Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where Are You, My Wonderful PLN?

Ah, my PLN...what would I do without you? Where would I be without you? Where are YOU??? That last question is really the one I'm looking for help with right now. In February, I will be giving a presentation on Personal Learning Networks and sharing with the teachers in attendance how to develop their own PLNs and why I think it's an invaluable resource to have.

My presentation is called Teaching 2.0: Connect, Communicate, Collaborate. In order to show the "Connect" portion of my presentation, I'm creating a Google map to show just how far-reaching my PLN really is. And I'm hoping to get all of you to "Collaborate" with me on this to truly show the power of the network! So, if you wouldn't mind helping a McTeach out, could you add your placemark on the map below? If you're on Twitter or Plurk, please feel free to add your username as well. I truly appreciate your help...with this and with so much else!

Please note that I will be adding this map, once completed, to the wiki I'm creating for this presentation. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

View My PLN in a larger map

Thursday, December 17, 2009

St. Boniface Day

Each year at this time, something very special happens at my school. The San Francisco Police Department arrives, sirens blaring. We prepare for their arrival by encouraging our students to buy lots and lots of gifts! But the gifts aren't for the police officers who drive out to our school from the city. These gifts are destined for the people of St. Boniface parish in the Tenderloin, a district with significant poverty, homelessness, and crime.

The "Giving Tree" Project for St. Boniface Parish

For the past twenty years, our school community has participated in the "Giving Tree" Project. From the flyer that goes home to parents:
Each year St. Boniface Parish (near St. Anthony's Soup Kitchen) in San Francisco enlists our help to share our gifts with the many less fortunate and/or homeless children and adults in the parish and beyond. This is the third year that the San Francisco Police Department has been able to pick up and deliver all the gifts to St. Boniface Parish.
I'm not sure who gets more excited to see the SFPD arrive with lights flashing...the students or the grown-ups. And this year the caravan included the Bomb Squad! This definitely got everyone's attention today:

It garnered almost as much attention as the police dog and this:

The officer who talked about the Bomb Squad's robot, affectionately called Wall-E by many people this morning (all of them grown-ups), informed us that it cost about as much as a Ferrari. I wonder if it's as much fun to drive.

It's an amazing experience from start to finish. The officers leave as they arrived, lights flashing and sirens calling out to the entire neighborhood. I do have to say more than a few of us wondered what the neighbors might have thought seeing several police cars and vans as well as the Bomb Squad drive onto our campus. Perhaps they would have understood if they happened to see the cars leaving stuffed full of beautiful packages that we hope will make someone's Christmas a little merrier.

Wherever you are, whatever you celebrate, I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season.