Tag Archives: Teaching

Teachers and Students~they’re constantly interchanging.

After a gray and soggy day of outside activities on our annual 5th grade camping trip, the sky cleared up for the night hike. The sounds of 80 shuffling feet in the dirt and the soft nighttime forest noises were muffled by the shadows of the trees. The sky was starting to fill with stars when I felt a small hand quietly slip into mine…I looked down to see big brown eyes through the darkness…

Mrs. Román, did you see that pretty red sky?

Yes Sarah, I did.  It was beautiful.

I think the sun must come up even when it rains, it just is hiding behind the clouds.

I think you’re right Sarah.

Sometimes all the wisdom in the world is wrapped up in a ten year old kid.

Make your Mark!

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International Dot Day is almost here! A day set aside to honor creativity in all of it’s many forms. You can get your class involved though this link.

http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/

And another year begins.

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The 20 Most Beautiful Public Schools in the World

The 20 Most Beautiful Public Schools in the World

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Concept Mapping as a Tool for Group Problem Solving

Turning information into knowledge.

Starting a New School Year: Nine Tips for Collaboration | Edutopia

Starting a New School Year: Nine Tips for Collaboration | Edutopia.

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About Connected Educator Month

About Connected Educator Month.

Do Not Open Until 2018!

I came across a secret note in my classroom desk yesterday from a student. She must have hidden it there at some point.  It was the typical style note you see in 5th grade, folded, stapled shut and written in red pen.  On the front it said:

Do Not Open Until May 2018!

Well, I did what any self-respecting adult would do; I opened it immediately. It had one simple line: Dear Mrs. Roman. Thank you. You have truly changed my life.  This got me thinking. Don’t we all change the lives of everyone we encounter? I can look back at seemingly insignificant interactions with people who totally changed the course of my life, sometimes in just a few words. “You’ll never go back to college. Once someone quits, they don’t go back,” from someone I only saw once when I was 19 years old in a group of us eating pizza at Joe’s Italian Foods in South Pasadena. I had quit school at St. Thomas University in St. Paul and moved to Los Angeles, every parent’s nightmare. Another time I recall was in a train station leaving on a trip with my then three-year-old daughter.  I was gripping her tiny hand and we were scurrying along in my usual hurried way when an older, gray-haired woman came up to me and kindly said, “That is an awfully quick pace for those little legs,” as she looked down and smiled at my daughter. As I sat on the 8-hour train ride, my anger at her rudeness in a matter that was none of her business melted away as I sat looking out the window at the blur of passing phone poles.

I also recall some very specific interactions and relationships that I realized at the moment would most certainly change my life.

Scanning through interactions with people in my life that I can recall, some positive, some negative, most neutral, and surely millions gone from memory forever, I get the feeling that each one of those exchanges had the potential to impact my life or someone else’s in some way. Is it really important that we recognize each interaction that affects us or each time we have affected people we encounter? There are thousands of times this kind of thing happens in our weaving in and out of each other’s lives. Was it crucial that the guy in Joe’s know that he angered me enough to propel me back into college? And was it important that the woman in the train station realize that her comment pushed me to shift my way of being in the world in such a way that the quality of not only my life, but also the lives of my children, was significantly improved? It would be nice to know those things, but in most cases we wont. That thought sure makes me see the every day in a different light.

Passion and Profession

Cozy sitting in my favorite chair in my pajamas with a cup of coffee, my laptop, and my favorite fluffy down comforter, I settle in, along with teachers from around the world, to attend the launch of The Global Classroom 2011, a network of over 90 teachers worldwide committed to global collaborative education. http://globalclassroom2011-12.wikispaces.com. I stopped to question, “How did I get here?”

It started about 4 or 5 years ago after having a few conversations with our then new school principal, Andy Barrett (Twitter @andybarrett2000). We discovered a common interest: the nature of cultural understanding. We both came about it from different angles, but in its essence, it was the same. It took us many conversations to even understand our questions about it, and many more to try to figure out how to attempt a direction to pursue it from an elementary school perspective. We did not always agree or even understand each other, but our passion remained parallel.  Andy decided to make a school improvement goal of it, and our formal quest had begun. A team of great teachers in our school joined his effort as the Global Perspectives team. This turned out to be a much bigger concept than our group had anticipated. As we were trying to hone in on what exactly we were trying to achieve and how we were going to do it, I continued on my own quest.

I was suddenly propelled forward with an email to our group. It said something like, “Hey gang, this looks cool. Let me know if you’re interested.” It was a link to the Flat Classroom Project developed by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay (Twitter @coolcatteacher and @julielindsay).  These women are true pioneers in the field. I joined A Week in the Life project,http://aweekinthelife.flatclassroomproject.org  and off I went on the rich and diverse path of global collaborative education.  This project, and the group of world-class teachers I worked with, sent me on a higher and more rigorous path.

Another link Andy sent the group was to www.iEARN.org (International Education and Resource Network).  I subsequently received a scholarship to attend their annual conference in Taiwan this past July. (See my prior tumblr posts http://tiny.cc/74a50http://tiny.cc/74a50http://tiny.cc/8bqfk,http://tiny.cc/ce71t ) This is another incredible organization. I was able to meet face to face with teachers from around the globe in an amazing effort to connect and form bonds of professional commitment to our students.

I hear teachers say, “How can we fit that in? We have way too much to do already!” This is not an additional thing to fit in. It is a way to teach. Just like any teaching strategy. Using the state standards and the school curriculum, teachers choose projects that align with their content. Excellent teachers are continually looking for richer ways to teach content.

Let me see if I can outline a few things I have taken from this past year:

·      I have had the opportunity to work with some of the absolute best teachers in the world.

·      I have had to step up to keep up with these teachers, and it brings out the excellence in all of us.

·      Challenging ourselves as a group is like climbing a mountain together. We all feel empowered, invincible, humbled, and honored, and it makes us all stronger. We are tethered together and are committed to success for all.

·      The world is changing and anyone that is responsible for children can help them by giving them tools to work in a global society.

·      There is no going back. Technology is here, rapidly changing, and crucial in our lives. We can use it to our advantage, and we can teach our kids how to use it responsibly.

·      Collaboration, as opposed to competition, is the skill of the future. Let’s teach our kids this skill as we live as examples with the other professionals we work with.

·      In any field, pushing ourselves to learn and grow wherever our passions lie brings out the beauty and power in each one of us, and that is so radiant it transforms the people around us.

I will forever be grateful to my friend and colleague Andy Barrett for our synergistic conversations.  Anyone that knows him understood that he would not stay in that position forever. He is now the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in CUSD 304. I miss our conversations, but I am hopeful that we will find something to work on together in the future. In the meanwhile, my quest continues both with our Global Perspectives team and with my fellow travelers on the wireless network. Learning and growing with the some of the most powerful men and women pioneers in education is humbling and exhilarating and a true honor I am grateful for.