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The Brain: A Meaning Creator

As an educator, I am fascinated with the brain and all the mysteries it holds to the way we process and learn information. Through my ‘twitter-sphere’, I discovered TED Talks and a brief and powerful talk about the way the brain creates meaning. As I watched and listened to this talk, I was reminded of the critical and necessary need for all learning to be visual–as well as interactive and repetitive. At Georgetown, we continue to refine ALL our instruction so that we are meeting the needs of varied learning needs with an emphasis on visual directions that also include modeled instruction. This talk helps to explain why this is a best practice strategy for instruction.

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A Principal Who…Twitters?

Yes. You have a principal who twitters. If you are anything like my family, right now your eyebrows are raised and you are calling up visions of the latest and endless news coverage of who twitters & tweets — and how this latest craze in social messaging is redefining instant communication across the globe.

I have taken a great deal of “endearing” harassment from my husband and close friends for my twitter habits.  Before I can defend myself and explain that I AM NOT FOLLOWING Ashton Kutcher or Demi Moore (although they may be following me) NOR am I checking the most recent tweets about Michael Jackson (even though I did have a nice collection of Jackson 45’s) — my family is cracking themselves up with tweet, twitter, and twits-phere jokes.

So, why do I endure this teasing and continue to twitter you ask?  OR better yet you may be asking: WHY DO YOU TWITTER and WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU GET OUT OF IT?  For a professional explanation of twitter, check out Twitter in Plain English.  To understand why I twitter, read on:

1.  Twitter has become the most powerful tool for me to grow my professional learning network (PLN).  I am connected with principals, technology specialists, phenomenal classroom teachers, parents, media specialists and educational web designers from all walks of life—and on all sides of the world.

2.  Since joining twitter in November of 2008, I have learned more about how to support students, parents and teachers with technology EVER.  This is an important learning curve for me to explore and live because technology (whether I or we like it or not) is changing the way we think, learn, process, teach, problem solve, support, communicate and share with others.  Here is a picture of just a few of my twitter friends who help me learn how to be a better teacher with technology as a learning tool:

3.  Our students – YOUR CHILDREN – are racing ahead of us on this curve.  In order for educators and parents to be able to learn with them and improve our best practice instruction for them, I must (we must) explore all areas of the web and ask important questions about how to determine primary sources, sort through fact from fiction, and determine appropriate boundaries for sharing personal information.

4.  Finally, I have developed some great contacts for professional learning through twitter!  I have become attached to my network of followers.  How?  Why?  Each time I tweet a question about a tech problem I am experiencing or the need for a link to an application, my network comes through in a matter of hours or even minutes!  I do my best to share and support them by sharing my links and resources without developing, as my family claims, and addiction to twitter.  One of my principal twitter colleagues, Mrs. Melinda Miller, recently blogged about her need to twitter referencing a quiz to determine if an individual is twitter addicted.  If I am ever in need a 12 step twitter program, I know who to tweet!

You are welcome to follow me (tee62) on twitter.  I can assure you that most of my tweets (like facebook) are simple, boring and typically interesting only to those who are in education or have children of their own.   When you check out my followers, you will see that our new superintendent, Mr. Nick Ceglarek, is also a twitter.  If you are interested in learning more about twitter, please visit the Georgetown Wiki — a collection of resources I have created for the staff, one page devoted to twitter resources.  (You feel a post about wiki ‘ing coming, don’t you?)

In closing, I can assure you that I will never ask you with a sarcastic tone, “So…how are Ashton and Demi doing these days?”

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Mrs. Brouwer is an Artist in the Summer, too!

Many of you know Mrs. Brouwer as our art teacher.  It is also important to note that she is also an ARTIST.   I realize that this may not surprise or shock you, and this makes logical sense.  What I do find most amazing is that Mrs. Brouwer shares her work as an artist with her students and also BLOGS about her work–even in the summer months.  This summer she is exploring the art of collage. Please visit her blog and leave an arsty comment to encourage her creative energy!

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Georgetown Receives an A!

Our elementary school received a report card grade from the state of michigan…and it is an A!   It is important to note that ALL of our schools (elementary, middle and high school) received A grades this past year.  The grades are calculated based on many pieces of data (annual report, MEAP results from year to year and much more.  To learn more about the Michigan Department of Education report card system, you can visit MDE.

We are very proud of the hard working students and teachers who do so much to learn and grow each day of the school year!  We are looking forward to continued growth and great work in the 2009-10 school year as well.

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Math Facts: Cool Tips for Parents

If you are working on math facts with your child over the summer months, I have a helpful link that is worth checking out.  The authors of this blog provide strategies for learning addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.  MATH FACTS

If you are looking for a site that provides practice with facts, here are some additional links to check out!

Kids Numbers

Online Math

Math TV – Video Mathematics Lessons

Ghost Blasters, Math Blasters

Math A Tube
Who Wants Pizza?

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Celebrating Our Independence

The 4th of July serves as an annual commemoration of our country’s freedom.  As citizens of the United States of America, we celebrate all of freedoms, rights and responsibilities on this day.  To learn more about the history and traditions of the holiday, visit the HISTORY CHANNEL — one of my favorite sites for interactive learning.  Have a wonderful July 4th!

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Why?

Every parent can understand the initial amazement of the first time your child asks, “Why?”  as well as the feelings of frustration with the inability to respond with a reasonable answer.  There are many websites that have been designed to help parents and teachers answer these ‘why’ questions.   I have chosen to share four sites that have been recommended to me by a teacher/blogger that I follow on a regular basis, Richard Byrne:  Free Technology for Teachers.

These sites are sure to help you answer questions and energize your own learning curve at the same time!

Hope your summer is going well!


Whyzz

RayLit – Personalized Lessons and Games for Pre-K

Help Kidz Learn – Free Games and Stories

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As the Calendar turns to July…

…we will celebrate the independence of our country, the corn will be knee high (maybe), and the ‘back to school’ advertisements will begin to appear in the paper.  For those of you who feel like the summer is flying by, I hope you are enjoying every single second of time with family and friends. 

For those who feel like the summer clock is ticking by ever so slowly, I have added a countdown calendar to the first day of school on our far right sidebar. Also, be aware that teachers are beginning to post the school supply lists on their blogs. Be sure to check these throughout the summer months.

Posted below are two of my all time favorite “back to school” commercials.  No matter which category you fall in (summer going too fast or summer going to0 slow), enjoy!

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