Monday, December 28, 2009

10 Things I've Learned in 10 Years

I've been reflecting on my growth as a teacher & decided to document my version of the top ten lists that seem to be popping up everywhere as the new year comes to an end. So here at top 10 lessons I've learned in my 10 years of teaching & coaching.

1) All kids are different, period. In a nutshell you cannot teach the same thing in the same and expect students to "get it".

2) Differentiated instruction comes in different forms. You can change the assignments, assessments, vary from small group to whole group, utilize a layered curriculum model, workshop model, or literature circles to reach kids specifically at their ability level.

3) What was the previously the "best" way to teach anything changes often!

4) The definition of literacy is changing rapidly to include things like computer skills, collaboration, evaluation of sources, and research using the internet.

5) Writing instruction must take into account things kids do naturally like blogging and other social networking mediums.

6) Teachers, like students, need to be told often what they do well!

7) Teachers flourish when they amongst a network of learners-exchanging ideas, team-teaching, and leading professional development.

8) Teachers must be willing to learn from students, especially in a rapidly changing technological world where students are often more savvy, but willing to showcase their knowledge.

9) There is no simple formula for increasing student achievement; this varies according to a school's unique population and needs.

10) Parents, teachers, and administrators really do want the best for students- we just need to learn how to work together to get the results we all want!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lotta Learning!

This week has been extremely hectic. It's the last week for the students before Christmas vacation and their energy level is ...oh on a scale of 1 to 10, about 100! It's also finals week for me at school so I've had several papers and projects to complete, I didn't even have a chance to celebrate my birthday which is not at all like me.

Anyway, as crazy as my life has been I've learned so much from my students. Here are a few things on the tech side I've learned just in the last couple of weeks:
* How to create MP3 file to export from Garage Band
* How to create a zip file from a Keynote Presentation and export to Slideshare
* How to navigate some elements of Photoshop

Bigger Lessons:
* How to stop trying to "control" the learning in my classroom
* How to trust the students to navigate difficult projects/problems
* How to ignore the massive noise level that inevitably arises when authentic work is going on with 25 kids in the room
* How to relax and remember that kids will be kids and it's not the end of the world

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

YES- Schools Can!

After reflecting on my rant about the inequity of the American School System, I have decided to devote my next few blog posts on schools that are doing wonderful work. "Wonderful" meaning innovative, creative, student-centered, authentic instruction that's producing great results and great kids who are problem solvers and thinkers. Check out the video below on YES Prep in Houston:

YES Prep Video

Also, High Tech High:

High Tech Video Clip

Monday, December 7, 2009

Education: The Great Equalizer???

I just viewed CBS's interview with Geoffrey Canada, Developer of the Harlem Children's Zone.  The zone is a truly visionary project that spans about 100 blocks in Harlem.  Began in 1997, it now services  more than 8,000 children and 6,000 adults.  Including innovative programs like Baby College, Promise Academy, obesity programs,  and healthy foods served from an organic garden onsite, the Children's Zone has recently drawn attention from the Obama administration as well as researchers, educators and policy makers nationwide.  The video is embedded below if you wish to see it in it's entirety:

Harlem's Children Zone:  60 minutes clip


Seeing this is inspirational though leaves me feeling disgruntled, disappointed and lots of other adjectives about the way America's schools system has failed and continues to fail our children.  The "Great Equalizer" has actually had the opposite effect for those who don't have the money to attend private schools or aren't lucky enough to get chosen by the lottery system at many of American's most successful charter schools.

I'm ecstatic to see many states implementing takeover strategies or providing more opportunities for charter & independent schools to take over where our public schools have failed.  With that said, the U.S. Department of Education has recently released the guidelines for receiving federal funds for school reform:

  • Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the staff and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
  • Restart model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
  • School closure: Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the LEA that are higher achieving.
  • Transformation model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.
For more information visit the U.S. Dept of Education website.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Kids Utilizing the Power of Networking- Awesome!

    I haven't posted in over a week- I've been beyond busy writing papers for school. but I had to take a moment to share this story. Yesterday, my team had the opportunity to take our 8th graders to a live taping of the television show "Know Your Heritage". It's basically a show that tests kids' knowledge of cultural heritage in a game show format.

    We didn't find out about the taping until literally the last minute, but decided to give the kids the permission slips anyway. We were concerned because they have a habit of forgetting to bring things back signed, and we only had one day to pull this all together. Also, we knew that if too many of them showed up without a permission slip at school today, we wouldn't be able to go at all since no one would be available on such short notice to provide coverage for too many kids.

    So, despite the last-minute nature of this venture, we handed out the slips and told the kids we'd only be able to go if we had 100% of the show up with it signed. To our surprise, the entire 8th grade class showed up (with the exception of 3), ready to go, slips in hand this morning. A casual conversation with my girls revealed the reason- they put it on facebook.

    Not only did they put it on facebook, they sent out several text messages to the entire class, warning that they would have to stay in school ( and what middle school doesn't want to spend the day at a television show taping when they're supposed to be in school)? I laughed and shared this with the rest of my team but the lesson was very real. When it comes down to it, the kids' needed wanted it to happen and it did- with just a little help from technology and social networking!

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    Schools are the last!!


    You Can Change The World
    Originally uploaded by oclark53

    I've been wondering when I would have the time to blog about my experiences at the NWP conference this past week. I had the opportunity to meet some true visionaries, all with the passion and drive it takes to empower kids through various digital mediums. It was truly refreshing and I had a HUGE take away- real change is NOT taking place during the typical school day.

    This is not the 1st time this thought has occurred to me. I've been reading Dewey, Bruner and others for one of my classes at Pepperdine. These and other theorists wrote books as early as the 1930's describing what constitutes true learning experiences, and how traditional schools fail to address learners' needs. There's also and over arching theme of the social aspect of learning that's necessary for students to be engaged.

    Many of the programs at the conference were aimed at celebrating student voices, while at the same time providing skills needed for the 21st century, but most of these were not during school hours or part of the "normal" school curriculum. Overwhelmingly these experiences occurred in after school spaces, community centers, and libraries. I had an extensive conversation about this with colleagues and I can't help but to be frustrated. After all, school is the one thing that all kids are mandated to experience. Why are schools so slow in responding to change and why has it been allowed to continue for so long?

    With that said, instead of focusing on questions I can't possibly answer in one post, I have decided to do what Dr. Nichole Pinkard suggested in her panel discussion, which is focus on kids themselves. I can't worry about the system, the politics, teachers and administrators who refuse to see the relevance of challenging kids or anything else.

    My goal is now simple: to reach the learners themselves and put the skills directly in within their reach. Luckily technology, particularly the growth of social networks and distance learning should make this more attainable, so wish me luck.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Harnessing Creativity- Great Ways to Use FlickR


    Creativity v3
    Originally uploaded by jakedillard

    I was preparing for the NWP Conference with a colleague the other day and the question arose, "What do teachers really need in order to use digital mediums in their classrooms?" We were particularly interested in writing and other forms of digital storytelling.

    After mulling this over for a couple of days, I woke up with these thoughts racing around in my already crowded brain. Teachers really need:
    1) Open Minds
    2) A Willingness to Be Creative

    With these thoughts in mind I was inspired to dedicate this post to some super- easy ways to use of one my favorite tools in the classroom- flickr. First off, you should know that flickr is far beyond a photo-sharing application. It's an awesome place where anyone and everyone shares, comments, and tags photos about pretty much everything. This is an incredible tool for someone looking to incorporate digital storytelling and/or inspire great stories from students. Second, there are some incredibly quick and easy ways to use this tool in your classroom. Here are a few of my favorites:

    1) 5 Card Flickr Story- In short this generates 5 random pics. Have your students write stories to go with the images. Easy, Fun, Creative!!

    2) Bubblr- Allows you to create comic strips based on Flickr photos. I'm a huge fan of comic strips in class.

    3) Dumpr- Still more cool ways to spruce up pics and add some cool effects like mosaics, puzzle pieces, and others. Go crazy and write about it!

    4) Bookr- Use flicker photos to create books, and some text and you have instant digital stories.

    5) Spell with Flickr- I just ran across this one recently. You type in a word, logo, phrase etc., and it converts them to Flickr images with letters. Eye catching, great ways to add some splash to projects, blogs, websites etc.

    6) Captioner- Add captions quickly to your photos to tel your stories!


    7) Flickr Tag Galaxy- Simply incredible! Definitely for the visual learners. It's an awesome 3D cloud of photos. Type in a tag and click a picture! I used this one to demonstrate "theme" in my literature class.

    Need more ideas? Try these:

    Big Huge Labs


    Huge Flickr Tool Collection

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Jump on the Social Media Bandwagon??

    I ran across this image while searching for a photo to use for a project I'm currently working on. It reminded me of a question someone posed on LinkedIn recently. The questions was, "how do you get more educators use social media to enhance their personal knowledge"?

    I wish I had an easy answer. I was hugely unaware of this phenomenon taking place under my nose, in a sense. Of course I had heard of Twitter and other social media sites, but use them?? Not I said the cat. I just never realized the wealth of information being exchanged daily. The only reason I even started using these sites was because of my recent enrollment in a doctoral program in Learning Technologies.

    I was interested in technology in terms of student learning- I never even seriously considered how these tools could enhance my own! Now that I have this toolbox of knowledge, how do I get my teachers to open it??? Well for now my answer is simply this- one tool at a time!

    Useful Tools for Even the Tech Phobic

    I've been reflecting on some of the Web 2.0 Tools I've experimented with for the past few weeks in an effort to come up with what's been the most useful in my classroom.  So here's the short list of what I've come up with so far:

    #1- Go Animate

    Why:  Kids have absolutely taken off with this simple animation tool.  It's one of the few they've taken the initiative to use across subject areas!  I introduced it as a method of digital storytelling and have recently learned that my students used this as part of a science project as well.

    #2- Wordle

    Why:  I used this to introduce some themes for Lord of the Flies, and gave kids the option to use it as a project option for book presentations.  One of my colleagues who teaches social studies absolutely adores it to highlight main ideas and one of my classmates also used it in a presentation last week.  It's simple, fun, and creative and has various uses across subject areas.  One great feature is that you can input entire essays into this tool and words that appear several times appear larger in the word cloud.  What a great way to highlight overused words in writing!!

    #3-  Screenjelly and Screenr

    Why:  These are both screen capture tools that allow you to record and manipulate your screen- all without downloading anything additional.  Screenr even plays on your I -Phone and allows you to record for Twitter.   I'm currently in the process of planning a series of writing lessons using these, as well as some professional development sessions for my teachers.

    #4- voz Me

    Why- This is beyond simple to use.  It basically allows you to type in text and then reads it back to you!  Love this for helping kids pronounce words they're having trouble with and also for improving fluency.  This one's a gem for differentiating instruction and second language acquisition.

    #5- Addictomatic

    Why- I've been playing with this one but haven't quite figured out how I'm going to integrate it into my instruction.  It allows you to create instant, customizable web pages simply by typing in a topic.  I'm thinking about using it for teaching internet reliability, and teaching basic research skills using the web.  Very Cool!!

    #6- Etherpad

    Why- It allows you to chat and use a whiteboard at the same time with small groups of users.  It's completely web- based and saves all of your work.  Nice tool for collaborative writing and planning and the whiteboard is nice for storing ideas.

    #7- Glogster

    Why- Three words- online poster making.  This tool is another that my students are wild about.  You can make posters with different themes and my kids love it to enhance presentations with this one.  Glogster allows you to add text and audio as well.

    #8 VoiceThread

    Why- You can insert photos, text, video, slides etc from either your computer or external sites, and create an interactive presentations that allow multiple users to have a conversation.  Users can comment on your presentation by typing in text or recording audio.  One great feature is that VoiceThread allows you to "highlight" information as your are recording.  Very nice tool!

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Student Work

    I just wanted to post this because I think it's a great example of how tech integration is not as difficult as some make it out to be.  I gave my class a relatively simple assignment.  We've just finished reading Lord of the Flies as a class, and they were asked to create a final project demonstrating their understanding of the book.  The guidelines were not strict, they simply had analyze the plot, characters, setting, mood or some combination of the above, and then present their work to the class.  The only "catch" was that they had to integrate technology in some way.


    I didn't tell the exactly what they had to do in terms of technology.  They all have laptops and so naturally they have access to the programs on the MAC like I- Move, ComicLife and the rest.  I did introduce a list of Web 2.0 tools a few weeks ago, and encouraged them to experiment and share their findings with the group.  In addition to their presentations, they were required to write a 1-page reflection on the process.

    Here is a sample of the projects I have received so far.  Keep in mind that I merely introduced some new tools and encouraged them to explore.  I also shared my experiences and questions as I played arouund with these tools as well.  Please click the following link and feel free to comment about your experiences with these, or any other tools you've had some success with.  Enjoy!  Class Gallery

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Ummm...Why Isn't Every Teacher Doing This??


    Teamwork
    Originally uploaded by Ms Ladyred

    I continue to be awed by the power of social networking. I bookmarked Tag Galaxy , an amazing Flickr tool, on my Diigo toolbar and within 10 minutes it had been viewed and saved by over 500 people. 500 people? What the....? Is this even real? It just goes to show you the awesome power of social media at its best! Oh did I mention, that I ended up having a short dialogue with a group who posted the link on Twitter in Australia?


    I have recently joined 2 Nings dedicated to educators interested in working and learning from others: The Educators Personal Learning Plan and Global Education Collaborative- both are invaluable. My network is growing exponentially by they day.

    The resources on these sites include videos, links, discussions, lesson plan ideas and others. Combined with my ongoing conversations on Twitter and my Diigo contacts and bookmarks, I'm starting to wonder what I can learn in my graduate school courses that can be more valuable than this!

    It can seem overwhelming at 1st but beyond worth giving it a try. The  Professional Development train has now gone global people- it's time to take the ride!

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Using FlickR to Inspire Writing


    Last
    Originally uploaded by u n c o m m o n

    First I'd like to say that there's nothing new about the basic concept of using everything from photos, to newspaper clippings to inspire students to write. Back when I was a new teacher, I regularly poured through magazines & newspapers looking for anything that would spark my student to think creatively.

    Technology has just made this process easier and has also opened an entire world of creativity for me and my students. I've been teaching my students about the importance of setting and mood when writing their stories. Since it's Halloween time, we're focusing on spooky tales. I chose a group of about 18 pictures and created a gallery called "mood lessons" for easy access within Flickr.

    This particular photo sparked lots of conversation & creativity beyond what I expected. Not only were students able to discuss the setting and mood, they also began writing stories based on what they thought might be happening in this scene. They zeroed in on the one individual standing at the bus stop and the spooky lights. Before I knew it, most were spinning tales about who and what he was waiting for, and whether or not he was watching someone inside the building for some terrible reason.

    My point is this, especially for teachers who think tech integration means learning how to use every application on their computers, something as simple of FlickR can have a multitude of implications for student learning.   How about creating a title for this photo, or writing 2 different versions of stories based on this setting? How about turning this into a cartoon or animation, or crafting a dialogue for the lone figure in this picture? The possibilities are endless if you just open yourself up to experience them.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    2 Great New Apps for Teachers

    This has been quite a busy week for me.  I have been busy trying to compile a list of the most practical applications for both student and teacher use for my literacy instruction, and stumbled upon a couple of great ones.  The first one is called Wordle, and basically allows you to create wordclouds.  Simple concept right?

    Well, the great thing about Wordle is the variety of ways in which it can be used.  For example, you can generate vocabulary lists in order to activate prior knowledge, study synonyms & antonyms, or have students input entire essays to examine over used words and repetition.  The possibilities are truly endless.  I shared one with the class today and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

    My 2nd jewel of a find is Screenjelly  I actually discovered this one through one of my Diigo groups centered around educational technology.  When I say the power of social bookmarking for purposes of professional development and personal enrichment is massive, it's an understatement.  I can honestly say that much of my recent learning around technology and instruction has been the result of shared bookmarks and conversations on Diigo and Twitter.  Please take a look at my Screenjelly lesson about how to use Wordle.  This single tool will transform your ability to reach students and other professionals in your network almost seamlessly so enjoy!

    Coming next week- pros and cons of animoto and using go animate for digital storytelling.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    America's Next Top Model

    I'm currently in the process of trying to push forward the technology integration at my school.  My goals are:
    • To get teachers to use technology in authentic ways when planning & delivering instruction
    • To collaborate with my team in order to push this process forward
    • To model the habit of collaborating and pooling our "collective intelligence" as a staff

    I recently set up a wiki page for my 8th graders, and was beyond thrilled when I realized that several of my colleagues quickly followed suit or were interested, but not sure of how to do it, where to start,  or questioned its value overall as a teaching tool.  Yesterday at a professional development session, a colleague and I had a strategy that models the mini-lesson strategy that works well with our students.  My first idea was explain the "why" of my thinking around building the page and then showing "Wikis in Plain English" video for You Tube.  After showing the video, we simply walked the teacher through our wiki pages to demonstrate its many uses for students, teachers, and parents as well.

    The excitement was immediate as the teachers quickly bombarded us with questions regarding the setup and ways in which to use it in their own classrooms.  The model itself of the page was probably the most powerful piece of the entire session, as I was able not to merely explain, but to show how I was using my page in a useful manner. 

    So, with that I've decided to include a couple of quick tips for those who may be new to this idea, as many in my work environment are: 
    • If you're students will be editing your site, you will need an email address, username, and password for each- it is best if this is done as an Excel spreadsheet, but can be done on a word document as well.
    • Create pages within you wiki space simply by clicking the "new page"tab at the top.
    • Use it as a space to store documents you use often like reading response questions, templates, or schedules (you can upload images, video, pdf files and more).
    • Utilize google calendar-it can easily be edited and included as a part of your page.
    • Use it to showcase your  students' work!
    • Have a space for announcements, reminders, and celebrations of positive things happening in your class!
    • Utilize the help staff- they are quick, patient, and willing to assist with pretty much any and everything!
    Moving forward, I'm hoping to collaborate with my staff around unique ways to not only use this tool but others that foster the spirit of collaboration, creativity, and learning!

    I'm in Love with....Twitter

    "What are you doing"?  Four words that I thought just a few short months ago were for people with nothing better to do.   I, along with several others I know, jokingly referred to Twitter as "new age stalking", until I realized its awesome power as a networking tool.  Twitter has quickly become my primary source of exchanging information with other educators, students, technology specialists across the world.

    I primarily follow those with similar interest and careers because I've found some of the most interesting articles, teaching tools, and conference dates are shared daily.  I've even recently begun to follow a group of 130 educators through TweetML, and cannot believe I've not been using this as a collaboration tool before now!  I'm also currently in the process of thinking through authentic ways to for my students to use this tool as well including short responses to discussion questions, following authors of novels we are reading, or simply exchanging quick tidbits of information and/or ideas.  So
    " what am I doing"- I am harnessing knowledge and intelligence of many and plan to continue to do so!

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Epiphany

    While sitting in class yesterday, my cadre was brainstorming ideas for our blogs.  We are supposed to become experts at something in an attempt to narrow our focus around dissertation ideas.  Keep in mind, we are all 1st year students and are in the early phases of all of this! 

    My previous posts have been serving as a "think tank" or journal of some sorts around getting teachers to use technology in authentic ways to enhance learners' experiences.  I've also been tinkering around with various web 2.0 tools, and also researching new media literacy and social bookmarking sites, like Diigo.  Anyway, I ran across this idea of "collective intelligence" while researching new media literacy.


    Collective Intelligence Defined (by Wikipedia)
    Collective Intelligence (C.I.) is a group  intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. It is important to distinguish Collective Intelligence (C.I.) from shared intelligence. Collective Intelligence is the knowledge available to all members of a community, while shared intelligence is knowledge known by all members of a community.

     As it turns out MIT is doing some interesting work around this concept as well as a host of other researchers.  I think my question will be, "How can teachers' collective intelligence be harnessed through the use of technology?" For me, this may be a powerful way to truly shape professional learning communities, and explore teacher leadership simultaneously.  Wish me luck!

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Get Out of the Way

    I was having a conversation with my literacy team yesterday, and one member expressed concern over technology usage in general. His comment was that he didn't feel comfortable using his laptop, and, in turn, felt that he was limited in his ability to integrate technology in a meaningful way.

    This reminded of a comment one of my classmates made during a Blackboard discussion. Her current profession requires her to work with K-12 teachers specifically around technology. She observed that there was so much concern about making sure teachers were the experts, that it blocked possible progress in terms of students. Plainly put, she felt that "teachers just needed to get out of the way". My sentiments exactly!!!

    As I stated in a previous post, I still do not have the knowledge base that my kids have around using my Mac. One of my closest colleagues is the chairperson of our annual "Living Museum" project, which is basically a history fair that involves high levels of critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving. We've worked together closely over the past few years, and have seen our kids produce thought-provoking, entertaining documentaries, year after year.

    I didn't realize until recently that he had no idea how to make an I-Movie. I was actually shocked when he pointed this out in passing. I, like everyone else, assumed that since his kids produced such wonderful media, surely he must be teaching them how to do it. No, as it turns out he just "got out of the way" and continues to do so. Thanks for the lesson DMJ.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    Leading by Example!

    Wow, after reading my previous post, I guess I did have something to say after all! Don't worry, I don't plan to be that wordy in the future. This one will be relatively short. I'm thrilled that after constructing my 1st class wikipage, one of my colleague has already quickly followed suit with one of his own in science. The social science teacher on our team as eager to show the both of us up with the "ultimate wiki page"! This is all a testament of the power of modeling and leading by example.

    Also, I just wanted to share this interesting article form Education World, since I was reflecting on the meaning of true tech integration driving in this morning. I also liked this from Edutopia on handling technophobic teachers. Enjoy!

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    My How I've Grown!

    This is my first blog and I must admit I am at a bit of a loss in terms of what to say! I suppose I should begin with why I chose to do this. There are a couple of reasons. The first being I currently serve as the literacy coordinator at Carter G. Woodson Middle School on the south side of Chicago. We have one of the few truly one-to-one laptops in the city. With that said, I feel a need to use our students' natural inclination towards technology, to enhance their learning and mine as well.

    I've recently started a doctoral program in Learning Technology at Pepperdine University. I'd like to rewind a bit and point out that I never saw myself going this direction with my educational pursuits. I have over 10 years of experience working in urban settings and my primary focus has been literacy. I took a position at CGW Middle School 3 years ago and was thrust into the world of one-to-one laptop learning.

    In the beginning, I definitely was not a "digital native". In hindsight, I was quite resistant after teaching "just fine" without laptops or computers for that matter. I vividly remember refusing to use it unless it was absolutely necessary. For example, I had to use it for things like attendance and recordkeeping, but I pretty much left it alone outside of these purposes.

    I don't remember exactly when the transformation happened. What I do remember is assigning some literacy project and giving my students lots of choice in terms of how they demonstrated understanding. What I got as a result were everything from standard research papers, to comic life presentations to podcasts., thanks to the DYN program at our school.

    Keep in mind, I didn't know what any of these things were at that point, and wasn't even a Mac user. Honestly, I still have no idea how many of the application on my Mac work, not like the kids do at least. But, this is exactly my point. I don't have to be the expert- I have 25 of them everyday that are willing to take the lead on this journey! Besides, as one of my colleagues constantly points out, applications come and go, true tech integration is a much more complex process.

    I attended school for about a week this summer for "tech camp" and already have a ton of ideas of how to make this blog work for me. I've already set at a class wiki (it's my first and I'm extremely proud of myself by the way), and plan to experiment with various Web 2.0 tools as a starting point. I'm eager to create a true professional learning community, where professionals not only in my building, but around the world can chime in and help to push my thinking in terms of helping teachers to embrace the digital revolution happening as we speak.

    I am now faced with the task of leading tech integration in my subject area and would like to use this space to exchange ideas, questions, frustrations, and whatever else this blossoms into. At the very least, it will serve as a space for my reflections as I attempt to balance being teacher and student simultaneously!