Finding The Extraordinary In The Not-So-Ordinary November Moments

November 2016 is certainly going to be etched in my memory for a long time to come…our presidential election rocked the country and has left me feeling unsettled, unstable and unsure about how my life – and the lives of most Americans-will be altered.

Before the election, I shared my thoughts about Donald Trump in my post “It’s Time To Let Donald Trump Be The Poster Boy For Rape Culture”. I’m still waiting to hear more about the pending assault cases against him.

After the election, I wrote “For All The Little Girls Who Are Watching This Election” to share my thoughts/fears/sadness about not seeing our first female president elected. With two young adult children, I definitely worry about how our new administration could impact their futures.

I find myself quieting this month; shutting down the news, limiting my screen time and focusing more than ever on my locus of control. I spent the election week confined to bed, watching and listening and reading in disbelief to the stunning results. I’ve baked a lot of bread, cleaned out clutter and reveled in special family time over Thanksgiving. I’ve kept my thoughts scribbled in my journal, waiting to come to a place where I can make sense of how I will move forward to stand up for my children, my students, and what I believe to be a dangerous shift in administration. I’m concentrating on places I can make change, and trying to engage my students and push them to think critically. I wrote a post sharing 4 Reasons Why I Love Teaching With Chromebooks that you might enjoy.

I thought I’d show you what life has been like around here, and how I’ve slowed down to find my center and soften into what I know is safe and real.  I’ve been active on Instagram, sharing my ordinary, extraordinary moments – I’d love to connect with you there, too! Find me @mamawolfeto2.

reflect quote
I find myself doing this a lot lately.

 

California garden
I love living in California – I love fall planting, preparing for beautiful spring and summer blooms. It gives me hope.

 

anniversary
We met when I was 19 and he was 18. We married 9 years later…and just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary!

 

rainboots
I spent my first day of vacation watching my alma mater, Cal,  lose to Stanford…in the rain. My feet were the only dry spot on my body.

 

Carmel photographer
One of my favorite days of Thanksgiving vacation was spent in one of my favorite places, Carmel. I had to drag my boy home.

 

Point Lobos
If you’ve ever been to Point Lobos with your daughter who you haven’t seen for three months and ten days, you’ll know why my smile is so huge.

 

I love looking back on these last thirty days; I take such comfort in the small joys of life. What were the extraordinary, ordinary moments of your November? I’d love to hear what’s filling your days and feeding your spirit! Let me know in the comments below, and I wish you joy and peace today and every day.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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4 Reasons Why I Love Teaching With Chromebooks

I cannot deny it any longer – I’m in love with Chromebooks.

Chromebooks have transformed my teaching. All those times in the last 25 years when I used to say, “Well, that would be easy if I had a class set of computers” has turned into my reality.

Chromebooks have become a wonderful tool for teachers in the 21st century.

A recent article in Education World tells us that “For the first time, Chromebook sales surpassed 51% in the K-12 market nationwide in the third quarter, according to a recent report by market researcher Futuresource Consulting,” according to USA Today. Now, why doesn’t that surprise me?

Because when schools embrace Chromebooks, and teachers step out of their comfort zone to use them in their classrooms on a regular basis, students are happy. And happy students means more learning. And more learning means higher test scores…

Now, I’m certainly not a digital native. In college, I typed my thesis and remember the woes of correcting ribbon. According to Education World, “Getting teachers and students to adopt (sic) to new devices in the classroom isn’t always easy. This is where the Chromebook shines. Simplicity always makes for easier transitions into blended learning and these devices are tailored towards doing so.”

Chromebooks in the classroom

I have to agree. In my classroom, I’ve stepped up and bear-hugged those 34 Chromebook machines that reside in the front of my room. I’ve seen more experienced teachers light up after their first successful foray into Google-land. It’s taken some effort, to be sure, but here are the top four reasons why I’m in love with Chromebooks in the classroom:

1. Student access to information.

Every Monday my AVID students use a Chromebook to log into their School Loop account. They check their letter grades, view their grade trend and record the number of ‘0’ marks they have. Just like adults monitor their checkbook, having easy access to their performance information allows my students to analyze their success and plan the week. When my English students ask about missing work, or what they need to make up from an absence, they can take control by using a Chromebook. My students routinely use Chromebooks to turn in digital assignments to their School Loop account, too.

2. Improved communication.

With Chromebooks being Google based, students have the easy capability to collaborate – with each other and with their teachers. We regularly utilize Google Drive for assignments, including presentations with Google Slides, collecting data and assessing students with Google Forms, editing with Google Translate, and analyzing data with Google Sheets. When absent, I can share a document with a student and chat through the comments feature.

3. Easy ability to create projects and study tools.

Before, I was lucky to get my students into a computer lab with desktops chained to study carrels. Now with Chromebooks, my students routinely use technology as their first ‘go-to’ point for projects and study tools. They love creating study flashcards and playing review games using Quizlet. When we wrote narratives, after drafting using Google Docs, students used their Chromebooks to create professional looking books on Storybird.com. To introduce the novel The Pearl, my students used Chromebooks to create Prezis about different research topics. Chromebooks make activities like web quests easy and fun, not to mention the ease of delivering lessons through sites like TedEd and the Khan Academy.

4. Enhanced inquiry options.

Years ago I decided not to be a walking answering device. I was tired of spelling words and being asked to provide answers to factual questions. With Chromebooks, my students have learned not to even ask (“She won’t tell you, you know” they are fond of saying). Instead, they’re learning how to figure out the answers to their questions, how to be independent thinkers and learners, how to analyze information and evaluate sources. And best of all? They’re satisfying their curiosity and developing skills to take with them into all aspects of their lives.

And best of all? With increased use of Chromebooks, my students not only are feeling like school is fun and time flies in the classroom, but they are also satisfying their curiosity and developing skills to take with them into all aspects of their lives.

That’s Chromebooks for the win!

I’d love to hear your favorite ways for using Chromebooks in the classroom – drop me a comment and let me know!

I wrote this article first for  The Educator’s Room. 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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