Connected Educators Are Learners #ce13 #ooe13

Why connect?

Do you “google” what you don’t know to learn something? Do you connect through a cell phone, texting, Facebook, Google Plus, email, Twitter? If you participate in any two of those questions, you are already connected.

But a connected educator, a connected learner, has a vision. Think about your vision for the future. Imagine a community that grows together, supports each other, learns from each other, and develops solutions and strategies to solve issues and sort through tough times. Imagine that community could be anywhere —

Yes, that community exists now. If you want information, strategies, collaborative partners, just join twitter and shout out yourself or answer others’ tweets. If you want to connect your students, find fellow educators like yourself through twitter chats. See Cybraryman’s (Jerry Blumengarten) twitter chat page for all the educational chats.

From a twitter feed, you can discover links to people, plans, and projects that enhance your own learning, your students’ learning, and your community’s needs.

Today’s teachers are busy implementing the deeper thinking requirements of the Common Core State Standards. They discover that students need to “read” more than texts, and read to analyze and defend points of view, writing clearly to explain and defend their own ideas, and those of their student collaborators. How do we meet those needs? Through connections via blogs, twitter, and wikis so students can share and analyze research while collaborating on projects that demonstrate solutions and build understandings of issues and people. And how do we learn more? How about the Teaching Channel? How about a Common Core Google Community?

So that all students learn digital citizenship of active and positive collaboration, a much needed value today, students need to be connected in such projects. For all students. As part of class, not an extra course or AP Honors. All students can participate.

Really, do you need to imagine that future? It’s here– in the projects above just by participating; we just need to participate. We need to build the equity in education so that all people have equity in opportunity.

How do you start?

Everything in this post has developed because I started on Twitter to connect with my granddaughter, now eighteen. But that one step led me to so many great educators sharing and connecting to find ideas and strategies, projects and plans.  The links at top take you to my posts that show the realities created from the possibilities dreamed from “what ifs” in twitter conversations. My students still talk about their debate with China, their cowmercials with Scott Boylen’s class, and their blog sharing. Brothers and sisters ask, “Do we get to Skype and blog like my brother?”

Welcome to the future; you’re creating that positive, connected, productive vision now. We can’t be silos anymore, behind closed doors. We’re  creating a connected, participatory, collaborative world that works towards shared purposes and shared solutions, for all of us, and for our students’ futures.

Equity. Participation. Production. Purpose.  These are the future, this is today. See Connected Learning to learn more (see infographic below).

Imagine. Then make it real.  See you on twitter @grammasheri !



Connected Learning

#CEM #teachingmoment Remember and Learn 9_11


Connected Educator Month kicked off today, September 12th with request to share your #teachingmoment at 11:00 am local time. I participated twice with my grade seven and eight classrooms. At 9:00 am, which in my mind was 11:00 am ET, my grade eight students were continuing their research into the memories and facts of 9/11, a time not in their memory. I tweeted this, and tried to share a picture. However, our Internet slowed down and wouldn’t let it happen.

What is our goal and activity? Perhaps you would like to try this also.

What have we learned from the 9/11 tragedy?

Goal: Honor the memories of those affected by the 9/11 tragedy by reading the memories, learning the facts, and concluding in a blog post what we have learned from the 9/11 tragedy supported with the facts read.


Part 1:  What do people remember about the 9/11 tragedy?

1. Read at least 10 posts from the blog in the link below: Interviews of 9/11 Memories.

2. Comment respectfully on three (3) blog posts.

To comment: Use name, comment positively on something important that impressed you. Thank them for their memory. EDIT! Spelling. Sentences. Capitals. Lots of people will read these blog posts.

3. Explain the main points you learned from the three posts you commented on.

Part 2: What are the facts about the 9/11 tragedy?

1. Find out the facts related to the memories at the blog in the link below. You will need to search the site for information that will provide you with the 5W+H+R facts (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, Results/Effects).

2. Consider a strategy you will use to take notes and use that strategy (Docs, Presentation, Journal, Diigo).

3. Organize your notes — summary, list, bullets — to show your facts.

Part 3: What have we learned from the 9/11 tragedy?

Review what you learned from Parts 1 and 2. What can you conclude about what we all have learned from the 9/11 tragedy? Use evidence from the blog posts from Part 1, your notes from Part 2 as you write your response.

What did we learn from the 9/11 tragedy?

Your response should be at least two paragraphs long with evidence from the posts and notes.

Post your response in Kidblogs. Add links to the 9/11 memory blogs and the Library of Congress page in your post as your sources [cite your sources].

Be sure to EDIT your post.

For the first part, our students discussed  the memories in the interview posts. These are some of the notes from that discussion:


People feared that terrorist attack — that it was on purpose.

Most people thought the first one was an accident.

Phones were ringing everywhere.

People were staring at colored people; worried about 9/11 like they were a terrorist.


“Humanity took a step backwards” because we’re afraid now that it will happen again.

Now we have security scans.

Privacy- we don’t have as much privacy.

Standards– Grade 8


RI2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI 6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.

RI 4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

W1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

  • Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

  • Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

  • Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

  • Establish and maintain a formal style.

  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

W2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

  • Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what
is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

  • Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

  • Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

  • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

  • Establish and maintain a formal style.

  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.

L2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

a. Use punctuation (comma, ellipsis, dash) to indicate a pause or break.

b. Use an ellipsis to indicate an omission.

c. Spell correctly.

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#CEM13 #teachingmoment A Poem About Anything


Connected Educator Month kicked off today, September 12th with request to share your #teachingmoment at 11:00 am local time. I participated twice with my grade seven and eight classrooms. At 11:00 am, we were creating poems “about anything” using sensory imagery.

Would you like to try?


Reading Literature Grades 6-8 #4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

Writing Standards Grades 6-8 #3d

Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

Speaking and Listening Grades 6-8 #6

Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.


Create and present a poem “about anything” to demonstrate concise, descriptive word choice and fluid grammar.


Share a poem about a unique topic (example “You Can’t Write a Poem about McDonalds” by Ronald Wallace). Discuss its sensory writing and message of poem.


Brainstorm ideas about a mundane topic. (Pens)


Draft a poem.


Revise the word choice for sensory imagery and message.


Edit for fluid flow through grammar.

Present both written and oral renditions.

oPen_Minds (recording)



Student topic choices — write five ideas about “anything” — book, statue, basketball, bunny. Circle one.

Students brainstorm for ideas, sensory details, message.

Confer during drafting to recognize student strengths and suggest improvements.

Peer review and confer.


Share and practice.

Revise. Be sure to include a “message.”

Finalize and present — Publish oral and textual poems.



Quicktime Player / Audioboo / GarageBand / SoundCloud: record poem    Blog: Display textual / audio poem