April 17th is recognized as Ellis Island Family History Day, so tomorrow, Americans are encouraged to celebrate and recognize the contributions made to our country by those who came through Ellis Island. Many of my own ancestors, including my great-grandparents, came through Ellis Island in the early 1900s.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, many of whom came through Ellis Island, and their ancestry comes from all over the world. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, individuals across the world (from Liverpool to Calabria to Istanbul) came through the “golden doors” to America. The island served as the primary immigration station in the United States and was designed to handle up to 7,000 passengers each day.
We all look forward to the holidays, and teachers, as much as students, look forward to some time off from the hustle and bustle of a busy fall semester. But it can sometimes be difficult to get back into the swing of things after we’ve recharged our batteries.
Though I’m usually ready to get back to work after a break, the same is not always true of our students, and those first few weeks in January can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you get students motivated after a lengthy school break!
Digital citizenship refers to how we conduct ourselves on the web. Teachers, parents, and leaders in technology help students to understand what it means to use technology in an appropriate and responsible way. With the advent of social media, this issue is becoming increasingly important, especially for today’s youth.
The Rise of Social Media
Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, digital citizenship wasn’t something that I, my parents, or my teachers really thought about. It was hardly an issue during a time where most of our research papers were written from library books. In fact, instant messaging with AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) didn’t break onto the scene until the late 90s.
But with the creation of Facebook and Myspace in the early 2000s, we began to consider the issue more seriously. Now, people and businesses all over the world have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
Many of today’s veteran teachers remain a part of the generation(s) who grew up without Smartphones, or Wi-Fi. We learned in classrooms where the overhead projector was cutting edge technology. Now, we are working in a world where our students are constantly exposed to the most advanced technology. Thus, we work tirelessly to keep our classrooms relevant, in the ever changing, always evolving digital age.
As a virtual instructor, classes are a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning where lectures and lessons are programmed conveniently into a student’s course. The virtual instructor uses synchronous web sessions, email, phone text and other avenues like Skype to reach out to the student for tutoring and supplemental lessons. While this type of learning may not have been the norm when I was growing up, students of today are used to learning this way through their blended-learning environments or even through googling things on their Smartphone.
One of the challenges though facing virtual teachers, and all teachers really, is how do we make real-world connections from digital learning with students who do a lot of living in the virtual world of Facebook and Snapchat?
What is mindfulness?
When people think about “mindfulness” it is often associated with Buddhism and meditative practices; however, mindfulness can also be practiced in a secular way. Mindfulness is the ability to clear one’s mind to focus more clearly on one thing, one task, or one experience. While many of us who hear this word associate it with the unfamiliar or unusual, it is a practice that most of us do daily, in some form or another.