Author Archive

Andrew Clark

I am a former 4th grade teacher and current Regional Technology Trainer for 9 school districts in rural northeastern Utah. He enjoys learning about tech, traveling, and spending time with his family. You can follow me on Twitter @And_B_Clark

So Long May

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in Uncategorized

May is on it's way out and we are about to enter June. Some of you reading this are doing so from the comfort of your beach chair because you've had your last day of school, you said goodbye to your students, and you're on vacation (or you're getting close). Some of us are still in session participating in all kinds of end of the year activities. We've been helping students check out, and we've been crossing off several to-do's from our list so that we can catch our breath before summer work begins.

My own kids are counting down the days (and I say hours and minutes) until they complete another grade level and get to move on. They are thinking that they can shut down and relax for the next few months. They always act this way for about the first 48 hours, and then the dreaded "boredom" sets in. As a parent I can think of things for them to do and I offer suggestions and sometimes those suggestions turn into actual things that they need to do. This summer I'm going to have my kids work on the Wonderopolis summer activities. I'm hoping that being curious this summer they will learn and do more. I'm going to allow them to make more decisions about what it is that they want to learn, because as they get older they can decide more. I'm sure on our road trips this summer to the Rural Schools Conference in Cedar City we will enjoy some Brains On podcasts and we'll all learn together. 

I hope your summer is full of curiosity and wonder! Catch your breath for a minute have a delicious soda from one of those awesome soda shacks and get excited for all the good things that are coming up in the next few months!

It’s Almost Here!

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in #UCET17, 2017 Conference, Education, Utah

Hello friends!! Can you believe that UCET is fast approaching? Neither can I.  It's about this time of year each year that I get excited and nervous and more excited as I start to think about all of the great things that will be happening at UCET this year!  This year as I'm starting to look at all of the exciting things that UCET has to offer I can't wait to join in and be a part of one the greatest conferences ever!

Recently I was in Florida attending the Future of Educational Technology Conference.  This was my first time attending and I marveled at the size of the venue and how many teachers were there.  I felt like a small fish in a big pond. I wandered around the conference center and I realized that I was missing the community that I feel whenever I go to UCET.  I love going to UCET an catching up with old friends and meeting new friends.  It is great to collaborate with teachers from the great state of Utah and see what everyone is doing to better the lives of their students.  I'm reminded of the first few years I attended UCET, I was a student and I was simply amazed at how all of these teachers would come together to better education and that's all I wanted to do. They have certainly helped to shape me as an educator. Thank you! Thank you UCET attendees for creating the amazing commmunity that we all enjoy!

 

Thank You!!

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in Education, Utah

There is a gentleman that I admire and had the opportunity to be mentored under and he always told me that "the weather is always beautiful" no matter where we are. When I look outside and see the blue skies, I'm reminded of this phrase.  It helps me to remain optimistic about the future.  Recently I've felt that teachers don't get the credit they deserve.  I've been noticing this as I've ventured into the classrooms of my own children and as I continue to work with teachers.  I can remember feeling this way with my own classroom, and I can remembering thinking that a simple "Thank You" would certainly go a long way in making a difference in my life.  It is because of this that I want to say thanks!  Teachers are tireless workers who see the best in every student.  They spend countless hours devising ways to impact the lives of the students that they interact with and they do it all with a heart of gold.  I know that teaching isn't the most glamorous of positions, but you are making a big difference.  Perhaps you've heard all this before, but I want you to know that you make life better!  You are doing great things!  It is with that same optimism that I would like to remind you that no matter what your classroom feels like now, or at the end of the day the weather will always be beautiful.  Students will always learn, you will always impact their lives, and you will continue to make a difference.  Thank you for choosing to be a teacher.  Thank you for being willing to tackle all that life throws at you and to walk away unscathed.  Thank you for being you!

What My 2nd Grader Taught Me About Trying

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in Education

Yesterday I had the opportunity to join my daughter at her school for Family Hour of Code Night.  We were given the option of several different breakout sessions that would allow us to experience some different aspects of coding.  I was impressed as my 2nd grader got right to work.  She knew what she wanted the results to be and as she worked on her block coding she was faced with problems.  I wanted to jump in and help her with all of the problems she was having, but she was determined to do it on her own.  She wanted to show me that she could overcome the issues.  She wasn't frustrated when something didn't work, but was rather eager to make sure that she could try and try and try again to solve the problems that she was facing.  I was impressed that she wasn't worried about making mistakes, but rather finding a solution to her problem.  

The next activity we attended was a BreakoutEDU session.  She had participated in a one other BreakoutEDU activity at her school and had so much fun that she wanted to share with me as well.  It was fantastic to see her look at puzzles with open arms!  She wanted so much to try and figure it out and she knew that along the way she would fail.  She was constantly reassuring me that it was ok to fail.  We could keep trying to solve the problems as they arose and that everything would be ok.  We worked hard at solving the puzzles and we eventually were able to solve all of the puzzles.  It took a team effort and it took perserverance.  I was impressed that the kids took the lead and were the first to jump in and try things.  It was great to watch how they worked together and kept cool heads even through failure.  

In my own life I see problems arise and I'm not the first to attack them head on like these kids did.  I want to spend some time thinking of a potential solution and how to try it out.  I forget that it is ok to fail.  We can learn a lot from our mistakes and we're bound to make them.  I'm glad that my daughter was able to remind of this.  

What Fall Means to Me

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in Uncategorized

When fall arrives and I watch the leaves change color, I often think about the changes that we all make.  At some point the trees will shed their leaves to prepare for the winter.  In education I think that we are constantly losing our "leaves" in preparation for what we can do to improve teaching and learning.  The nice thing about winter is that it will end and we will have spring once again.  Just like in teaching we can change and grow once again.

In teaching and preparing we are always letting go of what doesn't work so that we can grow and be better.  When I was in the classroom, I found that each year I would take the time to reflect and realize that somethings went well, and other things didn't go so well. I would often pinpoint what I wanted to change and implement the change the next opportunity that I had.

I hope that as we reflect on what has worked thus far this year we can all find those things in our teaching that we can get rid of and prepare for new growth.  Let us all be embracing of the change that comes no matter what school we teach at.  I hope you have successful year!