Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GUEST POST: Getting Techy with Mrs. H: Link added!



Hi Readers! I’m Katie (Steis) Haberberger, a Third Grade Teacher in an awesome district in a suburb outside of Kansas City, MO. I met Courtney while Student Teaching back in the day at Mizzou in the wonderful year-long SYOSP program. We had a lot of fun, learned a heck of a lot, and have been friends ever since. Isn’t it awesome to have someone in the same stage of life that you can rely on to always know what you’re going through? That’s Courtney for me!

I currently serve as a Building and District Technology Mentor, and I am passionate about Instructional Technology which is the focus of today’s post. I also teach through PBL or Project Based Learning. That’s another post in itself. GET READY TO GET TECHY!

I hope I didn’t just scare y’all away!
While I LOVED the program at Mizzou, it left a lot to be desired in the area of Tech. Everything I’ve picked up has been from curiosity and a lot of what I call “failing forward.” Why did I get started in this whole Instructional Technology thing? A crazy diverse class... We’re talkin’ Gifted (EXTREMELY HIGH IQ) to low low low babies (DRA 4, can’t remember the days of the week, etc). Poor kiddo’s. After teaching to the “middle” with traditional whole group instruction, I realized no one way happy, and only about five kids were actually “getting” my lesson. WHAT? Change was needed. Enter Math Rotation/Math Workshop/ Math Stations, whatever you want to call them. I started pulling small groups and creating or finding blended lessons through websites to help reinforce concepts. SUCCESS! Students were pre-tested into groups and moved frequently. This strategy actually worked and allowed me to differentiate instruction at an optimal level. I figured this could work in every content area. I have 5 computers that are now constantly used throughout the entire day. They no longer sat in the corner collecting dust. Over the next year my classroom evolved to a Blended Learning Environment. I also dabble in Flipped Learning. Youtube it. It’s awesome.
Let me get a few things straight: I still have a mixed ability level class. My kiddo’s come from ALL different backgrounds, race, SES, etc. Not every student has access to technology at home, and some have their own devices, but we make it work. Remember my term, Fail forward? You’ll hear that a lot from me. We figure it out a we go.


I want to start off with a few points:
-Just because it’s what we have always done doesn’t mean it’s best for kids
-Twitter is hands down the BEST, most relevant Professional Development you can get. If you don’t have one, GET ONE! Then follow me @KBMrsHabsClass
-Technology is EASY, don’t be afraid of it!
-We are currently teaching to Generation Z. Technology is their thing. It’s how they tick. If you want to engage them, use technology.
-An evolution needs to occur to STUDENT CENTERED LEARNING. Let go of the idea that you need to be the center of the classroom. Teachers are the FACILITATOR.
-Technology doesn't isolate students. In fact, it increases collaboration like never before.
-Don’t recreate the wheel with Technology! Just be creative with how you use what’s already out there.
-Get rid of the worksheet...it’s a waste of trees and a thing of the past. You can do the same practice through websites that are Common Core based, and not made in 1989  (AND you’ll keep those kiddo’s engaged)
-Get out of the way and let the kids LEARN!

I hope that wasn’t too harsh. I always hear from hesitant teachers in my building things like, “my kids can’t do that” or “they can’t just get on the internet and go!” Guess what? They CAN. Give them the opportunity and watch them soar. Half the time, I give my kids a new App and tell them to try it out for 15 minutes. More often than not, they are the ones teaching ME things. Like I said...this is their “thing!”
I’m attaching a link to a presentation tool I gave last week to Third-Fifth Grade Teachers in my District. These apps/websites can be used K-12. Pick ONE and try it out.
I want to help you build a “Teacher Toolkit.” If you take one thing away from today I will be OH SO HAPPY!


- Katie Harberberger


Thanks so much Katie! Katie is an amazing teacher and I wish she didn't live 4 hours away. She is great friend and even when we go years without seeing each other things never change! I'm going to get her to write another post soon!! And I'm not the only person who thinks she is so lovely, Mrs. H was recently awarded Teacher of the Year in her district!!! Congrats girl!

Also feel free to comment with any amazing resources that you think should be added to the list!
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