Flipping the Teacher Mentoring Experience

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Each year that I mentor either a student teacher/intern or a new to the profession teacher, I always reflect on how I could make the experience better for both of us.  Mentoring takes time and intentional planning to make it more than a required activity.  There have been times that I felt I did a really good job with my interns and student teachers, but I haven’t felt as satisfied with new teachers.  I often blamed a lack of building or district focus on what mentoring should entail, but in the end, that was just an excuse to make me feel better about how the experience went. This year my district made great strides in how they approached the mentoring experience.  Even better, at the end of the year they gathered a group of mentors and mentees to evaluate and tweak the program.  Love that reflective nature!

Yet, this is not enough for me.  In order to change the situation, I need to first change how I’m going to approach mentoring this year.  And yes, I’ve got a plan.

I’m going to flip the mentoring experience.  This will not replace our face to face meetings. After all, these meetings are where you build relationships and get a true gauge for how your mentee is doing.  What I’m talking about are the things that you’d like them to reflect upon, or look into prior to meeting.  With my students we call this coming to a discussion prepared.  So, this summer I will be planning my list of topics to flip.  I’ll also be asking my mentee to also think upon what needs she has.  While I know our new teachers are quite capable of finding information on their own, this is one way in which I can lessen the work load that first year.  If I already have information on a topic, then I’m happy to share.  Or, maybe my mentee is interested in something I haven’t yet heard about and now we get to learn about something new together.  Definitely a win-win.

I plan to use my blog as the medium for delivering the flipped mentoring experience.  It will include topic information, links to books and videos, and I am thinking of including a video in which I can either talk directly to my mentee (adding that personal touch), or walk her through the websites that I share.  I’m sure that as I go, I will tweak the format as I learn from my mistakes and get feedback from my mentee.

So as I look to planning my Mentoring in Minutes (Yep, that’s what I will call my blog posts) posts, I will consult the district suggested list as well as topics I feel would benefit my mentee.  Below is my list so far.  What would you add?

Mentoring in Minutes Topics

  • Parent Information Night
  • Communicating with Families
  • Using an Online Planbook
  • Creating a Sub Tub
  • Websites to Help With Differentiation
  • Google Drive/Classroom
  • Favorite Professional Books
  • Connect with Twitter/Growing Your PLN
  • Guided Math
  • Number Talks
  • Calendar Math
  • Guided Reading
  • Writer’s Workshop
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Classroom Management
  • Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest
  • Technology
  • EdCamps
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I think most people have heard of Bucket Lists. They range from fairly normal things to do to some extraordinary things to do. Of course the point is to not wait, to accomplish these things before you die. But have you considered a Teaching Bucket List?  What would you like to do in your career before retirement?  Here’s a few of mine so far.

My Teaching Bucket List

(in no particular order)

  • Attend a national education conference like ISTE, ILA, or NCSTA
  • Present at a conference
  • Meet members of my Twitter PLN in person
  • Attend an EdCamp in an area or state other than my own
  • Create a recording studio in my school
  • Start a Twitter chat in my district
  • Earn my doctorate
  • Teach first grade (I’ve taught 2nd-5th)
  • Implement Teachers Throwing Out Grades
  • Become a Google Certified Teacher
  • Teach in a project based school like EPIC Elementary in Liberty, Missouri or Apache Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas or 
    • create that type of school in my own district
  • Go storm chasing for a weather unit
  • Create a YouTube teaching channel

I actually began this post quite some time back.  So, happy to say, I have actually crossed off two, and have begun work others.

Item #3-Meet members of my Twitter PLN in person

Last week I attended #edcampLiberty.  While there I happened to notice a familiar face.  From the name tag I could see his name and Twitter handle, Dave @DavidGeurin. Now, I am basically a shy introvert in new settings.  However, something got into me that day to work towards overcoming that quality.  So, I walked up, introduced myself by name and Twitter handle.  I believe I sounded like an idiot, but he was very gracious and thanked me for following him on Twitter.

Item #5-Create a video recording studio in my school

This year I wrote a Donors Choose proposal for an iPad mini to go along with my @TouchCastEdu green screen, lapel mic, and tripods.  Thanks to generous donors I received the iPad mini.  We’ve created Christmas cards for parents, interviewed members of our school community for a writing project, and recorded students reading Dr. Seuss books.  The Dr. Seuss videos were shared with other classrooms in our school.  Some students are currently learning to podcast and will present their first project soon.  I’d like to keep expanding the projects like recording a weekly news show and a weekly video from me to add to our weekly newsletter.  I have aspirations of inviting other classrooms to use our studio, or even moving the green screen to a central location where more classes could use it.  My students would be able to train and assist other students with using the technology and the studio.  I want this to go beyond my classroom walls and become one for all to use.

Item #6-Start a Twitter Chat in my district

Last year I worked with the elementary coordinator for my district, Kristl Taylor (@Trending3-She’s now moved on to to Lawrence Public Schools.), to create a Twitter chat for our district.  It’s changed names twice, and I believe with the help of our District Technology Integration Coordinator, Cindy Swartz (@swartz_c), it will be changing to #232connect.  This will hopefully integrate the chat with a district wide desire to share what we’re all doing on a daily basis, and not just during monthly chats.  It’s been slow going, with only a handful participating each month, but that’s ok.  It will grow.  It’s not about the quantity of participants, but the quality of what is shared.

I’m not sure of how many items I will be able to cross off my list before I retire.  Early retirement is in about eight years.  Either I get busy real fast, or better yet, I’ll just keep teaching for a while longer.

So, what’s on your Teaching Bucket List?

 

A Teaching Bucket List

Saying Goodbye To My Math Mentor

Two years ago I had the privilege to begin working with whom I have considered my math mentor, or more playfully when we co-taught,  my work wife, Rachel Kemper. I’ve written before about co-teaching with her and how sad I was when she went to primary and our coteaching experience came to an end.

It is with mixed emotions that I must say goodbye to her at the end of the year. She’s  leaving our school to spend her days with an adorable little boy. She’s made the decision to stay at home next year with him. He’s a lucky little boy to have her as his mom. I’m happy for what this means for her family, but sad to see her go.

Rachel has taught me so much in the last two years we have worked together. You see, I’ve never really liked or cared for math. I wasn’t good at it in school. I was fine teaching primary math, intermediate math, however,  was different story.  My own math anxiety would kick in and I’d have to work really hard to be sure I fully understood what I was doing so as to not let my kids down. Converting measurements and fractions would cause a panic that people around me never saw, but I felt it and had to work through it.

When we planned together, she provided a safe place for me to say,”I get the procedure, but why does it work?”  No judgements, just unconditional support. Our styles complimented each other well. She gave me the confidence to teach a subject I was never comfortable doing.

While unable to teach together this year, she has still been there for me. Whether it was a question, a wacky idea I wanted to run past her, or sharing the successes of our students, she always had time for me. My favorite was when I told her about our fraction number line. She was so proud of me for doing it this year. I told her that when we did it last year I didn’t really get it, but doing it on my own this year it really made sense. Again, no judgement, just support. I was amazed to hear myself say that I actually enjoyed teaching fractions.

When she told me she was leaving, I of course wondered who would take her place. Whoever it would be would have big shoes to fill. Imagine my surprise when she asked me if I would consider it. Shock and disbelief. I mean, come on, I just recently decided math wasn’t that bad. But she did what Rachel does.  She makes you feel good about how you teach. That what you do, and how you do it matters. Her enthusiasm about teaching is contagious. She makes you a better teacher by believing in you even when you don’t always believe in yourself.  While I’m not ready to leave my own classroom, it means the world to me that she would even ask me to consider taking over where she is leaving off.

So Rachel, thank you for all that you have done for me and have taught me. I wish you well in this new chapter in your life. And, I wish that every teacher has the opportunity to teach with their own Rachel. You will be missed my friend.

Revitalizing Staff Morale Using the SNAIL Method-Part Four

This post is the fourth in a five-part series.

In my first three posts I shared the five components of the SNAIL Method of revitalizing staff morale.  For this post I will offer my thoughts on the third component.

Stand up and take pride in our profession

Never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation

Acknowledge when things aren’t working and develop a new plan

Ignite a spirit of collaboration not competition

Let go of old hurts or jealousies

three snails

image from pixabay.com

Competition has its place, especially in sports.  However, it often has far reaching negative consequences that were most likely never intended. I found some quotes that I am using to spark conversation on this topic.

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”-Ayn Rand

Pinterest, while one of my favorite sites, is the culprit of many competitions in a school.  Teachers compete to have the best bulletin board, door, or classroom decoration.  Forgetting mind you, that none of these are as important as who and what we teach.  I’ve seen teachers get upset when they realize that both found the same idea and wanted to be the only one to use it.  Why?  If it’s what is in the best interest of your students, wouldn’t you want to share that so that more students could benefit?

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”-Harry S. Truman

This one is hard.  Everyone wants to be recognized for their work, but what if recognition becomes ego and competition?  What if more focus is placed on whose idea it was or who did the most work, rather than on how it affects students?  Praise accomplishments, but not to the point that the individual is placed on a pedestal and how their accomplishments affect students is forgotten.

“Life is not a competition, life is about helping and inspiring others so we can each reach our potential.”-Kim Chase

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone.  I hope we all make it.”-Erica Cook

Competition has a place in the world, but is a school the right place for it?  Sure, good healthy competition in theory would help you improve.  What if, however, it breeds resentment and mistrust?  Our focus should be on competing with ourselves and becoming the best teacher we can be.  We should also be focused on working together to make each other a better teacher. In doing so our students and school benefit.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”-Henry Ford

It’s important for administrators to think about which teachers work well together, complement each other, and genuinely wish to be together.  Genuinely wanting to be together on a team helps breed trust and the ability to be risk takers when trying new strategies.  Teachers are more apt to grow when given a safe place to do so.  This in turn creates teams who become more focused on working together for student and professional success.  When all this is in place you get a staff who would never dream of teaching anywhere else.  Stability in staff creates the opportunity for innovation.

When schools focus on collaboration for student success and professional growth, morale can only increase.  Teachers who enjoy their job, and the people they work with, are more focused on creating positive learning experiences for students.

Do You Lurk or Comment When Reading a Blog?

I admit it.  I tend to be a lurker when reading blogs.There are so many great ones out there that I follow, but will admit, I rarely comment.   I often will retweet a link to a great blog, but again, rarely leave a comment. Back when I started blogging I commented regularly. I was participating in a Twitter challenge for new bloggers to write ten posts during the summer and we all supported each other by commenting on one another’s posts regularly.  Then, school started up and I didn’t read or comment as often.

A fellow teacher at my school is also blogging and is at a crossroads as to what type of blog she wants to write.  She is wondering if it is worth the effort if only, as she phrased it, her mom and dad are the only ones reading it.  What if when you check your stats you find out only a few people a month are reading it?  Then, you have a decision to make.  Why are you blogging in the first place?  Is it to genuinely share with others?  Is it a cathartic experience for yourself? Are you blogging to communicate with your students and their families? Or, do you just enjoy writing?  I even had a teacher in my building tell me they didn’t know that’s the kind of blog I was writing.  Wasn’t sure how to take that one.  Whatever your reason for blogging, just be comfortable with your choice.

For me, I just like to write and it is cathartic.  At first I did worry that no one was reading my blog and commenting.  But then  had to remember why I began in the first place.  I wasn’t out to say my teaching methods were the best or to sell you a product.  I just wanted to have a medium to share my thoughts, model for my students a Genius Hour project, and if possible inspire a few others along the way.  I wanted to try something new.  I wanted to write.

So, stop worrying about your stats and if you’re going to be the latest and greatest blog in the educational world.  It’s not about the number of followers you have.  It’s about your purpose and your message.  But, hey, we all need a little encouragement and feedback on what we do.  So…I have a challenge for you.

I will be posting on Twitter my challenge and see if anyone joins in on it.  It is #blogrespond and the goal is to reply to five blog posts before you return to school.  For me, I report back in fifteen days.  Therefore, I only need to read and respond every three days.  I hope to do more, but I want an attainable goal to begin.  Part two of the challenge is to respond to a post ten times during the school year.  Again, attainable goal since it gets so busy during the school year.

I’ve learned so much from the blogs I follow and the amazing educators I follow on Twitter that I want to give back by letting them know how much I value them.  If you aren’t currently reading any education blogs and don’t know where to begin, check out  the blogs I follow (I’ll be adding more).  Another tip is to look at the people you currently follow on Twitter and see if they have a blog.  So, are you ready to stop lurking and start commenting?  Share the #blogrespond challenge on Twitter and link back to the blog you read.  This way others will benefit from what you found interesting and valuable.

Now get out there.  Start reading.  Start commenting.  Start supporting.  You have the potential to make a blogger’s day.

Creating a Classroom Recording Studio

“Technology helps turn ordinary learning into extraordinary fun. And the whole time children are working with these technology tools, they are collaborating and helping each other problem-solve”.–Paul Solarz (@PaulSolarz), from the book Learn Like a Pirate

Well, I did it.  I finally posted a project to Donors Choose.  I don’t know what took me so long.  It wasn’t as hard, or as time consuming as I thought it would be.  Here’s a little bit more about my project.

Technology is a fact of life.  We use it in so many ways to make our lives easier, to learn, and to share our creativity and voice with the world.  Well, that’s hard to do when you have limited access to technology in your classroom.  Although  I will be sharing a new set of computers with my grade level this year, we have no access to tablets other than my personal one.  After years of constant use by myself, my family, and my students, it is beginning to show some wear and tear.  We desperately need an iPad mini devoted to student use.

What do I plan to do with just the one iPad mini?  Simple, everything.  Our first objective is to use it with the @TouchCastEdu app and their Studio In a Box.  The Studio In a Box has a green screen, lapel mic, two mini-tripods, and three mobile device mounts.  I’ve already pre-ordered it and am told it will be ready this fall.  TouchCast allows students to create professional looking videos with or without using the green screen function.  They even have an app that allows my students to use my phone (hoping to get an iPod Touch in the future) as a remote.  This allows my students even greater control of their productions.  Hopefully, I should be able to download TouchCast on the computers I share so that once my students have recorded they can complete the editing on the computer when the iPad is unavailable.  Once we get this part of the studio ready, my students will be able to create videos that demonstrate their learning, create tutorials for younger students, and create a classroom video newsletter to share with parents and the community.

However, video is just one part of the studio I am trying to create.  I have two microphones already and hope to have students create podcasts and maybe their own channel.  I’ve been reading about and listening to podcasts as to how to produce them.  Again, creating one more way for them to share their learning, as well as their creativity, with an authentic audience.

Now, since this will be in my classroom, I’m a little limited as to size.  However, I’ve dedicated a section of our classroom that combines our writing center and recording studio.  This area will house all things pre and post production.  The goal is to train a few students on how to run everything (although, I’m sure many will already know what to do), and they will in turn train others.  I want this to be something they take ownership and responsibility of running. In the past, my students have always been respectful of not only technology, but of others making any type of recording, so I believe when asked, they can work quietly when someone has booked time in the recording studio.  Once it’s up and running I’ll post pictures, and with permission, student projects.

So if you are interested, an able to support us, click here to go to Donors Choose and make a donation.  If you are able to make a donation by July 30th, they will match each contribution of up to $100.  I’ve made the first contribution and hope you will be able to support us.  Either way, check back and see how our recording studio evolves.

Revitalizing Staff Morale Using the SNAIL Method-Part Three

This post is the third in a five-part series.

In my first two posts I shared the five components of the SNAIL Method of revitalizing staff morale.  For this post I will offer my thoughts on the third component.

Stand up and take pride in our profession

Never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation

Acknowledge when things aren’t working and develop a new plan

Ignite a spirit of collaboration not competition

Let go of old hurts or jealousies

snail on post

photo from pixabay.com

Acknowledge when things aren’t working and develop a new plan

Sometimes there’s an elephant in the room.  The elephant is that for one reason or another a program, initiative, or strategy is not working.  However, time and money has been spent so the failed program or plan is continued.  Nothing brings down morale like knowing something is not working and still having to continue on with it.  So, what do you do about it?  Complain.  Whine. Sabotage.

No, when something is not working you really have to examine the reasons why and then take action.  Is it that simply there hasn’t been enough time to determine whether it has worked or not?  Often, unlike what we preach to our students, we bail when we don’t get the promised results or what we expected the outcome to be immediately.  We have to be patient, yet critical.  Are we doing everything necessary for the program, initiative, or strategy to be successful?  “To fidelity” are often words that cause teachers in my district to cringe.  I’m not saying follow everything to the letter (I’m one of those cringers) but if you don’t, you need to own it and be ready to justify.

Sometimes though, you’ve done everything you can and it’s just either not working or it’s not best for your students.  Rather than complain, whine, or sabotage, really think about what could be done differently.  Analyze what parts aren’t working and then develop a new plan.  Work with your grade level team, building teachers in other grade levels, or even your PLN.  Find a way to tweak what you’re doing or develop a new one.  They key is to not just accept it’s not working and then do nothing about it.  Many times I’ve gone to my administrators with a problem and possible solutions.  They get tired of problems too, and are more often than not very receptive to feedback when you come in with possible solutions.  No one likes a mess dumped at their feet.  Help them out, work together on it.  Often a complete overhaul is not needed, just minor adjustments and the support in which to do it.

So next time you or a colleague is sitting there complaining that something isn’t working, just think how bad it is if the whole building is feeling that way, yet everyone would rather wait for someone else to do something about it.  We don’t have to accept a program, initiative, or strategy that isn’t working.  We must advocate for our students, speak up, and be willing to put ourselves out there.  We have more control over things than most would believe.  We just need not be silent when it’s not working.  Be respectful, but work for change when it is necessary.  Never accept less than what you, your colleagues, and students deserve.

Revitalizing Staff Morale Using the SNAIL Method-Part Two

This post is the second in a five-part series.

In my first post I shared the five components of the SNAIL Method of revitalizing staff morale.  For this post I will offer my thoughts on the second component.

Stand up and take pride in our profession

Never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation

Acknowledge when things aren’t working and develop a new plan

Ignite a spirit of collaboration not competition

Let go of old hurts or jealousies

image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/

image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/

Never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation

Showing appreciation really does go a long way.  Whether it’s taking the time to express your thanks to a colleague for getting the copies you forgot, helping them out when they have an emergency, or just being there when you need to vent.  Knowing that you are valued and appreciated can take a staff through the hard times and uncertainty of change. By showing appreciation to your fellow staff members, you can better foster that spirit of team and community.  You are more willing to help someone who says thank you for the little things as well as the big things.  However, I value most the appreciation that is given with no expectation of recognition.  After all, you didn’t really help someone out for the recognition did you?

How can an administrator show appreciation to the staff?  First of all, don’t wait until Teacher Appreciation Week, and worse yet, don’t let that week go by without acknowledging it as well.  Show appreciation to the individual, not just a blanket statement to the staff. This can also occur during a walk through.   I’m one of those teachers who don’t mind my principal or learning coach dropping into my room unannounced.  Hey, I’ve even invited them in so that they could either support my students in something they were proud of, or to offer feedback on a strategy that I’ve been implementing and not quite sure how it’s really going.  When you do come in be sure to leave some sort of feedback.  It doesn’t need to be long.  Just a quick email, a message on Voxer, or a note left on the desk or in their mailbox.  The point is those small gestures go a long way, especially in the event you have to ask your staff to do things that add to their already full plates.  It’s no different from sending home positive messages to our students and parents, and then if one day we have to discuss something unpleasant we’ve already laid the groundwork for a positive relationship.  In addition, when you know a staff member took on an extra duty or covered for another teacher, especially if they did it without even being asked, show them that they are appreciated.  Again, never underestimate the power of simply letting someone know they are appreciated.

On the flip side, teachers and staff need to show appreciation to their administrators as well.  They often have a lonely job where they have to make decisions that are not always popular.  Take the time to let them know that while you may not always agree, you appreciate that they took the time to explain the situation and even include you in the decision making.  If you see there was extra help needed in the cafeteria or even coverage for a teacher and the administrator covered it, let them know how you were impressed by that and you appreciate them.  It doesn’t have to be a super big deal, but rather an acknowledgement that it meant something to you.

Finally, don’t forget the appreciation staff show to each other.  Too often we take each other for granted.  It’s not on purpose, we’re just so accustomed to colleagues who always pitch in and help, often without even being asked.  Take them time to say thank you and let them know you truly value them.  I am blessed to have worked on some amazing teams that all it took was a text saying I needed help because of an unexpected illness, and they jumped into action.  Our building is much the same way, someone needs something and you’ll find multiple offers of help roll in.  While no one is doing these things because they expect a thank you, all the same a simple thank you goes a long way in fostering that giving spirit.

So, if you want to build morale, never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation.  You spend so much time together, take care of each other.

Revitalizing Staff Morale Using the SNAIL Method-Part One

I know it’s summer break and I should just be relaxing.  However, I can never fully disengage from teaching.  I’m always looking to the next year and how I can make my teaching better.  Whether it be reading a professional book, building a brand new unit, tweaking an existing one, or self-reflection.

This coming school year holds many changes for our staff.  We will  have a new principal, school improvement specialist, and at last count seven teachers and support staff new to our building.  While change can be quite unsettling to some, it also brings with it the opportunity for improvement.  With the kind of turnover my building has experienced in the last five years, morale has taken a dip.  Thankfully our commitment to our students remains high.  I believe we can use this latest change to bring about the opportunity to repair or revitalize our morale.

This series of five posts are my thoughts as to do how we can accomplish this. I’m calling it the SNAIL method as snails carry the weight of their homes, not unlike our school, on their backs.  They work hard to get to where they are going, yet don’t move so fast that they miss out on the opportunity to observe what’s going on around them.

snail-582203_1280

image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/

Stand up and take pride in our profession

Never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation

Acknowledge when things aren’t working and develop a new plan

Ignite a spirit of collaboration not competition

Let go of old hurts or jealousies

Stand Up and Take Pride in Our Profession

I believe that all the negativity in the press and even among our own colleagues can drive down staff morale quickly. Standing up for our profession makes one feel empowered, rather than a victim.  This does not mean you have to attend rallies if that’s not your cup of tea or engage in heated debates about teaching.  It really just means presenting yourself as a professional.  Show your excitement about teaching.  Join a professional organization.  Have a positive and professional social media presence.  Contact legislators on legislation that harms students and teachers.  Don’t say, ” Oh, I’m just a teacher.”  Rather, “I am a teacher!”

Another way to stand up for your profession is during professional development.   When you are at a meeting or in-service pay attention and be polite.  No matter if you feel the presenter is less than engaging, you feel you already know the information, or you just plain don’t want to be there.  Decide to find one positive or take-away from the experience. Believe me, I’ve been there and looking back am not always proud of how I or my colleagues have acted.  I often tell my students that boredom is a choice.  So is a negative attitude at these meetings.  Sure, we all hear something at a meeting or presentation, and it sparks an idea of how we could implement or tweak it.  Human nature is that you want to share immediately with the friend sitting next to you.  It’s also human nature to complain about the meeting to that same friend sitting next to you. However, think of the presenter.  Is it their first time presenting?  Is this something they were just told to do and are really uncomfortable or nervous about doing it?  Are we tuning out because we’re not particularly fond of the presenter?  Administration also needs to stand up for the profession.  When staff are not behaving well at these meetings, give them the opportunity to change their behavior, if they don’t then call them out on it. It doesn’t need to be a public shaming, but could be addressed privately.  Find out why it is they are acting the way they are.  However, if we truly want there to be a change we have to be willing to address our colleagues and let them know that we are trying to get something out of the meeting and need to be able to hear.  Behavior that is allowed will continue to fester and harm staff morale.  It doesn’t just affect the person presenting, but also those who are trying to get something out of it.

So, as you look forward to the next school year think about how you can stand up for your chosen profession.  It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, but rather a series of small actions that lead up to a positive change.

Next post in the series will be N-Never pass up the opportunity to show appreciation.

Join The #DigiLitChallenge

 

Connecting to fellow educators means more than responding, retweeting, or even favoriting (Real word? Well, it is now.) a Tweet. It means when they ask for help or invite you to a challenge they’ve created, you participate.

That’s what I’m doing this week with the challenge set by Margaret Simon through her blog Reflections on the Teche and on Twitter @MargaretGSimon.  I was impressed with her desire and resolve to reach out and create a challenge and not worry about whether or not anyone took part in it, but rather that she did it.  She took a chance and tried something new, just like we ask of our students.

Please read her blog for all of the details and how it came about.  The gist is that you take a photo and turn it into a piece of art.  I took the app, Waterlogue, that she mentions to create my work.  I then wrote my poems with the Skitch app for the trees and hosta photos, but switched to Phonto for the frog picture.  I am so glad she began this challenge as it provides a creative outlet for me. It’s getting to be a little addictive, and the wheels are already turning as to how I can use this in my classroom next year.

So, if you’d like to participate, hop on over to her blog to learn more and to find out how to link up through various social media.  Just be sure to tag her  @MargaretGSimon and use #digilitchallenge. Also, grab the button to use on your blog.  I can’t wait until Sunday to find out what the next challenge is going to be.