Digital Revolution

So true

#WHsoc20 Blog

media-tree webThe educational use of technology is increasing.  We live in a digital society, where most people have access to the Internet and participate in online communities.   Online education is not just for college anymore, there are online alternatives to K-12 education in every state.          Technology tools are used in education such as computers, mobile devices, projectors, televisions, and more.  The Internet keeps students and teachers connected, and it provides access to an unlimited number of resources in seconds.  Many school districts are introducing 1:1 mobile device programs.  The school district in which I work is introducing each student having access to an IPAD at the middle and high school level, and at the elementary level each student has a netbook.  Almost every public school in the nation has access to the Internet and a computer lab.

There are barriers that prevent the integration of technology.  One big issue is…

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Cast List

After a week of auditions, where over 100 students tried out, my colleague & I finally came up with a Cast List for our first show. We managed to stretch a show that was intended for 6 actors and cast 27 instead. That’s 27 out of over 100… Yep. It’ll get posted first thing in the morning. Hopefully before the students arrive… so we can run away…

Yes, we’re chicken!!

Because tomorrow is a big day. That list could really make someone’s day/year, if a student found himself on it. For others, it could be crushing…

I hope it isn’t. Instead, I hope my students try again. Audition again. Do their best to improve their skills for next time. Show their tenacity and persevere. Refuse to take no for an answer. Walk away realizing that “casting is selection and not rejection.” Be a stronger person. Be proud of themselves regardless.

For those who receive a role, I hope my students are humble. Feel honored. Rise to the challenge of preparing a role. Honestly. Wholeheartedly. Do their “acting homework.” Step out of their comfort zone. Try new things. Grow as artists. Stay modest. Support their fellow artists. Have a positive experience.

And I hope I can help all of my students along the way, whether on or off the Cast List.

Ya know. No pressure?!?! 😜

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My Favorite Day of the Year – Parent’s Day!

What a neat idea!!! I’m going to share this with my school’s administration 👍

#WHsoc20 Blog

0919140715 Parent’s Day Breakfast!

WHAT A DAY! Today we celebrated and shared with a portion of our school community that is just as important as the teaching staff – the parents (who am I kidding? MORE important). My high school has about 1,100 students and today we almost added an additional 400 or so additional people in and around our building.  The addition of just those few bodies really filled the space fast. I commented to a parent about how truly crowded it felt.

We started the day with a generous breakfast, quick comments by our NHS President, Superintendent, and Principal. A word of thanks for the continual support of the student body, a positive plug for being one of 9 districts in the state of Wisconsin that truly excelled on the state report card, a few rules of the day, and then a “good luck” wish for the parents as they hit…

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Back to School Night

#WHsoc20 Blog

It is a time-honored tradition at the school house: Back-to-School Night! And I just had mine tonight, at my new/old school… (This year I began teaching at the high school I graduated from, so you can imagine my nostalgia!!)

I did all I could to prepare for it. I had my Power Point slide show going, displaying my class supply list, the night’s schedule, course outline, class textbooks… I had a parent sign-in sheet prominently displayed in the classroom with my neon green feather pen beside it… And I wrote my methods of communicating with my students on the board– 21st century style: Remind 101, Edmodo, and my personal social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, & now my own blog 🙂

Because I want my parents to know I’m a 21st century teacher for their 21st century student. Technology is all around us, and I’m using it to engage…

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The Value of Failing!

Mistakes can make the best art!! Do it, students. Fail sometimes. It’ll be good for you 😉

#WHsoc20 Blog

I know this title of my post has you thinking, what in the wold is this teacher saying. Why is she saying that there is value in failing. My belief is that we all need to fail in order to succeed. We all need to take risks and try new things. If we are not successful then we try again. It is ok to fail. Why because in my classroom hangs this sign:

fail

I truly believe that when we or our students fail it is not a bad thing. it is simply our First Attempt In Learning. We all must take that chance in order to be successful. How do we learn if we do not take risks? How do we succeed if we do not try? Nobody is successful 100 percent of the time! It is ok to Fail.

Failing teaches us procedures. Failing teaches us to think on…

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If a class gets a little unruly..,

Then look to your lesson plan. Chances are, something isn’t right.

That’s right. It’s probably the TEACHER’S FAULT as to why a class is “off the chains.”

A lot of times (and I will admit, myself included before), teachers will blame the students’ misbehavior/disruptiveness on them. “What awful students!” and “They get worse every year” are common statements I’ve heard uttered. In my first week at a new school with a new student body, I had the pleasure of experiencing one of my freshman classes get a little out of hand… I could feel my control slipping, and I could tell their interest was waning. And they were taking it out on each other.

After they left I immediately thought: I can’t rely on my old lesson plans over the last 8 years anymore. I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board, because I could tell/feel my chosen activities weren’t received well. I could see the reluctance and even slight frustration my students were having in participating. They weren’t willing to jump into being silly and working in groups. They weren’t ready to be on-the-spot. I needed to take a step back & SET THEM UP MORE FOR SUCCESS. Work on those team-working skills in a disguised/unintimidating way.

So I called some fellow teachers in the field. Veteran drama teachers who I admire. And I asked for their advice. I even tweeted drama teachers in other countries I’ve connected to for help!! What are drama teachers elsewhere doing that’s successful?

It’s only WEEK TWO now. I’m determined to win my students over. I’m determined to give them a positive, growing experience this year– without fear of being humiliated. I’m determined to have a great year with them!

I came to school today with new ideas and new approaches I’ve never tried before. And my not-so-easy class was manageable today. Go figure 🙂

So it’s on me. Their teacher. I’m going to roll up my sleeves to continue choosing the right stuff for my new students that’s going to engage them & grow them. I’m going to drag out all resources and see what else I can do…

And I ain’t afraid to ask for help! Near and far!!

And you shouldn’t either, veteran or new teacher.

So teachers, when things get a little crazy– look to your lesson plan. Was there something you could have done better? Cuz chances are– there is…

P.S. Thank you Sarah, Amy & Keri for your “pearls of wisdom.” 😉

What teaching is all about

It’s all about those relationships… Teaching, that is. Theatre, that is. LIFE, that is… 👏👏

#WHsoc20 Blog

As I sit here on this gloomy Sunday Morning in Delaware, I am thinking about all the things and events that have occurred over my 20 years of teaching. I think of all of the events I have attended, all of the professional development and conferences that I have attended and all of the curriculums and new “ways” of teaching I have been taught and expected to use. But what I think of the most are the many students and families that I have been in contact with.

I love my job! I love everything about my job! I love the experiences both good and bad that I have had. I love all of the people I have come into contact with. But most of all I love my students. I love every single one that I have ever taught. When someone says to me what do you think teaching…

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“Make glorious, amazing mistakes.”

Yes!!! This is what I hope I can pass on to my students: Don’t be afraid. Create. Try new things. Accidents/mistakes can make the best art.

Now I just need to get them to buy into that!! #DramaTeacherProblems

The Daily Post

In Neil Gaiman’s now famous 2012 commencement speech at the University of the Arts, he offers some excellent advice to free us from perfectionism, imploring us to simply create — to make art — no matter what. What’s wonderful about this advice is that it applies to any creative endeavour, regardless of whether your art form is writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, or découpage:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good…

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About Me

I’m a drama teacher at Woodside High School, home of the Arts and Communications magnet of Newport News Public Schools in Virginia. In the past two years, I’ve decided to dedicate myself to not only being a great theatre arts instructor and overall teacher, but to also be a digitally connected 21st teacher.

Many other secondary drama teachers I’ve associated with think this is unnecessary or refuse to even try “technology” out. I’m determined to change their minds and incorporate the benefits of technology in my classroom and share my successes. And yes– even my challenges, disappointments and daresay failures with it!

Finally, since I’ve decided to be a “connected teacher,” I’ve noticed my connection and relationship with students improving and even flourishing much more than before. I hope this blog can further this dialogue with my pupils, former, current, and future ones!

Other random tidbits: I believe my strengths as a theatre artist are in this order: Stage manager, Director, and Actor. I hold a BA in Drama from UNC at Greensboro and an MA in Teaching from Christopher Newport University. I’m a wife with a cute, sweet, black rescue dog I call my child. For now 🙂 I’m a news junkie and even DVR it so I can get caught up when I come home late from rehearsals. I consider myself an amateur foodie. And I love to travel (who doesn’t?)!!