I'd like to introduce Heidi Pinder as myON's guest blogger this week. Heidi is a myON Cadre member and she works to introduce and discuss myON in her school, Swenke Elementary in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (TX). What's more, Heidi is also a teacher at Swenke, which means that her understanding of and perspective on myON is unique and multifaceted. Thank you, Heidi, for all that you do to support myON's success.
Arrange the classroom, type the lesson plans, gather the materials, differentiate instruction, communicate with parents, attend meetings, grade papers, answer emails, usher vomiting students to the nurse, dole out hand sanitizer, buy more hand sanitizer... The amount of effort an educator puts forth to start every school year, school week, and school day is vast. Teachers know that, as a baseline, their days will be long and thier work will be hard. What is frustrating is when the students' results do not seem to match the teacher's efforts.
Maybe a teacher stays after school to tutor at-risk students, but these children still fail the district-mandated test. Maybe a teacher wakes up before dawn to input grades, but the computer crashes before the save button can be reached. Even the most motivated of teachers might begin to wonder: "Is all of this effort worth it?"
What is worth it is myON. I have realized that, with little effort--that is to say, my effort can remain concentrated on all of the aforementioned duties of a busy teacher--using myoN in the classroom will yield amazing results. It has become apparent to me that the mere mention of myoN in a school causes amazing things to happen. When I offhandedly mentioned to my class that the DC Super Pets books--after which they'd all been clamoring in our classroom library--had been addd to myON, the total minutes of reading for my class increased noticeably. When I mentioned to the parents in an email that their children had full access to myON at home, all of my students had logged onto myON outside of school within one week. When a fellow teacher mentioned over lunch that the myON book "Our National Anthem" perfectly supported our Social Studies united for the week, we all used that book and others in the series to enhance our lessons.
It is refreshing as a teacher to gain large returns in the classroom in such a way that conserves my energy for other efforts. Of course, in a perfect classroom, I would have been able to implement multiple mini-lessons that promoted and explained all of the enhanced supports included in the myON platform for both parents and students. That just didn't happen this year.
With little effort, albeit much amazement, though, I've watched a student (who speaks only Vietnamese at home) teach all of his friends how to use the dictionary feature on myON. I've watched my science wiz-kid share with his classmates the titles on myON that feature exciting experiments. I've watched the shy new girl tell her reading partner that you can change your avatar to Kitsune (the new girl in the Mighty Mighty Monsters graphic novel series).
Have I mentioned myON this school year? Yes. Will I continue to mention myON? Yes. While passing out hand sanitizer and emailing parents and inputting grades, I will continue to talk about this amazing library of digital texts. Mentioning myON to my students caused them to read more, increase fluency, gain vocabulary, and build confidence in and excitement about reading. Mention myON in your school, and watch the amazing results come in.