Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie

The Pedagogy of a Rural Educator


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Time with Teachers: The Annual SDSTA/SDCTM Conference

Every year I look forward to the first weekend of February. Being a teacher from South Dakota, you might wonder why I would look forward to any weekend between December and March. The first weekend of February is the Joint Conference of the South Dakota Science Teacher’s Association and the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics. What does that mean? I get to spend time with teachers! It is rare for a teacher in a rural district to have another teacher in their building that teaches the same content area. You can read about this in my post: What to do When YOU are the Department. And when we get together, we can’t stop talking!

This year I presented for the second time. I did a presentation about the basics of Twitter, and how it can be used for professional development of teachers. It was very similar to the presentation I did last year, which you can read about here. I was excited to attend sessions hosted by the South Dakota Highway Patrol on crash reconstruction and the science of drug dogs. I also attended sessions by Sanford Promise and one where veteran teachers were able to interact with pre-service teachers. Although I’ve been teaching for five years, I still find this session to be one that I think I learn more in than I teach!

Our keynote speaker this year was Bill Zubke, a retired teacher and motivational speaker. He encouraged us to live with love, learning, laughter, and to leave a legacy. It was incredibly entertaining and encouraging. What a great way to get geared up to go back to our classrooms on Monday!

I truly look forward to the conversations I have with the science and math teachers each year at our conference. The weekend helps keep me going through the challenging days and long nights necessary to do my job. It also motivates me to do more and work harder in order to live up to the great legacy that South Dakota teachers have built. I look forward to many more years of spending time with teachers!


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30 Day Blogging Challenge

Yesterday, I was enjoying my long weekend by pursing twitter. and actually reading some posts! I love using twitter to connect with other teachers, and often find some wonderful resources! Unfortunately, I don’t usually have much time to read a lot of the articles, blog posts, and other great things that have been tweeted. While actually reading this weekend, I came across a post by Amanda Meyer (@AlynnMeyer) about the 30-Day Blogging Challenge from @TeachThought. As a part of their movement towards teachers becoming more reflective, they have come up with 30 days of blogging topics for any teacher to use as a way to practice reflective teaching. To read more, visit http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/reflective-teaching-30-day-blogging-challenge-teachers/. To see Amanda’s Day 1 post, visit http://disciplinedrebellion.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-anti-smart-goals-for-year.html.

Here is a list of the topics I will be covering for the next 30 Days! Please come back often to see my progress!!

Reflective Teaching Questions: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers

Day 1

Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you’d like to be!

Day 2

Write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year, and why. You might also write about what you’re hoping to see out of this edtech integration.

Day 3

Discuss one “observation” area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.

Day 4

Respond: What do you love the most about teaching?

Day 5

Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see–and what you don’t see that you’d like to.

Day 6

Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?

Day 7

Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?

Day 8

What’s in your desk drawer, and what can you infer from those contents?

Day 9

Write about one of your biggest accomplishments in your teaching that no one knows about (or may not care).

Day 10

Share five random facts about yourself.

Share four things from your bucket list.

Share three things that you hope for this year, as a “person” or an educator.

Share two things that have made you laugh or cry as an educator.

Share one thing you wish more people knew about you.

Day 11

What is your favorite part of the school day and why?

Day 12

How do you envision your teaching changing over the next five years?

Day 13

Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

Day 14

What is feedback for learning, and how well do you give it to students?

Day 15

Name three strengths you have as an educator.

Day 16

If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?

Day 17

What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?

Day 18

Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”

Day 19

Name three powerful students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.

Day 20

How do you curate student work–or help them do it themselves?

Day 21

Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.

Day 22

What does your PLN look like, and what does it to for your teaching?

Day 23

Write about one way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in the learning in your classroom. If you don’t yet do so, discuss one way you could get started.

Day 24

Which learning trend captures your attention the most, and why? (Mobile learning, project-based learning, game-based learning, etc.)

Day 25

The ideal collaboration between students–what would it look like?

Day 26

What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?

Day 27

What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?

Day 28

Respond: Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?

Day 29

How have you changed as an educator since you first started?

Day 30

What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren’t afraid?

As I go though the month, I will return to this page and link my posts so they are easy to find! Enjoy!