Hi everyone and welcome to week 3. I am back from a lovely Chinese New Year in the UAE and I hope those of you celebrating also had some time for rest and relaxation.

I am really enjoying the thoughtful and reflective posts that have been shared in weeks 1 and 2. Cohort 11 has already proven to be a dynamic group of educators looking to build on their already impressive practice. Last week we focused on becoming a researcher and how to sift through the vast amounts of information available to us to support and enhance student learning.

Ryan focused on the importance of preparing students for an increasingly digital world by keeping an open dialogue and focus on building healthy digital habits.

Alex made an excellent connection to curiosity and the development of juicy questions in our quest for knowledge: “So often, teachers supply the essential questions to their students by prewriting their units. What if students could pose their own meaningful questions that were burning inside them?”

Megan connected her post to the learning going on in her PYP classroom: “When we begin our unit with a provocation(s) that was designed to spark student interests, I then put on my researcher hat and observed how they interact with the new materials in the environment and record what interests are emerging.” Inquiry-based learning is a wonderful model that promotes thoughtful questioning and student-directed learning.

 

Strength in Connections

This week we will be focusing on how connections can strengthen our understandings and open up new learning opportunities. More specifically, how our connections with others can inspire and help develop professional learning goals. I know that my professional learning network (specifically through Twitter) has become a huge resource in my work with technology integration and coaching. It’s also helped provide me with ideas for professional goals both in and out of school.

 

For example, seeing tweets from educators I admire from various conferences and how they took a leap to present themselves inspired me to do the same. My connections allowed me to envision things for myself that I may have previously disregarded.

What are your professional goals? How has your network inspired you? I know I am already seeing some of you participate in meaningful ways with your PLN. I am certain it will continue to enrich your experience throughout COETAIL and beyond.

 

Blogging Tips

Everyone has their blogs up and running and we encourage you to develop and personalize your blog over time. You can try new out different themes and look at adding widgets.

Embedding videos into a blog post is a great way to share content. A video or document that is embedded (instead of just linked) makes it easier for the reader to view the content. See below for a simple video about embedding a YouTube video into WordPress posts.

Hyperlinking in a comment is a great way to keep a conversation going and share resources. The trick is you need to use an HTML code to do this in comments. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be a programmer to do this! You will need this line of code <a href=”URL HERE”>Highlighted anchor text here</a> and you can add your link in the “URL HERE” space. Just insert in with your comment text and your link should work. 

Add a question or two at the end of your blog post to encourage interaction from visitors to your blog. See an example of this on Alex’s post “Less is More.”

Headings can add interest and organization to your post. They make it more readable and serve as visual cues that help communicate the essence of your ideas. Before beginning a new section of your post, think of a heading that will apply. You can see great examples of this in a few blog posts from weeks 1 & 2 including this post from Reyna entitled “Getting Real.”

Reminders

Comments: Please ensure you are approving comments on your blog. If you don’t do this you will keep your peers from receiving instructor feedback. Also, you are encouraged to comment on as many of your peer’s posts as you like, but you are only asked to add one comment per week to the gradesheet for feedback. 

Gradesheet: Some of you have not yet filled in your blog posts URL’s for feedback on the Gradesheet. You share it with me previously so it should be in your Google Drive. Each week please fill in your blog post title, URL, and date. Please also fill in a URL for one of your peer comments.