Monday, February 2, 2015

#WalkMyWorld Learning Event #3: Struggling Doesn't Mean Stupid

Welcome to Learning Event Three in the #WalkMyWorld Project! For this learning event we invite you to reflect on your identity. Do you have one consistent identity (online and offline) or are they different? Does the identity you share publicly represent who you are inside your head?  The facilitators of #WalkMyWorld are challenging you to open up by sharing a piece of your past or your goals for the future. Today I felt like sharing a piece of my past with a picture of me in 5th grade, when I first realized my brain struggled with letters.

Present identity: This is me at an International Literacy Association conference (formally known as the International Reading Association) with my good friend and mentor, Dr. Jerry Johns. I am a third year PhD student, the president of Pennsylvania's Reading Association, and a leader in the field of literacy.

Past identity: This is me as a fifth grader (with my younger brothers). Despite the dimples and the feathered hair, this was the year I was anything but an average 5th grader. For the first time I realize my brain was always going to struggle to process letters when I had to walk down the hall to a 4th grade reading class. I loved school, but no matter how hard I tried, or the hours spent with tutors, my brain still struggled to spell simple words. I also struggled to recall subject-matter content for tests. As a result, I was placed in a lower academic track for middle and high school.

My guidance counselor said I shouldn't waste my time applying to college. My college accepted me on a one year probation after I pleaded in an entrance interview that:

I HAD to become a teacher so I could tell students who struggle with letters that they are brilliant.

I HAD to become a leader in literacy so I could show educators how to look beyond poor spelling.

I HAD to become a researcher so I could find evidence that struggling doesn't mean stupid.

Struggling just means I need more time to process letters. I need technology to spell my words, and I need multimodal opportunities to show my brilliance.

Take some time this week to think about who you are and share your reflections with me at the #WalkMyWorld Project. You can click this link to read more about Learning Event #3:

Happy reflecting,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Let's play on the #WalkMyWorld digital playground!

January and February can be the two most difficult months to teach. The holidays are over, winter weather causes indoor recess, and students are bored with daily literacy routines. The best strategy to chase away the instructional winter blues is to join the #WalkMyWorld project.

The #WalkMyWorld Project is a social media group of educators and researcher who share and connect online at Twitter using one hashtag. Groups of learners across the globe are connecting and sharing for 10 weeks using the #WalkMyWorld hashtag. Don't worry, you don't have to commit to 10 weeks. Stop by any time to connect with other educators, create digital texts, and curate, or organize, all your new ideas. Watch this video to learn how to create a Twitter account.

Connect: #WalkMyWorld allows you to connect with passionate and talented educators from across the globe. Their ideas will inspire you to explore different methods for reading and writing in a digital environment. Each week, go to your Twitter account and search the #WalkMyWorld hashtag for new strategies, tips, and lessons. You can scroll through Twitter posts easily while you are standing in line at the grocery store or during television commercials. I prefer to look at Twitter right before I go to bed at night. When you find an idea you like, begin playing around with the tool. If you have questions, reply to the Tweet, just like you would with an email, and get answers to your questions instantly.

Create: #WalkMyWorld also invites you to create with free, user-friendly digital tools. No need to wait for a school organized professional development day to learn the newest tools. Each week a new tool will be introduced through learning events. The learning events provide an explanation, links to video tutorials, and example texts for which to play. I love how the learning events scaffold the process of creating within digital spaces. They also provide excellent instructional frameworks that you can take and implement easily into your classroom. The learning events begin January 18, 2015, click here to get instant access.

Curate: #WalkMyWorld provides an unique opportunity to learn how to curate, or organize your ideas, work, and discussions that you have in an online social environment. It's easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized in a digital space. At the same time, it's important to begin to think about your digital identity. #WalkMyWorld learning events will show you how to ask the right questions and target important resources to improve your instruction and strengthen your online identity. Click here to learn more about curating.

Turn January and February into the best months to teach by connecting, creating, and curating with the #WalkMyWorld project. Get inspired by clicking here.