So Tuesday nights at 7PM on #edchat on Twitter is the place to be...Why waste your precious time at pointless PDs when you can attend one here in real time, and ask useful questions tailored to your personal needs in the classroom from a whole network of teachers across the globe?! That is my experience. I particularly like following the article posts that contain ideas I can use the very next day in the classroom, or tweak to make work for my foreign language content.
2) Google Apps for Educators: "Google Lit Trips" (6th-12th Grade)
The classroom activity I decided to look further into under Google Apps for Educators is the "Google Lit Trip." Under this app, students are able to use Google Earth and map out where the text we are using is taking them as they read, so they can interactively work with the static text they are reading. One Lit Trip that I could probably use during one of my Afro-Latino lessons is "We All Went on Safari" by Laurie Krebs to take my students through an interactive African safari where some Afro-Latino cultures still exist, and even teach my students how to count in Swahili...awesome for my foreign language classroom!
3) Extra Credit assignment: Reaction to Obama's address on education
Certain homeroom teachers at my school showed the Obama address at lunchtime on their classroom TVs. At the start of our school day, some of these teachers commented how parents were concerned that we were going to show the speech. Even though the majority of our school community supports our new President, some disagreed with our use of live political viewings, saying our students wouldn't understand it and would be swayed....ISN'T THAT WHY THEY ARE IN SCHOOL, HOWEVER?!!? Their teachers are there to unbiasedly address these "teachable moments" for their students to benefit from them and interact more fully with the world around them -- outside of the classroom and even their Baltimore City neighborhood. During the showing, I even heard some elementary teachers synthesizing what President Obama said into student-friendly terms, like the importance of staying in school and developing a love of learning, as well as finishing school. It also reminded teachers to keep expectations high on the classroom and to teach students how to be responsible students AND citizens. The student responses showed how many of the elementary and middle school students were inspired by his words, and I later heard from some parents were pleased/impressed when their children went home that afternoon and actually told THEM about certain ideas in the speech.