Sunday, August 4, 2013

Empowering My Daughter and Saving My Sanity

About mid-July my family was at Toys R Us shopping for a birthday present. We came across some great deals on backpacks and decided to take advantage of them. Angry Birds for Adam, my soon to be 4th grade son, Doc McStuffins for Abby, my daughter just entering 1st grade, and Disney princesses for Maddy, my preschooler.

The very next day is when it started. "Is it school yet?" "Can I see my backpack?" "I wish it was school time!" School doesn't start until the last week of August! For the next few days it was cute to see their excitement for school and the chance to use their new backpacks. But the incessant questioning soon began to wear on me. My preschooler would fall down on the floor crying because she wanted to go to school and I wouldn't let her! My first grader pouted because she really really wanted to try out that backpack! School couldn't start soon enough for them! Or me!

I realized that to save my sanity I would need to find a way to help my daughters understand how many days were left before the first glorious day of school. I printed out a calendar for July and August. I showed them how the calendar worked with the days of the week and a number for each day. Together we marked the first day of school with an apple and the words "School starts". I showed them how to draw a big X across each day, indicating it wasn't a school day. We then hung the calendar on the fridge and Abby said she would mark the X each day. 

It's been a week now, and she has faithfully marked an X each morning when she wakes up. By the time I come home from my morning jog, the X is there showing we are one day closer to school and backpacks!

Since we started that calendar I have not been questioned once about the backpacks and school! Now she can look and see how many days there are.

That is my philosophy on my role as a technology integrator. Rather than have teachers always coming to me to do technology rich lessons for them, or believing that I am the only source of techno knowledge, I need to empower the them. I believe that showing teachers how to use technology, how to use it as part of their everyday instruction, and the value it adds to their instruction empowers them. I can't be the only one using Edmodo with their students, or finding great apps for the iPads, or helping students tell their next great story with Toontastic. The teachers have to be just as engaged as the students. When they are they own it and extend the learning and integration far beyond what I initially did. Kind of like the proverb about teaching a man to fish.

Now if I could just figure out a way to teach my first grader how to read a clock so that she knows not to wake up at 5 o'clock each morning, then I'll have it made!

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