Learning From Others

When I became a teacher, I remember gaining ideas that I liked from my more seasoned colleagues and I felt guilty about adapting them into my own classroom. My kind coworkers would tell me, however, that it’s not like stealing someone’s ideas to adapt them into what you do; rather, we share ideas as a community of educators and that is what makes us stronger, and in turn, this benefits our students. I have found this to be true in the blogging world, as well, because there are so many talented teachers out there, sharing their wealth of ideas to strengthen others. I would like to share a few blogs that I really find to be inspiring.

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(Adams; Photo source)

Amazing Blog

The first is written by an awesome teacher classmate of mine named Gretchen (Hall) Kimpel. Her blog titled “Can’t We Just Google It?” is full of great ideas and experiences from her classroom. The URL is http://gretchenkimpel.edublogs.org/.

I really like Kimpel’s blog not only because her writing style is easy to read and relate to, but because it’s also very informative and carries weight to educate her readers about content-related issues, ideas, and experiences. I also like her work because she writes about what has worked for her in her classroom, and welcomes input and connections about it from her readers. For example, Kimpel wrote, “So we know what the issues are, but the real question is… how can we fix it?  What can we as social studies teachers do to help kids comprehend the texts we give them?” (Kimple, 2017). Her blog both informs and engages the reader.

I have found Kimpel’s specific examples to be very useful, and though I won’t be able to apply them yet in my own classroom (I don’t teach core content at this time), I would like to make use of what I read in her blog by saving it for future reference. One example I enjoyed was the bookmark she made for reading strategies.

Kimpel, 2017; Photo source 

She made her students bookmarks with steps they could follow to connect them to any text they might be reading, and to bolster their comprehension of what they read. I loved this (and want to borrow this idea in the future!) because she made tangible tools with strategies for her students to interact with and learn from what they were reading. I can see this being a great idea for all students in any core content course, including those students who struggle in their learning. Great ideas, Gretchen, and thanks for letting me learn and glean from you!

Another Great Blog

I have to admit that I needed to search around for core content blogs I liked, since I wouldn’t seek out ideas to use from them for my present teaching assignment. In a recent search for such blogs, however, I found a great math blog written by a math teacher named Sarah Carter. Her blog can be found at: http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/.

Carter’s blog was one I really enjoyed reading because there were a variety of posts to inspire new and useful ideas within the realm of teaching math. For example, she recently posted about her use of interactive math notebooks in her classroom. Her students had found a lot of success in creating and implementing them, and she gave several examples of ones that would be helpful for other teachers, too. Another post I liked was her “Monday Must-Reads” (Carter, 2017), where she compiled suggestions for reading for other math teachers to learn from, including the blogs of other math teachers. She used others’ strategies, suggestions for activities, and inspiration for those in this field and I thought this was such a wealth to have been shared.

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Carter, 2017; Photo Source 

There was so much information that I can consider useful in this blog, even though I would need to bookmark the ideas for teaching math. I really liked this blogger’s posts about math, but what really drew me in as a special education teacher-in-training was what she wrote in her “About Me” section: “It makes my day/week/month/year/life to see students excited to take Algebra 2 who entered my Algebra 1 class hating math.  Words I love to hear: ‘I miss your class, and I NEVER thought I would ever say that about a math class.’  I am more than a math teacher.  I am a difference maker.  A life changer.” (Carter, 2017). To have a mindset that you as a teacher are “a difference maker” and “life changer” for your students holds a lot of power and I love that Carter made this point. Our students, especially those who struggle in their learning, need us to share this mindset and to put it into action. As a teacher who is “borrowing” ideas from others in the field, I will definitely be making use of this mindset in whatever content I am teaching, both now and in the future! Thank you, Sarah, for what you do for everyone that is learning from you!

Why Pay Attention to Others’ Work?

After reading numerous blogs by numerous teachers, it becomes increasingly clear to me that we must learn from each other in order to reach our most important goal: helping our students be the best they can be. My fellow teachers can provide me with an incredible wealth of information if I take the time and effort to search for their ideas and listen to what they can teach me. I’m just glad my colleagues explained to me that learning from and using the ideas of other teachers is “legal”!

 

References

Adams, H. (2017). A Teacher Affects Eternity. Retrieved July 23, 2017, from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/89/fe/c0/89fec0c5ac7951c3df77cd12bd7c6c85–teacher-gifts-teacher-stuff.jpg

Carter, S. (2017). Math = Love [Web log post]. Retrieved July 23, 2017, from http://mathequalslove.blogspot.com/

Edutopia. (2015, August 25). Teacher Collaboration: Spreading Best Practices School-Wide. Retrieved July 23, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85HUMHBXJf4

Kimpel, G. (2017). Can’t We Just Google It? [Web log post]. Retrieved July 23, 2017, from http://gretchenkimpel.edublogs.org/