The Cyber Stigma: Changing the Social Perception of Cyber School

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 4/11/17 9:26 AM
By: Peter Mysels, High School Social Studies Teacher

Once per month, my immediate family and I all meet at my mom’s house to partake in another of what we call “Haircut Night”. It is a Mysels tradition. My aunt is a hair dresser and we use the first Tuesday of every month to get together, get a trim around the edges, and enjoy a meal. Last month’s Haircut Night was a particularly memorable one. 

“So when are you going to work in a real school?”

 
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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Improving Communication Skills in the Virtual World

Posted by Olivia Porter on 3/28/17 2:00 PM
By Kelly Crooks, English Teacher

In today’s digital world of text-messaging, chatting, hashtagging, and online schooling,  many fear the loss of communication skills and the ability to improve those skills.

The fear that young people’s communication skills will suffer in both their social and professional lives is heaviest among educators and parents, but is this fear legitimate?

Do young people’s communication proficiencies suffer because they live in a virtual world? Does “digital” mean lack of proper speaking and writing?

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

How Young Adults Can Develop a Growth Mindset

Posted by Olivia Porter on 2/14/17 11:01 AM

 

By: Mr. Jesse Danka, Special Education Teacher

“In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening.  So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.”   ~ Carol Dweck  

As we become young adults, many of us are faced with variety of daily challenges. These challenges provide us ALL with the opportunity to learn and grow individually. From the time we open our eyes in the morning, until the time that we close our eyes at night, we are forced make choices that will ultimately determine our journey towards individual success. At the Pennsylvania Distance Learning Charter School, some of these important choices include: attendance in your live learning sessions, participation in these sessions, daily lesson completion and communication with teachers outside of regularly scheduled sessions.
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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Learning is Messy: Group Work in the Online Setting

Posted by Olivia Porter on 1/17/17 1:01 PM
By Allison Harvey-Benedum, English 7-12
 
Learning is Messy
Learning is messy and group work is even messier. Question marks, emoticons, and a rainbow of text fill the corners of the chatbox to the brim. The chatter flows like mud through your toes. Squiggles, shapes, and text boxes appear on the once pristine whiteboard. Nothing a little bit of cleaning can’t clean up when we’re done. Learning is digging deep into the muck with your bare hands and searching for the treasures buried within. 

In my English IV classes, we wade deep into the BOGs for our messiest learning adventures. In our online setting, BOGs is an acronym for Break Out Groups.
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Topics: Tech & Teaching

How Do You Teach Music in a Cyber Setting?

Posted by Olivia Porter on 1/3/17 1:28 PM
By Elisa Carpenter, K-8 Music Education Teacher
When I have a colleague, family member or friend ask me what I am currently doing with music, I tell them I am an online K-8 Music Teacher.  
 
The FIRST thing that is asked 99% of the time is the question, “How do you do that?”  Some other questions that are asked are,
  • Do you even see the kids?
  • I bet playing instruments is really difficult, right?
  • Isn’t the value of music depreciated because it is not in person?
  • How do they participate in games?
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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Writing Feedback that Cultivates Growth

Posted by Olivia Porter on 12/13/16 1:00 PM
by Hannah Lewis, High School English Teacher
 
 


In Virginia Woolf’s masterful and strange Orlando: A Biography, Orlando begins writing a long poem, “The Oak Tree,” when she is a young attendant on Queen Elizabeth I. She continues to work on it over the course of her 300+ year life, constantly revising, changing it, transforming it into something new. By the end of the novel, she plans to bury the poem under the oak tree of her youth that inspired the poem. That way, it can continue to transform and grow after she has passed away. 

An old adage says that “a poem is never finished; only abandoned.” I prefer to say that a piece of writing is never finished, only ready--to send, to publish, or to turn in! And while publishing a poem or turning in an essay for an English class might be a form of abandonment, it should also be an opportunity for that piece of writing--and the writer who created it--to go on growing like that centuries-old oak tree.

Why, then, do we English teachers so often assign numerical grades to a piece of student writing, then abandon it, along with its writer? 

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Mindfulness: An Inner Tool for Thriving in School and Life

Posted by Olivia Porter on 11/15/16 8:00 AM
by Susannah Azzaro, Business Technology Teacher

A few weekends ago, I participated in a workshop entitled Sustainable Compassion for Educators presented by the non-profit, The Courage of Care Coalition.  The mission of Courage of Care, as stated on their web site is “to empower both personal and social transformation by providing deep contemplative training coupled with powerful tools for systemic change. We support individuals, organizations and communities in realizing a more courageous, caring and equitable world.”  ("Courage of Care Coalition")

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Use Free Tech Tools to Boldly Go Where No Language Class Has Gone Before

Posted by Olivia Porter on 10/31/16 10:00 AM
by: Angela Berger, World Language Teacher
 
 
 
A couple of weeks ago I presented at the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association conference in Erie, PA. If you have never attended a conference for your content area, I highly recommend doing so!  I found it to be a wonderful experience. I met other language teachers who are just as passionate about sharing a love of language with their students as I am. I was able to exchange ideas, learn new things and I came back to my school feeling invigorated ready to try out some new tips and tools on my own students.
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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Establishing a Human Connection in a Digital World

Posted by Olivia Porter on 10/18/16 7:00 AM
by Katie Devlin, Secondary Social Studies Teacher

When I first became an online teacher three years ago, I felt as if I needed to adapt and acquaint myself with a brand new world. However, I knew that I still needed to present myself as the teacher that I knew I was; someone who was dedicated to her students and school and who really wanted her kids to succeed and do well.

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Creating MORE VOICE in the Online Classroom

Posted by Olivia Porter on 10/11/16 6:00 PM

 

by Katie Heiles, 7-12 English Teacher
and
Victoria DeRoner, 7-12 Social Studies Teacher

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

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