Spotlighting Amy Rudd
Akron Public Schools, Akron, OH
"He who dares to teach must never cease to learn." ~Richard Henry Dann
Amy Rudd - second row far left
|I first thought about becoming a teacher when I was in the fourth grade. My teacher Ellen asked me to speak one morning when she came to school with laryngitis. Ever since that day, my dream of being in the classroom has been fulfilled. I used to think of how much I loved working with students, but the longer I've taught, the more I've learned...and the more I've learned, the more I've longed to share my learning with others.|
|I began my full-time teaching career with Akron Public Schools as a Reading teacher. I pulled students from their classrooms to work in small groups. Seeing so many children struggle with learning how to read made me wonder what I could do to help them be successful learners. I read journal articles and sought training on how I could make a difference. I knew that I needed to go back to school to learn more about how to help students who were struggling readers. As a result, I entered graduate school and proceeded to earn my Masters Degree in Education with Reading Specialization. Getting this part of my education has served me well and enhanced my continued love for books. I eventually taught first grade which was the perfect setting to augment my literacy knowledge. Work and play in first grade spawned a special character named, "Dr. Word," who occasionally appeared to study words and reading with the children.|
Dr Word and Mother Goose
During my twenty-year career in the classroom, one of my developing loves has been with technology. I feel blessed to be a self-starter with technology and take pride in teaching myself. I bought my first computer when I graduated from college. I learned how to put all the pieces together and troubleshoot problems. As a result, my co-workers sought my help in solving problems with their classroom computers.
|The next big leap in learning with technology came when I started blogging after a conversation with a cousin about how to share my classroom learning via the Internet. Nine blog creations later, I have my "go to blog" - that includes a mixed-bag of posts about life, learning, and living called, The "Rudd"er, a tool that leaves behind evidence of my voyages on the sea of knowledge.|
Picture of Blog - The Rudder
The next pieces of technology that changed my life were the integration of the SmartBoard, the Flip Cam and the i-Devices (iPhone and iPad). These tools are an integral part of a confirmed belief system to which I aspire. I want the students to use them to demonstrate their learning. When employing the use of these tools, I always am amazed at how much the students are able to teach and learn from each other. They own this type of learning. As I learn more, I think the students need more opportunities to demonstrate what they know. Hopefully, I will continue to have technology tools for them to display their learning.
|To continue down the path of knowledge sharing, I have discovered two other technology tools--Twitter and blogging with students. Twitter is the most amazing learning tool ever. Tweets are a free-market commodity that can be traded for more knowledge daily and can pay huge dividends in learning. Twitter's partner in the learning and sharing of knowledge is the blogging community. The blogs are usually the fruit at the end of the tree branch that offer additional seeds of knowledge to pursue. And now, I use tweeting and blogging to help students share their learning in collaboration with a global audience. As I reflect on the past year, I know it can only get better. I am very proud of the learning that my students have achieved. It's heart-warming to know how much they have gained from blogging and sharing their learning via Twitter.|
Picture of Kidblog from our class
Wordle of my blog
In addition to my professional growth in technology, I have worked hard to build my knowledge of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts. I have led staff development meetings introducing the Core as well as shifts in teaching that need to take place. I've also been a leader and collaborated with other teachers to write curriculum units linking our old materials with the exemplars and new pieces of informational text. I have volunteered to work on developing lessons and professional development sessions for teachers. It's definitely been a challenge!
To add to my professional growth, I've also worked to become a writer. I've blogged regularly with others in a wonderful writing community, Two Writing Teachers. I've learned to walk in writer's shoes and gained confidence in my writing ability and willingness to share my writing. Enter "Thinkfinity"!
I was thrilled to learn that the Thinkfinity Community was seeking educators who are interested in blogging for the site. I could hardly breathe I was so excited to try for this opportunity. It means a lot to be able to write for this Community because it's a blend of just the "write" ingredients for sharing learning, building relationships, and writing professionally.
Thank you Thinkfinity Community for this amazing opportunity!
Amy Rudd, Akron Public Schools, Akron, Ohio
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