5 Pinterest Collaborative Boards: Teaching & Education

I must confess that I am now an official Pinterest addict and I have spent more than an hour of my waking day to devote to building content of my awesome Pinterest teacher boards since its inception in November. The great news is that I'm now opening them up for collaboration!
What are Pinterest Collaborative Boards? They are actually boards on Pinterest that allow other pinners to pin content on the board. Yes, it's that plain and simple! I believe that I have great colleagues who are also Pinterest users (like YOU!) who would want to share pins centered around teaching and special education. Collaborative boards on Pinterest are a great way to share your information to other teachers and networkers, while also generating great back links to your blog or website.
My Pinterest boards are now open, please leave a comment on the latest post and I will certainly add you. Let's start sharing!
#1. Books and Reading Resources. This is all about the written word. Please leave me a comment on the most recent pin if you are interested in sharing your books and everything about books on this board.
#2 Great Ideas From Teachers. Need ideas for the kiddos? Get authentic teacher-made classroom resources, fun kid-friendly games, craftivities and more from our amazing teachers. If you want to share your awesome classroom pins, please leave me a comment on the most recent pin! We currently have 75 teachers collaborating on this board, join us!

#3 Social Media and Technology in Education. For social media savvy teachers, this board is for you! Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google + tips and tricks to make all of them grow and glow...follow this board! Let me know if you want to be a pinner to this board by leaving a comment on the most recent pin.

#4 100+ Education Quotes. Get your education quotes from the most political edreform sayings to the most inspirational wisdom laden and famous proverbs from this board! Same process, share your pins by leaving a comment on the most recent pin and I will add you as a collaborator.
#5 National Board Certification and Teacherpreneurship. When the going gets tough, what do you do? Here are some resources that you might need if you are going through the process of National Board Certification or are just looking for teaching standards and best practices for effective teacher leaders. If you have something to share about NBC or Teacherpreneurship, please leave a comment on the most recent post.



- Today is Feb 28, 2005-
As I sit in front of my computer looking at the class digital anthology that I created that showcases the wonderful poems and illustrations of my exceptional students, I begin to reflect on how far I have gone as a neophyte teacher, as a wannabe writer and as a technology addict (not an expert).
It seems just yesterday when I was in tears after my students cussed at me...
How many times have my co-teachers seen me crying outside my classroom ready to walk-out and leave without coming back? I wasn’t used to being disrespected this way by my students. Less than two years ago, back in my country I was highly respected being one of the youngest and most efficient special ed school owner. Founded the special ed center at 23 which I run for 5 years. It took awhile before it sank-in to me that I wasn’t in my home country anymore, I am in America now. I am now an employee teaching in an inner-city public school, where my students are challenged most especially outside the school in what’s supposedly their most trusted environment.

Being an inner city school teacher is very challenging. I feel like Michelle Pfiffer in the movie “Dangerous Minds”. This story goes almost as similar with my story: Teacher and ex-marine Louanne Johnson accepts a full-time job at East Palo Alto high school without realizing that the students in her class are smart, but with social problems. She either must give up or learn how to get the students’ attention and help them learn.

Guess how the story ended. Will my story end the same way?

It seems just yesterday when I was in the dark searching about the state standards, the special ed curriculum, teaching strategies that would work with the students I have…

This is going to be my second year in teaching and my first year was disastrous, not only did I not get help from my supposed in-school teacher mentor but I was expected to perform like a veteran teacher. I got help from very few good teachers in my school but one thing I learned as a new teacher, I cannot rely on anybody but myself in surviving inside my classroom. I attended many professional development trainings and workshops for new teachers offered by the district just to LEARN and RE-LEARN everything....and everything seems new to me (it still is). The educational system is very different from the country where I came from.

I eventually learned that as special ed teachers we are supposed to revise the given curriculum to suit the needs of our exceptional students. Well then, I was trained last summer for the research based art-literature curriculum pioneered by Beth Olshansky. Not only did I fall in love with it, I was so sure it would work well with my students. I adopted it in my classroom.

In one of the professional development workshops sponsored by the district was the DCAWP sponsored “Festival of Writing”. I don’t remember how I started pouring out my frustration to Judith (director of DCAWP). I was so recharged and energized after the said workshop that I asked her to help me organize my teaching portfolio so at least I could have something to show my principal during the end-of-school professional evaluations. I wanted to show that I was trying to meet her expectations (I was hoping I could get some points for “trying”). Then after, I was lucky to have been selected to the DCAWP Summer Institute where I learned a lot from veteran teachers (I was told they seldom get new teachers as fellows, lucky me!). The DCAWP Teacher Consultants told us that the Summer Institute was going to change our lives.

It surely did.

I did not stop right there. I was lucky to find the Council for Exceptional Children website while surfing the net, researching about special ed strategies and classroom management that would work well with my students. I clicked the "join membership" link and filled out the membership form online. My membership with the Council for Exceptional Children changed my life tremendously. With the CEC Journals: TEACHING Exceptional Children and EC Exceptional Children, I don't have to surf the internet anymore to update myself on the latest trends about exceptional children and special education. Furthermore, with the CEC Smart Brief which I get from my email inbox weekly regularly, I keep myself well informed with the latest global news about special ed.

I am with the CEC Technology and Media Division, who sends me the Journal of Special Education regularly. I get tips from them on what assistive technology should I have in my classroom for my students. I am also inspired to maintain and consistently update my special ed teaching portfolio/ class website: http://www.digitalanthology.blogspot.com/ which documents and showcases the wonderful works of my exceptional students, most of them now doing their best in school because of my encouragement.

I am a passionate special education teacher, a proud advocate of exceptional children, who is willing to work with students, parents, related professionals, and the whole community to maximize these students' potentials.


It seems just yesterday when I would lock myself up in my room and write…

In preschool I was writing verses, it was just a requirement. I was writing about my first infatuation, I used to believe it was just a passing hobby. In grade school I won third place in a Milo short story writing contest, I do not remember anymore what it was about. I was a contributor in our school newspaper; I thought it did not have any weight. But still I was writing. I remember just locking myself up in my room writing, drafting, editing, revising my poems. Poems about my delight upon seeing someone I love, my sadness when my beloved grandfather passed away, my frustrations in life, my anger, my dreams…I had to transfer what I was going through onto the paper. I would not stop writing until I felt right again.

It seems just yesterday when I decided to quit writing…

I met someone whom I cannot write about because he was a writer. A potential excellent writer who thought I write cheesy stuff. I do not write fantasy stories like his because mine is reality based. His style is just not my cup of tea. I wrote a poem for him on our wedding day. And I said it would be the last.

Call it twist of fate, I was invited to join a writing workshop for a children’s TV show. Afterwards I was accepted as a script writer for the science educational TV show. I wrote several scripts (in audio-video format) which were accepted after so much panel deliberation, few were rejected but that was okay. I saw my stories aired on TV and excitedly searched for my name in the closing bill boards. Alas! Another writer took the credit for all my sleepless nights and anxiety during panel deliberations (even if I got paid for all those scripts, it was still unfair!).

The inspiration was everywhere but the courage left me.

It seems just yesterday when I was in the train reflecting about my life…

When I was in the train one morning on my way to the Summer Institute, I remembered my darkest times - those days when my husband and I had to struggle in order to live…in a third world country…with a negative bank account…with no support from parents or any body. His mother disowned him, and my family was too far away from me. We were all alone, struggling to get through the day. We would dream of eating good food every night. We were starving but we were happy just being together. I had this urge of writing that chapter of my life.

I also had to write about this new chapter of my life, a new struggle in a foreign land. And I had to capture every moment of my life. So I have a story to tell my children. I want to pass this on as a legacy to them. I want my story to be an inspiration to my children…and my children’s children…forever.


It seems just yesterday when I was thinking of ways on how to publish my writings…

I recently finished writing my autobiography about the ups and downs in my life, composed of more than 200 pages. I wanted to publish it in print but I had no resources. Then a friend showed me her weblog, a sort of web journal, which of course got me into this new hobby.

My life story is now published up in the internet (in another blog). With the weblog, I get to enhance my writing skills, publish it online, and get consistent readers from around the globe, and get their feedbacks instantly.

It seems just yesterday when technology made a difference in my life…

Technology is addictive I must say but at the same time it’s fun. I am presently maintaining more than one personal websites, plus, a professional site for a teacher’s organization (DC Area Writing Project), and a class homepage. The blogospehere just brings out my creativity; my being a writer and teacher…it brings out the best in me. I got hooked the first time I used this technology!

Then in August 2004, I was appointed as the new DC Area Writing Project Technology Liaison, I got to attend National Conferences, interact and learn from educators and teacher consultants around the nation. If not for my knowledge in blogging, I wouldn’t be able to maintain the DCAWP weblog and they could’ve gotten another person for the TL position.

It seems just yesterday when I was thinking of ways on how to get readers for my students’ poems…

Since the start of the school year, I was able to miraculously make my students write meaningful poems about themselves, about social problems and current events. They were able to create beautiful illustrations for their wonderful poems too. Thanks to the DC Area Writing Project for giving me strategies in engaging students to write, and to Beth Olshansky for the Art-Literature based curriculum.

In her recommendation for my DisneyHand Teacher Awards nomination, my special ed coordinator writes:

“Ms. Angala encourages students to discover the “real life” implications of the curriculum…Ms. Angala facilitates student directed activities such as creating personal story lines. Throughout the story line, which eventually relates the students’ personal history, the rules of English are emphasized. This particular activity provides instruction and understanding of the content area for all students in a manner that students sanction as fun and interesting.”

My classroom is full of my students’ work on display. They read their poems to the whole class, and they get feedbacks from each other. Those are forms of publishing. But the audience is very limited.

Then I thought of weblogging and how it helped me publish my life story, get consistent feedbacks from readers around the globe, and how it helped me improve my writing skills. Perfect idea for a class digital anthology!

It seems just yesterday when the Class Digital Anthology was born…

I am aware of the legal and protection issues involved in publishing my students’ works. So I made sure that I have their parents’ consent for this project. Their parents were thrilled and positively agreed as long as personal identifications are kept private and no identifiable pictures are shown.

I have asked for the evaluation of the website from the concerned authorities and appropriate education technologists nationwide, statewide and district wide and got positive comments from them. As far as I know I am in compliance with this Class Digital Anthology (but then as a new teacher I could have missed something, please let me know).

It seems just yesterday when I felt like giving up on my students…

My students are struggling writers, hesitant writers, in short, they abhor writing. They are the students whose score in SAT 9 range from below basic to below basic. Some teachers in every school in every district leave their profession because of these kinds of students. I was thinking of joining the band wagon.

But that was yesterday, and yesterday was not very long time ago. Last week, one colleague from the National Writing Project commented:

“I enjoyed the blog, and your students' work, enormously, Maria!!! Thank you for sharing such a fascinating project. Please let us know how your students react to the comments, from each other and from the world at large“.

My mouth fell and I felt goose bumps all over.

Last Wednesday I was smilingly watching my students doing a free writing activity, one of them noticed me.

He said, “What is it Ms. Angala?”
I replied,” do you have any idea how many people are reading your poems?”
They were just looking at me, they had no idea!
I said, “In the third floor of this school, that big banner says: ‘TECHNOLOGY brings you to places’ …ladies and gentlemen, the whole world is reading your poems!”

How did my students react to this? They took writing more seriously, knowing that they actually have readers whom they want to please with their writings. Some stars who used to be dull started to shine. I myself didn’t think he was a star, I didn’t realize that his poems were really “that good” until he got more positive comments in his page; that made him feel good about his writings that he couldn’t get his hands off the computer. Some students remarked: “I can’t believe I typed this much! ...I can’t believe I can write poems”. Again last Wednesday, I got 3 students asking me if they could be in my class. I let them in since their teacher was absent for that period. Unbelievably, one student who was branded as a problem student was just quiet in one corner writing, and he was able to write 4 poems during that class. My co-teacher said: “Now you know that your students can do miracles”.

I am still a wannabe writer…

I am still a technology addict…

I am still a neophyte teacher…

But I’m getting better, and I feel good.

...Yesterday is past, today holds a better promise for tomorrow.


mia said...

very nice marisol, i like your blog, it is interesting!keep up the good work!now i am having a thought of going back to teaching profession!!

langit at lupa said...

Marisol, you are a legend!!

You know how to use your talent to bring the best of what you can offer. Your effort is huge to these kids, and i think this is really effective. It's only a new site , and it's here to last.

Your site is will keep growing; also, keep collecting that work of arts.

reich said...

Wow. Your students are all so talented. It sends shivers down my spine. They really can convey what they feel. I hope everything will turn out beautifully for these children. You inspire me to be a better person, T'Sol. Thank God sent you as their angel.

I pray that you be given more strength, more patience, and more love for all these children.

static brain said...

The poetry is beautiful. The children obviously have a great teacher.

susan c. said...

Thanks for sharing your students' poems; they were so sweet and
reminded me that junior high kids are still kids and need lots of TLC!

fred said...

Great stuff. Looks like you're really motivating your students to express themselves in a very creative manner.

owen fv said...

this is so cool! i really admire these kids as i really suck in poetry. both in writing and reading!

but i understood the poems here!

richard said...

Nice poem.. Yahooo! Teacher ka nga. You give time your students to express their feelings through poems... Ganun na man talaga di ba?.... WOW!

lyra said...

I like these poems very much! They say a lot about their authors bu also a lot about their teacher! kisses from lyra

Anonymous said...

this is a great way for children to explore differnt areas. Keep up the good work. great poem tory.

Des said...

Marisol, you are one of the many Pinoys making waves in America. I like you blogs....keep up the good work!

WELCOME SY 2014-2015!

Teachers & parents tell me that this blog is like a "One-Stop-Shop", here's why ---

There are tons of lesson plans, printables, activity sheets and other resources that special education teachers can find in this blog! It's all for you to get the lil ones engaged in their seats and lovin' what they're doin'!

This blog is also our class portal to communicate information about our class, to archive course materials, to publish the course curriculum, syllabus, class rules, lessons, homework assignments, rubrics, and presentations. Yes, everything is in this blog for our students to review our lessons at home!

Parents love the transparency and the ability to access class materials in this blog. It's easy for parents to follow along as my students post their work. This holds true for their psychologists, social workers, general education teachers, and other special ed providers. This is another way for us to collaborate with the Multi-Disciplinary Team members of our students!

This class blog also serves as our students' e-portfolio. Our students collect the work they want to consider highlighting and then publish those that represent their best work. They then reflect on their work as they share them to their parents and teachers for positive comments and feedback. It's very easy for them to look back over their work and see the growth they've accomplished!

We invite you to please leave a message to our students. Beside the tiny envelope just after each entry is the comments link. Your positive feedback will surely encourage our students to do their best in school.

Thank you for visiting our class portal!