Saturday, May 10, 2008

Parenting 2.0

So much has changed over the last 10 years and I can't imagine what life will be like for my children when they are teenagers. I just finished reading a blog post from Shana Albert about How the Web 2.o has changed Education and her article asking if Teens are Lacking Interpersonal and Communicative Skills? There is simply no easy answer to Parenting 2.0

I can say that I spend a great deal of time learning about these technologies of today in order to help my children navigate through their Digital Worlds. There is a part of me that wishes it away but the reality tells me that I need to help prepare my children for the 21st Century and doing so takes me out of my comfort zone much of the time.

I think the number one way for me to help my children is to simply give them my time. Spending time rolling through a pile of crimson crisp leaves, crinkling our toes in the moist spring dirt, or curling up to a good book. Oh yeah, we read a lot...I try to give my kids an enjoyable reading experience daily. Let's roast marshmallows at grandmas or play hide and seek before bed.

Building strong relationships and staying involved and helping them learn how to communicate is what I am comfortable with. Who knows what technology will be available when they are teenagers, but for me I simply want to stay connected to be able to have those conversations when things get tough.

I have been following Will Richardson's blog for awhile and the one thing that really struck a chord with me is his willingness to share his thoughts and ideas about how he helps his own children. I look forward to hearing how he has supplemented his children's learning experiences and what he has done to open their eyes to other possibilities. I look forward to hearing about how he is managing his way through Social Networks with his own children and the side conversations he has with them. It has me thinking, that's for sure.

They say that children don't come with instructional manuals but maybe we can create a wiki on this topic...Parenting 2.0, what do ya think?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Reader's Workshop

The best way for me to explain how Reader's Workshop plays out in my classroom is by thinking about the Plate Spinner at the circus. Here's a guy who gets one plate spinning and then gets another and another spinning. Once he gets the dozen or so plates moving he needs to quickly adjust his focus to the first couple of groups to keep their momentum going. He constantly needs to assess his plates and make quick decisions based on the needs of what he observes.

This is how Reader's Workshop is for me, actually this is how my whole day is. I am constantly monitoring many different things at the same time where I may start with a plan but then change suddenly depending on the need of my class. It's not perfect but it works. There may be days when I start spinning a plate and it flops and breaks, but the nice thing is that are a whole stack of plates ready to use. If at first you do not succeed, try try again.

I have found it best to just jump in and try and watch the class begin to take a life of its own. There is beauty during those brief moments when all the plates are spinning perfectly at the same time and you step back for just a moment and breath easy.