Thursday, March 6, 2014

Staying Connected

I've spent the past few weeks completely removed from my role as "teacher." My world has been turned upside down in the best possible way thanks to my adorable new daughter. I'm so thankful for the time off to get to know her, cuddle her, and adjust to parenthood, but to be honest, this has been an incredibly strange feeling and huge shift in thinking. I know the time I have is fleeting, so I've been very intentional about staying away from work as much as I can. Even still, the relentless learner (and probably workaholic) in me has been craving some sort of educational pursuit, while socially, I've been missing the every day interactions from my colleagues. 

Here are some ways I'm trying to stay connected and engaged:

Kid Blog - While not required, many of my students have been posting to their blogs regularly. I love being able to read what's going on in their lives and continue to foster relationships with my students virtually. 

Twitter - Twitter is such an incredibly valuable resource, but it's often  compared to drinking water from a fire hose. There's just so much. While I know I'll never see it all, I've been using my down time to find new educators to follow, catch up on some favorite hashtags, participate in a Twitter chat, and learn more about new topics. The demands of a newborn haven't allowed me to create much new content, so I've been trying to contribute to conversations by sharing as much relevant content as I can. Which brings me to...

Feedly - I subscribe to more blogs than I can keep up with, but I've been slowly making progress thanks to late-night feedings and nap times. I use Feedly to keep track of all my favorite blogs and bloggers. I can always count of great stuff from MindShift, Venspired, TeachThought, and Dangerously Irrelevant.   

Pinterest - This is what I call 'mindless internet.' It's like digital window-shopping! I love the visual organization of Pinterest, and the ability to find a lot of different ideas and activities in a one-stop-shop. eduClipper is another great place for educational resources. Pinterest wins out for me, though, simply because I can search and organize things beyond education. 

NMC Academy - Formerly the HP Catalyst, the NMC Academy offers free professional development on way-cool STEM topics, such as App Design, Citizen Science, Social Entrepreneurship, and more! Many courses are self-guided and require little to no prerequisites. It's learning for the sake of learning. It doesn't get much better than that...I'm hoping to start one soon!

Just a little bit each day helps to keep my mind engaged, inspired, and connected...while still enjoying all the newborn snuggles I can. 

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