EdmodoCon 2015: Meet Speaker Kari Salomon
Posted by: Amanda Zeligs
While earning a Bachelor’s in Middle Grades Education from Brenau University and a Master’s in EdTech from the University of West Georgia, Kari Salomon knew she wanted to use Science to change the world. Today, she does that one child at a time as a middle school teacher for Gwinnett County Public Schools, where she helps students become aware of the world around them and shows them how to care for the planet and each other. In her spare time, Salomon fills her world with hiking, travel, and photography.
Salomon knows it’s important for students to understand various perspectives, and during her Collective Curriculum: Sparking Discussions Across Subject Areas session from 2:15 pm–3:00 pm PST, she will show EdmodoCon participants how she uses Edmodo to help students think critically. Tune in to watch how you can combine offline preparation with online debates to prepare your classroom for multiple disciplines and standards. Walk away with strategies on how to structure research, format discussions, set guidelines, and more.
What inspired you to apply to speak at EdmodoCon?
Good leadership at my school, combined with support from colleagues and students, provided the inspiration to apply and share with teachers around the world.
In 2014, Mike Bender, AP at Hull Middle School, asked me to submit a presentation proposal for Georgia’s first STEM Forum. I did, and enjoyed the experience. Meanwhile, counselor Rosemary Aschoff and AP Scott Frandsen visited my class when we were engaged in our first Edmodo debate of the year. They were impressed with the students and took the time to share their supportive comments with me. Later, Darlene Brown not only attended my presentation at Georgia State Science Teacher’s Association Conference, but she said these impactful words, “Ms. Salomon, I want to share you with the world.”
That very day, I received the “Call for Speakers” email from Edmodo. I thought the timing was interesting. I enjoyed the two presentations that I shared in conferences, I valued what I have learned from speakers at previous EdmodoCon events, and I really wanted to share what I thought was a unique use of Edmodo as a blended classroom tool. That very day, I began my application process.
How did you feel when you found out you were selected?
When I received the email, I was on spring break in New Orleans. I hadn’t been in any of the casinos, but I felt I had won a HUGE JACKPOT! EdmodoCon is giving me the most amazing opportunity to share an innovative and successful classroom strategy with teachers all over the world. I envisioned students all over the world engaging in deep conversations and arguments related to content area topics.
Later, after the euphoria settled, I felt extremely humbled as I realized that I would be sharing what I do with many of the best teachers in the world, who could no doubt share wonderful strategies of their own.
What’s the one thing you hope people take away from your EdmodoCon presentation?
An excitement for hosting and guidelines for structuring student debate in their own classrooms. I’d really LOVE some feedback from teachers, especially if they further develop some guidelines or templates.
Why did you become an educator?
There are many really good things about the world we live in and many “not-so-good-things.” As a student, my teachers told me that I can change the world. My art teacher, Mrs. Lupkey, and my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Haley, are particularly memorable in their inspiration and encouragement.
In later years, Mrs. Sundberg, Mr. Ivie, Mrs. Brasch, Mr. Shorb, and Mrs. Livingston ingrained in me that each person can change the world in some way. I want to make the learning experience for students a fantastic one, and empower them with knowledge and skills to help them make a difference in this world. I want to change the world, one student at a time.
What do you like most about being an educator?
As a teacher, I get a whole new group of students to love each and every year. They come with their unique personalities and families, let me share in their lives, and take some of me back to their families. They trust me as their Earth Science teacher to change the way they see the world, starting with rocks and minerals, and moving through the Earth Systems to Astronomy. It’s an amazing experience. In this way, my family and my community grow and are enriched year after year.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from another educator?
There are two:
“Many children don’t care to learn until they learn that you care.” –Cynthia O’Brien
“If they believe you are a princess, they will treat you like a princess. Make them think you are a princess.” –Luann Kosa
What have your students taught you?
My students, bless their hearts, have taught me that it is OK to make mistakes, OK to admit mistakes, and OK to ask for suggestions on how to do things better. I was told by an administrator 10 years ago that I should never admit that I am wrong about something to a student, that it would be unprofessional. Fortunately, I had already learned that to be human is to allow others to be human. I am fallible yet redeemable, as are all of my students. In this way, my students have taught me how to make my classroom a safe place, where everyone, including myself, is loved and cared for.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from school?
LOL! I “hug on” my blind and deaf dog, Hammer! Next, I check Edmodo in case anyone gets stuck with an assignment or technology. (Usually, though, they have posted the issue in a Group called, “Homework Helpers,” and someone else has already solved the problem.) I also spend 15 minutes each night monitoring conversations on Edmodo.
- Food: Lobster
- Movie: Secretariat
- TV Show(s): Big Bang Theory
- Music: Classical
- Book: Holy Cow! Just ONE???
- Superpower: Master of Time and Space
- Quote: “The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do.” –John Stuart Mill
Three things I could never live without: