Monday, June 23, 2014

Ann Marie's Learning Journey New Blog--Closing This One Down

Dear Friends,
     I have created a new blog, documenting my learning journey as Alabama's Teacher of the Year for 2014-15. My new blog is Ann Marie's Learning Journey, and I'll be posting my thinking, learning, teaching, reflecting, and fun as I learn daily in my classroom, with kids and teachers of our state and with those from around the country and world this year.

Please join me in the conversation.  I hope this blog can be a place that represents the honest and hopeful voices for the future of education, and also as Ellen, one of my wise fourth graders said, a place "where conversations spark, voices rise, and mindsets grow."
part of a letter Ellen wrote at the end of fourth grade this year

With thankfulness and hope,
Ann Marie

Sunday, April 20, 2014

If Not For Franki: It's Her Birthday, And She's the One Who's Given the Gifts

I feel incredibly blessed to have Franki Sibberson as a friend and colleague. She has touched the lives of adults and children all over the country and world, and today we have the grand opportunity (thanks to Mary Lee Hahn's brilliant idea) to celebrate her!
Mary Lee's post was my mentor text because I can hear Franki's voice loud and clear as I think of the many ways to celebrate (or curse) her today. ;)

So here are just a few "if not for Franki" moments in my life....of how she's helped me be a better friend, a stronger teacher, a reflective educator, a first time author, a connected social media girl, a versatile shopper, an eater of delicious treats, a lover of fine Starbucks (tea for her and lattes for me), and the subject of some hideous, yet hysterically funny photos.

You introduced me to the state of Ohio.  Is it possible that some of my dearest friends live within a ten mile radius of you? Why, yes, yes, it is.  It's your ability to help friends make friends with each other. Thanks for all the new, long-distance, lifelong friends!
"Do you know__________?  You should.  You will love him/her! Let me introduce you."

You nudged me to write and publish (okay harassed, but in a loving sort of way).
"You should write a book! I'll call Philippa. You should write for Choice Literacy! I'll call Brenda.  You should start a blog.  If Mary Lee and I can do it, so can you! You should write for Bill and me! We are so ready for this book to be done. Are you almost done with that digital literacy piece? Have you booked your ticket for the writing retreat?!"

You got me thinking and wishing and then attending and presenting at local and national conferences.
"Dublin Literacy Conference is in February. You should present.  Want to write a proposal for NCTE?  Brenda, Karen, Bill, Tony, Katie, Kathy, Cathy, Debbie....anyone I can sucker into saying yes will help!"

You encouraged me to get connected and build my network of connected educators. "Are you on Twitter?  You should be. It's awesome."  What about Google+?  Want to have a Google hangout?  It has costumes! Bill Bass will teach us. " Why don't you join the RunTeacherRun Facebook page?  Or the Digital Literacy one? Want to Skype or Hangout on Friday with our classes about Genius Hour? Did you see those awesome pictures that Brenda posted on Facebook from NCTE? 

You made me think that I might like running and Pure Barre. Enough for me to buy some hundred-fifty dollar sneakers and those stupid black pure barre socks with grips on the bottom.
"Want to run with Katherine Sokolowski and me at AllWrite?  We're dressing as Baby Mouse!" "I'm into Hot Yoga now.  What about you?  Have you tried Pure Barre yet? I think I'm going to start blogging about it all and then tweet about it and then maybe we can write an exercise article for Brenda?!"

If not for you Franki, my life wouldn't be as rich and as wonderful as it is today. What a gift you are!
Hmm....It's your birthday, and you're the one who's given all the gifts.

Have a great day!
We love you,
Ann Marie

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Empowered Fourth Graders

For me, being a full time classroom teacher means being a part time writer and inconsistent blogger. My days are spent soaking up the joy, the engagement, and the precious "ah ha" learning and teaching moments with my students.  Being in fourth grade this year has opened my eyes to the true (and amazing) capabilities of middle grade children and the power of student empowerment.

Empowering these children so that they can share writing, projects, problem solving, new thinking and learning to a worldwide audience has been my number one priority this year.

I'm a full time learner/teacher and and inconsistent writer/blogger . However, my students are full time writers, readers, mathematicians, communicators, collaborators, creators, innovators, and activists. Below is a link to our class website--one that's changing daily, growing slowly, and run completely by a group of amazing nine and ten year olds.  On the pages of the site you will see evidence of their learning, their mistakes, their passions, and their voices. It's a window into the classroom and a place to celebrate the learning journeys of these children. Enjoy and please follow the kids here and on Twitter @TheCorgillKids.

The Corgill Kids' Website

You can follow my new (and old) thinking here as well:
The Collaborative Classroom