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5 Tools to Get Your Presence On

imagesEducators of today face many challenges.  Students live in a face-paced, information- saturated world.  How do educators keep kids engaged, informed, and connected?  Creating your own digital presence as a teacher is key to answering this question.  

If you aren’t sure where to start here are 5 tools that can increase your digital presence.

Blogging

Blogging is an excellent way to tell the story of your classroom.  There are many platforms that work for a classroom blog.  We love blogger, wordpress, or edublogs.  Blogger is connected to your Google account if you have one.  Some teachers find that with blogging they do not need a website. Great sites for educators are Edublogs, Blogger, WordPress, and Kidblog.  

Check out these class blogs for inspiration.  

http://icanipadinthirdgrade.blogspot.com

http://mrsevonsthirdgrade.blogspot.com

http://garywoodsblog.blogspot.com

http://thunderamericanhistory.blogspot.com

Periscope

Real time streaming within the Twitter app is a powerful tool.  Participating in Periscope as a watcher or a videographer is a great way to increase your digital presence.  @PreriscopeEdu is being tapped as a Twitter account for educators to follow.  You can bring the world into your classroom with Periscope and provide unique, real-time learning.  Like any app turn on your notifications for Periscope and see what is trending immediately.

Twitter

Twitter is being overtaken by educators!  Use Twitter for yourself professionally to connect with other educators and ideas.  It can take a while to fine tune your professional learning network, but once you have a solid foundation of people to follow, Twitter becomes invaluable. You can use Twitter for your class by creating your own class hashtag.  Simply choose a word and tell your kids what it is, like #mrssmithclass and use it for class discussions.  

Instagram

Now more than ever kids are into instagram.  This generation has been dubbed, the most photographed generation ever.  Kids use photos to express emotion, status, and experiences.  Use instagram as a way to showcase student work, literary themes, science experiments, field trips and more.  Remember, you can set the privacy settings so that only certain people can see your instagram feed.  This is helpful for teachers wanting to only have their students see what is posted.  

YouTube Channel

Create playlists on content that supports your teaching and require students to watch those videos prior to coming to class to increase intervention time and group work.  YouTube channels and playlists are great, because you can add to them throughout the year in order to curate content.  

A Website

Teacher websites provide important links and information to students.  We like Weebly and Google sites.  Both platforms are free and easy to use.  Here are some great teacher websites to check out.  

http://thesimssite.weebly.com

https://sites.google.com/a/bpsne.net/bobier/

http://mrtoellelifescience.weebly.com

https://sites.google.com/a/bpsne.net/team-explorers/home

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holidays

Our Weird Easter Tradition

I remember when Easter held a magical power over my children.  I would buy my girls matching dresses and clean up my little guy in his church best and off we’d go to what I like to call the annual fashion show at mass.  I love the lenten season and the celebration at mass on Easter morning.  Lent is a wonderful time to reflect on our habits and gives us an opportunity to be a better person.

Our Easters these days look much different than they used to.  We sleep in on Sunday morning and the “Easter bunny” throws some chocolate and jelly beans into three old Easter baskets before the kids roll out of bed.  We eat breakfast around 11 am and if I am lucky enough to have nice weather in April in Nebraska I go for a nice long run.

It is ok- this shift from magical Easter to reality easter.  We do make a memorable day of it, just not how most people do it.  We have a nice meal on the china in the dining room, go to mass in the evening, but we add a in a weird tradition.

It is called “The Ugly Easter Egg Contest”.  We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember and the tradition came from my husband’s side of the family.  Here is how it goes.  Everyone gets 2 hardboiled eggs.  They must make one pretty egg and one ugly egg.  The fun part is that there are hardly any rules for the ugly egg except that it must still be edible.  Each year, we seem to take it one step further.

This year one of my daughter’s applied black dog hair from our lab and placed a black jelly bean on the egg as a top hat.  She titled it “demonic furball”.   My other daughter used avacado mush, honey, & chia seeds, and exploded peep goo.  My son thought mushed bananas and catsup might win the prize, and my husband created a decapitated peep egg with catsup blood included.  Everyone also had to create a title for their creations on notecards.  I was assigned the role of the judge.  This year I graded on creativity, ugliness, and edibility.

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The winner of the ugly egg was my 16 year old whose egg looked like a rotting avacado. The winner of the pretty egg was my husband, Jim who threw in a kiss during the judging for good luck.  His egg was titled “Color of life, I love everyone”.  His win was contested due to swaying the judge, but hey it worked!

I am thinking of opening this up to our friends and hosting it the day before Easter.  But then what would my family do on Easter day?  Would you come to an Ugly Easter Egg Contest?

Oh and my tech connection?  Well Instagram of course!  We tweeted it, Facebooked it and Instagrammed it!  You can follow my Instagram page @ jennykbps.