by Pipe ï£¿
I love to learn. I love talking about learning. And I love teaching. Probably from way back in the day when I debated in high school or played in the band, I've always marched to a different drummer. I've loved the Star Wars movie ever since it was released in 1977.
I started this blog in 2003 as a personal challenge to myself to document what I've learned about the art of teaching and integrating technology into the classroom. Everyone thought I'd lost my mind when I started weblogging (as it was called back in the day) and even was one of the original Typepad beta bloggers!!! Now who's laughing??? While I sometimes veer off into educational policy, I still am anchored most by my love of the students which you'll see in the kinds of posts I make.
Middle school experience centered around science and math
I've been a middle school teacher for almost 20 years after starting my career in hospital administration for ten+ years. So yes, I'm one of those second career teachers. I see that having this business world experience has strengthened my ability to relate to my parents and many other things.
I love science and through these years, I have taught science every year. I'd say that is where I'm most experienced. I've also taught 6th, 7th and 8th graders at one time or another; I have 10+years of math, 4 years of computer technology and a smattering in social studies and reading years. I've been heavily involved in the leadership teams in my building and served on a wide variety of district and state level curriculum/assessment committees.
I'm a Nationally Board certified teacher in Early Adolescent Science since 2001 and successfully renewed last year. I was forever changed by learning the reflective process and applying it to help me improve my teaching practice. I have been an active member of my district's applicant mentoring program, helping more than 15+ other teacher earn their certification in a wide variety of areas...from development preschool to library media to other EA Science candidates. My blog speaks to my passion about teaching and specifically about teaching science.
District coordinating teacher for technology for 4 years
I took a 4 year leave from the classroom to work in the central office of my district helping other teachers learn to integrate technology into their lesson plans. Other than science, technology is my passion. I regularly use digital tools with my students....but I only use technology if I think it amplifies the learning...it must have a distinct purpose. I started using technology years ago by Hypercard (on Apple IIs with 6" dual floppy drives...if you don't know what those are you're not old enough!!! ha ha ha) and participating in Project Jason field trips...continuing with robotics, Microworlds, science probe ware...and currently use Google Earth, library databases, Diigo, blogging, Twitter, Google Docs, Photostory, Voicethreads and class webpages. My overriding purpose is to help my students learn to communicate and collaborate in similar ways to what they will encounter when they enter the workforce.
Virtual learning communities have helped me find "birds of a feather"
Sometimes being excited about teaching wears out the people around you. Have you ever noticed that? They roll their eyes and you can just hear them screaming (inside their heads, of course)...oh no, do we have to talk about pedagogy again? or vertical alignment? or some new cool app that would be so engaging for your kids. Well rather than run off all my face-to-face colleagues, I searched for other kindred spirits who loved to talk "shop" as much as I did. So imagine my delight when I found my first virtual learning community at Middle Web.
Since 1999, when I joined Middle Web (at that time a community of hundreds of middle school teachers all over the country) I've been having a blast getting to know teachers from around the country. Middle Web gave me my first job as an online author as I wrote a "School year Diary" in 2000. and currently participate in the Teachers Leader Network (TLN). TLN is another personal learning network of other National Board teachers, State and National Teachers of the Year, and Eisenhower Math & Science teacher leaders from all over the country. Both of these communities have allowed me to make connections to teachers in so many different circumstances and exposed me to ideas/situations/students that I would have never encountered by staying within my own school. I think I've done the same thing for them....a quid pro quo.
I write and publish articles on the craft of teaching through Education Week's Teacher Magazine. You'll see the TLN section on the front page which is where my group writes articles for every issue on a wide range of topics. I've also helped to research and author several white papers on Pay for Performance(2007) and other educational policy issues.
Personal life away from teaching
Outside of middle school, I have three grown children so I love visiting them and their families. In whatever spare time I have I read, garden, cook and workout. One of my favorite places to share what I am reading is on the social networking site for reading, Goodreads. I started an online book club with my science and social studies students...we share ideas and reactions to the books they read about the topics we study. I have seen their reading interests broaden and grow tremendously over the course of the school year.
I love to read. Way too much school related reading...I need to get a life beyond my social studies prep books because I love reading spy novels and other non-fiction.
That's about all I can imagine anyone would want to know about me. I'm extremely serious about teaching but don't take myself too seriously....I try to laugh everyday; appreciate the fact that middle schoolers add so much comic relief and earnestness to my life; and that I have a job where I look forward to going to work.