Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ahh, new learning overload - looking for advice!

I'll apologize in advance for this post that I'm sure will be all over the place.  We had a 2-hour delay Monday, no school Tuesday, full day yesterday, and again a day off again today.  Tomorrow I will be out for a conference, and with the weather forecast, I'm hesitant to start figuring out my sub plans.  Needless to say, my brain is scattered.  I'm home alone on an unexpected day off, it's already 1:00, and I don't feel that I've gotten anything accomplished.  So if this post gets completed, I'll be happy!

In addition to the many items I'm planning to write about, I've decided to link up with Teaching Trio for their Technology Thursday.

My "share" for today is quite simple, and likely something that many of you already do.  Every year I have many students who leave my room for various things, such as going to speech class.  And for many years my classroom phone would ring, and it would be the speech teacher, or whoever, politely reminding me to send a student down (because I'd forgotten and they are now late!).  Thank goodness for my iPhone.  I program in weekly scheduled times, and let my phone remind me.  I haven't gotten a phone call in two years now!

You might notice that I give myself 2 minutes warning with the times I set.  I'd love to hear about other simple ways that teachers are using their phones to help make them more efficient.

So, now....I'm really looking for advice and HELP!

A while back I signed up for Twitter.  I never really got it, but never really tried.  And then I found out that I kept being mentioned in Tweets by people who obviously meant to tweet Mary J Dressel the sensual romance writer, which is NOT me.  So I started over Monday, and am using 4thworks for my new username.

I was in a hurry to sign up because I wanted to join a chat that I read about from Susan over at Passion in Portable Land.  I'm not sure why I thought I could jump into the deep end of Twitter after just joining, but I did it, and the people at #4thchat were extremely nice.  There is supposed to be another great chat on Sunday night at 10pm, but that's too late for me:(  If not for you, it's #TMchat for Thinking Maps.

I'm still not sure I understand when Twitter would be the best social media tool.  Any advice on how to use this, who/what to follow, or anything else someone wants to share, I'd be very appreciative.

Like Twitter, I also created an Instagram account a while back (mostly to keep tabs on my daughter) but rarely used it.  So I started over and created again a new account under 4thworks.  Now this I get more than Twitter.  It's like Facebook, and I've already found some great ideas.  I haven't posted anything myself yet, but I will.  Feel free to find me, so that I can follow you.  Or, let me know if you have any suggestions for great users to follow.


Again, signed up a while ago.  Did a bit more than with the others, but not much.  There wasn't a need to start over with this one, but my goal is reorganize my boards and use this more.  I know there's a lot more to this than just pinning to your own boards (which is all I've done), so there's learning to be done here too.


Finally....Power Point.  So, I know that Power Point is more common than Keynote.  Today I downloaded a free 30 day trial to play around with.  Yet another item clouding my brain today.  I've played around a bit, and it is so much better than Keynote.  I will likely continue with it after the 30 days.  

I'm very happy with all that I've done, but I think I should be doing these one at a time.  Oh well, that's me, and I need to accept that.  

To all of you in the Midwest with me, stay warm.  I saw this on FB this morning and got a giggle.


  1. Hey there! Loved this blog post as I was just sitting here (home on a 'cold' day in Chicago) reorganizing all of my Pinterest boards. First - love your idea of the little alarms in your iPhone for your kiddos! Next, Twitter - I think of Twitter as Professional Development on demand. I follow lots of researcher people (and blog friends) and follow their links to great articles and blogs. I also use it as "PR" kinda for my school - anytime I take pics of students or teachers at my school, I put them in Instagram and then copy it to twitter.
    Hope that is helpful! I still don't know how bloggers use Pinterest to bring traffic to their blogs, but I know that's a thing!
    BigTime Literacy

  2. Glad you are finally checking out PowerPoint! I can probably show you some tricks one of these days. What conference are you going to tomorrow?

    EduKate and Inspire

  3. You have many items on your list to figure out over the next few weeks. Twitter is something I have NEVER figured out. I am a PowerPoint junkie... addict... enthusiast! You can check out my blog for some tips and tricks. I also blog collaboratively at Teaching Trio! We have a series of PowerPoint posts so make sure you check those out too!! Welcome to the sweet world of PowerPoint! :)

    Funky in Fourth

  4. Great post, Mary. You are right about social media and information overload. In my opinion, the problem most people have with social media is that most follow/friend/pin indiscriminately and then feel overwhelmed with keeping up with it all. I have heard it described that using Twitter is like drinking from a firehose. One of the things I had to get over was feeling as if I needed to read/look at everything ala e-mail or for some people Facebook. My recommendation for Twitter is to just follow the best and the brightest in education. I have found that this inspires me to be a better teacher and challenges me to think in new ways. Also, follow hashtags that are areas of interest for you. Check out the link below for some ideas:

    Educational Twitter Hastags

    Once you get more comfortable, I'd recommend connecting directly thru Twitter with some of the people you follow. I responded once to a question by Dave Burgess who wrote a book I love called Teach like a Pirate. I was surprised (and admittedly a little giddy) when he not only responded to my tweet but "favorited" it!

    This is an article I came across (on Twitter) that has some good ideas for easing in to using Twitter and learning more about how it works. Check it out:

    21 Day Twitter Challenge for Beginners

    Good luck!

    Math is Fundamental

  5. Yay Mary! I'm so proud of you for giving Twitter a try! I am by no means a Twitter Expert, and just started exploring myself over Winter Break! Your friend Shane above has excellent advice that I too am going to follow! Thanks Shane! On another note, it was cold here in Florida, but not enough to cancel school. We are so wimpy down here! I was born and raised in NE Ohio, so I kinda remember those days and totally related to your cartoon! I have to admit, I love living in The Sunshine State because the "cold" only lasts for a day or so!


  6. I still haven't figured out Twitter!! I have an account, but that's about it. Instagram and Pinterest, I love! I am chalkandapples on both of them, and I'm following some pretty great people, so feel free to snoop around my profile to find some new users to follow.

    I couldn't teach without my phone alarms set! I have about 6-8 daily alarms going. On holidays, I always forget to turn them off, and my husband looks at me like I'm nuts! I see Cassie already pointed you to Teaching Trio's PowerPoint series... we have some great tutorials in there to help you get started! Thanks for linking up!
    Chalk & Apples
    Teaching Trio