Monday, June 19, 2017

Wrapping up another year

I teach sixth grade, so I will be saying goodbye to my students in about a week. I'll see them in the hallways, but it won't be the same. They'll never be in my classroom again. That's weird to think about right now, when all I do is see them.
It has me wondering; did I serve them as best I could? Did I impart all the wisdom I could into their little brains? Did I ignite a spark, or reaffirm a defeatist attitude?
I have to be honest, there are some kids I won't miss. You know the kids I'm talking about; the ones that needed us the most. They were a challenge every day. I hope I served them as best I could.
Some kids were lovely, and I enjoyed having them in my classroom. But so many more kids that were somewhere in between. I didn't get to know them very well. They were the middle of the road; never being a problem but never really shining either. They did their work, they seemed to be happy and I gave them their grades. Since they weren't on my radar in some way, did I serve them as best I could? Did they get all they were able to from my class without me making a conscious decision to focus on them as individuals?
I wish I could talk to a student of mine from ten years ago and ask them questions. First, do you remember me or anything I taught you? Then, did what you learned from me come in handy in HS and beyond? Was I effective in teaching you things I thought you should know? I'd like to think I did.
No matter what I do now, it won't change the fact that another year is gone. I hope I made a difference.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This Year's #NYCSchoolsTech Summit

I have mentioned the #NYCSchoolsTech Summit to certain people and they ask me if they should go. I say "of course" and launch into a 20 minute lecture that makes them sorry they asked. To spare you the 20 minutes, I'm going to explain it to you here.

We #NYCSchoolsTech teachers are already pretty connected through our Facebook groups, Google+ groups, and Twitter, but on July 26th, we get to see everyone in 3D and have conversations with the faces behind the minds we’ve come to know so well.

We laugh and we learn. Mostly we laugh. No one else gets our nerd jokes quite like we do.

It also has the feeling of a county fair. Everyone brings their best to show off what they do well. It's not a prize pig, but it's an interesting way to use iPads in their classroom. It's not the biggest pumpkin, but it's how to engage ESL students with coding games. Seeing what everyone else is doing is inspiring and creates fan clubs for hardworking everyday people.

It's the easiest way to find out what products you will be asking for and hopefully using next year. Salespeople are just trying to make your life easier, stop by a booth and let them try. You even get some cool swag for your troubles. Totebag, anyone?

It's a powerful approach to touch base with, discover, or create your tribe. What better way to find your people than the person sitting next to you in a session learning right alongside you? They're right where you are, and that's who you want around you.

Never been to a Summit? Don’t worry. There’s the #NYCSchoolsTech Summit Newbie meetup that will help get you started. Been around a while and love the #NYCSchoolsTech group on Facebook? Meet your friends in the group during the afternoon meetup.  What to learn how to Get Going with Google or just meet up with Google Educators? There are sessions for that.  Want to learn something cool like how to use your OneNote Notebook for lesson plans? You can come to my session.  

I love everyone who comes to the Summit because these are the people who have decided to spend a precious summer day becoming a better teacher. Those are the people to be around.
For all these reasons and more is why I'll be at the Summit, and you should too.

So what are you waiting for? Register to attend at
Here's my storify from last year's Summit to get you ramped up.