Kelsi's Insight on Education

Being a *new* Mac user/purchaser, (I purchased my first in September 2009), I have used the Safari Browser bookmark feature, effortlessly and extensively. In fact, I have 276 bookmarks on my browser, right now. (Weight Loss, Wedding, Houses, Bills, School Resources, News, Social, Banking, etc.) I carry my Mac just about everywhere I go, it’s an extension of myself. I also have a one-sided, ever-growing love affair, with Gmail (well, all things Google, really) and the search feature and multi-folder tagging, makes it pretty easy to keep track of websites that I like and want to go back to. Oh sure, I’ve heard of Delicious before. I even get excited, when I receive a new e-mail alert, from our Instructional Technology Specialist, with new links she’s added to her Del.icio.us page. Now, taking ED 620, I’m even more familiar with Del.icio.us and other social bookmarking websites, such as, StumbleUpon and Diigo. But, why would I want to create my own? Well, now I’m asking (while kicking myself…) why wouldn’t I have wanted to create my own!?

A few months ago, I brought my Mac computer to a friend’s house in Dubois. I wanted to show her a picture of my wedding dress, which was bookmarked on my Safari web browser. A couple of my friends jabbed at me and stated, “Why did you bring your computer? Can’t you be without it for just a few hours!?” My response was that my dress and other wedding blogs and favorites were bookmarked, which shut them up. I wish now, one of them would have suggested social bookmarking and made fun of me for not thinking of it myself.

Also, looking back on my first year teaching, social bookmarking would have been VERY beneficial to me. Because, even though I left my students and the school, it didn’t mean I was done with my work day. Though, I THOUGHT I was perfectly content e-mailing links to my school e-mail address, to revisit or show my students, there’s a simpler way. I remember a couple of morning when I was re-Googling a website at school and didn’t find it as quickly as I needed to or hoped.

During this past week in class, I came across an article called  7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking. There’s a scenario played out about a Dr. Smith, who “…uses folders in his Web browser to organize bookmarks of online resources…at times he will discover that his essential bookmarks are on his home machine while he is at the office. Other times he is fairly confident that the bookmarked site is on his machine, but the process of finding one site out of hundreds of bookmarks is more difficult than refinding it using Google.” In the same scenario, there is Dr. Brown who “…uses del.icio.us to manage her bookmarks. When Dr. Brown finds a Web site to bookmark, she “right clicks” the site to add it to her del.icio.us account and “tags” it with a few relevant keywords… Dr. Brown has a few other advantages as well. When she bookmarks a site, del.icio.us tells her how many others bookmarked the same site. If she clicks on that number, she can see exactly who else bookmarked the site and when they found it. A further click shows her the bookmark collections of others interested in “her” site. Finally, if she chooses a common tag, Dr. Brown can see all of the other sites with that tag. This makes group collection and aggregation of bookmarks very easy.” Hence, the name of my post… I was a Dr. Smith… Now… I’m a Dr. Brown.

Now, I wouldn’t go into Del.icio.us just to login to my Facebook page. But, for just about everything else… I’m glad I finally made a personal account on Del.icio.us!

Something to get YOU started… Del.icos.us in Plain English

As you may have read in the previous post, one of my passions is learning and teaching leadership development skills. I think it’s important that as educators, we aren’t just teaching our subject area, but that we are helping our students become well-rounded individuals, and teaching them more about themselves and how to interact (well) with others. Something I came across in my training as a Leadership Consultant was a theory called Whale Done- The Power of Positive Relationships. The concept is that of the way they train the whales at Sea World. They don’t scold or give negative feedback, the trainers Accentuate the Positive, Build Trust and when mistakes occur they redirect the energy.

I used the Whale Done theory in the classroom this past year with my 7th grade students. By praising immediately, being specific, sharing positive feelings and encouraging them to keep up the good work, I tried hard to make the English classroom somewhere, where my students felt comfortable. At the beginning of the year, each student colored a cut out whale and put their name on it. They then taped them onto the wall in the back of the classroom. Every Friday (though we slacked towards the middle-to-end of the school year) students gave praise or “Whale Done’s” to other classmates. I also would give out “Whale Done’s” to those that helped around the classroom during that week or did well/improved on writing prompts, vocabulary quizzes, etc. We also did this when students presented in front of the class. I would simply ask, “would anyone like to give a Whale Done to this group that just presented?” and they would Accentuate the Positive and point out aspects of the presentation they liked and were interested in. Many of them got SO excited when they received a Whale Done and were able to get up and move their whale from one side of the wall to the other.

Another book/theory I came across is called, How Full Is Your Bucket. The main idea behind this, is that everyone has their own ‘personal bucket’ and through the interactions they have with others throughout their day, their bucket is either filled or emptied. One can fill their own bucket, while ‘filling’ up another’s – giving positive praise, etc. OR one can empty their own bucket, while emptying others – negative interactions. I have used this concept in my volunteer work as a 4-H Leader with the 4-Her’s… and still thinking about ways to incorporate this in the classroom. I was thinking about sharing it with my homeroom students, during the Olweus Bullying sessions, where an emphasis of the program is creating a trusting/positive environment, etc.

One more clip that I wanted to share was a video that I came across on Facebook, from a friend of a friend’s page… A nice pick me up on how to stay positive. Words of Wisdom from someone wise beyond her years!

A little about me and my work… My  name is Kelsi Wilcox. I graduated from Clarion University in December 2007. I am currently employed by Keystone School District in Knox, PA, as a 7th grade English teacher and I am a member of the Autism Team for the high school. I consider myself a life-long learner and enjoy taking classes, attending Professional Development seminars and listening to In-Service speakers. All which help me expand my Personal Learning Network! I just completed my first year teaching and look forward to what my second year will bring. I enjoy incorporating technology into my lessons and creating assignments where my students get hands on experience with technology. I’m taking this class as my FIRST class in my Masters in Education – Technology Concentration degree.

Let’s see, other things about me that are significant enough to share…. I live in Knox, PA not too far from the high school that I work at. I am engaged to a guy that many refer to as “Chucko”. My wedding to this funny guy, that lives up to his humorous nickname fully, is in the works for July 30, 2011. I am a huge breast cancer activist, as my mother is a 4-year survivor of this disease. I am also an alumnae of Sigma Sigma Sigma. During the 2008-2009 Academic School Year, I held the position of a Traveling Leadership Consultant. I visited a different college/university every week and met with student leaders to train on their roles/responsibilities and discuss effective leadership strategies and practices. Each week I facilitated a 4-6 hour retreat, with hands-on ice breakers, activities and discussion pieces about Team Building, Leadership, Ritual and Values, etc. I traveled as far north as Detroit, Michigan, south point was Miami, FL, West- Columbia, Missouri, and East- New Jersey. It was an amazing experience, and I enjoyed my time on the road immensely. Though, I appreciate NWPA much more than I previously did! I love surfing educational blogs and websites and Facebook stalking. (Sidenote: WordPress says that facebook is spelled wrong, unless it’s capitalized?!) I also enjoy taking walks and going Geocaching, too.

I really enjoy learning and teaching leadership development skills and for awhile was thinking about pursuing a Masters in Higher Education. But, I enjoy teaching high school students too much. So, instead, I volunteer as an advisor for the Tri-Sigma chapter at Clarion and as a 4-H leader for the Teen Council group in Clarion County, to help get my fix with this passion.

Looking forward to getting to know my classmates in ED.620 better and expanding my PLN even more!

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