development system that will enable our teachers to earn ‘Badges’ based on training events and hours earned. Badges will accumulate to earn credit in place of summer training days. More information will be coming soon!



Join the #TXL chat for Connected Educator Month

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As a part of Connected Educator Month please mark your calendar to join the Texas Librarians (#TXLchat) on October 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm. (CST). They have a wonderful treat for us. Special guest will be Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Sheryl, along with other Librarians/Educators will be discussing the importance of connections and to show we are not alone as professionals–that we are more powerful together.

Friends from #KyLchat (Kentucky Librarian’s Chat) will be joining us as well. Moderators for this chat are Sandra Carswell, Shawna Ford and our own Michelle Cooper. Hope to see you there! http://sched.co/4Qvw

WOISD participant names will be saved and logged as having attended this Twitter chat. This training can be applied toward earning a Badge in our new PD system. Badges will accumulate to earn credit in place of summer training days in 2016. More information will be coming soon!

Be a ‘this century’ connected educator

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Connected Educator Month: Those who do, teach. Own it, year-round. October 2015.

What is a connected educator? You know that the world is changing… New and emerging Web technologies are connecting our children in ways never before possible. Through blogs, social networking sites, multimedia and other Web 2.0 tools, their world is becoming more and more networked and participatory. Your students spend time every day in virtual environments that are highly engaging and encourage creative thinking and problem solving. They frequently participate in games and social media where they routinely acquire and apply knowledge and collaborate with friends.

…but schools are not. Schools have by and large been resistant to these shifts. Yet, this networked landscape of learning challenges you to re-envision what you do in your school and classroom, or risk growing irrelevance in your students’ lives. At the core of this challenge is how you and I, as educators, realize the potentials of these technologies in our own professional and personal learning practice as educators.

If you want to become a 21st century connected educator — and prepare iGeneration students for an exciting but unpredictable future — you first have to become a 21st century learner. That’s right. The “connected learner” is YOU. To become a connected educator, you must first become a connected learner.

Think about it. Kids today seem to have been born with chips in their heads. They’ve grown up with remote control everything, smart phones, constant communication, and instant access to information in entertaining formats. Almost everywhere they go they are connected, engaged and plugged in. Through various social media, their worlds are becoming more and more networked, creating environments for learning and collaborating that look very little like the classrooms in which you and I grew up.

Thanks to our friend, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, CEO of Powerful Learning Practices, for this message and the work she and others have done to make these powerful resources available.

Get involved at connectededucators.org.

Create lessons that inspire, challenge students

There is much discussion about how teachers across the country are integrating Bloom’s Taxonomy in their lesson planning and if the instruction includes high level thinking skills to challenge students in a ‘this century’ classroom.

Many teachers work tirelessly to integrate the various levels of Bloom’s so students can reap the full benefit of being a life-long learner. Other times you read pages of lesson plans and all that’s ever integrated into the instruction is the lower level thinking skills that include remembering and understanding (formerly known as knowledge & comprehension), along with some application.


While it is integral for us to include the bottom levels of Bloom’s (after all, we need to introduce the lesson, explain the importance of the event, and provide the background information,) we must think about what instruction and learning would look like if we integrated all levels of Bloom’s, from bottom to top, as appropriate to the lesson.

By using the chart above or referencing other resources, we can pinpoint what we need to teach and how we will teach it.

For example we could look at a social studies lesson plan on the use of the Atomic Bomb to end World War II. Typically we would have students read and memorize key terms and facts. While this information is the basis for the lesson, all we’ve included for the student is lower level thinking skills. Students can memorize and regurgitate the information, but they’re not using any higher level thinking skills that will help with long-term learning or motivate them to think for themselves.

Perhaps a better approach to this lesson (after you’ve had time to provide the background information and share through classroom discussions) is to ask students to write a paragraph ‘evaluating/judging’ Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb. We can still have students learn key terms or significant decisions through this assignment, but now we’ve asked students to formulate an argument and/or support an argument based on information they have researched and learned. Because students are having to craft this short written piece, they have single-handedly had to formulate their own thoughts about the war and how Truman’s decision impacted this country and the world.

Another option would be to ask students to debate the pros and cons of dropping the atomic bomb. This would require some research on their part, but the value of analyzing and evaluating this information allows students to take ownership of their learning and stretch their learning far beyond the traditional memorization.