Monday, June 10, 2013

You Mean There is More?!

This is a copy of my final reflection as a Columbia College T.E.A.M. Fellow:

You Mean There is More?!

I’ve been in education now for twenty years.  Rather uniquely, all twenty years at the same school, May Community Academy.  This is my last year at “May”.  I use quotations because my school is being shuttered.  The building may remain but the faculty and name will change (if you are interested in hearing my thoughts about that I’ll be blogging about it another day here).  I spent my first fifteen years doing the same thing: teaching 4th grade.  Even though the general content remained the same every year I worked just as hard to learn new methods of madness that would hold my students’ interests and to stay current with best practices.

After 4th grade I became the Lead Technology Teacher for May. This job was loaded; I was charged with helping teachers integrate technology, maintaining the building’s technology, writing grants, managing grants and many other tasks that would take too long to write about now (but here’s a dirty little secret:  I actually kept daily logs of the work I did in this role…for four years straight!). Throughout this time…I learned more.

One of my favorite roles involved T.E.A.M.  I helped teachers flesh out ideas for projects, managed equipment and paperwork to lighten the bureaucratic burden on the teachers, and got to meet and work with some absolutely fabulous artists and faculty from Columbia College.  Suzanne McBride andKrista Wortendyke not only took to our students so well that they returned the following year but they were open to ideas and sharing their knowledge.  They taught me just as much as they did the students. 

This year I had the opportunity to become more involved with T.E.A.M. and less involved at the same time.  I was afforded the opportunity to become part of the T.E.A.M.fellowship.  I looked forward to contributing even more than I had in previous years.  Then, right before the school year began I was placed in the computer lab full time.  This limited the time I could devote to managing the program at May.  It also complicated my role as a fellow. Fellows would blog about the projects they were working on, but I was stuck in the lab.  I was limited to the time the artists could work with the kids up here and I felt disconnected from the projects. Luckily, I was able to do what I’ve been doing- finding and passing on resources that can help other educators. 

During this fellowship I’ve blogged about a wide range of topics including:

Media Literacy:  Are Today’s Student’s Media Literate? Part 1 and Part 2
Web 2.0 Tools:  Detailed descriptions of how to use Easely.ly and Thinglink

True educators love to share. That’s why programs like this succeed.  It’s in our blood to share resources, help others (and even boss people around a little).  I’m grateful to have had this forum to not only share my own content but to learn from others.  This fellowship allowed me to build my knowledge base even more and learn from other artists and educators alike.  I learned countless new ideas to implement technology meaningfully.  Things like:


So…after twenty years I don’t know it all.  I am still learning and eager to do so. There is tremendous talent on a multitude of levels out there.  Chicago Public Schools has many hiccups but this is one of the positives. I’d like to thank Liz Radzicki for the opportunity and the friendship.  I’d like to thank all of the Fellows and artists I’ve worked with in this program.  While T.E.A.M. officially stands for “Transforming Education through the Arts and Media” I’d like to suggest “Thanks to Everyone for Awakening my Mind” should an update be needed.

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