Bio: My name is Summer Len Diamond, and I teach 5th grade (Reading/Language Arts) at Little Cypress Intermediate School in Orange, Texas. I discovered the power of social media in education last April when I created a Twitter account while attending a local technology conference. Through Twitter I learned about ISTE, and made it a personal goal to attend that year. Between following amazing educators using my new Twitter account and attending ISTE, I began to feel something I had been missing- excitement! Throughout my ten years of teaching, my enthusiasm for education and the purpose we stand for as educators never wavered, but my excitement for bringing new and exciting ways for my students to explore the world around them and create content rather than consume it did.
This year, my eleventh year to teach, has been an amazing journey of trying new things- some of which cause me to step out of my comfort zone. My students are working on using a blog to publish their writing for a real-world audience. We’ve connected with other classes around the world using Skype and Google Hangouts. And we’ve learned many reading skills, as well as many everyday life lessons, by participating in Global Read Aloud Project with thousands of other schools.
I think my “a-ha” moment was not too long ago when I switched up a lesson the night before by adding several fabulous links I wanted my students to visit in an online lesson as a preview of material. The morning of the lesson, I quickly discovered the way I set it up wouldn’t work due to certain things being blocked. While my typical response in the past would be sheer panic, followed by frustration, followed by a mini in-my-head meltdown, followed by a Diet Coke on my conference- I (oddly) didn’t have any of those feelings. I got my students started on one thing and found a work-around that still included the essential pieces I needed for the lesson to be successful and carried on happily. There are so many options out there and so many fabulous ideas by fellow educators, the possibilities are endless.
I think my biggest take-away piece of advice is to realistically look at how you are using technology in your classroom and grow from there. Set small, attainable goals for yourself, as well as your students. Find other tech-savvy people on your campus or in your district to collaborate with! And know that you’re never alone. Twitter is an AMAZING tool to grow support and friendships; as well as a wealth of ideas and knowledge.
My Favs: Kidblog.org; Today’s Meet; Quizlet; Google Forms; Skype/GHO, and iMovie.
Upcoming tech projects: Our next project incorporating tech will hopefully be student-created auras using Aurasma with students’ original writing.